Social Control Theories take a sort of opposite approach from other theories in criminology. They start by asking why most people do not commit crimes rather then why they do commit them. They focus on restraining or controlling factors that are broken or missing inside the personalities of criminals. If these restraining factors involve society in some way, then the theory is said to be a social control theory. Most control theories are a blend of psychiatric, phsychological, and sociological ideas. The most well known figure in control theory is Travis Hirschi.
Travis Hirschi's 1969 book, Causes of Delinquincy, he focuses on the family, the school, and peers as the most influencial factors on a youth. Hirschi also presented us with the term "social bond" that he labeled as things that keep people from committing criminal acts. There are four main attributes to the social bond; attachment, commitment, involvement, and beliefs. It is these four bonds that make up Hirschi's Social Control Theory. .
The first bond, attachment, refers to a person's sensitivity to and interest in others (Hirshi 1969). One's acceptance of social norms and the development of social conscious depend on attachment for other human beings. Attachment takes three forms according to Hirschi; parents, schools, and peers are important social institutions for a person. Examining attachment to parents Hirschi found that, "Juveniles refrain from delinquency due to the consequences that the act would most likely produce"(Hirshi 1969). The amount of time child and parent spend together are equally important, including conversations and identification that may exist between parent and child. While examining the bond with school, Hirshi found that an inablility to do well in school is linked with delinquency, through a series of chain events. Academic incompetence leads to poor school performance that in turn leads to dislike in school that then leads to rejection of teachers and authority then finally results in acts of delinquency.