Lecture 10 Reading Notes
November 30, 2010
oWas on death row (“hell on earth”) for 12 years and was exonerated 5 days before he
was supposed to be executed.
oAlready had mental issues to begin with.
oWas wrongfully accused of rape and murder.
oGuards would harass him in the middle of the night for fun− imitating the victim’s
voice, asking him why he did it etc. He kept talking about hearing voices and people
thought he was crazy.
oEventually won money but will probably never fully recover from his time in jail. He
says he’s ready to die.
oWent to college, was honourably discharged from the army. He was accused of rape
and went to jail for 10 years and was paroled but kept trying to prove his innocence.
oIs actually a success story. Goes to law school during the day and works at night.
oHe testified in front of the senate which resulted in a bill being passed to compensate
victims of wrongful compensation ($25 000 for each year)
oStill lives in fear of police though and no longer believes in the system.
Chapter 10: Radical Criminology
•When radical criminology first emerged in the 1970s, it appeared to be a contradiction in
terms. Criminology had previously been associated with political conservatism, while the
sociology of deviance was more “radical”
oHowever, the term was meant to reflect a movement away from traditional
criminology, while avoiding what seemed to be the limitations of the sociology of
oThis change was produced by “radicalized” students, who in the late 60s experienced
the Vietnam War, racial conflict, feminist consciousness, new forms of drug use etc.
oNeo-Marxist philosophers reinterpreted Marxist theory as a response to the current
issues and the inability of capitalism to solve them. By contrast, the work of Matza,
Becker, Merton, and Cohen seemed too conservative and old-fashioned
oFurther, the popular theories during the 50s and 60s couldn’t explain “deviance of the
powerful”− white collar or corporate crime. Taylor, Walton, and Young accused these
theories of “predicting too little bourgeois and too much proletarian criminality”
•Taylor, Walton, and Young (1973) argue that criminology is missing a fully social theory of
deviance, and use Marxism as a model for one.
oThey criticize the following in previous theories:
Classical criminology and its neo-classical variant (rooted in Hobbes, Locke,
Bentham and the utilitarian tradition) are criticized for being “incapable of
reconciling forms of inequality rooted in property relations and the extent of
rationality to those who offend the law”
Positivism is criticized for using scientific terms to study the offender, but
failing to provide context of social inequality that frames the offence
They disagree with the view of Durkheim as a functionalist who argued that
deviance is necessary for any society to survive. They argue instead that
Durkheim meant that deviance is only functional for societies that lack organic