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Lecture 5

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Simon Fraser University
CRIM 101
Barry Cartwright

CRIMINOLOGY 101 SOCIAL CONTROL, RATIONAL CHOICE AND DETERRENCE JEREMY BENTHAM (1748-1832)  Member of the classical school of criminology  Said that people were rational, and exercised free will  Would employ a hedonistic calculus in deciding whether a certain action was more likely to result in pleasure than pain UNDERLYING ASSUMPTIONS  Social control and rational choice theories say there is nothing unique about criminal behaviour, and that no motivation to engage in such behaviour is quite widespread  Instead of asking why certain individuals commit crimes, social control and rational choice theorist ask why more individuals don’t commit crimes  Notion underlying all types of control theory is that conformity cannot be taken for granted  If you want conformity and social control, you need effective socialization  If people don’t learn/internalize social conventions or norms, then social controls will break down or become ineffective WALTER RECKLESS’ CONTAINMENT THEORY  Inner containment = self-control, good self-image, ability to tolerate frustration  Outer containment = family values, institutional reinforcement, effective supervision  Internal pushes = restlessness, impatience and anger  External pulls = poverty, unemployment, the media, or delinquent friends TRAVIS HIRSCHI’S SOCIAL BOND THEORY  Attachment = ties of affection and respect, with parents, school teachers  Commitment = getting good education, learning trade or profession, finding a good job  Involvement = being involved ins school, in recreation, with family  Belief = shared values-it’s wrong to steal, people should respect the law GOTTFREDSON AND HIRSCHI’S GENERAL THEORY OF CRIME A GENERAL THEORY OF CRIME  Points to low self-control as the cause of crime  Tied in with Classical School's "hedonistic calculus"- people will choose to commit crimes if they perceive that prospects for pleasure outweigh prospects for pain or punishment  Agree with opportunity theory or routine activities theory, and requirements for “a motivated offender, the absence of a capable guardian, and a suitable target in order for crime to take place THE CURE FOR CRIME THE CAUSE OF CRIME:  Crime is caused by low self-control  In turn caused by ineffective or incomplete socialization and ineffective child rearing THE CURE FOR CRIME:  Adequate child rearing  Caregiver must monitor the child’s behavior, recognize deviant behavior when it occurs, and punish such behavior RATIONAL CHOICE THEORY  Rational choice theories also have their roots in classical school thinking  Rational choice theorists say criminal motivation doesn't require special explanation, because criminals motivated by same things as everyone else-money and self- gratification(hedonism)  Criminals primarily concerned with potential gains
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