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Lecture 9

Lecture 9 Notes - Crime, Law, and Deviation Complete in-depth analysis of topics, lecture, and unit

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Barry Mc Clinchey

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SOC 101 001: Lecture 10
Deviance, Criminality & Regulation
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Who Goes to Jail?
- Government wants to make more jails, in order for people to report crime more often
- Building more jails in Canada
- United States is the world’s leading jailer (still have death penalty), Russia, South Africa,
Europe, Canada, Australia, Japan
Racial Profiling Occurs (in the USA)
- When a police officer stops
- Questions, arrests
- Searches someone solely on the basis of the person’s race or ethnicity
- Surveillance
- Youth juveniles convicted
- Is not a neutral idea
- In Canada Aboriginal offenders are more than twice as likely to be incarcerated than non-
Aboriginal offenders
- Aboriginals accused are more likely to be denied bail
- More time is spent in pre-trial detention by Aboriginal people
- Aboriginal accused are more likely to be charged with multiple offences, and often for
crimes against the system
- Aboriginal people are more likely not to have legal representation at court proceedings
- Aboriginal people often plead guilty because they are intimidated by the court and simply
want to get the proceedings over with
- Over-representation of Aboriginal persons in federal prison population is worsening ->
many parts of Canada, many native Canadian prisoners
- Aboriginal persons represent 2% of the adult population in Canada
- 11% 1991-92
- 15% 1996-97
- 17% 1998
- The USA has racial profiling; however, Canada still discriminates
- Increase in enforcement, also an increase in Aboriginal sentence admissions as years go on
- Saskatchewan incarcerates the most Aboriginals in Canada (72%)
What is Criminology?
“The body of knowledge regarding crime as a social phenomenon. It includes within its scope the
process of making laws, breaking, laws and reacting towards the breaking of laws. “(Sutherland &
Cressey, 1960:3)
- Designates certain behaviours and actions that require social control and social
intervention, codified in law
- Law and society: how crime is defined, understood, how we control it, what works and what
doesn’t work
- Canadian government: punishment model as a solution (want to build more prisons in
Canada and sentence definite terms and keep them in prison); however, research shows it
doesn’t work i.e. America (a lot of crime still occurs)
SOC 101 001: Lecture 10
- Actions that violate social norms and that may or may not be against the law
- Most crimes are understood as deviant however all deviant acts are not criminal
- Smoking weed: debated on whether or not to make it legal -> Holland it is legal
- Changes over time: smoking (more accepted in some society and in ours has changed status)
What is Deviant?
- What are the accepted standards?
- Where is the line? Who decided it?
- Sexually explicit material vs. pornography?
- Prostitution? Who are the victims? (prostitutes or the men)
- Every society tackles deviance differently -> Holland’s solution: make it all legal! (Even
though not every one can agree with it)
Social Deviance
- Any acts that involve the violation of social norms.
Howard Becker (1966)
- Not that act itself, rather people’s reaction to the act that makes it deviant.
- Only deviant when other people don’t like it and do not agree with it.
- Creates punishments to regulate that behavior.
- Conflict Theorists would ask: who gets to define this?
Who Defines Deviance?
- Legislatures and government: make it because they think it is good for society.
Objective Deviance
- Ways of thinking, acting, and being.
Subjective Deviance
- Moral status
- Morally wrong that people do, but not every one notices
- Example: someone speeding on the road; however not really noticeable to people
- A framework for understanding criminal behaviour that can then be tested
- Provide us with an indication of how we can prevent or correct crime
- Translated into policy
- Give us guidelines to preventing crime, and when it occurs.
- Criminals are not very rational (don’t think about what they do when they do it)
History of Explanations for Crime and Criminals
People who go against authority due to:
- Evil spirits, demons, and magic thought to be responsible for criminal activities
Classical Criminology
- The approach to law-making punishment was based on philosophy of utilitarianism, which stated
that behavior was not a result of the supernatural forces, but rather was purposeful.
- Rational Choice Theory: movement to balance crime fairly (weighing costs and benefits)
Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham: if crime results in some form of pleasure for the criminal, then pain
must be used to prevent crime. First person to design prison (pentagon)
SOC 101 001: Lecture 10
Four Beliefs of Classical Crime
- People have free will to choose criminal or lawful solutions, therefore rational.
- Less work for a greater payoff are seen through criminal solutions.
- The fear of punishment can control people’s choices.
- Sever, certain and swift criminal punishment, makes a society control criminal behaviour
much more easily.
Problems with Classical Theory
- Crime is not always rational.
- Not every one is caught.
- Uniformity in laws and enforcement? -> Select location of crime wisely.
- Assumption that punishment deters crime.
- Failure to account for individual circumstances.
Biological Perspectives
- Application of the scientific method to the social world; Easier to prevent crimes once we
identify criminal in the social world.
- Cesare Lombroso
o The Criminal Man
o Born a criminal
- William Sheldon
o Body types; mesomorph (average & criminal type), ectomorphs (skinny not
criminal), and endomorph (fat not criminal type: lazy)
- Biochemical imbalances
o The “Twinkie Defense” – high on sugar
Problems with Biological Theories
- Focus on the individual-what about environmental or social factors?
- Difficult to control for these other factors in research
- Classical and biological approaches fail to explain consistent patterns of crime.
- Most crime in Canada is on a decline.
- Emphasis on the ecological distribution of crime, the effect of social change, and the
interactive nature of crime
- Poverty (lack of proper food, and shelter) leads or more likely leads to crime- conditions can
predispose people into crime
- Crime is functional: if people commit deviant act, public debate occurs and society becomes
stronger from that
- Roots in Emile Durkheim’s notion of anomie
- Normlessness leads to deviant behaviour- disconnected from norms from every one else in
society leads them to offend other people of the norm
Merton’s Strain Theory
- Culturally defined goals cannot be met through socially approved means