Tom R. Tyler and Lindsay E. Rankin
The current instrumental approach of legal authority focuses on the power of legal authorities and institutions to shape behavior by threatening to deliver negative sanctions for rule breaking. This article discusses public attitudes and considers how these views have led to an instrumental approach to motivating lawful behavior, as this strategy is costly and results in negative side effects. Following this, the article explores the alternatives that are possible. In this regard, it points to a series of findings that suggest the importance of focusing on values, an approach which has the goal of enhancing self-regulation. Finally, it states that policy changes related to rehabilitation face more resistance from the public and discusses the nature of the public opinion that policy makers must confront when seeking to make policy changes.
Dana L. Haynie and Derek A. Kreager
Crime and delinquency have long been linked to peer and friendship relationships. Compared to children and adults, adolescents spend more time with friends, give them greater importance, and are more strongly influenced by their friends' behaviors and attitudes. This article investigates the role of friendship networks in adolescence. After discussing the theories that have been put forward to explain the role of peer networks for understanding crime, the article describes methodological considerations that must be addressed when studying the link between peers and delinquency. It then examines a number of research applications that have adopted a social network approach to better understand crime/delinquency. It also discusses how social networks are used to understand criminal behavior beyond adolescent delinquency.
Restorative justice and reintegrative shaming theory became prominent on the North American juvenile justice scene in the mid- to late 1990s. This article considers the impact of Braithwaite's macro theory of reintegrative shaming and also the larger strengths and weaknesses of the restorative justice movement on juvenile justice policy, practice, and research. To move forward in the United States, restorative justice, as an evidence-based practice, must be viewed as a mainstream, problem-oriented intervention capable of responding effectively to a range of chronic juvenile justice and community concerns. Currently, widespread implementation of restorative policies and practices in U.S. juvenile justice appears to be limited by the absence of a legislative mandate or incentives for presumptive referral to restorative programs; the political role of elected prosecutors in justice decision-making; and an unshakeable commitment to punishment and maximum use of adversarial and quasi-adversarial dispositional decision-making at the expense of informal decision-making.
Ronald L. Akers and Christine S. Sellers
Social learning theory refers to any behavioristic approach in social science that has a cognitive or behavioral focus. Social learning theory combines the differential association theory of criminal behavior with general behavioral learning principles and proposes that criminal and delinquent behavior is acquired, repeated, and changed by the same process as conforming behavior. This article presents a discussion of the concepts and propositions of the original social learning model as well as its later expansion, which includes the social structural context within which social learning occurs. It reviews empirical research on social learning theory to underscore its validity as an explanation of crime and delinquency. It also analyzes several criticisms of social learning theory and concludes with a description of a variety of programs based on principles of social learning theory.
Strain theories state that certain strains or stressors increase the likelihood of delinquency. These strains include such things as harsh parental discipline, negative relations with teachers, peer abuse, criminal victimization, and a desperate need for money. Delinquency may be a way to escape from strain. This article discusses the link between strain and delinquency. It begins with an account of history of strain theories of delinquency. It then describes those strains that are most likely to cause delinquency, discussing why these strains increase delinquency. Following this, the article reveals those factors that increase the likelihood that juveniles will cope with strains through delinquency. It draws on strain theory to explain group differences in delinquency, such as the higher rates of offending among males. Researchers continue to examine factors that affect the likelihood of delinquent coping. Finally, the article concludes with a discussion of the implications of strain theory for controlling delinquency.