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L3 2650.docx

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York University
CRIM 2650
Anita Lam

Lecture overview: beccaria’s legacy  Recap  Beccaria’s impact on contemporary criminological theory and research  Deterrence theory  Rational choice theory  Routine activities theory: Lawrence Cohen and Marcus Felson (1979)  Policy implications: situational crime prevention: and crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) –put in to place necessary thing to prevent crime like in yonge and dundas square, architecture is designed to prevent criminality, with building al around with buildings facing the center. 1. Recap  Enlightenment  to a more rational approach to punishment  Utilitarian approach: crime defined as harm to society (rather than morality)  All equal before and under the law, since we all gave up the same amount of liberty  Crime prevention: deterrence.  Laws need to be publicly available in order for deterrence to work. Needed to be written in clear language, so that people knew what was wrong from right. Recap  Severity of punishment should be proportionate to the severity of the offence  Punishment needed to be swift, certain, and not overtly severe  No consideration of offender’s intent (mens rea) becarria is not interested in the guilty mind. There is just a guilty act. He doesn’t consider the offenders intent because if we based the severity on the intent of the offender, different offenders have different intents, and God is the only one who can truly figure out peoples intent, and thirdly, because having a criminal inclination is normal. You do not consider the offender as abnormal so there’s no reason to be rehabilitated.  No rehabilitation—because he doesn’t consider the offender or their intent  Classical criminology 2. Beccaria’s impact on contemporary criminological research  Empirically testing deterrence theory—scientific theory  General deterrence—these 3 proposes that they will decrease crime  Celerity (speed) of punishment  Certainty  Severity A. Celerity of punishment  Court delays—can slow down punishments  2007: an average of 9.2 court appearances before charge is brought to completion in Ontario courts—9.2 appearances before you are sentenced  Average of 205 days before one criminal case is completed  Celerity of law enforcement  Toronto Police homicide clearance rate in 2010— police solve crimes that lead to arrest. With 60 homicides, they solved 26 of them. Such a low clearance rate shows that the speed of law enforcement is so slow and there is no certainty of enforcement if you don’t solve all the cases B. Certainty of punishment  If the probability of arrest, conviction and punishment increases, then crime rates should decline  Arrest in 30% of all reported crimes  Ambivalent research findings because the certainty of punishment is  Group-specific— when specific groups pay attention to how likely they will be arrested, but not to arrest probabilities to other groups in society  Crime-specific  Justification for greater police resources—we need more police to decrease crime C. Severity of punishment  Severe punishment by itself cannot deter would-be criminals and reduce crime  E.g. Increased mandatory minimum penalties for impaired driving (2008)—short term effect, not long term. For example, if you have a drinking problem, the increase of penalties does not deter your drinking problem.  1 offence: fine increased from $600 to $1000  2 offence: 14 days in jail increased to 30 days rd  3 offence: 90 days in jail increased to 120 days Rethinking deterrence  Perceptual deterrence theory—  Interaction between specific and general deterrence (how they interact)  Informal sanctions—how the cjs punish youths Perceptual deterrence theory  Perceptions of the costs and benefits of committing crime, not objective risks and benefits— assumes that people’s perceptions will lead to certain behaviours  What do you think are your chances of getting caught? What do you think will happen to you once you are caught? If you are certain you will get caught, then its more likely you won’t commit crime.  Mixed results  perception of certainty more important than perception of severity Interaction between specific and general deterrence  People have directly experienced punishment (specific deterrence) and indirectly experienced the fear of punishment (general deterrence)  Vicarious deterrence—watching another person experience deterrence from their parents  Punishment avoidance—you will not experience punishment every time you do something bad.  Cancelling out effect— when you experience punishment, and other people (vicariously) experienced punishment, they cancel each other out. So there is 0 punishment.  Resetting and the gambler’s fallacy— gamblers will gamble and they will lose many times, but they don’t stop playing because they think they will win the next hand. Similarly, an experienced offender gets caught, but he doesn’t stop offending, because he thinks he just had bad luck. Informal sanctions  Significant others express disapproval, anger and indignation toward offender because of the crime you committed. So it’s a form of public humiliation. Informal sanctions increase the cost of crime because they include non-legal costs. There are 4 kinds of non-legal costs: look below  Non-legal costs (see textbook p. 281): stigma of arrest, attachment costs(might lose family members because they think you are a criminal) socially-imposed costs(being embarrassed in social settings) , and self-imposed costs (feel guilt or shame).  Suggests that being embarrassed will deter crime. You care more about what your family thinks about you, than what the police think about you. Rational choice theory: Beccaria’s Legacy  Beccaria: people have free will to choose to commit crime so crime is a choice, and their behaviour can be explained by hedonism (pleasure and pain principle)  Criminal inclination is normal   We are all motivated offenders given the right situation and circumstances  E.g., what is the percentage of men that would commit rape if they could be sure that they would not be caught? (Malamuth et al, 1980) 45% of men would do it.  Self-report to male college students—51% of men said they would rape if they knew they wouldn’t get caught Rational choice theory  Enlightenment: reason vs. passion (binary opposites)  Instrumental crime vs. expressive crime—instrumental crime is rational: people commit instrumental crimes as a means to an end, and to ensure their financial worth. For example, drug related crimes, robbery, and fraud. In contrast, expressive crimes are an end only. They are committed in order to vent emotions like anger. Because expressive crimes are designed to vent emotions, they are sometimes called crimes of passion.  E.g., murder is an expressive crime— even if we increase the severity of punishment, we cannot eliminate murder, because when people are in passion, they are not being r
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