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Lecture 3

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University of Guelph
SOC 1500
Michelle Dumas

January 22, 2014 Crime and Criminal Justice: Lecture Three Explaining Crime Theory -objectivist or subjectivist approach -the consensus and conflict approach Concepts -the building blocks of theory in social science -concepts that apply to reality -secondary deviance Variables -can be counted, measured or observed -can be used to describe social and psychological Concept: Gender Variable: feminism or masculine Independent Variable – the explanatory variable causes or influences the response variable (education) Dependent Variable – the response variable, the outcome of the effect (income) Hypothesis – expressed as a statement of how these variables are connected or the relationship between them, complete research to see the outcome and to see if the hypothesis holds up Individualistic Theories of Criminal Behaviour Non Scientific -Myths and legends – use legends and stories usually supported by religion of moral tales that tell us how to behave and what happens to them when they engage in criminal behaviour or break the rules Contemporary – urban legends, you heard from a friend who heard it from a friend that a story is true, it is told in a way that will make you believe that it really did happen to someone, you have to look at (your Halloween candy because there were razor blades in the apple) Demonic Perspective – the assumption that when religion ruled out explanations, if you engaged in criminal behaviour it was due to supernatural forces, some kind of demonic force – rid through exorcism or death The Witch Craze (1400-1700) – women who were believed to participate in witchcraft were thought to have demonic tendencies – at least a million people were killed if it was believed they practiced witchcraft or were a witch – typically those who were targeted were those who didn’t conform to roles of women at the time (didn’t get married or have children) and the reason that they didn’t was because they were possessed or a demonic presence influenced their behaviour Modern Witch Hunts – during the 1950s there was a communism scare, anyone who believed in communism was punished to prison or death – in Germany if you opposed Hitler you could be killed or sent to prison – September 11, 2001, after the terrorist attack, many people who were believed to be terrorists were imprisoned so they could hunt people (people who looked like middle eastern decent and anyone who was considered a foreigner) Classical School Beccaria and Bentham (Enlightenment) -two philosophers who stated that we behave the way we do because we are human and we are wired to behave in a way that is natural to humans not that it is controlled by supernatural or demonic forces • Hedonistic -we behave in ways that go to our hedonism (we are seeking pleasure and want to avoid pain) -we can calculate the risks and benefits of our behaviours • Free Will -we get to decide on our behaviour, it is not done through deterministic reasons • Social Contract -we will give up certain hedonisms for social order so we can get along with people without harming other people and knowing also that we will not be harmed • Punishment -we have free will and do things through a hedonistic calculation, punishment can be used to transform our hedonistic calculations, we calculate the risk and benefits of our behaviours • Utilitarianism -the greatest good for the greatest number of people -we should only act in ways that bring the greater good to the greater number of people Punishment -we used to have the death penalty and torture -we must change the way we punish people Appropriate: 1. Profit – the value of punishment should outweigh the profits, we cannot gain or benefit from committing a crime 2. Seriousness – the greater seriousness of the behaviour should suit the seriousness of the crime (stealing a loaf of bread is not punishable by death) 3. Discouragement 4. Value – it should mean something to the person that committed the crime so it transforms them 5. Consistency across crimes so they are aware of the expected punishment so everyone is treated the same way Neo Classic Theory -new theories borrowing from the Bentham and Beccaria theory Self-Control Theory -Calculations- people vary in the way they use their free will and the way they calculate the risks and punishments of a certain behaviour based on social constraints and their past -someone who hasn’t eaten in a while may steal to go to jail to get food -Characteristics -gratification and self-control, some people require more gratification than others and have less self-control or a weak sense of self control, people who lack self-control will most likely engage in crime Critique Nature of the Crime -sometimes there are no benefits or very little benefits -heat of the moment, reasonable reactions, not calculated actions, related to an emotional response rather than a benefit as part of it Characteristics -There is little or no planning, when there is not a lot of planning, there is not a lot of thought put into the crimes, spontaneously, in the moment, not enough time to calculate Opportunity -some crimes require the opportunity to commit the crime in the first place -some crimes are blocked to others (you don’t have the opportunity to engage in embezzlement if you don’t have access to the financial wears of a company Deterrence -Theory -based on that hedonistic calculation -that we weight the risk of the behaviour -if the behaviour is too risky or if the punishment of the crime is severe they will not engage in it Six Ways Absolute Deterrence -the penalties are so quick and terrible that no crime would ever exist -parking in a handicap spot when you don’t have a parking pass to do so could result in the death penalty -unrealistic Relative Deterrence -when we reduce crime if it is more difficult to engage in it, or if peoples behaviours are more controlled -the way we control alcohol (restricting times you can purchase it, the ages, making it expensive to buy to reduce the problems related to alcohol) Cross-Deterrence -the fear of one crime convinces people to commit other crimes instead -through technology -car thefts have been greatly decreased but it has increased the rate of car hijacking, increasing the risk of harmful instances or death Restrictive Deterrence -when we avoid punishable acts -when you make criminals more cautious, more paranoid and more likely to do background checks in their activities -drug dealers make sure they don’t sell to narcs (undercover police officers) CAN BE USED FOR THE PROJECT General Deterrence -the demonstration effect -we are demonstrating to other people that we will not tolerate this behaviour -the act of seeing other people punished causes other people to conform because they do not want to be punished in the same way -one of the reasons for public hangings (in Toronto) -using you as an example to tell others it is wrong Specific Deterrence -the direct personal experience of being punished -you being punished makes you not want to engage in those activities again -unpleasant punishment makes you conform -you are told that the behaviour is not acceptable -third time as driving under the influence – put in prison to set an example Capital Punishment -putting someone to death for a crime that they committed -used to be for all crimes -last hanging in Canada was in Toronto First degree murder (Defined) -planned and deliberate murder -they knew the risks of engaging in that behaviour so we should look at more severe punishment -killing a police officer while on duty -kill someone during another crime Research has shown that even though it is used, it does not act as a deterrence (the rate in an area where there is no capital punishment is the same in an area where there is no capital punishment Findings -there are a substantial number of people who are wrongfully convicted (it is not reversible) -it is discriminatory, people who are more likely to be sentenced to death are more often poor or of an ethnic minority, a person without a lawyer is 10 times more likely to be punished by death than someone paying for their own lawyer -convicted on circumstantial evidence rather than physical evidence – the circumstances surrounding the crime suit a certain person but we don’t know for sure (wrong place and the wrong time), based on assumption and inferences not on physical evidence that ties the two together Capital Punishment Canada -1962 was the last hanging -did not increase the murder rate -peak was in 1975 but it has declined since then -mixed support in Canada (about half and half) -710 deaths by hanging in Canada -we are not to extradite someone to another country if they may be exposed to the death penalty United States -about 36 states have authorized the death penalty - more states have begun to abolish it -up until 2005 juveniles were able to receive the death penalty -people strongly believe that we should use the death penalty on young people because they believed it acted as a good deterrent Juveniles -in 2000 there were 24 on death row -majority were 17 of age when they committed the crime -63% of them were African Americans -most were male -Texas had the most followed by Florida -Texas (the most people were sentenced to the death penalty) then Florida – the Bush Family Victims -81% were white -most were female Roper v. Simmons (2005) -in a 5 to 4 decision it was decided in the Supreme Court that juveniles could no longer be sent to death row -based on the 8 amendment it was argued that no person should be subjected to cruel or unusual punishment and therefore juveniles shouldn’t be given the death penalty -at the time, 72 cases were reversed -these juveniles could be given adult status and could therefore spend their entire lives in prison Scientific Look at Prisoners Individualistic Theories: Biological Based on the Prison Break Clip - hostile, aggressive, broken homes, bad breeding, predominantly African American, mob mentality, muscular Move to Science William Lombroso (1835-1909) -father of criminology -objectivist approach -what causes people to commit crimes (a doctor who worked in Italian male Prisons) -Atavism – on a biological level are more primitive, Neanderthal appearance, evolutionary throw back -Believed that criminals are lower on the evolutionary ladder for humans -women were more primitive than males but our criminology was repressed because we are naturally passive -often went to court as an expert witness -used how far apart their eyes were, their build and their overall biological makeup to assess whether they had committed the crime -believed biological makeup determines whether an individual will commit a crime -he decided based on biology, between two brothers which committed the crime Problems -not all criminals fit this description/assumption Enrico Ferri -wanted to have a more sophisticated approach to describe the deference between conforming and non-conforming people -he developed types of criminals The Born or Instinctual Criminal -Insane criminals – someone whose body chemistry has been altered, they didn’t look like the born criminal, didn’t look atavistic Passionate Criminal -heat of the moment, don’t appear like the born criminal, based on the circumstances -lack of self-control -more emotional Occasional -drifts in and out based on opportunity -have some friendship or attachment to a born criminal, brought along as someone else commits a crime Habitual Criminal -doesn’t look like it but acts like it -doesn’t have the aggression -property offenses rather than violent offenses Policy and Criticisms Policy Isolation Isolate them from the rest of society as a way to protect other people Eugenics -when we improve through selective breeding -Sterilize certain people to prevent them from breeding future criminals (control reproduction) – used extensively up until the 1920s (70,000 people were involuntarily sterilized – currently considered to violate human rights) Criticisms Methodology -no comparisons between those who were imprisoned and those that were not caught -not all people end up in prison (the funnel) -men may look rough, but if you spend a lot of time in prison you don’t have access to good care Methods -we cannot observe how biological factors interact with other factors (environment, social background, etc. that isn’t explained) Definition of Crime -differ over time and over culture -what may have sent someone to prison 100 years ago may not be the same today Causes -someone biology may not be the cause -deterministic to assume that your biology makes you a born criminal Modern Biological Theories Revisited by Hooton (1887-1954) -hereditary deviance -it is passed down through generations in our genes -careful to look at criminals and non-criminals -looked at mostly prisoners which is a skewed -showed more differences among the prisoners -he argued that race can affect whether or not you would commits crimes -African Americans were more likely to commit crimes (this has been since criticized – are they jus
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