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FALL2012 - Lecture 4

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CRIM 101
Barry Cartwright

BIOLOGICAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL AND SOCIOLOGICAL THEORIES OF CRIME THE POSITIVE SCHOOL Used “scientific” methods to explain criminal behaviour Involved notion of "determinism" as opposed to “free will” or rational choice Behaviour of criminals was predetermined by their genes or evolutionary condition CESARE LOMBROSO Founder and most prominent member of the Positive School Interest in science, medicine and evolutionary theory led him in search of atavistic criminal – a degenerate throwback on earlier forms of evolution Subsequent positive school efforts focused on feeblemindedness, poor genes, criminal body type THE JUKES o Study by Richard Dugdale. o Dugdale had limited schooling, became assistant sculptor, tried running manufacturing business, had nervous breakdown, became a sociologist o Dugdale observed young man (apparently feebleminded) on trial in court o Dugdale went back through generations, found petty thieves (never convicted), a murderer (not convicted), another who broke deaf person’s ear trumpet o Argued that entire family had criminal tendencies due to feeblemindedness o Most “evidence” contrived or exaggerated FOUR MAIN APPROACHES o general pedigree studies o twin studies o adoption studies o karyotype studies (gene defect) GENERAL PEDIGREE STUDIES o Look at people who are related to each other, to see whether they behave in similar manner o Assume that children of parents who engage in criminal behaviour are more likely to be criminals themselves, because they inherited parents’ genes o If one brother is criminal, other brother should have higher chance of being criminal too, because of similar genetic make- up PROBLEMS WITH PEDIGREES o Difficult to say whether criminal behaviour is caused by inherited tendencies, or by social environment o Unless raised in different family, with different parents, it could be argued that parents taught children that criminal behaviour was acceptable Children may learn criminal behaviour by watching and imitating behaviour of their parents TWIN STUDIES o Effort to avoid problems associated with general pedigree studies o Researchers study differences between dizygotic (DZ) and monozygotic (MZ) twins o DZ (fraternal) twins inherit only 50% of their genes, MZ (identical) twins share 100% of their genes o Concordance = degree to which behaviour of the twins is similar or dissimilar MZ AND DZ TWINS o Studies have suggested that if one MZ twin is a criminal, the other MZ twin is more likely to be a criminal o DZ twin less likely to display the same criminal tendencies TWINS CAN BE DOUBLE TROUBLE o Fail to take into consideration that most monozygotic twins are raised in similar environments, have similar social experiences o Because monozygotic twins look so much alike, they are also more likely to provoke similar responses from other people than DZ twins, who may not look as much alike ADOPTION STUDIES o Study identical (MZ) twins raised by diff sets of parents, in diff environments o Control for social class, child-rearing practices, and diet MUDDY WATERS o Most adoption studies have found relatively low rates of concordance o Sacco & Kennedy conclude there is “no real scientific basis for … the existence of a crime gene” o Others claim there is measurable degree of association between criminal behaviour of biological parents and their children up for adoption at birth KARYOTYPE STUDIES o Examine number, shape, size of chromosomes o Focus on existence of extra Y chromosome, or XYY gene o XX chromosome determines gender in women; XY chromosome determines gender in males THE XYY SUPER MALE o Relatively rare in general population (1 in 1000) o More common in prison population (1 in 100) o Little evidence to suggest they commit more violent crimes than other males, or that they are necessarily more aggressive SHELDON’S SOMATOTYPES THE MESOMORPH o Sheldon’s 1949 work argued that mesomorph was most likely to become a criminal, or to engage in violent behaviour o The Gleucks’ 1950 study of 500 delinquent and 500 non- delinquent boys concluded that delinquent boys were in fact more mesomorphic than non-delinquent boys CRIME AND HUMAN NATURE o Wilson and Herrnstein claimed in 1985 book Crime and Human Nature that offenders tend to be shorter and more muscular than people in general population o Herrnstein (2000, p. 21) has continued to argue that offender populations “are more likely to be mesomorphic (ex. Muscular, large-boned)” SOME CRITICAL PERSPECTIVE o Ignores the fact that many prisoners lift weight while in prison, thus explaining why they might be more muscular than avg o Stronger, more muscular individuals often come out on the winning side of fights, and end up being categorized as aggressors o Less muscular individuals often come out on losing end of fights, and are viewed as victims INTELLIGENCE AND CRIME o Intelligence and Delinquency: A Revisionist Review, published by Hindelang and Hirschi in 1977 o Say that sociologists (and by default criminologists) have always rejected individualistic explanations of delinquency o Sociologists tend to emphasize factors such as race, class, gender HIRSCHI AND HINDELANG o Hirschi and Hindelang (1977) reported on six (then recent) studies of relationship between IQ and delinquency o Concluded that IQ was as least as important as race and social class in predicting delinquency o Also concluded that differences between race and class didn’t account for diffs in IQ CRIME AND THE BELL CURVE o Herrnstein & Murray (1994). The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life o Talk about society’s increasing emphasis on higher education, knowledge, and technical expertise o Argue that people with low IQ are unable to cope with demands of post-industrial society IQ AND SOCIAL CLASS o Most criminals “come from the wrong side of the tracks” o Most people with low IQ “come from the wrong side of the tracks” o Wrong side of tracks = low IQ = criminal INTELLIGENCE AND CRIME cont. o Lower IQ could have negative effect on school performance o Could lead to increased risk of dropping out o Dropping out could lead to increased risk of not acquiring marketable work skills FIVE DIFFERENT HYPOTHESES o the school failure hypothesis o the susceptibility hypothesis o the differential arrest hypothesis o the differential adjudication hypothesis o the differential disposition hypothesis THE SCHOOL FAILURE HYPOTHESIS o Learning disabilities may contribute to school failure o Becomes frustrating and self-perpetuating o Student may become angry and aggressive as a consequence o Ends up being identified by teachers as “troublemakers” THE SUSCEPTIBILITY HYPOTHESIS o Learning disabilities may result in impulsiveness, inability to engage in long-term planning, and inability to see the consequences of certain actions THE DIFFERENTIAL ARREST HYPOTHESIS o Individuals with learning disabilities more likely to be arrested, because they are less able to conceal criminal activities, and less able to interact effectively with police THE DIFFERENTIAL ADJUDICATION HYPOTHESIS More likely to be convicted because they can’t understand/cope with complicated court proceedings THE DIFFERENTIAL DISPOSITION HYPOTHESIS o More likely to receive harsher sentences because they are school drop-outs o They a
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