SOC 2700 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Cesare Beccaria, Jeremy Bentham, Utilitarianism

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Published on 24 Nov 2011
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Lecture 6, SOC 2700 Oct 25th
Contemporary Classicism:
-Umbrella for several theories
-Motivation and choice in crime
Classical Thought: early influences
- Cesare Beccaria
-Jeremy Bentham
-Utilitarian philosophy - looking at parts in human nature, such as cost benefit analysis. People have to
weigh the cost and benefits
Core Ideas:
-People are rational calculators, calculate the cost and benefits before committing crime
-We all have free will
-People choose behaviours,
-People also fear punishment, if they choose to become bad or delinquent, they also realize that
somehow there will be a fear of getting caught, and weight those components
-Methods of crime prevention
Deterrence Theory:
-Draws on classical ideas, such as deterrence and what kind of punishments to use. Draws the fear of
punishment so that they can get mentality of “I don’t want to get involved in crime”
-Importance of rationality
-Punishment can deter crime
-General vs specific deterrence
-Three dimensions of punishment: severity - the harshness of punishment the more severe it is, have
long term punishments, certainty - if you have a scam and over seas the criminal should be worried of the
police from other country can catch you, where certain types of crimes can avoid being caught, and
swiftness- how swift or fast can you get caught (or celerity)
Debates about deterrence:
-Effectiveness of deterrence-based policies, we try to use deterrence as a factor for teenagers who
offend. Teenage brain is different and may think that they can never die. May have that mentality of
invincibility
-Do they increase or decrease crime?
Other debates: problems of certainty
-Tests of absolute deterrence- a system of jails and courts like the wild west and marginal deterrence
Other debates: problems of severity
-Role of capital punishment
-Brutalization effect - after the small increases after a death from capital punishment, people would cheer
or small criminal activity increases with violent behaviour
Tests of deterrence:
-Scared Straight programs - putting teens in a maximum facility and have them scared for 8 hours
-Boot Camps
-Talk shows
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Document Summary

Utilitarian philosophy - looking at parts in human nature, such as cost benefit analysis. People have to weigh the cost and benefits. People are rational calculators, calculate the cost and benefits before committing crime. People also fear punishment, if they choose to become bad or delinquent, they also realize that somehow there will be a fear of getting caught, and weight those components. Draws on classical ideas, such as deterrence and what kind of punishments to use. Draws the fear of punishment so that they can get mentality of i don"t want to get involved in crime . Effectiveness of deterrence-based policies, we try to use deterrence as a factor for teenagers who offend. Teenage brain is different and may think that they can never die. Tests of absolute deterrence- a system of jails and courts like the wild west and marginal deterrence.

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