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PSY100H1 Lecture Notes - 2012 Nfl Season, Psychopathy Checklist, Reinforcement

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David Nussbaum

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PSYC39 Lecture 5: Linking Theories to Practice PY
Date: Oct 15, 2012
Slide 1:
Serin et al, Chapter 4
Going from theory to practice b/c the real purpose of having a correctional system is to make
society safer for all citizens and taking ppl who have committed criminal offences and to reduce
their risk to society
o Correctional system ensures as much as possible to minimize the risk of when they leave
the sys less of a risk to recidivate (repeat any criminal act that they’ve committed)
Different factors for if someone will commit a crime or not - below
Slide 2: Changing Criminal Behavior
Costs and rewards of crime as key factors in behavior
o One approach that used to predominate if we make the cost of crime very expensive
(if caught, spend 20 yrs in jail etc; doesn’t matter if caught for shoplifting, assault etc;)
very high cost
o Another thing that factors into this:
What is the likelihood of getting caught? So, it’s not just what the penalty might
be but also what are the chances of being caught. If there’s like a 1% conviction
rate, then might do crime.
Most ppl that commit crimes don’t sit there and think about them – altho
there’s a small %age of ppl that plan
Most commit crimes spontaneously situation arises, they commit crime, they
get caught and are sent to jail
Impulsive nature (over 80%) b/c of this, the costs and rewards aren’t really a big
Another stat that fortifies the fact that most crimes are NOT thought thru is the
fact that ppl in the criminal justice system have about 80% rate of some form of
substance abuse/addiction
80% in federal penitentiary and 60% in provincial system have
difficulties w/ alcohol, cocaine, weed speaks to what is generally
referred to as impulsive decision-making b/c ppl don’t think thru long-
term consequences of their actions
Ex) drinking and driving –don’t have control over vehicle you hurt
yourself and others; even if ppl don’t care about others, even if caring
about self, this action doesn’t make sense b/c you yourself could get
Impulsive cognitive style
o Although one approach to changing criminal beh involves more cognitive approaches
(sit down and think about costs/gain), most criminals don’t approach life or decisions to
commit crime or not on such a cognitive level
Punishment vs. rehabilitative approaches

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PSYC39 Lecture 5: Linking Theories to Practice PY
Date: Oct 15, 2012
o In the old days, justice was seen as retribution you’ve done something wrong, so you
get punishment
o All sorts of roles that punishment does play but what ppl found after centuries of using
punishment was that recidivism rates are still very high b/c punishment doesn’t really
change actions much unless they are closely followed by the crime
o The closer in time that the reinforcement is to the act that precipitates the
reinforcement, the more effective the reinforcement will be so if you have
punishment that happens long time after committing crime, then it doesn’t work
effectively as a deterrent for the same reason that positive reinforcement won’t work in
that situation
o One of the problems with punishment (aside from what’s the probability of getting
punished) is that ppl know that the punishment won’t come until further down the road
o Another aspect of effective rehab is that there are a lot of ideas ppl have had over the
the last 7 decades about how to successfully rehab criminals some work and some
don’t which is why it’s impt to do follow up research to evaluate how effective diff
programs are in rehabilitating criminals does the intervention work (with psychological
treatments and drugs)?
Importance of empirical research to inform responses and programming
o Do drugs/psychological interventions work? Do trials. Determine how effective it is.
Same thing with rehab programs in correctional systems
Slide 3: Purposes of Sentencing
After a person is found guilty of committing crime, judge has to give them a sentence
S.718 of the Criminal Code: - diff reasons behind sentencing
o Respect for the law and maintenance of a just, peaceful, safe society
Have ppl respect the law
What would society be like if society has no laws, police? There would be no
rational reason for ppl to behave in a non-violent non-crime fashion. No reason
to adhere to speed limit etc; no enforcement and no consequence for breaking
the law
Some ppl are intrinsically motivated to do the right thing even in situations like
Lord of the flies artificial little society in isolation on island worried
about group survival everyone wants to do the right thing, but the
psychopaths eventually take over after time take over the less
aggressive becomes brutal messy way of running society
If we didn’t have laws, this is what would happen over time
Help yourselves when they have the opportunity at the expense of
others ppl will take these options
If society is going to survive, it has to have laws and has to encourage citizens to
respect & adhere to these laws

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PSYC39 Lecture 5: Linking Theories to Practice PY
Date: Oct 15, 2012
o Denunciation of unlawful conduct
If someone slips up, society has to say that they don’t tolerate it – they
denounce it
o Removal of offenders from society
An offender represents a risk to other ppl; target group that offender targets is
at risk; don’t want potential victims to be at risk; gvt owes a reasonable
expectation of protection from offenders although not 100% guaranteed live
in ordinary society and you don’t fear
o Rehab of offenders
This is where CDN system actually leads the world
Most risk tools originated in Canada whether it’s the Psychopathy Checklist,
Violence Risk Appraisal Guide, the ACR-20, LSI = the big 4
The rehabilitation schemes also primarily developed and researched w/in
correctional service of Canada
Canada Federal penitentiary sys = 14,000 ppl whereas JUST a big city in
the states would have 14,000 ppl part of this has to do with the fact
that they believe in incarcerating ppl for relatively minor crimes (ex:
weed possession) BUT it also due to b/c Canada has very efficient way
of dealing w/ criminals and only incarcerating ppl who really represent a
risk to others ppl w/ less serious offences get treatment/rehab w/in
community but aren’t put into federal sys – those who are show a
relatively low recidivism rate (20%); in other parts of the world, for
serious crimes, recidivism rates range from 40-70%
o Reparation to victims
Sometimes this is in the form of monetary payments that don’t really come
from the offender (ex: someone gets hurt and the loss to the person is a large
sum of money, but the offender doesn’t have that kind of money so the
taxpayers make reparation to the victims financially)
Sometimes, if damage is minor and offender has money to pay for it, then must
do so but if victim and then the offender gets a light sentence, victim gets a 2nd
sense of victimization
Part of sentence is to make sure that the victim’s grievance has been addressed
o Promotion of responsibility in offenders (mostly part of rehab)
Slide 4: Means of Reducing Criminal Beh
Imposition of sanctions
o There are also non-carceral sanctions ex) fines, restraining orders
If someone doesn’t follow the restraining order, court may do something else
(ex: incarcerate or fine) b/c it seems that the offender doesn’t want to follow
the law and they may actually pose a risk to the person
Canada’s law is sensitive to physical harm AND psychological harm
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