Theories of Criminology

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In the early 20th century, the practice of sterilization of inmates was common following the upsurge of the eugenics movement. The aim of the latter was to purify the American race by limiting progression of hereditary based diseases. In the same regard, the act opposed the idea of interracial marriages. According to Virginia’s Eugenical Sterilization Act of 1924, any patient afflicted with hereditary forms of conditions such as imbecility, insanity, and other deviations would be sterilized (Frost, 2017). In the attempt to overturn this law, a lawsuit Buck v. Bell was filed against Virginia naming four victims of sterilization. The case was filed by ACLU seeking to make the court declare the involuntary spaying program unconstitutional as it violated the rights of the patients (Frost, 2017). Additionally, it was required to ensure that all the individuals who were sterilized be notified and provided with both medical and psychological assistance by the state.

Today, the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution stipulates that no state shall make or enforce law which will limit any privileges or immunities of any citizen of the US. Additionally, no state shall deprive any person of life liberty or property of any person in the jurisdiction of the United States without the due process of the law. In this regard, if the case was argued today, the government is obliged under the international human rights to protect people’s health and wellbeing and at the same time promote the right to health (Frost, 2017).

Part B

Sutherland’s differential theory explores various social influences between lawbreakers that affect their conduct. Some of the provisions of the approach include the premise that criminal behavior is learned with interaction with other people in a process of communication. Such aspect is expected to take place in intimate personal groups that depict crime committing motives, rationalizations, and even attitudes that are associated with wrongdoings (Eassey & Krohn, 2017). Within the personal groups, the differential associations may vary in frequency, intensity, and priority. Therefore, a person tends to become delinquent as a result of the increased factors that favor violation of the law as compared to the ones that do not. Additionally, the acquisition process entails the same peculiarities irrespective of whether a person is learning criminality or conformity. As Sutherlands opines, increase in delinquent behavior is not caused by lack of social organization (Eassey & Krohn, 2017). Rather, it is a result of a set of practices or cultural definitions that are at odds with the law. Such environments are provided in the prison setting where inmates teach each other how to disarm an officer. Through interaction with each other, individuals learn the attitudes, values, and techniques for unlawful behavior (Eassey & Krohn, 2017). In this case, the criminals are caught teaching each other the methods of committing crimes. The concept of frequency and intensity of interaction is evident as inmates spend adequate time in prison together and therefore have ample time for cooperating. Also, considering that the prisoners are incarcerated for different criminal behaviors, the interaction between them may promote learning of delinquent behavior.

Part C

Feminist criminology is concerned with issues that lead to victimization of women. According to Burman and Gelsthorpe (2017), the field, therefore, seeks to eliminate the various forms of gender inequalities while at the same time paying attention to issues such as female delinquency. There are four main forms of feminist criminology theories.

Liberal Feminism

This theory emerged in the 1960s when the feminists contended that women are discriminated against on the basis of their gender. For this reason, they were denied access to opportunities in the financial, political, career, and even personal aspects. As a result, it was decided that providing equal possibilities for women would eliminate the problem of gender discrimination (Burman & Gelsthorpe, 2017). The theory proposes that the female criminality is best explained through the sociological factors rather than physiology.

Marxist Feminism

In this theory, the economic foundation of a society is determinant of the other social relations. The approach posits that women are dominated by men and that they are hindered from participating in the aspects of the society. For this reason, the nature of the economy is the key explanatory factor in a community where the females are primarily dominated by capital and secondarily by their male counterparts (Burman & Gelsthorpe, 2017).

Radical Feminism

This form of feminism is dominated by various perspectives of woman abuse. The theory posits that male power and privileges are the cause of crime, inequality, and social relations. Further, according to radical feminism theory, gender inequality is a result of either the needs of men to control women sexuality or patriarchy (Burman & Gelsthorpe, 2017).

Socialist Feminism

In this theory, sex relations and class are of equal importance. Therefore, to understand class, one must first comprehend how it is structured in gender. On the other hand, understanding the latter requires examination of how it is structured by class (Burman & Gelsthorpe 2017). Crime, in this case, is seen as a product of patriarchal capitalism.


Burman, M., & Gelsthorpe, L. (2017). Feminist criminology: Inequalities, powerlessness, and justice. In A. Liebling, Maruna, S., & L. McAra, (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Criminology (pp. 213-238). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Eassey, J. M., & Krohn, M. D. (2017). Differential association, differential social organization, and white‐collar crime: Sutherland defines the field. In R. A. Triplett (Ed.), The Handbook of the History and Philosophy of Criminology (pp. 156-172). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Frost, D. (2017). Protection against eugenics: A comparison of two jurisprudences. Journal of Supreme Court History, 42(3), 275-294.

December 12, 2023

Crime Science Sociology

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