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PSYC39 - Psych and the Law - Lec 5 : Linking Theories to Practice

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David Nussbaum

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 theyve 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; doesnt 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, its not just what the penalty might be but also what are the chances of being caught. If theres like a 1% conviction rate, then might do crime. Most ppl that commit crimes dont sit there and think about them altho theres 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 arent really a big issue 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 dont think thru long- term consequences of their actions Ex) drinking and driving dont have control over vehicle you hurt yourself and others; even if ppl dont care about others, even if caring about self, this action doesnt make sense b/c you yourself could get hurt Impulsive cognitive style o Although one approach to changing criminal beh involves more cognitive approaches (sit down and think about costs/gain), most criminals dont approach life or decisions to commit crime or not on such a cognitive level Punishment vs. rehabilitative approaches 1 PSYC39 Lecture 5: Linking Theories to Practice PY Date: Oct 15, 2012 o In the old days, justice was seen as retribution youve 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 doesnt 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 doesnt work effectively as a deterrent for the same reason that positive reinforcement wont work in that situation o One of the problems with punishment (aside from whats the probability of getting punished) is that ppl know that the punishment wont 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 dont which is why its 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 that 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 didnt 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 2PSYC39 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 dont 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; dont 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 dont fear o Rehab of offenders This is where CDN system actually leads the world Most risk tools originated in Canada whether its 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 p
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