Applying Theory to Case Study

“In the final paper for the course, you will write an essay that demonstrates both your critical thinking skills, and your understanding of (at least) one theoretical perspective.

By the end of the semester, we will have explored a variety of theories that seek to explain the onset and continuation (or desistance) of criminal behavior. You will have learned that none of these perspectives can explain crime in every situation, and, therefore, that there is no one “ideal” theory to explain crime. Each of these approaches comes with their own policy implications and suggestions for how to reduce crime and deal with offenders to reduce future criminality.

In a formal essay (with a title page, introduction, body, conclusion, and references), you will use a case study provided by the instructor (which varies each semester and may vary from instructor to instructor) to discuss what you believe is the “best” theoretical approach to explain the crimes engaged in by the offender in the case study. Each approach comes with its own policy implications and suggestions for how to reduce crime and deal with offenders to reduce future criminality. You should pick a best approach, but, since crime is complex and no single approach explains everything, you can also mention other perspectives or compare and contrast those perspectives to explain the crime, as well as you can focus on one perspective but also explain why you think other factors may also be playing a role (e.g., if you think that the crime is largely resulting from psychological factors, but that you also think these psychological factors have been affected by social experiences and that they may have never been activated had people not had these experiences – so, you would say that it’s mostly a psychological issue, but that biology and environment also matter, then you would explain this).

Note that in each section of JUST 101, the assignment will be graded using a Speedgrader rubric. The theoretical application essay (combined with other writing assignments for the course) meets or exceeds the recommended 2000 word writing requirement of a General Education course.

This section of the course will utilize the case study of “RED THE MARTYR” (a sex offender) to examine what you believe to be the “best” theoretical approach to explain the crimes engaged in by the offender in the article, or the “best” approach and other approaches that you think make sense.

You must demonstrate that you have read the article in its entirety and that you understand your theory. The use of examples will help you accomplish this task.

Your paper should do the following:

1. Elaborate/summarize the main tenets/points of the theoretical perspective you have chosen (rational choice theory, trait theory, social structure theory, social process theory, developmental theory, conflict theory, strain theory, etc.- you can choose whatever theory you like)
2. Discuss the criminal behaviors in the article
3. Explain why the theory you have chosen provides the best explanation for criminal behaviors in the case study – i.e., explain the crime in light of theory
4. From a policy perspective, discuss at least ONE way in which this type of criminality might be deterred (this recommendation must be consistent with the theoretical approach you have chosen)
To be clear: in your paper you are to use only ONE theory to explain the offense elaborated in the case study. For example, ONE specific branch of biological theory . . . do NOT explain how each branch of biological theory could explain the case study. However, again, you can come at this from multiple perspectives – I just don’t want you saying that something is a result of biology then explaining every biological perspective covered in the book.

Your essay must be 1,500 – 2,000 words in length (approximately 5-8 pages double spaced) , double spaced, in Times New Roman 12-point font, using one-inch margins, and appropriate citations included using the ASA or APA citation style.”

(Below is the provided Case Study and my outline to help aid you in the understanding. As well as my theoretical perspective.)

Theoretical Perspective: Conflict Perspective

Case Study:

Outline: Conflict Perspective is the theoretical perspective that I chose for this assignment. Conflict Perspective is a theoretical study on social organization that uses conflict as the main variable for the social behaviors of an individual. Conflicts that appear in one’s life at some point in the past could be the main inhibitor for an individual’s actions and behaviors. This perspective of viewing crime uses the result of experience through time to determine how someone could commit a crime in the future. The main narrator of the article, Red, faced sexual abuse throughout his life, and as early as the age of 10. He also dealt with physical abuse from his father, and he was never persistent on telling anyone about his sexual assault situations.
Factors in the case:
1. Physical abuse from his father
2. Sexual assault by a 42 year old man through oral intercourse at the age of 10.
3. Got into a sexual relationship with another 16 year old teen when Red was 14.
4. Felt no sorrow or remorse once his father passed away.
5. Got sexually assaulted by fellow Navy sailors
6. Mother passed away
7. Went through various marriages
8. Current marriage was with an overweight female with kids of her own
9. Molested wife’s kids due to psychological and sexual desires stemmed from his sexual abuse as a child
10. Goes to jail for 1-4 years and gets released on parole
11. Gets sent back to prison after friend’s daughter accuses him of sexual assault while babysitting

The conflict perspective plays a big emphasis on a complete hierarchy of social structure, which would include family, friends, coworkers, etcetera. One theory that I researched that could tie in with Red’s case is the Social Learning Theory: Learning by Example. That theory states “Social learning theory proposes that we engage in either criminal or noncriminal behavior based on the social environment around us, and that we’re especially influenced by how other people reward or model behavior”. In Red’s case, when he was sexually assaulted, he refrained from telling anybody because he felt like his father was going to physically beat him, and his mother would have a stroke. He used these variables to inhibit him from speaking out, and bottling up these emotions resulted in him committing sex crimes on his step-children. One key theory that can be noted is, the conditions of one’s life affect their values and norms. Growing up in a household with an abusive father and getting sexually assaulted numerous times throughout their life could be a big cause for an individual’s actions.

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