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SOC307H5 (49)
Lecture 3

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Reza Barmaki

SOC307-LECTURE 3 Rational Choice Theory  People are rational  Calculates cost/benefit of actions  Based on information available to them  Choose to commit crime  Crime reduced through deterrence Routine Activity Theory  Crime from offender’s point of view  Based on rational choice theory: criminal a rational actor  3 factors involved in offender’s decision to commit a crime Capable Guardian Motivated Offender Suitable Target 1) Motivated offender-has reason to commit crime ex: poverty, debt, addiction, mental disorders 2) Suitable Target-target could be a: person, object place factors such as: valuable, concealable, removable, available, enjoyable, disposable, resistance Target Hardening-example: locks, reduces suitability How not to be a suitable target: size, physical fitness, signs of toughness (tattoos, clothing…), avoiding wrong places/people 3) Absence/Presence of Capable Guardian-intervention in crime examples: parents, police patrols, security guards, neighbours Deterrence  Preventing or modifying behavior through fear of retribution -knowledge of painful consequences -intended or unintended consequences  Achieved through governmental institutions Assumptions of deterrence theory  Free will: choose  Maximize self-interest  Humans are rational-cost/benefit calculation  Knowledge of painful consequences has a deterring effect: A-probability of arrest B-probability of conviction C-severity of punishment (1)Absolute Deterrence  Establishment of a criminal justice system-courts, police, prisons, etc.  Assumption: rate of crime will decrease  Hope: no crime will be committed  Unachievable (2)General Deterrence  Goal: general prevention of crime by making examples of specific offenders  Publicizing cost of crime  Means: A-public punishment B-surveillance -General deterrence through surveillance increasing probability of detection and arrest introducing uncertainty into potential lawbreakers plans forcing them to rethink or abandon their plans -Added benefits of surveillance changing degree of visibility -Number of cameras, changing frequency of patrols… in case of technological surveillance: cheap, continuous, reliable -A special case of surveillance geared towards general deterrence  publicized undercover activities often for prostitution introduced uncertainty Theory & Reality: an example  You and your friend need money  You have to work for it for two weeks (pain)  You can get it this way in 30 seconds (pleasure)  You think about it  What would stop you and your friend from actually doing this? -knowing that you will be arrested -knowing that you will be sentenced -knowing that you will be doing 5-7 in jail (intended painful consequences) -knowing you have to shower with this guy, knowing that you have to hide drugs “inside” you for this guy (unintended painful consequences) (3) Specific deterrence  Focuses on the individual offender  New offenders, young offenders, repeat offenders (minor crimes such as shoplifting, DUI)  Rehabilitation: discourage the criminal from future criminal acts -punishment can be complemented by: religion, education, learning useful trades Incapacitation  Goal: taking away offenders ability/chances to commit crime  Not a form of deterrence  Rehabilitation (correction) is not the goal Thomas Silverstein  Has been in jail since 1977  Has been in solitary confinement since 1983  28 years  longest in the US history Born Criminal Theories Common Premises: 1) criminality has “natural” sources (not supernatural) 2) criminality is “inborn” 3) it shows itself in the physical appearance of the criminal 4) these signs can be used to identify criminals-body shape, facial features, skull size…. Physiognomy  Concentrated on facial features  Their supposed connections with personality traits -Aggressiveness -Smartness -Etc. Phrenology  Franz Joseph Gall  Brain: location of our personality traits  Each part contains certain trais -combativeness -friendliness -deviousness -religiousness….  Strong parts showed themselves in the shape of the skull  Criminals aggressive traits are expressed by the prominent skull bumps Craniometry  Classifying human types on the basis of skull measurements (size)  Too large, too small: sign of deviance  Contained all forms of biases: racism, elitism, sexism Cesare Lombroso  1835-1909  Italian  Criminal Anthropology Atavism  Evolutionary throwbacks  Reversion to ancestral type  Have traits that disappeared a long time ago  Produced by chance  Anomalies of nature  Happens in
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