Class 2: What is Criminology?
January 17 2012
What is criminology?
• Discipline that studies the making of law, the breaking of law and the punishment of law
• Criminology: an interdisciplinary profession built around the scientific study of crime and
criminal behaviour, including their form, cause, legal aspect and control.
• Crime: Human conduct in violation of the criminal laws of a jurisdiction that has the power to
make such laws, and for which there is some form of authorized sanction.
• Three important definitions of criminology are (1) disciplinary, (2) causative, (3) scientific.
• Criminality: a behavioural predisposition that disproportionately favours criminal activity
3 definitions of criminology
1. sociology of law
2. criminal etiology or the scientific analysis of the cause of crime
3. Crime Control
• Criminal Law: body of specific rules regarding human conduct which have been prologated by
political authorities which apply to uniformly to all classes of societies in which the law is
preferred and is punishment
• Civil law: Body of laws that regulates arrangements between individuals, such as contracts and
crimes of property.
• Indictable offence: a serious criminal offence (murder, robbery, sexual assault, hostage taking);
They carry a prison sentence of 14 years or longer.
• Summary Offence:Acriminal offence that is less serious than an indictable offence such as
causing disturbance, trespassing; These offences carry a maximum penalty of 6 months in jail
• Dual Offences/Hybrid Offences:Acriminal offence that can be classified as indictable or as a
summary conviction; the classification is usually made by the crown attorney.
• Substantive Law: Law that creates, defines, or regulates rights and duties
• Procedural Law: Law that prescribes the procedures and methods for enforcing rights and duties
and for obtaining redress.
• Politicallary , specificity, uniformity, pineal sanction
• Violation of criminal law
• Criminal law is a crime against the state
Define & Understand Crime
1. Must have external consequences or harm (mental and emotional state is not enough)
2. Harm must be strikly forbidden and written down (law)
3. Extreme reckless action or inact that causes the harm of others
4. Mens rea (intention)
5. Actus rea (the act itself)
6. Causal relationship between forbidden harm and the harm that is caused
7. Legally prescribed punishment Origin of criminal Law
• Durkime said it was normal to have societies that commit deviant/ criminal acts
• Criminal behaviour is pathological in nature
• Every society has crime
• Classical Theory:
1. transitions- the avenger must announce intention to seek revenge
2. must get permission from group to get revenge