To begin with, Life Course Theory is among the latest explanations of crime and deterrence in the contemporary society. In simple words, the theory assumes that there is a relationship or a correlation between early life offending and future deviance in an individual. More importantly, such relationship between early life and future deviance derives not only from individual’s character, but social events in one’s life also play a crucial role. This theory explains deviance or criminality in three basic points. The first explanation is based on the micro-level analysis, which uses informal institutions such as the family and schools to explain deliquesce in children. The second explanation concerns the flow or continuity of deviant behavior from childhood to adulthood. Lastly, the theory uses informal social attachments towards family or occupation in explaining desistance from delinquency.( Laub & Sampson, 2003)
Life Course Theory can be used to explain how the life of Leon changed him from a delinquent to more responsible person who desisted from acts of crime. First of all, on a micro-level, Leon’s family background can be held responsible for his acts of delinquency at a tender age. He experienced poor parenting with no one to give him proper guidance on what is good and not good, and the result is that he followed in the parents’ footsteps, which also had criminal record. (Sampson, and Laub. 2005).
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Despite the poor informal family life in his early years, Leon went ahead and managed a stable life without any form of crime in his adult years. The major turning point to this change was his marriage. Through marriage, he developed a sense of responsibility towards his family; something that made him cut ties with his former allies who had delinquent characters. Cutting off of such ties compounded with a sense of responsibility is seen as the reason for Leon’s desistance. Military life also played a role in Leon’s desistance majorly through the strict adherence to law and order in such disciplined force. For instance, he talks of drinking in the military, but there was no engaging in any acts of crime. Hence, the military was also a turning point in his life. ( Laub & Sampson, 2003)
Lastly, Leon’s commitment to work can also be attributed to his desistance from crime. He narrates of having to work overtime just to support his family; this kept him busy for most parts of the day leaving no time for idleness. In essence, this translates to fewer hours for thinking delinquency. Thus, Life Course Theory can be used to explain occurrence of crime where informal ties are loose and hence, cannot properly socialize the younger generation and guide them into the right direction.