The use of open meetings with alcoholic anonymous has helped researchers to study the wide array of behaviors and societal norms in sociology including symbolic interaction, rules roles beliefs deviance, socialization stratification and research techniques in social psychology. The meetings also provide excellent case studies to compare and contrast different theories in sociology and other disciplines. It is for this course that a study was conducted by students in an Alcoholic Anonymous (A.A) meeting in a bid to identify why different people commit crime and to examine the experience in relation to the concepts and theories discussed in class.

The Meeting and Examination

The meeting was attended on a Tuesday evening at a popular joint in the city as organized by the university’s criminology department. The participants in the meeting were all males most of whom had prior jail experience their identity was however confidential and not subject to disclosure in line with the anonymity principle. Alphabetical letters shall be used in this report to represent the participant’s ideas.

The rational choice theory suggests that crime is committed by individuals in their self interest. The individuals weigh the options and decide whether to commit crime or not. In the meeting, Person X admitted to this theory in his prior case of robbery with violence, he had committed the crime in a shopping mall after weighing the reward of the cash and consequences of being caught. The reward of cash was too promising that he decided to commit the crime.

Person Y was a middle aged man who had pending cases of ordinary theft cases. He lived in the surrounding city suburbs with low standards of living. Life was too miserable for him and the living conditions intolerable that he finally ended up vandalizing a workshop. His was case of the social disorganization theory. According to this theory a person’s social surroundings form the groundwork for the behavioral choices that the person makes. In its general scope, a neighborhood that has poor and fraying social amenities would be expected to have higher crime rates.

The strain theory is linked to the purchasing power of the individuals in a society. According to this theory nearly all people in a given locality have similar aspirations but do not have the same opportunities. When people fail to accomplish their goals through the acceptable means such as hard work, creativity or delayed gratification, they try to achieve their goal by turning into crime.

Person Y was also a victim to this theory, his living conditions would definitely not be sustainable for an ample living yet his needs of clothing, shelter and schooling for his children would still be required. Despite his seemingly aggressive character he seemed frustrated in life. This could explain why the individual ended up committing the crime which could have been against his principles.

Person Z was a middle class ma living in the standard parts of the city. He was a young energetic and claimed to have been brought up in the farm. However in the early 20’s moved from country to the city. Here he forms company with high profile sexual assault offenders and finally he is involved in a case that lands him in jail for up to 5 years term. In his story it becomes evident that the subject is a victim of peer influence. The social learning theory suggests that people tend to commit crime owing to the motivation developed as a result of association with people who do so.

            Person M on the other hand was a strong member of the Christian community. He lived in the same suburbs as Person Y but neither did the strain theory nor the social disorganization theory compel him into crime. According to him religion was a powerful tool that worked for him. His strong Christian faith commanded him not to covet nor steal any property. This was a case of the social control theory which points out that were it not for the controls that the society places on individuals using institutions such as churches schools work places and families, most people would commit crime.

            The society may also compel individuals into committing crime by mere labeling. The community may form a perspective and label an individual a suspect to whichever crime that happens in the community. Most of these people finally turn into criminal behavior this is in line with the labeling theory. Person K was a black man with dreadlocks who was a habitual criminal. He claimed to be a victim of criminal labeling even when he had nothing to do with a crime.