SOC 2700 Lecture Notes - Child Abuse, Radiography, Arthur Shawcross
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Criminological Theory: What is it?
- Basis of how to understand the Criminal Justice System and why people act how they do
- Linking of facts together – to understand why people act how they do
- A way to understand how crime occurs and why
Goals: Explain and Predict
- Most theories of crime do both
- Prediction/life road of people depending on their physical and social elements
- Bad vs. Good neighbourhoods – elements of negativity or positivity – what is occurring
in that area?
The Creation and Evaluation of Theory
- Theories of crime either explain crime or attempt to predict crime
- Evidence helps us verify a theory
Does Criminological Theory have a use?
- Helps to explain why crime occurs
- Crime prevention may also be a result
- Ex: Conflict Theory
Criminological Theories as explanations
- Spiritual (Ex: witchcraft)
- Natural (Natural laws – murder is wrong, always has been, everywhere)
- Scientific (Moral/Ethical reasoning)
Why theories cannot be proven
- Issue of falsification
Film: “Inside the Killer’s Mind”
1. What are the claims made by Dr. Dorothy Lewis and Dr. Jonathan Pincus about the
origins of violence and murder?
a. Murders are created, not born
2. What goes wrong socially in the early life (childhood) of an offender that leads them to
a. Child abuse, brain damage and mental illness – together become extremely
dangerous – separately, not violent (vulnerability)
3. What do the critics say about these arguments?
a. Critics say she is sympathetic to killers
4. What prevention strategies does Dr. Lewis offer to stop people from becoming adult