The Pros And Cons Of Rational Choice Theory

1622 Words 7 Pages
Cesare Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham were the founders of the classical theory phenomenon (Piliavin, 1986). The concept was based on several principles, which entailed three main ideologies; free will, where actions are based on one’s own rationality (Burke 2014), more so punishment should apply to the crime as opposed to the criminal, as the theorists believed that a certainty in punishment would deter both the public and criminal (Akers 1999). The perspective adopted throughout will focus on the theories inability to justify the actions of violent homicide offenders, such as Jeffrey Dahmer, and how the high recidivism rates fail to support specific deterrence, even when making the punishment fit the crime.

Free will assumes that all individuals
…show more content…
Despite reports in court that Dahmer was mentally ill, the Milwaukee jury discharged the arguments, and found him guilty (Simon 1996). There was consensus between psychiatrists on both the prosecutions and accused’s side that Dahmer had necrophilia, however the prosecution settled that Dahmer was able to control his urges (Reznek, 1997). The criminal law is clear in its meaning, it does not state that you must be mentally stable to be found guilty, but rather to have intended to commit the crime (Kant, 1992). In Dahmer’s case, he was found culpable by the jury because he intended to commit the crime, which is sufficient in assuming he had free will (Kant, …show more content…
An accused may be able to reduce the liability of their criminal act through proving that they were mentally unstable at the time of the offence, and this challenges rationality since perhaps the mind was “involuntarily incurred” (Mitchell, 1986, 273). There was dispute regarding whether the verdict in Dahmer’s case was just, due to his child-rearing stages consisting of barbaric acts such as disembowelling a found dead dog (Purcell and Arrigo, 2006). During the case, the defendant’s psychiatrists claimed that he was incapable of monitoring his actions (Reznek, 1997). This issued a dilemma within the court case, since it was unclear if Dahmer was simply wicked, or should be excused due to a mental disorder (Reznek, 1997). Despite the guilty verdict issued by the jury, the classical perspective fails to clarify whether Dahmer chose to develop these urges as a child, which had ultimately led him to commit such violent

Related Documents

Related Topics