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Mar 14c.docx

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University of Guelph
SOC 2700
C Yule

Conflict Theories Cont’d March 14 th Portrait of a “Typical” Criminal -what are the characteristics of a “typical” criminal? -male -young -member of a racial minority group -urban -poor -what are the characteristics of a “typical” crime? -one-on-one harm (i.e. either physical injury, or loss of something valuable or both -are there people in our society who pose a greater danger to you than the “typical” crime/criminal? -this model of crime perpetuates in support of our current legal system The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison—Jeffrey Reiman -his work based in conflict theory -we have self-report studies that demonstrate that crime is evenly distributed but punishment is not -we go to arrest records, prison stats, etc. to see who our criminals are -but these stats reflect decisions based on police officers on who to arrest, judges, etc. -who’s more blameworthy? -no intention, but knew their actions might lead to harm -heat of the moment (often think of this person as more blameworthy) -because they have intention to harm, even if only for a split second -source: arrest records, probation reports, prison statistics -these are a function of human decisions at all stages of the process -but the acts of these criminals are not the acts that endanger us the most -offenders committing the worst offences do not show up in our CJS statistics -the carnival mirror: distorted reflection -the CJS system doesn’t reflect the reality of crime because it has a hand in creating what we see -throw back a distorted image -argues that all pose threat to our wellbeing -key point is that the threat posed by the typical criminal is not the greatest threat to which we are exposed -all at greater risk of facing serious harm in occupational health, unnecessary surgery, pose more threat than aggravated assault or homicide -these crimes don’t show up in our crime statistics -those people responsible for these types of crime don’t show up in our arrest statistics -there is some reality in what we see, but overall the perceptions are so distorted -the end result (American study)
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