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SOC 2700 Criminology Theory.docx

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Department
Sociology
Course
SOC 2700
Professor
D E
Semester
Winter

Description
SOC 2700 Criminology Theory Week One: Common Sense Explanations of Crime (Most of these are not true but only expiations, they are too simplistic) - It’s all in the genes - He’s from the wrong side of the tracks (wrong neighborhood) - Hang out with the wrong people - It’s the parent’s fault or authority figures - Negative implications, from early stages of life Different Approaches to explain crime Crime is the result of… - Free choice of the individual a) People are internally pulled towards crime (have to have motivation) - Biological, psychological & social factors (the thrill of committing a crime) b) People are pushed towards crime - The way laws are enacted and enforced Assumption: Theories of Crime - Human Nature (good vs. self interested) - Degree of Order in Society (Consensus vs. Conflict) a) Criminalize drugs but not alcohol (what do we criminalize) - Root Causes of Behaviour b) Determined by External/Internal Forces vs. Free will Why use Theory? Theory helps us: a) Ask questions about the crime itself (sandy hook shooting, why would they go into a school and shoot someone) b) Predict what may happen in the future to prevent possible crimes c) Create some control over the social world (via policy) Spiritual Explanation - The Devil made me do it (exorcism was the most popular to deal with this) - Conflict between absolute good and absolute evil a) Trial by Battle (Person vs. Person in an actual fight, God chose the victor) b) Trial by ordeal (Person accused of crime would be subjected to physical punishment and if innocent God would prevent them from harm) c) Compurgation (have a witness sear under oath to make a case for the defendant - Modern Examples: Catholic Church revises guidelines for conducting exorcisms (1999) - No was to prove that these worked (severe and unjust punishments) Principles of the “penitentiary” - Isolate prisoner from bad influences of society (no alcohol, temptation, people) - Penance & silent contemplation (reflect and repent) - Productive labor - Reform (thinking & work habits) - Return in society, renewed - Key punishment was solitary confinement Scientific Theories of Crime - Explanatory (casual) framework - Derive empirical hypotheses and test them in the real world using systematic observation & repeated evidence a) Verification (to use evidence to figure out if your theory is correct) b) Falsification (looking for examples that your theory doesn’t work) - Logically consistent in its causal explanation c) Correlation doesn’t equal causation - A and C are correlation but not casually related Causation a) Presence of correlation b) Time (cause precedes effect) c) Absence of spurious link Example: Casual explanations - Does hiring more police officers deter crime? a) More police leads to less crime (larger police force leads to more arrests & thus deterrence) b) More crime leads to more police (public wants something to be done when crime increases) (Size of the police force increases during election years) - Number of police officers do not relate to the reduction of crime - Does the death penalty deter crime, specifically homicide? a) Consider the following evidence - 1950’s Homicide rate 5/100,000 - 1960’s Death Penalty introduced - 1970’s Homicide Rate 3/100,000 - Negative correlation (ag1ing population reduces homicide rate) Example: Casual explanations Do tougher laws surrounding street racing deter offending? - Road deaths have been steadily dropping because for the new implication of the 50 km/h over the speed limit. Characteristics of Good Theories - Explanatory power (aka generalizability) a) The ability of a theory about crime to explain and predict various types of crime - Charles Tittle: Theories should be evaluated on the basis of: -Breadth - Comprehensiveness (includes as many variables as possible) - Precision (don’t want every social factor included in your theory) - Depth (work as a meaningful and systematically full) Week 2: The Rise of Classical Perspectives Cesar Beccaria (goal of punishment is to prevent crime not punish it) - Utilitarianism, radical departure and how he explained crime goal was to produce the greatest happiness for the greatest number - Equality, everyone should be treated equally - Liberty people had the right to protection, - Humanitarianism punishment should be fair and humane a) All behaviour is chosen b) Choices are controlled by threat of punishment - Criminal justice system must coincide with the coast/benefit calculation of potential offenders c) For punishment to deter, it must be certain (predictable) - Criminal Justice system should work to eliminate discretion and arbitrariness d) For punishment to deter, it must be fair (proportional) Jeremy Bentham (goal of punishment is to prevent crime not punish it) - Maximize happiness and minimize pain -Principle of utility. “Greatest Happiness Principle” -Criminal behaviour is influenced by the same mechanisms as other behaviour (we don’t need special criminological theories to explain crime, we are all free to choose crime) Classical Theories: Assumptions - People are rational, self-interested actors (do what’s best for us) -People have free will (peruse the most pleasure for the least cost) -Society is based on a social contract (agree on a set of rules because we recognize those rules benefit us) - Nature of Crime: a) Acts that are harmful; acts that violate the social contract b) Punishment transforms behaviour – increases costs (people who commit crime are people who believe that committing crime it is rewarding) Re-emergence of Rational choice theory (1970’s) Neo-classical - Crime is a decision a) Utility maximization b) Economic theory - Cost-benefit analysis - Crime occurs when it is more rewarding than costly - Controlled by threat of punishment (can be deterred) Casual Logic: Benefits > Costs > Crime Discussion question: -According to the rational choice perspective, are all crimes “rational”? a) They are all rational choices. Eg. Woman that are in chronically in abuse relationships, the men often beat their wives at home not in public, many of the physical attacks are on the body that are concealed. Deterrence Theory - Hypothesis: Increasing the costs of crime will reduce the likelihood that people will choose it. -Elements a) Certainty of punishment b) Severity of punishment (easiest to determine) c) Celerity of punishment (swiftness) Types of Deterrence - General deterrence: a) Depends on fear of penalties (refrain from crime) b) The goal is to convince potential offenders that the potential costs outweigh the potential benefits - Specific deterrence (best example for specific deterrence is imprisonment) a) Focuses on convincing the individual offender not to repeat their delinquent activity b) Distinct from incapacitation effect (in custody, prevented from committing crime because they are in custody) Evidence for Deterrence Theory: General Deterrence - Aggregate evidence for General Deterrence a) Certainty  Crime Rate  b) Severity  Crime Rate - Examples: a) Death Penalty b) Mandatory minimum sentences Brutalization effect: a) Does the death penalty cause more homicides? (yes) Greater Annual increase in California homicide rates for years with executions More Homicides have been found ten days after a publicized Mandatory minimum sentences - Mandatory minimum sentences are politically popular BUT - Are they an effective strategy for reducing crime? a) No. Abundant research suggests mandatory minimums DO NOT deter crime (no certainty, offenders do not spend time on how much time they will serve they think about ways not to get caught) Scared Straight - In what ways does scared straight program attempt to deter youths from crime? Be specific a) Sexual assault in prison, living conditions, crappy life - Imagine you are a participant in the scared straight program. Would you be deterred from committing crime in the future? Why or why not. b) Evidence for deterrence Theory: Specific Deterrence - Individual evidence for specific deterrence a) Ability to deter may depend on individual characteristics of offenders - Example: a) Mandatory arrest policies in domestic violence cases b) Youth who have previous arrests Conclusions -Does punishment deter crime? a) Increasing the certainty of punishment is more likely to deter crime than increasing the severity of punishment b) Some types of offenders more easily deterred c) Some types of crime are more easily deterred Rational Choice Theory (problems and issues to consider) - Inter-related elements - Tipping points - Causal order (crime rates increase police resources are stretched) - Specific crime types - Effectiveness and ethics (see people pulled over and or punished this served as a general deterrent effect) Routine Activities Theory (assume motivated offender, they focus on daily activates of potential offenders) - Lack of capable guardians (anything to prevent an offense being taken place) / Presence of motivated offenders/ Availability of suitable targets all interconnect with Crime - Criminal offenses are related to the nature of everyday patterns of social interaction - Targets are “suitable” to the extent that offenders see them as having VIVA: Patterns and Changes in Crime due to Changes in Targets and Guardians - Transient, single parent neighborhoods - Overcrowded schools - Large apartment complexes - Houses on main streets with varied entrance and exit strategies - Leisure activities/active “night life” Preventing Crime - Cannot eliminate motivations to offend very easily, so focus on reducing opportunities -Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) CPTED example (Apps 2012) - What are the physical and social predictors of break and enter victimization? - What do the results suggest about the efficacy of Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) - How do the findings speak to the foundational theories of rational choice and routine activities? Specific deterrence: punishing previously convicted criminals Scared Straight: deterrence theory was the idea behind it and emphasizes the severity of punishment; convey to the young people how unpleasant prison life is - in what ways does beyond scared straight attempt to deter crime? -Use stories of sexual/assault - Juvenile crime is those individuals of the future so they are trying to prevent it early - Program appealed to the fear aspect, which relates to the classical criminal theory - Helps redeem current/previous criminals and a good use of their time since they are trying to constructive use of the inmate’s time - Also very cost effective - Some juveniles see it as a challenge, and it is a short-term effect - Overall research showed a success rate of 80-90%, further evaluation shows that this type of program does not work - The sample of people these programs did not benefit and this ultimately ended up raising crime - The exposure backfired - The importance is important, the lesson from the program, even though its popular, it has had harmful effects - An idea that sells, very controversial Evidence for deterrence theory: specific deterrence - Individual evidence for specific deterrence - Ability to deter may depend on individual characteristics of offenders - Study: men that were arrested (domestic abusers) mandatory arrest; eventually those men were not involved in more crime - Some men were less likely to offend after arrest - Some men were more likely to offend - Men who are more committed (had jobs, longer marital relationships, ties to the community) were the men that were more likely to be deterred - Example: -Mandatory arrest policies in domestic violence - Study: men that were arrested (domestic abusers) mandatory arrest; eventually those men were not involved in more crime - Some men were less likely to offend after arrest - Some men were more likely to offend - Men who are more committed (had jobs, longer marital relationships, ties to the community) were the men that were more likely to be deterred - Youth who have previous arrests -Being arrested, didn't shape weather they were likely to be arrested in the future - The more frequent criminals, thought they were less convicted -> they got away with a lot more crimes and when they were caught, - Being apprehended did not convince offenders that deter them from crime Conclusions -Does punishment deter crime? -Increasing the certainty of punishment is more likely to deter crime than increasing the severity of punishment - Yes and no -> increasing the certainty can reduce crime and certainty of punishment provides some general deterrence - Some types of offenders are more easily deterred -More conventional law abiding people are easier to deter - Some types of crime are more easily deterred - Speeding/ drunk driving is more easily deterred than crimes such as assault Rational Choice Theory: problems/issues to consider - Inter-related elements - Swiftness, certainty, and severity need to work together to ensure some deterrence; understanding how they work is important when learning about crime - Tipping points; have to have a certain level of certainty to make it into the decision making process; ex: if there is a 10%, 20% or 30% chance of being caught (has to be about 30% for deterrence) - Causal order: make sure it has to be correct, as crime rates increases the resources of police are stretched and there is less certainty - - Specific crime types: which behaviour is more likely to deterrence (robbery more deferrable than physical assault - Effectiveness and ethics: if we see people getting caught unpleasantly it serves as a deterrent effect (publicized convictions) Routine Activities theory -Venn diagram -Chosen Ferguson: explanation of why victimization occurs -Looks at property and crime - There has to be a convergence of 3 things in time: 1) lack of capable guardians (police, security, neighbours, dogs) 2) presence of motivated offenders: motivated to gain quick pleasure with minimal pain (motivated offenders are in great supply) 3) availability of suitable targets: in recent times with greater technology its easier to steel smaller expensive items (iPods, laptops etc) - Its only when all 3 of these factors come together in time and place which makes it easier to offend - Criminal offences are related to the nature of everyday patterns of social interaction - Targets are suitable to the extent that offenders see them as having VIVA: -Value: offenders target specific people more than others, ex pal steal different cars depending on what their motive is. The value is individual - Inertia: we steal things that are easier and lighter, and when we attack people we attack pal that are smaller and weaker than us. - Visibility: making obvious the lack of lock, leaving things out, making your things more vulnerable to be stolen - Access: ability for the offender to get to the target, commit crime in places they know, and have a better understanding to how the can get access to the scene and leave without detection -This is not a good theory for domestic violence, does not explain domestic violence Patterns and Changes in Crime due to changes in targets and guardians - Transient, single parent neighborhoods: high turnover in population would result in greater opportunities for crime, because there is diminished surveillance on crime + have half of the adults around - Overcrowded schools; changes in socialization leads to motivation for crime - Large apartment complexes: lots of alternative exits, - Houses on main streets with varied entrance and exit strategies - Leisure activities: activities that people engage in at night (after the bar, drunken personal attacks and women at risk for personal attack) - According to this perspective we can't eliminate motivation for an opportunity for crime - We need target hardening Preventing crime - Target Harding: security measures, bars on basement, neighborhood watch: make space more welcoming for legit users of the space and less welcoming for those who and ill intentions for the space - Presence of formal and informal guardians - Crime prevention throughout environmental design (CPTED) - Make legit users feel safe and make illicit pal feel unsafe and changing the perceptions of the users of the space CPTED example 1) What are the physical social predictors of break and enter victimization 2) What do the results suggests about the efficacy of CPTED 3) How. See slide show! Multivariate model (see slide) - Home with a garage were more likely -Poorly kept homes are more likely - Houses with 2 sides of the property that border non residential land use were more likely Implications - 3/11 CPTEDvaribalbes are statistically significant in predicting B and E - CPTED would benefit from revision and improvement - Design principals overlap and contradict - The theory doesn't to a particularly good job of describing different areas Week 3 Are some people born evil? Offenders are abnormal or different in some ways than others -Robert Piketon: pig farm killer, bragged about killing 49 w
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