American Military University Criminal Justice Midterm Essay

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MIDTERM ESSAY INSTRUCTIONS AND ESSAY QUESTION To adequately respond to the question, you will need to write at least 10 pages (not including the titlepage, abstract, and reference pages.) Ensure you apply correct APA format, in-text citations, and include your Christian world view application with biblical in-text citations. The essay is an open book/open notes. Midterm Essay Question: The authors of Juvenile Justice: A Guide to Theory, Policy, and Practice discuss the four main theories that have been developed that attempt to explain offenses by and against juveniles. Please choose two of these theories to analyze against one another. As you write your essay, answer this series of questions: • • • • • • Explain each theory. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the theory? What is the relationship between theory and practice? Is there any evidence to support the theory and delinquency causation? How is the theory critical to the understanding and control of delinquency? Which theory do you think does the best job of explaining the causation of delinquency and why? Her comment: Within criminal justice, the 4 main categories of theories should be: classical, psychological, biological, and sociological. Many theories fall under each one. So, pick two of those theories that are contrasting. Page 1 of 1
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Criminal Justice
Student’s name
Institution affiliation



In Juvenile Justice: A Guide to Theory, Policy, and Practices, the authors look to
examine the interrelationship between theory, policy, and practical world of juvenile justice
today. The text covers several topics, including the theories of crime causation. Theories
present a methodical way of understanding situations, events, or behavior. Theories can be
validated or invalidated by empirical research. In criminology, they are essential in
understanding how criminal justice works.
Psychological and sociological theories have been used to explain juvenile delinquent
behavior. Psychological theories, such as Psychodynamic theories, learning theories, and
psychopathy, examine the effects of early life experiences on behavior. Sociological theories
such as anomie, differential association theory, social control theory, and social disorganization
theory show the correlation between societal factors and human behavior. Psychological and
sociological theories differ largely based on the academic disciplines the theorist were trained
in. Different disciplines have different theories on human behavior, resulting in different
concepts on juvenile delinquency.
Psychodynamic theory is a psychological theory initially applied by Sigmund Freud to explain
human behavior. Sigmund Freud is known as the founder of psychoanalysis, the first
psychodynamic theory that tried to uncover the instinctive and subconscious factor that affects
behavior. Freud divided the human personality into three components; the id, the ego, and the
superego. The id is the instinctual component, not governed by reason, and is a product of
evolution while the ego and the superego are a product of the interaction between the
individual's personality and the environment. The id is pleasure-seeking and does not
differentiate fantasy from reality. The ego grows from the id and can differentiate fantasy from



reality. The superego grows from the ego and is the moral compass. His research showed that
deviance is a result of an uncontrollable id, a faulty ego, or an underdeveloped ego. (Cox et al.,
2018, pg. 168). To correct this behavior, therapeutic treatment was recommended. Freud laid
the groundwork for the psychodynamic theory that would include the works of other theorists
such as Carl Jung, Healy, and Bronner (1936), Adler (1931), Eric Fromm.
In the following years, the International Psychoanalytic Association was founded. Carl Jung
succeeded Freud as the head of the Association, and chapters were created in major cities in
Europe and elsewhere. Regular conventions were held to discuss the theory, therapy, and
applications psychoanalysis (McLeod, 2017)
Jung's study on schizophrenia led him into collaborating with Sigmund Freud. Jung would end
up being very critical of Freud's exclusively sexual definition of libido and incest deterring
their relationship. His publication of The Psychology of the Unconscious led to a final break.
Jung developed his own theories systematically, which came to be known as Analytical
Psychology. His concepts of the collective unconscious and the archetypes led him to explore
religion in the East and West, myths, alchemy, and later flying saucers. (McLeod, 2017)
Melanie Klein is another well-known theorist in psychodynamics. She took psychoanalytic
thinking in a new direction by recognizing the influence of individual childhood on an adult's
emotional world. Klein conducted her first analysis of a child in 1923, after joining the Berlin
Psychoanalytic Society. By building on Freud's idea, Klein used her analysis to formulate new
concepts such as the depressive and paranoid-schizoid position.
Freud’s daughter, Anna Freud (Freud's daughter), also specialized in the application of
psychoanalysis to children building on the works of Freud. Among her best-known works are
The Ego and the Mechanism of defense (1936). (McLeod, 2017).



Psychodynamic theory has been used to explain deviance to date. The Freudian framework
implied a number of reasons for criminal behavior. A weak superego developed as a result of
unhealthy relationships with one’s family would result in a few or if any of usual inhibitions to
antisocial behavior. Such individuals would gratify their id in their actions, disregarding social
constraints. A child may also develop a superego in normal ways but with deviant tendencies.
This can be developed with a child mirroring the behavior of the same-sex parent. A strong
superego could render a person anxious and guilty as whenever they inclined towards the
desires of the id, their superego would punish them. This could lead them to commit crimes
with a desire to get caught or punished (Cox et al., 2018, pg. 5).
Although Freud is credited for establishing the relationship between personality formation and
delinquent behavior, it is the works of August Airchorn (1935) that is most credited for linking
personality formation with criminality (Flowers, 2002). Archon said that "there must be
something in child himself which environment changes his behavior towards delinquency."
Airchorn argued that children are born in an asocial state and are unaware of the societal norms
around them. When a child’s development is ineffective, they remain in the asocial state. If a
child’s instinctive drives are not acted out, they become suppressed, and they enter a state of
‘latent delinquency.' When given outside provocation, latent delinquency becomes criminal
Airchorn studied 12 violent delinquents and concluded that offenders had underdeveloped
consciences due to the absence of an intimate attachment to their parent as a child. Airchorn
taught that underlying causes of delinquency could be discovered and understood only within
a clinical transference relationship. (Marohn, 1989)



More recently, (Scholefield 1975) hypothesized that most acts of delinquency are caused, not
by criminal tendencies, but rather a weak or defective superego unable to sufficiently control
the primitive and strong early childhood urges, resulting in deviant behavior (Flowers, 2002).
(Healy, 1909) suggested that delinquency is the most common defense mechanism used by
delinquents. He used the 'life history' method estimating that 91% of delinquents were
emotionally disturbed. His work was very influential in America in the 1920s.\
Bowlby (1953) argued that criminal activity was a substitute for love and affection. Bowlby,
through his study, 44 thieves, presented evidence that showed that early maternal deprivation
was related to later criminal behavior.
Strengths and weaknesses of Psychodynamic theories
The strengths of Psychodynamic theories of crime lie in their emphasis on the processes and
conflicts in determining behavior. They have largely emphasized the importance of childhood
in mental health, which has been widely adopted now. These approaches made an important
contribution to early psychiatric treatments. The use of case studies allows for a rich analysis
of the complex nature of criminal behavior and the underlying causation. These approaches
also show the defensive quality of criminal behavior. Another strength of psychodynamic
theories is in their correlation between the unconscious mental processes that people are born
with and how these influence their thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
Despite their strengths, psychodynamic theories have their weaknesses. First, psychoanalysis
only comes to play once the behavior has already taken root. Secondly, it also assumes that
once a person reaches adolescence, his or her behavior cannot be changed as the superego has
already cemented the values and morals of the individual. This makes it too deterministic. This
has raised doubts about the value of psychoanalysis in criminology. Another drawback of
psychoanalysis is the lack of empirical evidence to support the three components of the



personality, making it unscientific and unfalsifiable (p.169). The psychodynamic approach also
places too much emphasis on the psychological factors, without taking into consideration other
factors such as genetic or biological factors that contribute to mental health problems.
(McLeod, 2017). These theories are also not well suited for explaining crimes that incorporate
planning and rational goals such as white-collar crimes (Blackburn 1993; Feldman, 1993;
West, 1988)
Application of psychodynamic theory
Psychodynamic therapy is an in-depth form of talk therapy that based on the psychodynamic
theories. Unlike psychoanalysis, the psychodynamic theory does not focus on patient-therapist
relations but the relationship between the patient and their internal and external world.
Psychodynamic therapy has been used to treat depression and other external disorders. Studies
have found that psychodynamic therapy can also be applied to treat ad...

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