The Positive Theory is a theory in Criminal Justice has generated a lot of interest in recent years. The theory tries to explain the reasons why criminals engage in criminal activities and how their behavior can be mitigated. For many years, criminal justice experts have tried to deduce the fundamental principles of human psychology and philosophy that contribute to criminal tendencies among some members of the human race. One particular theory has been in existence, and that has been applied widely across the criminal justice fields across the globe is the Classical theory. This theory suggests that criminals possess free will, and therefore; make rational choices when committing crimes. The theory proceeds to make a proposition that government can control crime levels by instituting strong punishments for crime commitment.
However, the Positive theory has generated a lot of interest from experts because it deviates from the Classical theory. It suggests that an individual’s behavior including crime is controlled by factors that are beyond human control. It stipulates that an individual’s behavior will be influenced by his childhood or upbringing, health, mental stability, education, age, income, peers and so on. The proponents of this theory, therefore, suggest that punishments for crimes should not be uniform because people’s circumstances are different. In addition, the punishment forwarded to a criminal should incorporate a rehabilitation element to see if he can be pried away from the criminal behavior.
As observed, the Positive Theory ascribes uncontrollable factors to the crime commitment. This is exemplified by the analysis below whereby a “positive factor” that should be taken into consideration when determining the punishment to give to an offender by a judge is indicated for different types of criminal or deviant activities.
Burglary- Poor family background
Someone might be from a poor family background where he was not provided with all of life’s material requirements. The individual may therefore, result to crime and burglary to compensate for the material needs that he is unable to fulfill and that he sees others possess in excess
Aggravated battery- Growing up in a violent home characterized by high domestic violence
The individual might have been brought characterized by high domestic violence, for instance where the father often assaulted the mother physically. Alternatively, he might have grown up in a rough neighborhood where violence was common. The individual might therefore, think that battery is a common norm and might adopt the behavior in the future.
Possession- This could be attributed to many positive factors such as peer influence or depression due to poor income situation
Peers could have led the person into the behavior or he could have resulted into the behavior because of depression whereby he thinks using drugs will reduce the stress.
No positive factor can be attributed to stalking. This is a personal choice where an individual decides to follow another, for example, due to obsession with them and in the process cause a lot of fear to the second party.
Helfgott, J. (2008). Criminal Behavior: Theories, Typologies, and Criminal Justice. Los Angeles: SAGE.