Criminal Theories

Opportunity Theory- when social structures "exert a definite pressure" on individuals to commit a deviant act.Page: 117.Example:The CEO's of Enron saw the opportunity to easily scam millions of dollars without hurting anyone at the time.Living in a society that is capitalistic and driven by money and greed they saw the opportunity and decided to take it.This was going against the normal way (the legal) of running a business.This theory is explained extremely well by Merton on pages 122-123 in the bottom and top paragraphs.Merton states that "The equilibrium between culturally designated means and ends becomes highly unstable with the progressive emphasis on attaining the prestige-laden ends by any means whatsoever."This is precisely what happened in the Enron debacle.
I believe that this theory also can be applied to anyone who sells drugs on any level.The deviant I believe is motivated by his culture, that culture is one based on money and good times.The individual involved, I believe, will get as involved as his superior or supplier will allow them to.For example;a kid who normally sells one ounce of marijuana at a time because he/she can not afford anymore will gladly accept a quarter-pound if his dealer was willing to front it to him/her.However, for this situation to occur the individual must be living in a culture where he/she is confident that they can move the entire quarter-pound quick enough.This environment does exist in several different areas in our cities and towns.This type of Opportunity theory is explained in article 12 "Homeboy, Dope Fiends, Legits, and New Jacks" by Hagedorn.The article explains the different levels of participation and the amount of money being made by each level.
Conflict Theory- The theory that it is society who may be guilty for a crime instead of the deviant himself.The societal stresses and pressures may force one into…

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