Positive Theory

The Positive philosophy states that offenders break the law partly due to factors outside their control that influence their behavior. Some of these factors were listed in the online lesson this week.

For each of the crimes listed below, indicate which Positive factors (if any) you would take into consideration if you were a judge deciding the offender’s sentence and justify your answer. For example, when sentencing a sex offender, you might decide that the offender’s history of being abused as a child should be taken into consideration. If you do not believe that any such factors should be taken into consideration, that is OK; just explain your thoughts.

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Consider the following examples:

Burglary/theft—the offender broke into three houses and stole electronics and money.
Aggravated battery—the offender attacked a victim and caused significant injury.
Possession of controlled substance—the offender possessed two ounces of marijuana and 20 prescription pain killers (without a prescription).
Stalking—the offender followed or contacted someone repeatedly, causing fear.

Considering your responses to these examples, discuss the role of punishment in preventing these types of crimes. Can punishment be used to reduce the frequency of these types of crimes? Explain your views.

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