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Lecture 6

Lecture 6: Contemporary Classicism

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SOC 2700
Scott Brandon

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 Rational Choice Theory: - Ties to classicism, such as free will of choice - People are rational by nature, they are rational calculators and can be involved in criminal behaviour, and balance “I may get caught I may not, but I may get this much money.” - “Economic” ideas of behaviour - Maximization of benefits/rewards - Avoid costs of crime Rational choice and crime: - Sanctions can be informal or formal - Benefits can be tangible (money) or intangible (thrill, peer respect) Research on Rational Choice: - Derek Cornish and Ronald Clarke - The importance of decisions in crime, can be very elaborate and sophisticated - Criminal involvement, criminal event, and income (does crime pay?) - Burglary: selection of good areas and targets Routines Activities Theory: - Developed by Cohen and Felson - Assumes rationality of offenders - Motives of offenders - Condition 1: motivated offenders - someone who may be drawn into peer pressure to rob etc - Condition 2: suitable targets - empty homes or cars - Condition 3: absence of a capable guardian - nobody around, no cameras, or alarms What is a suitable target? - Value (I-pod, I-pads, notebooks) - Inertia (can it be moved quickly?) - Visibility (location) - Access (quick getaway?) How does Routine Activities explain crime? - Importance of work and leisu
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