Part Time TA Kelly Zhang
Jefferey Domar, serial killer 1990's, young men 1334, drugged and sexually
1st year served in protective custody, within days of being transferred to general pop. Killed
Benardo indeterminate sentence, wife, plea bargained, guilty, provided info about Benardo, is currently out,
served 12 years. (pact with the devil)
Because his wife was a women, helping to commit crimes against other women and children, there is a
stereotype in the media, the media focused on her do to the social shock.
Do student profile so she can creep you.
Introduction to Theory
What is Theory?
Do we use theory in every day life?
yes, through basic observation. (dark clouds, must prepare for rain, we have made the
psychological association. OR when analyzing text messages for hidden meanings, no smiley
Or we can all read the same article on a violent attack, and depending on the individuals beliefs,
a different root cause for the crime is developed.
April 20th 1999, two boys went into their school shot and killed 12, and injured 23 others. Than killed
themselves. Columbine shootings.
Why did these shootings happen? We have no definitive answer.
One explanation is that they were victims of bullying
A reflection of their upbringing? Grew up in a violent home?
They called themselves the trench coat mafia made a lot of connections
between them and Marilyn Manson, punk rock music, played dark video games
Doom perhaps a cultural
Mental Illness, depression
Guns are easily accessible. If they weren't so accessible, would this tragedy have
What factors do you think contribute to crime? Family background
social capital/strong/weak ties
Inequality (unable to achieve goals because of lower income, unfair distribution of wealth)
Unemployment (no money, desperation, excess time)
Lack of education (closes many doors, difficult to find a legitimate job)
Crime of Opportunity
Theory is a particular way of looking at something.
An event can take place in society, and depending on your background, you can look at the
same event and interpret it a different way.
Why do we have Criminological theories?
What do theories do for us?
They give us basic guidelines to identify different types of crimes.
Seek to explain patterns.
If we can find different patterns, we can prevent crime for occurring. Prediction can ideally lead to
Theory is important because we as human beings have a desire to explain why, if we couldn't make sense
of things we would feel like we were living in chaos.
Example the sudden break up, where you get together with your friends to find out why? It
provides ease of mind
We need this in order to feel that we live in a safe and predictable world.
A theory attempts to describe a phenomena. And ultimate control some class of events.
Criminologist apply science to crime as natural scientist try to explain the natural world.
Just as a natural scientist would take tests tubes, combine, perform an experiment. They would not stop at
describing what happened when combining chemical A and B, they want to explain why.
What is Theory?
it is simply, provides us with our need to know
A theory can occur on different levels, they can be simple and be still be accepted by the academic
community, or be extremely complex, multiple concepts, but it doesn't mean it's any better.
Abstract, and abstract theory may not be measurable. Example Freud with Ego, super ego etc. No one can
ever measure the super ego Just because a theory is popular, doesn't mean it's the best theory, over time, the popularity of a theory will
A Theory is NOT the truth or the answer, it is rather an attempt at explaining
There are Various aspects of theory.
Micro vs Macro
Microthe individual, small groups. Explains why do certain individuals more likely to join a gang than other
MacroThe big picture, a theory that is of macro level focuses on society at large, social structures. A little
bit more abstract. Example, how does one environment impact one's behaviour. Durkheim (zones) and
Marx(capitalism) were macro theories
The basis of society can either be rooting in Consensus or Conflict
Consensus Everyone is society shares the same morals, values, and norms. In the most part we all agree
in what should be criminal and not, laws and social control practices work in the majority of society, and
they don't favour one group in society more than another
ConflictRooted in Marx, the idea that society is divided by conflict rather than integrated. There is an
imbalance of power between groups. Those at the top, those who are powerful make the rules, ensuring to
preserve their power, and making sure those at the bottom stay there. An example of a marginalized group,
homeless, mentally ill, minorities. It's the idea that certain groups are target more than others. The criminal
justice system works in favour of the few.
Individuals can be seen as being active or passive agents
ActiveAble to make own choice/decisions. An example is Classical criminology Bentham
Passive People are acted upon by forces that either reside within them or forces outside of them that
forces them towards certain information. Example biological criminology, Lombroso is an example
(individuals are born bad, there are forces within them that force them into criminal behaviour)
The idea that theory, research, and policy are all interconnected. All theories have possible implications. For
example, the safe streets act, which is influenced by the notion that people who are homeless are more
likely to commit crime. Or broken windows theory, any sign of loitering, pan handling, give permission for
crime to be committed. Lombroso's theory on physical characteristics, so in a court room, if there are two
criminals in front of a judge, one of which fits L's characteristics, the judge is more likely to sentence that party.
Henry Godard. The lower a person's IQ was, the more likely they are to be criminal, this lead to many
people being sterilized.
The person who created the IQ test did not have this in mind, rather he wanted to identify students who
needed some extra help.
This impacted imigrants as well, immigrants who did not pass a certain level were not allowed into the
2 Systems of Reasoning
Inductive MethodObserve a phenomena, analyze it, than come up with a theory. Starts with observation.
Deductive Method Explanation (theory) light bulb moment, they than test it, and verify/refute
Example of the Inductive Method
Kitty Genovese, 1964, returned home from job in New York, at 2 30 am, man came to attack her. She
screamed. People heard her. As she was crawling towards her apartment door, the perp came back, beat
her and left her to die. Many people heard her, but no one helped.
It was latter theorized that diffusion of responsibility the more people who observe it
our around, the less likely action is to be taken, everyone thinks action has already
A phenomena took place, they observed it, than drew conclusions.
Looking at causality.
Is variable X a cause of Y
Independent is the variable that is manipulated
Dependentthe variable that is measured.
When we have both independent and dependent variables we must used operationalization of variables, we
must find ways to measure that concept. Take it to a measurable level. How do we define the variables so we can measure it.
Recidivismhow can we determine recidivism?
Rearrest rates, but just because you're arrested, doesn't mean you're guilty
people committing crime without being caught
Reconviction rates (most accurate)
Reincarceration rates , the problem being some are only put on probation, community
Stanford Prison Experiment
Prison's are often violent institutions, but does the prison setting itself play a part in generating
violence and disorder?
Is the Guard/inmate environment the root cause?
24 mentally and physically healthy men, at random they were divided between prisoners and
guards, this ensured that personal demeanour was not a factor.
Within the 1st day, guards were strict, but no major problems
2nd day guards became almost abusive,
As time went on, guards began to dehumanize inmates.
Inmates became distressed, after 6 days the experiment was stopped.
This experiment was trying to determine if the environment has an impact on one's behaviour.
Dependentbehaviour of guards and inmates
Independent being a guard or prisoner,
Looking at relationships, does not imply causality, looks at how things are related to each other,
Systematically measuring two or more variable and assessing the relationship between them.
How much one can be predicted by the other
Positive correlation, both variables go in the same direction, eg, the less education you have the less
money you will make.
Negative correlation, variables go in opposite direction, the more classes you skip the lower mark you will
A research study found, that having a pet in childhood is correlated with a recued likelihood of one
becoming a juvenile delinquent Why?
if you can afford a pet, chances you can afford an education, reflection of socio
Having a pet may enforce certain characteristics, eg responsibility, empathy,
Spurious correlationthe example above is a spurious correlation, an apparent but false relationship
between 2 or more variables that is caused by some other viable.
Criterion for Evaluating Quality of Theory
Reliability, is the theory testable. (can be applicable to anybody else)
Tautological reasoning (circular reasoning)
ie Durkheim, Deviance is function bc it is universal in all society, because deviance is
functional in all society, it is functional
Time order problemevent that occurs after another event is assumed to have caused the first
ie asking someone who smokes weed if they think they will be arrested, person responds saying
that they will not, your conclusion is that the person smokes weed because they don't think they'll get
Making sense out of two or more opposing facts
Police statistics, self report surveys, and victimization surveys all provide opposing facts to the
ie, two people can be victims of the same crimes but be reacted to in entirely different ways
Focus attention on new direction of inquiry
ie Marx, wasn't the old rich, white, guy who was typical of the theorist at the time.
Broad and simplistic
ie, a theory that makes sense of all types of crime.
Bentham died in 1832, requested that his body be embombed, his body was put on display at the
University of California. Review of Classical and Positive Theory
1) The development of classical conceptions of law and the criminal justice system was grounded in the
transition form one mode of production to another. Identify these two modes.
From feudalism to capitalism
2) What does the rule of law mean?
the law must be applied equally to everyone
3) The greatest happiness shared by the greatest number, Reflects which concept in Classical
4) True or False, Beccaria argued that the role of judges was to determine an individual's guilt or innocence
and choose a fitting punishment.
False, judges determine guilt, mandatory punishments should be put in place for specific acts
5)According to classical theorists, what is the purpose of punishments?
6) Positivist focus on what type of relationships.
Cause and Effect
The Classical School
Knowledge is Context Bound
It is important to recognized that knowledge is context bound, the happenings in society influence the
theory. Economics, gender, living situation, all influence the theorists. Look at the climate of the time.
What was the justice system like during the Middle Ages and the 17th century?
physical punishment, corporal punishment
Crime was considered to be evil, punishment was arbitrary (rich were often saved from
More who you were than what you engaged in
Public, revolved around supernatural (witch hunts)
People were put in situations that it was difficult to survive to prove guilt or innocence (tied up
and thrown into lake)
Little rights for the accused.
Guilty until proven Innocent
Justice system was corrupt, arrests without warrant, no sense of due process.
What was Becarria's reaction?
He was allowed to tour through a prison, wrote essays on crimes and punishment
Critique of Criminal Justice System at the time
Published Anonymously, put on churches list of condemned books What was influencing his way of thinking?
The intellectual context at the time....The Enlightenment
Influence of the scientific method, Martin Luther, Hobbes, Rousseau,
Time when religious view began to switch to a more secular views
The notion that god controlled human behaviour started to be challenged
God predestined the social class, challenged
Start to applied reason to problems of politics and philosophy, through the use of reason, society
could be reordered, and intellectual revolution needed.
The Industrial Revolution
Starts to see urbanization, factories, machines, shift in mode of production
Because people are moving, there is a demand and need for new forms of social control
population increase, less intimate community (social shamming is no longer
The Doctrine of Free Will
Individuals posses reason and rationality, with this rationality they posses free will. (no longer a
puppet of the Church)
Humans are Hedonistic
Maximize pleasure and minimize pain
People want to do things that are rewarding.
An individual releases some of their natural rights in order to participate in society and gain protection from
the state, it's the idea of utilitarianism, the greatest good for the greatest amount of people
Crime and Punishment
What is a Crime?
A crime takes place when an individual has broken the social contract, if those people violate the social
contract it only makes sense to punish them. Acts as deterence to others.
How to measure seriousness of crime?
According to Beccaria we must measure the level of crime, otherwise it is unjust.
This will be measured by the harm done by society, Crime against the state most serious, crime
that injure the individual, than crime that disturbs the functionality of society
General and Specific Deterrence, General If someone gets caught shop lifting, it is made public that they are punished. Deters the general
population from committing the same crime
SpecificSame person who stole, sentence to 5 years, will deter him specifically from commuting the crime
in the future.
Beccaria believes 3 components must be satisfied.
The punishment must be proportionate, must give a little more pain than the pleasure of the
crime to the individual
A punishment must be certain
Punishment must be swift, so cause and effect can be recognized by society.
Critique of Criminal Justice During the 18th Century
Reluctant to convict
Between the times of, the Bloody Code, more than 100 crimes carried the death penalty
This began to fall out of favour, the public killings were having a negative effect on the population, seen as
barbaric, judges became reluctant to convict.
What kind of message does this bring? If we aren't punishing those who wronged society
When the convicts are sent to the colonies to serve a period of servant hood.
With the American Revolution, America claimed independence and stopped prison ships
The jails at the time were corrupt, people had to pay for everything they got during their time there. Even if
they were found innocent, if they couldn't pay the fees of their temporary stay, they would have to stay in
Guards made inmates pay for privileges
Jails were breeding grounds, moral breeding grounds, and physical as they weren't seperated by gender,
age, breeding ground for disease.
Classical Criminology: Main Arguments Focus only on actus rea and not mens rea, they are not concerned with an individuals intent, reasoning or
circumstances at the time.
Judges determine guilt only, wanted to do away with judge discretion.
strictly a mediator
Punishment should be determined by the legislator,
moving towards a capitalist society,
Laws must be written, widely available and apply equally to all.
The Death Penalty
Beccaria was against the death penalty because
Contrary to the social contract
people give up some of their autonomy but they don't give up their right to life
There is no real general deterrence effect
He thought that corporal punishment was barbaric, depriving one of the liberty was a worse