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A Note on the Role of Basic Theory in Thinking About Crime Prevention

  • Michael R. GottfredsonEmail author
Article

Abstract

Junger-Tas (Journal of Quantitative Criminology 8(1):9–28, 1992) studied the empirical validity of control theory and argued for a connection between basic theory and delinquency prevention policies (European Journal of Criminal Policy and Research 5(2):101–114, 1997). High quality experiments, including those with random assignment to different treatments and designs that include multiple indicators of outcome have produced a strong body of knowledge that may, and should, be used to assess the validity of basic theories of causation. One essential test of basic theories can thus be how well they can make sense of widely acknowledged facts produced by high quality policy research. To be sure, theories vary in scope, domain of application and level of abstraction, and policy implications can be difficult to infer, so care should be exercised in such an analysis. These notions are applied to control theories of delinquency which arguably provide clear expectations about the likely effectiveness of some public policies about crime. Recent research appears consistent with control theory expectations and with Junger-Tas’ long-standing view for a role for basic science for juvenile policy.

Keywords

Crime prevention Juvenile policy Social control theory 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of OregonEugeneUSA

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