W6 WDW 370H.docx

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Woodsworth College Courses
Sandra Bucerius

W6 WDW 370H Theories of youth justice Early perspective:  Early, there wasn’t much of a difference in terms of age (youth, adolescents and adults).  Classical school: linked to the work of Beccaria and Bentham [crime was understood to be seen a cost benefit analysis- they cost of committing the crime would of would not outweigh the benefits]  Any clear distinction between why young people or adult would commit crime/ people were seen as rational actors.  Biologist Lombroso had influential work: people are not really rational, and work of classical school was more philosophical then empirical/ o Theory that criminal were different then none criminal (biological inferior, not as evolved, lower on the evolutionary scale) o Atavism: someone not as evolved. Empirical evidence came from prisoner and soldiers (they had different body type evidence) o Didn’t last very long  no real state of Atavism and no cause of effect (what makes you look the way you look)  This led to more sociological explanation of criminal behavior. Durkheim [saw deviance as a social construction/ society is a series of institution that exist to control behavior/ social pressure were very influence in trying to predict or understand criminology … still no focus on youth  Chicago school: first to consider youth crime. Adapted Durkheim to the American context. o Thrasher: wrote book “The gang”, trying to understand the gang behavior in Chicago from a Durkheim perspective/ based on taking to gang members, concluded that these young men, were psychologically normal but growing up in abnormal social context as Shaw and McKay called social disorganization [lack of stability, characterized by poverty, high level of migration]/ kids were disadvantaged/ pressure of being in social disorganized environment can have an impact on criminal involvement o Burgess: concentric zone theory [society as are organism] and McKay using this model, and found cities naturally evolve into a number of zones (zone of transition and this area according to police stats where youth crime was the highest) Strain  Focus on youth wrongdoing and youth crime. At the time called anomie theory (term used by Durkheim). Merton advances that crime is called by a lack of social norms. o Why are norms linked to crime? To understand how crime happens, you have to understand why social norms are broken o According to Merton: you have to consider 2 factors: every society has a dominant sort of structural goal system (more or less shared by the most of society), and there is a means structures (the way to achieve those goals)  so the kind of means used to achieve those goals and it was incongruent and led to crime o Inequality comes with people who don’t apply themselves (argues Merton)/ and if you have access to legitimate means, you can achieve those goals  but if you don’t have the means to achieve those goals, you find yourself in a situation of strain [striving to get what you want and engage in innovation and find alternative means to achieve those goals- such as steal, criminal tools o A social structural theory of crime, and area with low social economic status have highest crime  SES is the indicator of crime, and measure crime through official data [used by both Chicago and strain perspective New variation in Strain theory  Agneu general strain theory: talk only about young people and kids in
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