Part A: Creating a Criminal
Todd was a good boy from the beginning. He was born and brought up in a Christian family in Hispanic neighborhood. Most of his childhood friends were children from undocumented Mexican immigrant families. His both parents had immigrated into the country as teenagers, although they had since been documented and were legally living in America. His friends rarely came out of the house, since their parents had warned them not to for the fear of being harassed by the police. Todd, however, could go to the streets, attend jam session in the club, and visit the community center regularly.
When he was 6 years of age, he joined a local elementary school that was majorly constituted of black children. Most of his neighbors took their children to this school since it was near the neighborhood, and there were many teachers of Hispanic or African-American origin. The head teacher, however, was a white woman in her late 50s called Mrs. Parker. She was an austere disciplinarian, who used all the means to straighten the boys that were predisposed to delinquency and street robbery. This predisposition stemmed from the proximity of the school to some of the most dangerous streets in the neighborhood. There were numerous brothels and drug dens that operated in this area. In fact, some pupils survived through returns from these illegal businesses. Todds parents however, were employees in a local plastic industry.
Todd went through his studies and joined junior high school that was still attached to this elementary school. Courtesy of Mrs. Parker, Todd grew up morally upright through his early adolescent without engaging in any delinquent behavior. In junior high school, things turned upside down for the previously good boy. Some boys joined his school from other neighboring elementary schools and introduced him to activities that he was not used to. Todds background was not any stable financially. Unlike some of his peers who came with coins from home to buy candy in the elementary school, Todd had ever carried any pocket money. The rogue boys in his junior high often showered Todd with monetary gifts during the weekends. They used these gifts to entice Todd into joining their drug distribution circle. After discovering their plans, Todd refused their advances and decided to stay without these friends for a month. However, he noted that the new lifestyle that he had adopted had changed, and that he needed the money since he was not getting any from his parents. Therefore, Todd looked up for the boys and nodded to their recruitment. Todd started off as a distributor around flats in his neighborhood and later advanced to the streets. After one year, he dropped from school and joined a local gang as a scout. His work was to spot the police and report to the senior members of the gang. After one more year, he had risen through the ranks and was responsible for the finances in the drug dealing cartel. At this point, he was only a heartbeat away from becoming a fully-fledged drug cartel. He started operating drug networks in the city and moving tones of product across the border from Colombia and other Central American nations. He employed people who dealt with the distribution of drugs. His most heinous crime was the production of cookies laced with cocaine which he sold to high school children, resulting in overdose in a teenage boy who ate ten of those cookies in one sitting. The boy was pronounced dead on arrival to a hospitals intensive care unit.
Part B: Explaining the Crime Using Three Criminological Theories
There are three theories of criminology that can explain the journey through Todds criminal life. One of the theories is social positivism. This theory states that a person is likely to engage in criminal activities if they are socially deprived. This deprivation could stem from poverty, lack of education, and association with a social subculture. Poverty and lack of education are related in at least one way. Uneducated people find it hard to get good employment opportunities and thus live in deplorable socio-economic conditions. They do not get money to buy a house and therefore spend all their lives in rented houses in poor neighborhoods. In the end, such people tend to engage in criminal activities to get an income. A subculture that predisposes an individual to crime could be race or lack of documentation. In America, there are some races that are associated with high levels of crime, and the association with one of them predisposes one to delinquent behavior. Lack of education could be a cause of poverty while the reverse is also true. These social positivist theories could have predisposed Todd to criminal behavior of selling drugs in the streets. His parents were not financially stable since they worked as casual laborers in a local plastic factory. They could not have afforded taking him to a charter school that was expensive and located away from the streets that had thugs and prostitutes. He was also a Hispanic, meaning that he lived among his likes whose parents were drug dealers. Some of his friends narrated to him how their parents were shot by the police. His belonging to this race forced him to live among them, attend their school, and meet Hispanic friends who were already drug dealers by the time they reached high school. Todds parents had immigrated into America as teenagers together with other undocumented Mexicans. They did not have a good background and did not own anything in America. They left Mexico without completing their education, and they did not continue with school on arrival to America. This condition thus hampered them from securing well-paying jobs that could have resulted in a better lifestyle for their son.
Another theory to explain Todds delayed involvement into crime is containment theory. This boy grew up with parents that did not sell or take drugs despite them living in a community full of drug dealers. They were also Christians and attended a local church together with their son. Todds upbringing was full of parental support and guidance from the religious sphere. Todd, therefore, adopted very critical attributes from his youth. He learnt how to be patient, obedient and observant of the law and regulations governing pupils in the school and citizens in the country. He also schooled under a strict head teacher who was committed to changing the lives of the boys including Todd. He spent all his life in the elementary school without coming across the likes of boys he met in junior high school. After meeting the drug-dealing boys, Todd restrained himself from falling into their trap. He refused to distribute drugs since he believed in being morally upright. This is a vivid scenario of the containment theory at work. Due to the intrinsic attributes that Todd possessed from his childhood, he managed to fend off criminally oriented friends for one month. There was also external restraint that prompted Todd to delay engaging in drug activity for one month. His parents had placed very high hopes in him, and they worked very hard to see him through school. He, therefore, did not want to let them down by turning delinquent. Todd, however, contained his intentions to engage in drug dealing for so long, but he eventually became a drug lord in the city.
Differential association theory is the third perspective through which Todds behavior can be analyzed. This principle by Edwin Sutherland states that a person may adopt a criminal behavior through association with criminals, or by living in an area in which crime is practiced. In the view of this theory, the predisposed person can also learn the attitude, tactics, and motives of committing a crime through association with criminals. Todd was exposed to drug dealers from a very tender age. However, there were no close ties between him and the drug dealers living in his neighborhood as a young boy. He only had a close interaction with their children. In high school, however, he developed friendship with boys that were actually drug distributors. He learnt that the motive behind drug dealing is easy money that he was getting it hard to find from his parents. He also learned the drug trafficking tactics from these boys. These tactics provoked a business mind within him, and they succeeded in turning him a drug lord in the city. In other words, his close association with his age mates who were making money from an illegal business prompted Todd to adopt a criminal behavior. It is also logical to deduce that the innovation of drug-laced cookies was an idea that he borrowed from fellow drug dealers as an implicit way of selling hard drugs to minors.
Part C: Best Fit Theory
The third theory, that is, differential association, best fits the explanation of Todds conversion into a criminal. It supports the stages of development of Todd from an innocent boy to a drug lord dealing with international trade in drugs. Throughout his childhood, Todd did not engage in any drug related crime since his friends were not into such delinquency. When he finally joined high school, he met with friends that had money from drug distribution. He, therefore, learned the advantages of dealing with drugs which he never knew about before this period. Due to strong restraint that he practiced due to the nature of his upbringing, he was able to fend off the bad peers and even dismiss their proposal of enjoining him into their business. However, this encounter enlightened Todd in a manner that had never happened before. There are various reasons why differential association theory best explains the development of criminal behavior in Todd. One, containment theory does not hold any ground, since he eventually engaged in drug dealing. If Todd really wanted to refrain from this crime, he would have succeeded in avoiding the behavior at all cost. Social deprivation theory also fails to fully support his engagement into drug dealing. As a young boy, Todd faced a lot of problems with finances since his parents toiled to put food on the table. However, he did not at any moment think of engaging in crime even after joining high school. Relatively, Todd hailed from a better background, since his parents were documented and held jobs in a plastic factory. In other words, there was no abject poverty in his home that would have pushed him into desperation and eventual dealing in dugs. Furthermore, he did not adopt a criminal behavior of selling drugs in his high school years because of lack of education or poverty from his home. In a nutshell, differential association best explains how Todd became a criminal in the city.
Part D: Support of Differential association Theory with Scholarly Literature
There are various scientific papers that discuss the details of differential association theory and its explanation of the development of criminal tendencies in predisposed people. Byrd (2016) carried out a cross sectional study on college students and their non-college age mates to elucidate the tendency to develop binge drinking behavior. She concluded that peer behavior was consistently the strongest indicator of individual drinking behavior in both of her study groups. In another study by Byrd (2013) found out that college going youth engage in excessive alcohol consumption due to their need to stay attached to the peer group. In this study, secondary data from The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health involving 6500 participants was analyzed for the parameters of interest. The original data was collected through interviews and surveys on youth to document their health related behaviors. It is this data that the researcher used to come up with her conclusion. Leontini et. al. (2015) sought to understand the reasons behind the excessive drinking behavior in Australian college students. Through the s...
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