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CRIM 2650
Anita Lam

1. Recap: Beccaria’s legacy  Contemporary deterrence theory  Contemporary rational choice theory (people are rational actors and they think crime pays. Useful explanation for explaining instrumental crime, but not expressive crime)  Routine activities theory (examine the structure of criminal opportunity)  Crime prevention: reduce attractiveness of criminal opportunity  Increase effort needed to commit crime  Decrease reward for committing crime  Increase risk of formal sanctions or punishment  Increase risk of informal sanctions (people care more when their significant others are angry over their behaviour, than about the reactions of the cjs) *Video on routine activities theory has a deterrent effect because he says “you don’t have to confess we will come looking for you” Re-evaluating Lombroso (father of criminology)  New English translation of Criminal Man—dismissal of Lombroso’s work by many criminologists. Racist and sexist assumptions that are no longer in favour of our society  Renewed criminological interest in the stuff that animated Lombroso’s research agenda  Brain abnormalities in skulls—related to brain deficiencies and psychological deficit.  Life course persistent offenders— criminality can be classified; there are different criminal types (the born criminal is a forerunner for theories like life course offenders—disproportionate offenders that cannot be deterred by punishment) Psychopaths as well.  Evolutionary psychology— atavism can be seen as foreshadowing the same concerns held by contemporary evolutionary psychologists. They are interested in how our social behaviours like aggression are by- products of adaptation and natural selection.  Data chart by Rushton: 3 biological species: blacks, whites, and Orientals. Brain size as a proxy for intelligence. Smaller brain size: deficient mental capacity. Majority of criminals are less intelligent than the average person. Europeans fall in the middle, and orientals fall on only 1 good side. The problem with this is that it only looks at biological factors, and it reduces race to a biological concept, and it is an argument of biological determinism, and it is not supported by empirical evidence. 2. Lombroso and positivist criminology  Positivist (modern) criminology has 2 elements: 1. Belief that human behaviour is a function of external and internal forces beyond individual control (how were you brought up by your parents, and what is your biological make up)  Vs. free will (classical criminology) –we can choose to commit crime  Positivists would disagree with classical criminology because we cannot choose to do anything.  Deterministic theories—all behaviour is determined by internal and external factors. People are predisposed to committing crime in the first place  Lombroso is a biological deterministic theorist  Impact on criminal responsibility—it made jurists rethink the amount of criminal responsibility that’s necessary in order to justify punishment.  Under classical criminology: we can punish you because you CHOSE to commit crime. But under positivistic, it is hard to punish. Therefore, we do not deter all offenders under the same punishment. Deterministic theory and criminal responsibility  Mentally disordered offender  Section 16 of the Criminal Code:  Section 16(2): Everyone is presumed to not suffer from a mental disorder (we assume that your are rational and chose to commit crime and that is why we punish you, unless you can prove that you are not a rational actor, and you need to be considered a mentally ill offender)  Section 16(1): No person is criminally responsible for an act committed or an omission made while a) suffering from a mental disorder that rendered the person b) incapable of appreciating the nature and quality of the act or omission, or of c) knowing that it was wrong Lombroso and positivist criminology 2. Use of scientific method to solve problems and the use of empirical methods to test hypotheses 3. Both classical and positivists are rationalists however they use it differently. Positivist moves from normative to scientific theory. He finds dead prisoners to measure their skulls and various characteristics. He starts a new type of science called criminal anthropology.  Philosophy  science  Criminal anthropology—combined study of human race and criminality. He would count and classifphysical abnormalities.  Establishes criminologist as expert on criminality— the skulls have no meaning for themselves, so what he did was he made the criminologist an interpreter for the skulls for meaningful signs of criminality.  Phrenology—scientific practice and assumes that the various bumps on a person’s head and skull were related to that persons intellectual and personality traits. Concluded that criminals have more cranial abnormalities.  Physiognomy—assumes that an individual’s external corporal features such as their body type of facial characteristics mirror the person’s internal moral stakes. Unattractive people are more likely to criminal. For example, in animated films, the princess is attractive and the villains are not.  Inductive reasoning—the bedrock of science. When you draw general rules from the observation of numerous individual cases. He looks at 66 individual skulls as different cases and from the skulls he makes a general conclusion that on average, they have an indentation on the base of the skulls. Social contract (Beccaria) vs. evolutionary theory (Lombroso) • Free will determinism • Similarity difference • Universal specific (differences between groups) • Criminal Inclination criminality as abnormal, but normal (because it exists in the world of nature) Darwin would say that within each species, there are variations between people and those variations are important because they give those people an important advantage for reproduction. Therefore evolutionary theory assumes individual difference/abnormality. However, social contract does not look at these differences; it assumes we all have similarities. Not all groups are at the same stage of evolution, so they shouldn’t be treated in the same way. Becarria ignored sex, age and other factors. But Lombroso would say you need to consider age and sex because they play an important role in why people commit crime, and it should be taken into consideration in how each individual should be punished. Criminality is natural  Richard Wrangham and Dale Peterson: Demonic males: Apes and the origins of human violence (1997) criminality may be natural, but it is not socially acceptable . Lombroso and social defence  “I do not agree with those famous jurists [e.g. Beccaria] who argue that all offenders should go to prison because they freely choose to break the law.
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