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Modeling Offenders' Decisions - A Framework for Research and Policy (From Crime and Justice - An Annual Review of Research, Volume 6, P 147-185, 1985, Micheal Tonry and Norval Morris, ed. - See NCJ-98380)

NCJ Number
R V Clarke; D B Cornish
Date Published
39 pages
Dispositional and situational theories of criminal behavior and related research are reviewed in this examination of the implications of decision models for crime control policy.
Developments in the sociology of deviance, criminology, economics, and psychology suggest that it is useful to see criminal behavior not as the result of psychologically and socially determined dispositions, but as the outcome of the offender's broadly rational choices and decisions. This perspective provides a basis for devising models of criminal behavior. It offers frameworks within which to locate existing research, suggests directions for new reserach, facilitates policy analysis, and helps to identify policy initiatives. Such models need not offer comprehensive explanation; they may be limited and incomplete, yet still be good enough to achieve these important policy and research purposes. To meet this criterion, they need to be specific to particular forms of crime, and they must separately describe both the processes of involvement in crime and the decisions surrounding the commission of the offense. Developing models that are crime specific and take into account rationality will demand more knowledge about the ways in which offenders process and evaluate relevant information. Such a decision perspective appears to have the most immediate payoff for crime control efforts aimed at reducing criminal opportunity. The construction and implications of such a model are illustrated in the case of residential burglary; 132 references are provided. (Author abstract modified)


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