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crime and criminology lecture notes.docx

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University of Guelph
SOC 1500
Anneke Olthof

Chapter 1: crime and criminology learning objectives -distinguish sociological from other explanations -differentiate between criminology and study of deviance philosophical considerations… -criminality or deviance innate to the person at the genetic, biological, psychological level Vs. Sociological conception -requires a negative or punitive response -the matter of CONTEXT; violence is understood as wrong but the context is important- self- defense, war, murder, violence in hockey -context: sociologists are concerned with the relationship of the offender and victim, i.e. abuse in marriage -context: social status and power; does the same behaviour get interpreted the same way with everyone - context allows for differences across times and places; social norms and laws that change over times, i.e. smoking laws in hospitals, speeding is overlooked *can’t just take for granted what deviance is, we must look at society and the reaction society gives to deviant actions to classify them as criminality and deviance. Social control mechanisms: formal and informal -formal social control: criminal justice institutions, authorities that set the rules i.e. the process of arrest; these change overtime as well (interpretation of behavior changes) -informal social control: (most forms of social control are informal) most behavior is contained in day to day society because of our upbringing and our socialization within our families/communities because you feel a sense of shame or remorse in social groups when you have done something outside the standard of behavior *without negative reactions, crime and deviance cannot exist Differentiating Crime and Deviance -not all deviance is crime (a violation of formal rules of behavior) i.e. not a crime not to be on facebook because being on facebook is the norm! -not all crime is deviance either, i.e. speeding; it is routine -not easy to differentiating between crime and deviance Objective and Subjective points of view -objective perspective; everyone can agree on criminal and deviant behavior; it doesn’t question the law it just accepts it -subject perspective; rather than looking at criminality as a norm violation, it looks at the law as a human product that was subjectively constructed and questions laws -mainstream criminology: objective approach; we need to engage in preventing crime from happening but agrees that the law is applicable to everyone -critical criminology: subjective approach; acknowledges the fact that laws are product of subjectiveness – raises questions like who’s interests are being served by the law… Chapter 2: the criminal law and its process -formal law is pervasive (universal) in our society -origin and features of the common law; historical development of a societies law is important Fundamentals of Criminal Law -dark ages period; all civilized progress was disarmed, so the use of laws were taken over to punish barbaric behavior; it became about dueling out punishment and superstition of certain people, i.e. burning of witches, these people were looked at as connected to the devil -common law: common in the sense that it applies to everybody; the jury system (community influence in trials- reduces corruption) Socially constructed nature of law- man made, set of rules that are legislated (implies that law is socially constructed and enforced) political process – power, (judges are a pointed: political process) we need people in power like Steven Harper (pm) to hold power. -case law: law is evolving process that is socially constructed and always changing Two main points of crime: 1) consensus crimes (mala in se): anything agreed upon – crimes against property (capitalist society view) 2) morality crimes (mala prohibitum): anything wrong, law is sometimes out of touch with community standards but it is still against the law to engage in these crimes whether we agree with them or not (foreign people will not agree for example) - difficult to enforce and a greater strain on police, etc. Arguments in policy sphere against criminal law Mills- harm position, does not think the state should act as a guardian Heart- legal philosopher that argued against Mills, said that the state should serve parent role, state should serve to prevent people from harm of them self – disapprove but not legalize Lord Patrick Devilan- conservative opinion, (worked on revisiting laws that exist against prostitution a long time ago) he did not agree with these arguments, put together something against these arguments – yes state does have role of guardian, state should serve function of protection by enforcing morality Crime and Control Due to Process - less assumption about what is right and wrong in society so whenever we talk about the law there is a fundamental tension between rights and laws - notion of just desserts: specify laws in order for laws to work, so people know what to expect is they do break a certain law -does the punishment fit the crime…i.e. lesser punishments and circumstances need to be taken into consideration i.e. stealing food because your family is starving Conviction requires Actus Reus – A voluntary ACT, one must actually commit an act, not just think or believe something, failure to act is also not enough to be committed you also need…. Mens Rea – “a guilty mind”, intent, you need both these things to be convicted! Specific intent- direct knowledge of the consciousness of their actions general intent- reasonably assumed specific intent, armed robbery: didn’t want to hurt anybody but ended up doing so (this is how you make the distinction between, 1 degree, 2 degree and man slater) Criminal defenses, fundamentals of law mistake of law- “I didn’t know that was against the law”, not very affective mistake of fact- when you are unaware of doing or using something illegal i.e. you buy a bike that is stolen self-defense- engage in a violent act and you are provoked to defend yourself necessity- medical necessity for weed or stealing bread to feed your family consent of victim- sexual assault, if one can prove it was consensual sex then there’s no case unless the person was not of age because even if they gave consent it doesn’t matter because they aren’t of age entrapment- the luring by law-enforcement of a person committing a crime i.e. police put out fake prostitutes to catch people duress- black mailed into doing something, by threat or force insanity- judges must access (mental disorder) if one can prove they were not in their right mind then they can possibly be innocent i.e. drug and alcohol use Theory, m
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