Analyzing Repeat Offenders with Criminology Theories


Analyzing Repeat Offenders with Criminology Theories 

    Thailand has the notorious track record of repeat offenders. Repeat offense is one of widely acceptable criteria used for evaluating success in taking action toward offenders in prisons, aiming to provide rehabilitation. The process is intended to efficiently prevent repeat criminal offenses. [1]

            Even though Thailand has a low crime rate compared to other countries, according to the 2016 statistical report from the Department of Corrections, the repeat offense rate is 23.74%. From the total number of prisoners, 621,107, 261,687 of them are convicts. This means from all convicts managed by the Department of Corrections in 2016, 23% of them were repeat offenders. [2]

Convict Stats categorized by the number of penalty

Survey date: 1st April 2016

Number of penalty             Male               Female          All       Percentage

First time

 168,916

 30,654

 199,570

 76.26

Second time

 43,135

 5,004

 48,139

 18.40

Third time

 8,661

 979

 9,640

 3.68

Fourth time

 2,295

 345

 2,640

 1.01

More than fifth time

 1,483

 215

 1,698

 0.65

 From second time to fifth time

 55,574

 6,543

 62,117

 23.74

 Total

 224,490

 37,197

 261,687

 100

Source: Planning Division, Department of Corrections

            Compared to Western countries, the repeat offense rate of convicts in Thailand was lower. For instance, the repeat offense rate in France was 59%, German’s was 48%, Canada’s was 41%, and Netherland’s was 48%.

            This article was aimed to study motivations and reasons behind repeat offense by convicts in Thailand by utilizing criminology theories to explain various cases such as sexual assaults, drug usage, and mugging. By examining, news, it was revealed that most cases in Thailand were sex-related and drug addiction. These types of criminals were deviant. Their characteristics stemmed from habitual criminal behaviors.

            From the research, news about repeat offense in Thailand was mala in se (wrong in itself). Some of the examples are murder, mugging, rape, drug trafficking. On the contrary, the minority of repeat offense in Thailand was mala prohibita (wrong as prohibited). [3] This type of crime is not wrong in itself. For example, these unintentional wrongdoings include tax evasion, selling prohibited goods, begging, and act violation.

            In this article, some of the most repeated offenses covered in Thai media such as drug cases, money-related problems, and physical assaults (sexual assaults included) are explored and discussed respectively, from the highest rate to the lowest rate. From the study, the Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection also had a fair share of repeat offenders. In 2011, 39.50% of the case were child-related, at the number of 13,845. The second highest rate was money-related at 20.19% (7,078 cases). Moreover, other offenses included life-threatening offenses, weapon usage, and sex-related cases. [4]

            The recent piece of news was evaluated and analyzed by criminology theories to find reasons for repeated offenses. The first one involved one of the highest repeated offenses which is drug-related. In Thailand, both prisons and juvenile detention centers had drug-related offenses as the highest repeated offenses. [5]

HEADLINE: Old Town Police Bust 2 Freshly Released With 20,000 Illegal Drugs

by Thai Rath Online, 10th March 2017, 4.57 p.m.

“Old town police caught a big drug ring with more than 20K of amphetamine, 2 grams of meth, and guns. The seized goods were worth about 1million baht. The criminals used to commit drug-related crime. After being released, they became dealers.”

            The details of the case followed. Ayutthaya police teamed up with the army force to arrest Mr. Sakda Hongsuwan, 51 and Mr. Sompob Pruekpramool, 51 for Type-1 drug possession with 20,341 tablets, 20 grams of meth, 1 long gun, 3 pistols, 150 ammos, and 28,000 baht. The seized goods were worth 1,100,000 baht. The offenders were brought for the public announcement. Sakda and Sompob knew each other during their previous jail time. After being released, they became drug dealers. Sompob became acquainted with Mr,To, a meth agent from Myanmar and ordered the first purchase of 20 tablets in January, 2017. In February, they bought 50 tablets, 45,000 baht per tablet. They resold a meth tablet at 75,000 baht per tablet. The money transaction went through the network. Sakda worked as a courier by getting shipments placed around roads near the national airport. Then, the shipments were stored at their safe house. The profits were split in half.

            Analyzing the outline of the case. Drug-related crime is categorized as professional crime. [6] The offenders gain profits from their committed crime. One prominent factor of professional crime is proficiency or mastery, and the main income is from committing crime. Sometimes, these criminals work with an organization. This perfectly fits this case. The offenders had organized methods, main income from committing crime, and high proficiency. This type of crime produces lots of money in a short period. The economic factor directly aligns with drug-related crime. When money is easily acquired, this becomes motivation to commit crime related to drug.

            Furthermore, there is alarming info revealing that more women get arrested and spend time in jail each year. [7] Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ) presented [8] the overview of justice and treatment of female offenders. From the statistical survey, for 10 male offenders, there was 1 female offender. Recently the ratio became 4:1 or 20-25%. The overall female inmates became higher during the last 10 years. For all prisoners in Thailand at 288,410, 39,337 of them were female. 31,695 of female prisoners were convicts, at 14% of the total prisoners.

            The first related criminology theory involved with this case is related to social bonding theory by Travis Hirschi. The American sociologist developed social control theories. The widely accepted theory is social bonding theory. Hirschi argued that there shouldn’t be any explanation about motivation or impulse of crime. Humans are animals capable of committing crime. Therefore, the question shall be why people don’t commit crime. Hirschie proposed social control theory. “People who have ties with organizations or social groups such as family, school, peers are likely to diminish probability for deviant behaviors.” The main focus of this theory is social bonds or ties have 4 components, attachment, commitment, involvement, and beliefs. If a person has weak ties with society, this person is prone to committee crime. From this case, these two convicts had no ties to family or zero plans for future or initiative to do legal work. When released, they planned to commit a new crime. This was evident by weak ties with society and wrong beliefs that committing crime is acceptable.

            Another theory about this case is the propensity for deviant behaviors by Edwin Sutherland. These two convicts met in prison and planned together to commit crime after being released. These events went along with this theory by Sutherland. He explained that everyone cannot become professional thieves. They need to be accepted into their groups. Then, they will be instructed and taught the process of committing crime. Therefore, a prison is where wrongdoers meet up and exchange their expertise. This led to planning to commit crime as reported in the news.

Busted Ex-convicts/gamblers Steal from Residences [9]

By Thai Rath Online, 24th January, 2016

“Police from Udomsuk Station caught a thief stealing from apartments in the early morning. The thief stole from unlocked rooms from phone chargers to valuable items. The offender got arrested from 4 similar cases. Freshly released but unapologetic. Police dug up his record and also found the bike used to commit crime. He confessed that he returned to criminal life to pay off debts from gambling.”

            From the news, the public statement revealed the offender stole at night by driving a Honda Scoopy I bicycle and wearing a gray hamlet and pocketing 2 mobile phones.  For the past 3-4 months, there were many reports about theft. The thief usually stole from 5-7 a.m. The surveillance cameras showed that the culprit was male. His name was Sommart. He committed crime like this four times. After the latest release, he stole for 7 times in Pravet, Prakanong, Lad Krabang. He picked low cost apartments with low security.  The stolen items included phone chargers and electronic items.      

            This case is similar to the previous one. The motivation is the easy and fast way to get money or valuable things. In this case, the offender did wrong four times. He committed the repeat offense more than three times. Sommart was released in less than a month before committing a crime. The first related criminology theory is habitual crime. [10] Habitual crime is a crime that becomes a habit for an offender even though the rehabilitation process is used to reduce crime. It is unrelated to situational crime.

            This criminal case involves habitual crime. The offender was convicted of a new crime similar to his previous cases after being released. His debt also played a large factor in his criminal behaviors resulting in subsequent criminal acts.

            Another theory for this case is Routine Activity by Cohen and Felson. [11] They explained that routines of a person can lead to easy observation by potential offenders. Thieves can stake out to find exact moments to commit crime. This type of crime prevention requires changes of routines and rescheduling. In case of leaving a residence for a long time, relying on neighbors or security shall prevent theft and damage.

            Close relations and strong ties with society serve as crime protection for society. Having strong relations with neighbors helps surveillance and looking out for each other, thus the crime rate becomes subsequently low.

            For example, people in rural areas have close relations. In case of any incident, news is quickly speeded through their communities. They also have prevention tactics. The urban society has less interaction and weak bonds. When an incident happens, neighbors rarely notice any news unlike the rural society.

Hunt for Ex-convict Assault 9 yrs Girl Risking HIV infection [12]

“Sakonnakorn police are hunting an ex-convict sexually assaulting a nine years old girl but not successful. He forced her for blowjobs, risking HIV infection. The girl gets an intense check up.”

           On 7th June, the officers teamed up with detectives to hunt for Mr. Nathchai Dakawong, 35, from Baan Kok-somhong. After luring B (alias), 9 year girl, from school, he tried to sexually assault and rape her at 5 p.m. on 5th June. On that day, B was playing on a road in her village. The culprit was a chubby, tanned guy named Nut. He tricked that he was taking her to her grandparents. Nut then took her into a nearby dam, and he tried to sexually assault her. After an unsuccessful attempt, he forced the girl to give a blowjob. After that, he threatened her not to tell anyone, however, the girl told her parents. Her parents reported the incident to the police. Initially, the culprit was just released from a similar case, and he had a record of contracting HIV. Currently, the girl was hospitalized and given a clinical examination. Moreover, the distressing news alarmed nearby schools to alert teachers and parents to be more extra cautious. [13]

            Forcible rape [14] is one of sex crimes. This may be committed by strangers or acquaintances. Rape by strangers implies violence. Sexual drive is the second motivation. The range of the victims is 8 to 80 years. Appearance and races doesn’t play important factors. Groth categorized rape into 3 types, 1. Physical abuse and male dominance 2. Act of aggression or revenge act 3. Sadistic behaviors and violent tendencies. This case is Type-3 due to the culprit’s violent traits. He didn’t know the victim before, and the victim was relatively young.

            As the victim was young, there is another theory that can explain this incident. Psychoanalytic theory [15] by Sigmund Freud including ID, Ego, Super Ego can be used to analyze the case. ID or instinct is followed by pure needs and instinct drives like hunger and sexual need. This part of mind acts on impulse without any control. ID doesn’t get along with society. People exist by humanity and culture. As we evolve, people gradually become aware of surrounding factors. Ego or self is about awareness and logic above basic needs from ID. This stage is about understanding self and getting along with society. Super Ego or cultivated culture involves ethics and morals. Super Ego controls self to have behavioral standards regarding intelligence and society. Basically, ID is a biological factor. Ego is a mental factor. Super Ego is a social factor.

            In this case, the culprit had sexual drive in accord to ID, but Ego and SuperEgo couldn’t develop self-control and sense of morals. ID prevailed Ego and SuperEgo, and the culprit decided to commit a crime. These three components [16] have their functions and work together in bonding stages leading to standard behaviors which are in accord with society. When these three components have conflicts, consequently deviant behaviors are developed.

             Psychoanalytic theory summarized that the cause of crime began from deficiency in the Ego/SuperEgo development process. Then, ID became loose and led to absolute dominance. It was theorized that I'D prevailed Ego and SuperEgo and caused crime.      

                        Personality theory [17] is another theory used to analyze this case. It is in the same category as psychoanalytic theory due to the fact that these theories point out that deviant behaviors reflect inner conflicts. This theory is used for rehabilitation instead of punishment. Influences from personality theory and psychoanalytic theory are usually seen in departments of justice especially in case of juvenile issues which are aimed for rehabilitation instead of punishment.

            Deviant criminals may be affected by genetics. [18] One of this kind of theories states that deviant crime behaviors are resulted from acts of aggression or impulse such as uncontrollable violence and impulsive sex drives.

            Criminology theories may not be sufficient to explain the incidents mentioned above. Interdisciplinary psychology theories shall be used to analyze deviance in criminals such as psychology theories related to mental deficiency. [19] Guidelines for people with good mental health are these followed. These people can happily adjust themselves for society. They also are flexible and happy for other success. Moreover, these people don’t fall for temptation, hatred, and jealousy.

            Many psychologists agree that the big factors of mental deficiency are genetics, environment, gland deficiency, brain damage, self-image, nurture, and family aspects. If their family is warm and understanding, a person would be empathetic and compassionate. In this case, the decision to assault a minor is more severe than normal assault. This might be related to deviance, lack of self-control, and impulsiveness in the culprit.

           The case shall rely on rehabilitation instead of punishment or imprisonment. These kinds of criminals cannot control their needs and sexual drive. They can be seen as mental patients. Punishment by law or imprisonment may not rehabilitate them. While committing their crime, they may have conscience or not. Their mental state should be the main focus of the rehabilitation process. They need to be detained in asylum and given required treatment and medication in order to lessen their tendency to commit crime and future opportunities in their lives.

            Another interesting case in the shocking and macabre incident that sparked controversy and endless debates in our society.

Staged Murder on 30th April 2017 [20]

            From the staged murder of Mr. Niran Soysoongnuen or Run, a 25 years old student from the Northeast. He was found buried in a field near a village. Niran mysteriously disappeared after military conscription on 8th April. Social media united to find this missing person. Ultimately, he was found burnt, killed, buried in order to stage his demise. Police suspected his close friend and invited him for questioning. Mr. Watchara or Nott became the prime suspect. Police then found out that Nott and Mr. Satit or Moohyung had a record of mugging and murder. Nott was detained while Moohyung was still at large. However, police managed to track down Moohyung and arrest him.

            Moohyung confessed he knew Niran since 5th April via Bigo, a livestream application. They accidentally met and kept in touch. On 8th April, he planned with Nott to lure Niran to a disclosed place to kill him for his car. These two prepared shovels to stage the murder. After that, they took the victim to their apartment and stabbed him to death. Niran was burnt and buried. The motivation is to sell the victim’s car and use that money to buy a new bike.

          When the police questioned the culprits about how they decided to commit murder and whether they were remorseful, regretful, or guilty. These are their answers.

            After intense questioning, the news reporters asked Moohyung, the killer of Niran.

 Reporter - Why did you kill?

Moohyung - I wanted a new bike.

Reporter -  Do you feel remorseful at all?

Moohyung - Nothing. I felt nothing. Just like killing small animals.

Reporter - Do you want to apologize to their parents?

Moohyung - Never. Sorry not sorry. It doesn’t make any sense. [21]

                                                                                       Mr. Moohyung

            From this interview, it is clear that the culprit felt no remorse or guilt. This was wrong and immoral. The culprit let his impulse control him. His actions reflected his mental deficiency and deviance. He suffered from lack of warmth and nurture.

            The conclusion of news analysis by using criminology theories to evaluate. These theories can explain the crime of repeat offenders. Whether they are drug trafficking, mugging, theft, embezzlement, violence, and sexual assaults, these are related to Labeling Theory. [22] This theory stated that the study that solely focused on criminal behaviors or criminals cannot conclude criminal incidents and deviant behaviors. In order to do in-depth study of criminology, there should be the overview of all social aspects.

            In other words, studying criminology requires studying social reactions toward criminal behaviors including reactions from public sectors and citizens toward offenders and incidents labelled as criminal offense. This kind of study has different views from normal criminal theories. By examining reflections and reactions of society, the offenders felt they were branded and judged. They thought they couldn’t start anew and deal with pressure and hate from society. Consequently, they became stuck in the life of crime and repeat their wrongdoings again and again.

            Criminology theories and related theories can be used to explain the repeat offenses mentioned above. These cases involve the offenders’ repeating actions without remorse or conscience about law and order. Even though the repeat offense rate was significantly lower than Western counterparts.

            After further studying repeat offenders, these people felt little remorse and planned to repeat their crime. This represented the fact that treatment and rehabilitation couldn’t help or treat these people. There should be improvement on methods to efficiently treat repeat offenders and reduce the amount of repeat offenses in Thailand. By aiming to find new ways to adjust mentality or develop mental health of offenders to become as normal as possible and let them live normally in society.

Reference

  • ● Nattee Jitsawang.Stat of Repeat Offenders in Thailand.[Online].2017. Source:http://www.nathee-chitsawang.c...สถิติการกระทำผิดซ้ำของ[28 November 2017]
  • ● The Department of Corrections.[Online].Source:http://www.correct.go.th/newco...[November 2017]
  • ● Pol.Maj.Gen. Dr. Ponchai Kanti and Co.Criminology Theories: Principle, Research, Interdisciplinary Tactics.1st edition.Bangkok.Rangsit University Press.2015
  • ● Churiporn Boodkod ,Chanakarn Artonprachachit and TCIJ.Highest Juvenile Case ‘Drug’ Department focus New plans-Restructure for society-Aim to reduce repeat crime[Online].2556.Source :http://www.tcijthai.com/news/2...November2017]
  • ● Sumonthip Jitsawang.Professional Crime.[Online].2017.Source:http://www.polsci.chula.ac.th/...November 2017]
  • ● Thailand institute of justice.[Online].Available from:http://www.tijthailand.org/mai...[2017,November 28]
  • ● Ekkachai Janthong.Thai Women and Drug Cases - 4th Highest WORLD.[Online].2017.Source:https://m.posttoday.com/analys...[28November2017]
  • ● Thai Rath Print Edition.Busted Ex-Convict/Gambler ,Stealing from Apartments.[Online].2016.Source:https://www.thairath.co.th/con...November2017]
  • ● Criminal-justice.Routine Activities Theory.[Online].Available from:http://criminal-justice.iresea...[2017, November 29]
  • ● Thai Rath Online.Hunt for Ex-Convict, Luring 9 Yrs Old Girl for Blowjob, RiskingHIV.[Online].2017.Source:https://www.thairath.co.th/con...November2017]
  • ● Associate Professor Dr. Unnop Choobumrung and Dr. Unisa Lertomornsakul.Crime and Crimonology.1st edition.Bangkok:Chulalongkorn University Press,2012.
  • ● Yuravadee Nuengnorach.Basic Psychology.,1st edition.Bangkok:O.S. Printing House.2015
  • ● TheThainews.Just like killing small animals!! Confessed by “Moohyung” after burning and burying “Nong Ran” Zero Remorse. People Curse Him.[Online].2017.Source:http://www.thethainews.net/201...November 2017]

[1] Nattee Jitsawang.Stat of Repeat Offenders in Thailand.[Online].2017.Source:http://www.nathee-chitsawang.c...สถิติการกระทำผิดซ้ำของ28 November2017]

[2]The Department of Corrections.[Online].Source:http://www.correct.go.th/

newcorrectweb/index.php/home[28 November2017]

[3] Pol.Maj.Gen. Dr. Ponchai Kanti and Co.Criminology Theories: Principle, Research, Interdisciplinary Tactics.1st edition.Bangkok.Rangsit University Press.2015

[4] Churiporn Boodkod ,Chanakarn Artonprachachit and TCIJ.Highest Juvenile Case ‘Drug’ Department focus New plans-Restructure for society-Aim to reduce repeat crime[Online].2556.Source :http://www.tcijthai.com/news/2...November2017]

[5] Churiporn Boodkod ,Chanakarn Artonprachachit and TCIJ.Highest Juvenile Case ‘Drug’ Department focus New plans-Restructure for society-Aim to reduce repeat crime[Online].2556.Source :http://www.tcijthai.com/news/2...November2017]

[6] Sumonthip Jitsawang.Professional Crime.[Online].2017.Source:http://www.polsci.chula.ac.th/...November2017]

[7] Thailand Institute of Justice.[Online].Available from:http://www.tijthailand.org/mai...[2017,November 28]

[8] Ekkachai Janthong.Thai Women and Drug Cases - 4th Highest WORLD.[Online].2017.Source:https://m.posttoday.com/analys...[28November2017]

[9] Thai Rath Print Edition.Busted Ex-Convict/Gambler ,Stealing from Apartments.[Online].2016.Source:https://www.thairath.co.th/con...November2017]

[10] Sumonthip Jitsawang.Professional Crime.[Online].2017.Source:http://www.polsci.chula.ac.th/...November 2017]

[11] Criminal-justice.Routine Activities Theory.[Online].Available from:http://criminal-justice.iresea...[2017, November 29]

[12] Thai Rath Online.Hunt for Ex-Convict, Luring 9 Yrs Old Girl for Blowjob, RiskingHIV.[Online].2017.Source:https://www.thairath.co.th/con...November2017]

[13] Thai Rath Online.Hunt for Ex-Convict, Luring 9 Yrs Old Girl for Blowjob, RiskingHIV.[Online].2017.Source:https://www.thairath.co.th/con...November2017]

[14] Associate Professor Dr. Unnop Choobumrung and Dr. Unisa Lertomornsakul.Crime and Crimonology.1st edition.Bangkok:Chulalongkorn University Press,2012.

[15] Associate Professor Dr. Unnop Choobumrung and Dr. Unisa Lertomornsakul.Crime and Crimonology.1st edition.Bangkok:Chulalongkorn University Press,2012.

[16] Associate Professor Dr. Unnop Choobumrung and Dr. Unisa Lertomornsakul.Crime and Crimonology.1st edition.Bangkok:Chulalongkorn University Press,2012.

[17] Pol.Maj.Gen. Dr. Ponchai Kanti and Co.Criminology Theories: Principle, Research, Interdisciplinary Tactics.1st edition.Bangkok.Rangsit University Press.2015

[18] Pol.Maj.Gen. Dr. Ponchai Kanti and Co.Criminology Theories: Principle, Research, Interdisciplinary Tactics.1st edition.Bangkok.Rangsit University Press.2015

[19] Yuravadee Nuengnorach.Basic Psychology.,1st edition.Bangkok:O.S. Printing House.2015

[20] TheThainews.Just like killing small animals!! Confessed by “Moohyung” after burning and burying “Nong Ran” Zero Remorse. People Curse Him.[Online].2017.Source:http://www.thethainews.net/201...November 2017]

[21] TheThainews.Just like killing small animals!! Confessed by “Moohyung” after burning and burying “Nong Ran” Zero Remorse. People Curse Him.[Online].2017.Source:http://www.thethainews.net/201...November 2017]

[22] Pol.Maj.Gen. Dr. Ponchai Kanti and Co.Criminology Theories: Principle, Research, Interdisciplinary Tactics.1st edition.Bangkok.Rangsit University Press.2015

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