First Draft of Theory Question
In his article, “Toward Rational and Evidence-Based Crime Policy,” Dan Mears argues that effective crime policies typically require solid theoretical foundations or plans that described how they are supposed to work, and without such a foundation, failure is very likely. Mears also speculated that many current crime policies are unlikely to succeed because they do not draw on established crime theories.
In the aftermath of a string of school shootings and college campus massacres, such as Columbine, Virginia Tech, Louisiana Technical College, and Umpqua Community College, numerous policies were designed and implemented to reduce the anxieties of instructors, students, and parents. Notwithstanding the intended rationale behind these policies, critics have noted that they lack theoretical analysis as well as are disconnected from the ongoing debates in criminological theory.
Using the three dominant theoretical perspectives in criminology – self-control theory (Gottfredson and Hirschi, 1990), social learning theory (Akers, 1998), and general strain theory (Agnew, 1992) – explain how each theory would account for WHY an individual commits a mass shooting. In your answer, be sure to trace the historical development of each theory, describe its main theoretical propositions and concepts, and discuss the policy implications associated with each of the above perspectives (i.e., what are the theory’s recommendations with regard to preventing and combating crime and delinquency). Finally, drawing from the theoretical insights and policy implications associated with the above theories, propose a policy to address the problem of mass shootings.
Below are the recommended articles that can be used for the assignment.
1) Agnew, R. (1992). Foundation for a general strain theory of crime and delinquency.
Criminology, 30, 47-88.
2) Agnew, R. (2010). A general strain theory of terrorism. Theoretical Criminology, 14, 131-
3) Akers, R. (1998). Social Learning and Social Structure: A General Theory of Crime and
Deviance. Boston, MA: Northeastern University Press.
4) Gottfredson, M. R., & Hirschi, T. (1990). A General Theory of Crime. Stanford, CA: Stanford
5) Kubrin, C., Stucky, T. D., and Krohn, M. D. (2009). Researching Theories of Crime and
Delinquency. New York: Oxford University Press.
6) Pratt, T. C., & Cullen, F. T. (2000). The empirical status of Gottfredson and Hirschi’s general
theory of crime: A meta-analysis. Criminology, 38, 931–64.
7) Pratt, T. C., Cullen, F. T., Sellers, C. S., Thomas Winfree Jr, L., Madensen, T. D., Daigle, L.
E., … & Gau, J. M. (2010). The empirical status of social learning theory: A meta-analysis.
Justice Quarterly, 27, 765-802.
8) Rocque, M. (2012). Exploring school rampage shootings: research, theory, and policy. The
Social Science Journal, 49(3), 304-313.
9) Rocque, M., & Duwe, G. (2018). Rampage shootings: An historical, empirical, and theoretical
overview. Current opinion in psychology, 19, 28-33.
10) Vazsonyi, A. T., Mikuška, J., & Kelley, E. L. (2017). It’s time: A meta-analysis on the self-
control-deviance link. Journal of Criminal Justice, 48, 48-63.
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