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SOC205H5 (139)

Lecture 1

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Paula Maurutto

SOC205-THEORIES IN CRIMINOLOGY LECTURE 1: 1/10/14 The Context and Consequences Theory -crime in a complex phenomenon and is a difficult topic systematically study -crime commentary often exaggerates and sensationalizes the problem -based on rsh and evidence that informs a theory -theories often have limitations that can’t always explain crime -theories reflect the social, economic, political and historical contexts in which they emerge -explanations from crime arise from historical contexts -theories are a product of their time -as theories change so do criminal justice policies -how has crime changed over time? -zero tolerance policies, tough on crime policies, homosexuality Historical Explanations of Crime Early Theories -tended to locate the cause of crime within individuals—in their souls, wills or their body constitution Spiritual Constitutions -stressed the conflict btw absolute good and evil: ppl who committed crimes were thought to be possessed by evil spirits (referred to as sinful demons) -“devil made me do it” explanations -when penitentiaries were constructed they were thought of places for penitents who were sorry for their sins -submit criminals to camps to repent for their sins -the major problem with spiritualistic explanation is that they cannot be tested scientifically or validated empirically -ppl who used magic were considered criminals -lead to many witch hunts: burn them at the stakeif they survive they are witches and if they died they were innocent Classical School: Criminal as Calculator -the most important feature of the classical school of thought is its emphasis on the individual criminal as a person who is capable of calculating what he or she wants to do ( free will to do what they please) -individuals were guided by a pain and pleasure principle calculating risks and rewards -the punishment should be suited to the offense -basis of the U.S legal system—equal treatment before law Beccarias Arguement 1. To escape war and chaos, ppl gave up s
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