WDW370H1 Youth Justice
January 30, 2012
Term paper now due the 26 th
10 page library research paper –
APA citation style
Focus on 3 main things: public concern or political attention that has recently been given to
topic, things that appears in press, magazines, television, concerns about gangs, drugs, etc
introduce paper as launching pad for what you’ll be talking about.
Looking for policy implications based on paper, how can findings that you’ve discovered, how
can it better inform CJ policy or critique what’s currently in place? Reflect on this towards end of
paper (paragraph or two).
Finally, paper is analytical and not descriptive, make research question and formulate thesis
statement that you stick to throughout the paper. Starting off general and making it more
Test next week – 2 hours
- 2 parts
- Part one will be something around 20 multiple choice questions based on lecture and
readings, worth 1 point each
- Part two will be essay questions, choice between any 2 of three essay questions –
based on course readings and lectures. Worth 15 points each for a total of 30.
- Test is out of 50.
- Essay question, two sides, single spaced
Last week clarification –
Student surveys how to get prevalence out of incidence measures –
How would you come up with prevalence measure? (Qualitative measure where you’re grouping
population into two) based on that definition what would be a prevalence indicator/measure for
males and females who answered the question whether or not they were involved with stealing
something over the past yea – those who have and those who haven’t. – Breaking group into
those who have and those who haven’t
Incidence measure, how would that be calculated
85% of high school students said they had a drink in the past year (prevalence), what you don’t
know is are they drinking once a year or once a day – ask on occasion how often they drink
then you get more detailed assessment of who is drinking and when. How many of the 85% just
drinks once? Incidence is able to get at the details.
Crime rates are often calculated as one or the other
Prevalence will always be a ratio measurement
Explaining Youth Crime
Something Criminologists have been doing for a long time. Three perspectives that can be used
to explain youth crime
- Based on what we read what might be some examples? – Declining morals, demon
worship where criminals were thought to be possessed by evil spirits, Beccaria and
Bentham – founders of classical school, their ideas are important but they are not
scientific. What does it take for a theory to be scientific? You need data and
observations. Perspectives had no systematic observation so the idea of the classical 2
school by Beccaria and Bentham – what was their understanding of crime? There was
no systematic understanding for what causes youth crime in comparison to adult crime?
Up until later there were no laws explaining/differentiating offenders and crime.
- Basically human being’s were organisms whose main goal in life was to maximize
pleasure and minimize pain. They argue you need some level of realistic deterrent to
balance this out. At time really harsh crimes – so they said you need to have
proportional crime to severity of offence. They were trying to think of a rational calculus –
in utilitarian times – greatest good for the greatest number of people. But they did not
base it on systematic observations. They were more philosophical. Key thing is there
was no separate way of thinking of youth crime. Most crime was considered to just be
subject to adults.
- Then came in Lombroso who did a lot of scientific work in the sense that he counted and
measured things. He believed criminals were evolutionary throwbacks – atavism: stage
akin to a biological throwback. Criminals were not seen as being evolved as far as non-
criminals. What evidence did he use to support that contention? Body types, physical
abnormalities, he compared prisoners with those in the military. He noted criminals had
certain facial feature and structure. In a sense then, criminals were born and had no
control over criminal tendencies. Still no attention given to youth separated from adults.
He did make some distinction between why men and women are criminogenic than
females and for females involved in crime what makes them unique? ** look in text.
o Police will criminally profile based on how people look
o Key thing Lombroso can be criticized on is there is no such thing as atavism –
there are no atavists in the population. Secondly his methodology – looking at
military and men in prison based these differences on explanation of criminality.
What was wrong with that deduction? Criminals may look a certain way because
they were in jail for periods of time. So these body types could be a product of
conditions in jail than anything else. Biological criminology did not end with
Lombroso. Began to flourish by mid 20 century
- Twin studies: Nature vs. nurture – identical twins have identical DNA so is criminality
genetic? Compared to those with twins who were not identically. Thinking they would
find that if one was criminal the other would be as well. Research found very little
differences between the two.
- Sheldon – psychologist interested in germ plasma and how it affected body type.
According to him there were three body types:
o Endomorphs - soft, overweight, not particularly violent or criminal
o Ectomorphs – thin, fragile, not involved with crime
o Mesomorphs – muscular, extraverts, more likely to involve in crime.
- A lot of thought surrounding idea that you can identify a criminal based on body type
- Sheldon and Eleanor Gluech study – Some of their work supported work of Sheldon
saying body type is linked to crime. If you want to be in a gang you had to be tough for
example so that could possibly explain why body types of mesomorphs come up more
frequently among criminals. This look could be just as much social as it is physical,
people construct these looks to present themselves in a certain way.
- Today there’s a lot of thinking that would still suggest for young people that criminals are
born not made. Some examples of youth who don’t have a lot of control over being
criminal – ADHD, kids are hyperactive, may not be their fault – this is a biological theory
of crime. Brain injury – a lot of the kids have had brain trauma who are involved with
crime. Their behaviour can be very sporadic and it is a result of the brain injury. Led
poisoning, Fetal alcohol syndrome – all biological explanations of crime that are common
place today 3
- Problems with biological theories is sometimes they’re hard to prove and often there is
no causal explanation, correlation but not cause
- Crime is seen as something that people are born with and social environment isn’t
considered to play a big role. On the other hand sociological and psychological thinking
believes environment can play huge role in criminal behaviour
60’s and 70’s psychological views on criminal behaviour
- Social learning theory – crime is learned, copy cat, things like video games are seen to
be more prone to crime because of this copy cat effect. Early theory of this was done by
Bandura. Kids in control and experimental group – watch violent show vs. not violent and
then have them gather in a room with Bobo dolls. Kids who watched violent tv were likely
to be more aggressive towards bobo dolls. Concluded that kids model what’s going on
and that can lead to aggressive behaviour. But how can you apply laboratory settings to
real world? Bobo doll effect wore off so no, it doesn’t necessarily translate in the real
world, and it’s more immediate response to watching violence.
- Freud’s theories
- Most from a psychological perspective looks at very early years. Family is seen as key
here – kids who are abused and subject to a lot of violence.
- Early sociological theories did focus on youth
- Chicago School – Thrasher and Shaw and McKay – they did look at young people so
their perspectives are formulated on observations of young people in Chicago
- Thrasher wrote a book called the gang – study of gangs in Chicago and he interviewed a
couple thousand gang members and concluded that these were normal boys living in
abnormal situations. In other words it was the abnormal environment that these people
were living in that sort of made gang life attractive.
- A lot of this thinking relates back to the work of Durkheim – he felt that society through
controls and through pressures has a great influence on behaviour. To what extent does
Durkheim’s work influence CS*
- Shaw and McKay – crime statistics in Chicago. Looked at Chicago and they would map
where crime was committed. They were using official police statistics. What they found
was that if you were sort of to map crime that the majority of police calls and police
reported crime was concentrated in the ring around what they termed central business
district – linked to work of Burgess who came up with concentric zone theory.
- Concentric zone theory – cities grow in an organic function, using Chicago as an
example they found that cities start small and expand. Loo