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Lecture 12

SOC 212 Lecture Notes - Lecture 12: Solitary Confinement, The Corrections, Restorative Justice

by
17 pages90 viewsFall 2016

Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 212
Professor
Lisa Broda
Lecture
12

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Soc 212- Intro to Criminology
12 yrs of age is the youngest to be charged
the peak is at adulthood
Males are dominant.
Higher chances if born into a family with criminal history, described as life style.
The media follows trends of crime to gain more attention.
Creating a false perception that will negatively impact the public. Ex: Natives are represented as
the majority of crimes.
Criminology:
the study of crime, criminals, and their behaviour.
Social factors come to play when defining crimes and criminals.
Historically includes issues of crime correlation, crime prevention and correctional
reform.
Contemporary criminology involves an integrated and interdisciplinary approach
- Concerned with elements of the laws
- Utilizes behavioural sciences disciplines.
What is a crime?
A crime is an act that violates criminal law and is punishable by law.
A criminal intention (men’s rea) without the action ( actus reus) is not a criminal
act by law.
Historically, crimes were considered private wrongs dealt with by retributions
and revenge by the victims. It varies by culture.
What do criminological sociologists do?
Criminal statistics- measuring trends of criminal activity- mostly quantitive research.
Sociology of law—policy and law changes
Criminal behavioural systems- crime types and patterns; if the crime is psychological or
sociological in nature, or socio-psychological.
Penology- correctional system.
Victimology- use of victim surveys, costs to victims, risk, victim culpability, services to
victim.
Theorizing/ research- crime correlation- why do people commit crime?
Why is theory and research important?
It serves to help us explain and understand things.
Theory and research provides an:
- An explanatory framework
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- Empirical testing- to test theory if it could be held as true.
- Findings that relate to outcomes- ie: policy recommendations.
- Bandura- if you can learn to be criminal you can learn to be social
- Research: involves concepts, variables, hypothesis, predictions, explanations and
conclusions.
- Theory is the foundation of the “why”- or can be tested to see if valid.
Theory as Explanation:
Theory as explanation:
- Sociological theories emphasize structure and process.
- Structural explanations= external social and economic factors. Conflict theory for
example.
- Process explanations = emphasize process focus on the processes by which people
are labeled deviant. More about relationships than structure.
- Assumptions provide the framework of sociological theories of crime
- Includes:
- Basic assertions about human behaviour.
- About the degree of order in society
- Nature of the connect6ion between individual and society.
- Empirical assessment:
- All sociological theory should be testable for reliability and validity.
- Theory that cannot be evaluated by data is mere ideology.
- Social policy and sociological research provides advice for policy makers.
Four main sociological paradigms
Functionalism: macro/structural perspective
Elements in society are interconnected and interrelated
Crime and deviancy strengths social cohesion.
Crime renews commitment to social boundaries for mainstream
Conflict theories
- Conflict and change are basic to social life.
- Crime is a response to conflict, change and inequality.
- Notions of crime and deviance created to impose and justify “control” exercised by
authority.
Symbolic Interactionist Approach
- Society engages in face to face interactions.
- Deviancy is a social accomplishment/rarely practiced solo.
- Why do people engage in criminal behaviour?
- Socialization/labeling shape identities of the deviant criminal/stigmatize their
activities.
Feminist Approach:
- Focus on gender and gender inequality
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- Studies the history of “androcentric” sociological thinking
- Focus on genderized thinking on crime and study of crime.
Interdisciplinary Approaches and Criminology- What are they?
1. Sociology is the science of interaction between people in terms of culture
and social structure.
2. Psychology examines individual behaviour/ characteristics, personal traits
- Personality traits and mental characteristics of criminals
3. Biology the examination of certain human biological traits within criminal
behaviour.
4. Economics, ex: white collar crime
– Unemployment
– economic recession
– capitalism
5. Geography/ Environment involves examination of geographical and
environmental factors related to crime patterns.
6. Political science- policy and law making within justice system.
Crime as individual/social problem?
- an integrated and interdisciplinary approach attempts to treat all disciplinary
perspectives as equal.
- Hot topic: criminal act is a product of free will/choice VS being a product of
external/internal factors (determinism)
- (Debate that continues— public interest)
Social problem Vs Social responsibility
- social problem perspective = crime is a manifestation of underlying social problems
ex: poverty, discrimination, family violence. Advocates of this program focus on the
funnel the problem/root of the problem.
- Social responsibility perspective= the belief that individuals are fundamentally
responsible for their own behaviour.
Critical Criminology
- Critical criminology- focuses on structures/systemic barriers inside the CJS (Criminal
Justice System)
- These may privilege certain groups while oppressing others.
- Generally, takes an oppositional position to mainstream conventional ideas.
- Is radical in nature and builds upon basic concepts and strategic concerns of Marxist
and Feminist Theory.
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