Criminological Theory and Statistical Data
For many years, criminology has been an integral part of the criminal justice organization. Throughout the history of criminology as well as criminological theories, there has been a lot of criticism regarding it, but it has coped and managed to flourish in the criminal justice structure (Newburn 77). The journey along which criminological theories have come is long when numerous theories were coined using ludicrous factors to how modern theories are designed. Today, criminologists have incorporated statistical data in their work which in turn has played an essential role in supporting or repudiating criminological theories. The paper analyzes the correlation between criminological theory and statistical data. It also presents a detailed discussion on the application of statistical data to support or refute criminological theory as well as evaluating the benefits and shortcomings of statistical data.
Theories of criminal justice try to offer explanations as to why some people indulge in criminal actions and their behavior after committing those crimes. This enables the criminologists to craft customs to combat crime or acclimatize the lawbreaker. When criminologists are conducting a certain investigation regarding a specific crime, the bits of evidence gathered and tested are known as statistical data which could be qualitative or quantitative (Anderson 58). Qualitative data are explanations documented by criminologists as oral statements used to describe a study while quantitative observations connote facts documented in numerical form. Both qualitative and quantitative approaches are suitable for the development of criminological theories as well as testing.
A qualitative study (ethnography) on behavior and adaptation of inmates in a particular prison provides an example of how criminologists conduct their research in the development of criminological theories. The researchers make interpretations regarding the categories of convicts existing in that jail and their mode of interaction to comprehend the reasons why some convicts adapt to imprisonment without difficulty than others (Akers et.al 42). A theory concerning inmate behavior could then be coined based on the gathered information to represent the behavior of all inmates in different prisons. In contrast, a quantitative study encompasses collecting information and assigning numerical data to it. Some of this information are determined before the commencement of data collection. For example, the age and sex of the prisoners. Statistics is then used to analyze these numerical values for consequent analysis such as determining how best male inmates adapt in prison environments compared to their female counterparts. Also, the study could help to determine the number of inmates likely to succumb to incarceration as well as the determine the age at which prisoners reform better and faster compared to others.
Pros and Cons
The statistical data used in criminological theories play a significant role to ascertain the cause of crimes and impacts of the same. The gathered data offers a comprehensive description regarding the study population of a specific offence. It presents an examination of several variables for the research. Statistical data also brings about an economic aspect as far as research is concerned thus providing high standard statistics for the study (Newburn 81). On the other hand, statistical evidence has been found irrelevant in some criminological theories. For instance, statistical data in criminological theories exclude drug criminalities despite the fact that this kind of crime is very common in the world. Statistical data does not provide information on all crimes committed by individuals in a country thus implement solutions to a small portion of crimes. This has been contributed by the failure of citizens to report some crimes to the law enforcement agency.
Akers, Ronald L, Christine S. Sellers, and Wesley G. Jennings. Criminological Theories: Introduction, Evaluation, and Application., 2017. Print.
Anderson, James F. Criminological Theories: Understanding Crime in America. , 2015. Print.
Newburn, Tim. Criminology. London: Routledge, 2013. Print.