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Contemporary Classicism.docx

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SOC 2700
Scott Brandon

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Contemporary Classicism 1. Contemporary Classicism  Umbrella for several theories idea of classical theory: free will, rational choice trying to make sense of the world we live in  Motivation and choice in crime 2. Classical Though: early influence  Cesare Beccaria: Rational behavior, calculated  Jeremy Bentam ideas of punishment  Utilitarian philosophy greatest good for the greatest number (laws, legislation, police) important for talking about the influence of classical thought 3. Core ideas  People are rational calculators justify the means by the ends fear punishment, having freedoms removed from society sounds like the economic model self regulation: cost VS benefit  We all have free will  People choose behaviors  People also fear punishment certainty, swiftness and severe punishment should be proportional : time fits the crime  Methods of crime prevention deterrence: people are able to evaluate various types of behavior and the outcomes of laws themselves purpose of law is punishment becomes a function people shouldn’t be subjected to cruel unusual punishment torture and severe punishment should be abandoned 4. Deterrence Theory  Draws on Classical idea (Beccaria and Bentham)  Importance of rationality pleasure seeking, hedonistic  Punishment can deter crime threat of punishment itself can deter crime  General VS specific deterrence  General: symbolic nature, sends symbolic message to public “don’t do crime, don’t think about doing crime”. See others being punished and realize we don’t wanna do jail time.  Specific: offenders feel the punishment and will be less likely to reoffend  Three dimensions of punishment: severity, certainty, and swiftness (or celerity)  Severity: various sanctions, harshness of the punishment. More severe the punishment, lower the offending rates. Reasons for minimum sentences **most important one**  Certainty: risk in terms of being punished  Swiftness: difference between the time of crime and the actual punishment itself have to have all 3 things in place for deterrence to occur 5. Debates about deterrence  Effectiveness of deterrence-based policies governments believe these things will actually cause some sort of change (assumption)  Do they increase or decrease crime Cost associated to criminals :logic increase penalties=decrease crime Very limited data shows this actually works researcher shows imprisoning or criminals increase recidivism because of structuring of criminal justice system itself  1/5 12-17 will be involved with the law, deterrence works for some categories or individuals, whereas crimes of passion… not so much. 6. Other debates: problem of certainty  Tests of absolute deterrence and marginal deterrence absolute:  marginal: western nations: try to see what happens when you have small incremental increases in the type of punishments (robbery= 5 years make it 6.5.. and see if it changes) to see if deterrence actually works 7. Other debates: problems of severity  Role of capital punishment  success rate?  Brutalization effect  gives public ideas that violence is okay to battle with violence.. death penalty creates more violence indirectly general public believes severity is too severe small incremental increase of violence after public execution 8. Tests of deterrence 1% of the population are in US prisons  Sc
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