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PSYC 3600 (Community)Chapter 9 Notes.docx

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PSYC 3600
Thanh Nguyen

Chapter 9: Law, Crime and the Community THE TRADITIONAL JUSTICE SYSTEM • Crime rates appear to be decreasing since 2009- those arrested are predominantly white male • USA is at top of world for imprisonment -25% of worlds prisoners. 2 highest- Russia • American journal of community psyc called for increased involvement by community psychologists in criminal justice issues- to examine situational and environmental factors contributing to criminal behavior • Today little involvement by community psychologists Crime and Criminals • A Crime is an intentional act that violates the prescriptions of proscriptions of the criminal law under conditions in which no legal excuse applies and where there is a state with power to codify such laws and to enforce penalties in response to their breach • Psychologists, sociologists and criminologists would turn to ecological or contextual explanations for crime and violence • First factor- availability of guns in the USA/ child exposure to violence- being physically abused heightens risk that child will become aggressive/ Media violence also correlates with violent behavior- APA warns that repeated exposure places children at risk for Increased aggression, desensitization to acts of violence and unrealistic fears of becoming a victim of violence • Urban minority youth are at high risk for crime and violence • Decaying, disordered, unstable, and disorganized communities can contribute to delinquency and crime- may explain why urban minority youths are more prone to crime and violence • Poverty and economic disadvantage are highly related to neighborhood decay and highly predictive of crime and violence. Unemployment also correlates • In decaying neighborhoods –there is paucity of supportive community institutions (eg. religious, social service, and neighborhood organizations) and deprivation of other resources (eg. recreational programs) that help to buffer the deleterious effects of economic disadvantage • Environments contribute to a sense of hopelessness • Parental monitoring – when parents know where their adolescents are and with whom they are spending time, risks for actual violence as well as exposure to community violence are reduced • Strong link between child maltreatment and later crime activity • Other community factors- racial /ethnic prejudice, discrimination, and segregation – racial discrimination leads to fewer opportunities (eg jobs) and less social support from others and thus may lead to crime or violence Jails and Prisons • Traditional – usually entails a crime, followed by arrest, prosecution, conviction, and imprisonment or incarceration of guilty • Philosophy behind incarceration is retribution. Retribution in the legal system is supposed to mean repayment for the crime, but it translates to punishment for the crime- victim has no official role in the process and so is “forgotten” participant • Recidivism is the re-arrest of released prisoners – a way to measure the effective of the imprisonment – 67% re-aressted within 3 years – appears spending time in prison increases the likelihood of reoffending • “criminogenic” factors (antisocial attitudes, criminal associates, impulsivity, criminal history, low levels of educational and job achievement, family history) best predictors for return to jail/prison • Inmates were of minority status- blacks most likely to be incarcerated – number of women in prison has increased • Study- Zimbardo- volunteers to act either as prisoners or guards in a mock prison. Subjects were all mentally health before the study began and randomly assigned to either role.-researchers told the guards “only do what was necessary to keep order”- within days guards became abusive of prisoners- harassed prisoners, forced them into crowded cells, awakened them in night, subjected to hard labor and solitary confinement – so brutal they prematurely ended study • Inmate-to-inmate violence and prison culture is not conducive to successful return to mainstream society • Substance abuse is increasing and sexual violence is on the rise amongst prisoners. Incarceration also creates family instability • Shock incarceration or boot camps run by corrections personnel but resemble intensive army training camps fall short of their goals- reoffending youth in experimental groups (boot camps) committed new offenses more quickly Victims and Fear of Being Victimized • Fear-victimization paradox- those who are most fearful are sometimes the least likely to be victimized • Men are more likely to be victimized, yet less afraid, young urban males especially likely to be victimized yet not very fearful. Elderly more afraid though victimization rate is lower than perceived • Victims of violent crimes, especially those of low economic status suffer alienation, fear and avoidance • People often perceive environments especially urban ones as dangerous- graffiti, unkempt lawns, and other signs of “incivilities”-residents are more fearful because these are signs suggesting neighborhood deterioration • However if neighborhood was perceived as ordered, neither direct nor indirect victimization affected peoples fear • Factors that reduce fear of crime and actual crimes are – attachment to one’s neighborhood and social cohesiveness in a community- availability of social support networks (eg nearby family and friends) ,police presence, high levels of social capital • Victims assistance programs –can include crisis intervention, counseling, emergency transportation to court and support and advocacy during justice process • Victims in most states now have the right of notification of all court proceedings, right to participate and proceedings, right to be reasonably protected from accused, right to input at sentencing and right to info about conviction, imprisonment, and release of offender Enforcement Agencies • Study- use of police foot patrols in violent crime spots- reductions in violent crime found compared to control sites • Community policing involves forming partnerships or collaboration between police and community citizens – to identify problems based on the needs of the particular community and deal with those problems with the cooperation and participation of the residents and related agencies • Seeing police on foot and increased visibility improved the relationships between the police and the public – reduces the perception of “incivilities”, reduces residents dissatisfaction with their community and quality of life and decreased neighborhood disorder and disintegration • Highest crime neighborhoods= less likely that citizens become involved with crime prevention strategies like community policing ADDRESSING JUSTICE SYSTEM ISSUES Primary Prevention • Juvenile “correctional” facilities in large part do not work- recidivism rates as high as 55% - also many youth think their incarceration will not deter future delinquent activity • Community psychologists have a difficult time interacting with these individuals partially because of the subculture that they live in • Research with at-risk youth involved in a caring, consistent adult withstand negative influences such as poverty, family conflict, and impoverished neighborhoods – providing them with successful models for coping and thus influencing the youth’s resiliency • Resiliency- capacity of those who are at risk to overcome those crisis and avoid long-term negative outcomes • Mentor- a caring and responsible adult role model- mentoring can be informal- occurs spontaneously in the form of attentive and caring athletic coaches, teachers, neighbors or clergy- OR formal mentoring- tend to come from youth development, service-learning, or faith-based • Mentors play various roles- tutoring, attending or participation in recreational activities, talking to child about persona
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