The Infamous Aileen Wournos

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Aileen Wuornos was born in Rochester, Michigan on February 29, 1956. Her parents were young teenagers when they gave birth to her and abandoned her when she was around the age of four. Her father was sentenced to prison for committing sex crimes against underage boys. Aileen’s grandfather helped raise her and during that time he would sexually abused her. A close friend of the grandfather sexually abused her as well which ultimately lead to her becoming pregnant at the age of 14. She placed her infant up for adoption and relocated to Florida. Upon her arrival, she was homeless, without a job and as a result she was introduced to prostitution. She had frequent run ins with the law and had been considered a troubled child. In 1989 Aileen committed her first murder. Towards the end of 1990 she had robbed and killed at least 7 men, labeling her Florida’s top female serial killer. She was eventually arrested at a biker bar with the help of her girlfriend and sentenced to the death penalty.

The theory option associated with Aileen Wournos is Social Control Theory. Social control theory was established in 1969 by Travis Hirschi. It explains how everyone, no matter who they are, has the potential of becoming a criminal. Society, along with a person’s belief could influence their criminal activities. If a person has hate towards the world, they will not care about hurting another person, because they have no ties or bonds to anything. Also, not having a parental figure in your life to help guide in the correct direction could possible lead to poor discipline, no future goals and a thought process that benefits yourself only. Hirschi divided social bond into four elements: attachment, commitment, involvement, and belief (Siegel, 2015, p. 237). Lack of social bond could equal criminal behavior.

Aileen Wuornos committed her heinous crimes because of her life experience. Her adolescent years played a major role in conforming her to become the criminal she was. Being abandoned by her mother and never getting the chance to meet her father made Aileen lack attachment and social skills. She barely associated with family, had little to no friends and felt unaccepted by society. She had no intentions to finish school nor had a goal to pursue therefore commitment was absent. Prostitution was a way of survival and unfortunately this gave her access to lure her victims, rob and kill them.

The control theories allowed the criminal justice system to implement the diversion program. This program was made to help rehabilitate the offender and remove them from their normal activities and try to deter them from criminal behavior. Diversion was also put into place to remove the offender from being labeled in the future. The diversion program also teaches children a better way to bond with parents and other adults without having negative attitude.

Aileen Wuornos was found guilty and placed on death row. Oct 9, 2002, she was executed by lethal injection (Usigan, y. 2011). Yes, I agree with the outcome of this case because Aileen committed these crimes with no remorse or consideration for the individual or family members. Even thou Aileen was diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder; the crimes still could have been prevented. She had enough self-control to stop her from these actions. Watching her interview, she stated that if released she will kill again (Aileen Wuornos, 2007). She was an individual that could not be rehabilitated. 

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The Infamous Aileen Wournos. (2021, Oct 14). Retrieved July 13, 2024 , from

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