Lecture 9 Notes - Crime, Law, and Deviation Complete in-depth analysis of topics, lecture, and unit
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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
- Youth juveniles convicted
- Is not a neutral idea
- In Canada Aboriginal offenders are more than twice as likely to be incarcerated than non-
- 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%)
CRIME & DEVIENCE
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 &
- 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
- 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)
- 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.
- Ways of thinking, acting, and being.
- Moral status
- Morally wrong that people do, but not every one notices
- Example: someone speeding on the road; however not really noticeable to people
THEORIES ON CRIME CAUSATION
- 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
- 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.
- 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
THE SOCIOLOGY OF CRIME
- 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
Government wants to make more jails, in order for people to report crime more often. United states is the world"s leading jailer (still have death penalty), russia, south africa, Searches someone solely on the basis of the person"s race or ethnicity. In canada aboriginal offenders are more than twice as likely to be incarcerated than non- 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.