Criminology 2450: Criminal Law
Criminology is the development of the body of knowledge of general and verified principles regarding
the process of law, crime, and reactions to crime:
1.The Making of Law: (sociology of law) a systematic analysis of how crime develops.
2.The Breaking of Law: (criminal pathology) a scientific analysis of crime.
3.The Reaction to the Breaking: (penology) a scientific study of the punishment of crime.
In effect, criminal law is a body of specific rules (laws) regarding human conduct which are promulgated
by authority (i.e., government) which apply uniformly to all citizens. These rules are enforced through
punishment administered by the police, courts and prisons.
Related: criminal behaviour is the violation of criminal law, regardless of immorality or indecency.
There are 4 theoretical origins of the criminal law (CRCG):
1.Classical Theory: where crimes were against people (not the state) so their process involved 5
transitions (steps) to ensure that the wrong was righted (I-CLIC):
1.Intent: a requirement that the wronged intends to seek vengeance.
2.Consent: a requirement that the wronged secures the consent of the social group before seeking
3.Limitation of Harm: the wronged can only apply a limited amount of injury to the wrongdoer.
4.Investigation: the public investigates the merits of the case to ensure all of the above steps were
5.Community Help: the social group may help the wronged get vengeance on the wrongdoer.
2.Rational Choice Theory: where criminality is a result of conscious choice – people choose to commit
crimes when weighing the benefits and costs of disobeying the law. There are two subtypes:
1.RoutineActivity: a person’s lifestyle contributes heavily to the volume and type of crime found in any
2.Situational Choice: criminal behaviour is a result of decisions and choices made within situational
constraints and opportunities.