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SOC 1500
Scott Brandon

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Week 1: Defining Crime, Criminal and the law Hagan’s Pyramid Consensus Crimes: Crimes that are considered to be more visible. Mala in se: means wrong in themselves CONFLICT CRIMES: controversial ones. ex: prostitution, drug use, porn Mala Prohibita: only considered a crime because its written down ex:weed 1) Objectivist Approach  Social organization is built around the notion that most members of society agree on what is right and wrong, and that the various elements of society work together toward a common and shared vision of greater good.  Characterized by four principles: 1. A belief in the existence of core values. 2. The notion that laws reflect the collective will of the people. 3. The assumption that the law serves all people equally 4. The idea that those who violate the law represent a unique subgroup with some distinguishing features. 2) Subjectivist Approach  Maintains that conflict is a fundamental aspect of social life itself and can never be fully resolved.  Viewing crime as a label. Without the label, there is no crime.  Those with power get to decide whether or not an action is a crime  There is a conflict between those with power and those without.  Four characteristics 1. Society is made up of diverse groups. 2. Each group holds to differing definitions of right and wrong. 3. Conflicts between groups in unavoidable 4. The fundamental nature of group conflict centres on the exercise of political power 5. Law is a tool of power and furthers the interests of those powerful enough to make it. 6. This in power are inevitably interested in maintaining their power against those who would usurp it. The Link Between Deviance and Crime. Deviance- behaviour that violates social norms or is statistically different from the average  Some forms of deviance are not criminal, and vice versa. Legal Statute: outlines offences that are considered a crime.  In Canada, We have violent crimes (any crime that’s physical), property crimes (theft), administrated offences (court order offenses, if you lie while on the stand in court), drug and traffic offenses.(relate to driving a vehicle. Actions in a vehicle) 3 major forms of the law must be distinguished: Civil law: deals with arrangements between individuals, such as contracts and claims to property. Criminal law: Regulates actions that have the potential to harm interests of the state. Because the state is made up of citizens, acts that are harmful to citizens of the state are fundamentally criminal in nature. - Indictable offenses: Serious criminal offence. Include murder, robbery, sexual assault, hostage taking, perjury, and passing counterfeit money. Typically carries a prison sentence 14 years or longer. - Summary conviction of offence: a criminal offense that is less serious than an indictable offense; one that carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail. Includes making indecent telephone calls, causing a disturbance in a public place, or loitering. - Hybrid Offence (duel-procedure offences): a criminal offence that can be classified as indictable or as a summary conviction; the classification is usually made by the Crown Attorney. Incudes pointing a firearm, driving while disqualified, and uttering death threats. Administrative law: Regulates many daily business activities. Violation of such regulations generally results in warnings or fines, depending upon their adjudged severity. Crown Attourney’s:  The state  Most of the work a crown attorney does is in the courtroom. They decided which cases get dismissed. They say what sentence someone receives (routine work)  Lawyers that are responsible for preparing and prosecuting cases for alleged criminal and quasi- criminal offences occurring within a province in which they are employed.  CCRF- make sure they know the Canadian charter  Burden of proof always falls on the prosecutor. The prosecutor has to prove that you are guilty with the exception of possession.  Responsibility of the state to provide evidence to prove your guilty  Screen and disclosure – occurs when the prosecution receives a brief of the allegations from the agency responsible for laying the charge to charges Defence  Defence are those who represent people who are accused of a crime  Defence lawyers do most of their work outside of the courtroom  Routine work: advise client on how they should proceed. Will explain the procedures to the victim.  Surety: someone to provide bail and under supervision by someone else  Trial: very few cases dont make it to trial. If theres a trial, there are two stories from both points of view (crown and defence) called narrative  Two types of defences: o Factual - Defences that challenges the crown, judge, police investigations. Ex: eye witnesses o Legal- You can use in court. Written in criminal code. They asses whether it is criminal and/or your case is dimissed or you get reduced charges  LEGAL DEFENCES: o Mistake: mistake of fact not ignorance of the law. Honest error. o Self- Defence: We have a right to protect our own life. Any reasonable person will try and do this. Under very strict guidelines. You can only use equal force. In Canada, the argument is no more force that’s necessary. In Canada, you cannot use force to protect your property. In the USA, you can. o Duress: You have no free will, so you commit the crime without wanting to. You are forced to commit the crime. o Necessity: you needed to commit a crime to ensure the well being of the other person ex: speeding because you have someone in labour in your car o Consent: you can consent to be a victim of crime. There are exceptions. If you spit on someone, you are consenting the other person to commit a crime. o Provocation: partial defense. You will get a lesser penalty. Understood that a person is provoked beyond the tolerance of a reasonable person. Ex: walk in room, spouse is having an affair, and you physically assault them. You were provoked to hit them. o Intoxication: May reduce penalty. If you voluntary intoxicate yourself it is no longer a defense. Exception: You can't use it for vehicle offences o Insanity: It’s a legal insanity defence not a psychological defense. Temporary insanity is not legal in Canada. o Automatism: sometime referred to non-insane automatism. You are acting without free will. Ex: sleepwalking, engage in something because of a head injury o Entrapment: engaging in behaviour’s you otherwise wouldn’t of done ex: drug dealing, prostitution. Undercover cops. Human Trafficking: based on supply and demand. two ways that occur is through organs and prostitution. Selling body parts/ people. Cyber Crime: the computer is used as a tools or object. Use of the internet to commit crimes Ex: child porn, theft, sale of humans online, As an object, this is when new crimes are created are created and spread to cause habit. Crime Control verses Due process  The crime control model stresses the importance of controlling crime and favours providing criminal justice professionals with considerable powers for responding to crime. Crime control advocates would support giving police wide powers to search suspects, enter people’s houses, and detain persons accused of a crime.  The due process model limits the powers of the criminal justice system to prosecute accused persons. Advocates argue that if the State is not subject to some limits, society will become intolerable, as people will be subjected to constant surveillance and police interventions. Therefore we create certain rights that are respected.  Criminal justice system and funding:  Computer crime:  Charter rights (pros and cons): Week 2: Researching and measuring crime  Applied Research: scientific inquiry that is designed and carried out with practical application in mind.  Pure Research: research undertaken simply for the sake of advancing scientific knowledge.  Primary Research: research characterized by original and direct investigation.  Secondary Research: new evaluations of existing information collected by other researchers.  Scientific research can be divided into four stages: 1. Problem Identification.  Name the problem/issue to be studied.  Can be selected for various reasons.  The way the research problem is stated will help narrow down the research focus and serve as a guide for data gathering strategies.  Much contemporary research in criminology is involved with testing hypotheses.  Hypothesis: in this day it can serve two purposes. 1) An explanation that accounts for a set of facts and that can be tested by further investigation. 2) Something that is taken to be true for the purpose of argument or investigation.  A hypothesis must have measurable variables.  Variable: a concept that can undergo measurable changes 2. Research Designs  Research Design: the logic and structure inherent in an approach to data gathering.  Doesn’t always eliminate a third variable.  Confounding effects (rival explanations, also called competing hypotheses, which are threats to the internal or external validity of any research design.) by others, make the results of a single series of observations unclear.  Controlled Experiments: those that attempt to hold conditions (other than the factor we are studying) constant.  Quasi-Experimental Designs: approaches to research that, although less powerful than experimental designs, are deemed, worthy of use when better designs are not feasible. 3. Techniques of Data Collection  Surveys: a social science data gathering technique involving the use of questionnaires.  Case Studies: an investigation into an individual case.  Useful for what they can tell us what to expect about other similar cases.  Participant Observation: a variety of strategies in data gathering in which a researcher observes a group by participating, to varying degrees, in the activities of the group.  Self-Reporting: Research investigations of subjects in order to record and report their behaviours.  Secondary Analysis: the reanalysis of existing data. Can save people a lot of time and expense 4. Quantitative vs. Qualitative Methods  Quantitative Methods: Research techniques that produce measurable results o Anything expressible in numbers must somehow be more meaningful than that which is not.  Qualitative Methods: research techniques that produce subjective results or results that are difficult to quantify. o Important for the insight they provide into the subjective working of the criminal mind and the processes by which meaning it accorded to human experience. Values and Ethics in the Conduct of Research  Data confidentiality- An ethical requirement of social scientific research that stipulates that research data not be shared outside of the research environment  Informed Consent: an ethical requirement of social scientific research that specifies that research subjects will be informed as to the nature of the research about to be conducted, their anticipated role in it, and the uses to which the data they provide will be put.  Frank E Hagan suggested a code of ethics: o Avoid procedures that may harm respondents. o Honor commitments to respondents and respect reciprocity. o Exercise objectivity and professional integrity in performing and reporting research. o Protect confidentiality and privacy of respondents. The Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (UCR)  Definition: a summation of crime statistics tallied annually by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (CCJS) and consisting primarily of data on crimes reported to police.  Provides a standardized procedure by which police departments can collect information about crimes that come to their attention and then report this information to Statistic’s Canada, Specifically to the Canadiand centre for Justice Statistics (CCJS).  Includes data in the following areas: o Information on victims: age, sex, level of injury, type of weapin causing injury, alcohol use, drug use. o Information on the accused: age, sex, type of charges, drug/alcohol use; o Information on the circumstances of the incident: type of violation, target of violation, types of property stolen, dollar value of property affected, dollar value of drugs confiscated, type of weapon presented, time and type of location of the incident.  Strengths: o We can help compare across place. o We can compare it to other countries because each country collects data in the same way. o Consistant from year to year  Weaknesses o There are unreported crimes, known as dark figure of crimes o To assume that all these police services are recording their crime statistics is not realistic. o The UCR counts only the most serious offence in the incident. Most serious offence is determined by the maximum sentence length. o The UCR records the number of incidents in terms of number of victims. If one person assaults two people, two incidents are recorded. But if two people assault one person, only one incident is recorded. o The consistency of definition Victimization Surveys  Done every 5 years through stats canada. It will ask people who are 15 or older.  Provides data on surveyed households reporting that they had been affected by crime.  Some of the general q's are whether the person has been personally been a victim of a specific crime in the past year. Also asked if any other member of their household was a victim. What’s the worst crime that’s happened to them? Crime that’s happened to someone else in their household. Describe the nature/ consequences of the crime. What was their experience? also ask if they reported to police. If they didn’t, why didn’t they?  Strengths o Got to see which are the under reported crime. Sexual assault is the most unreported. o Info about why people don't report crimes.  Weaknesses o Memory: relies on peoples memory. not might recall some events o Interpretation and knowledge: depends on how people understand what being victimized is about. If they don’t think that they've been a victim then they wont report it. Relies on knowledge of being a victim of crime. o Also limited: doesn’t ask if someone’s been victimized by their company (aka white collared crime) They don’t ask q's about gambling, drug abuse, alcohol use etc. o Some people are more likely to report victimization surveys than others. Some respondents don’t want to discuss it Self-Report Studies  A data collection method requiring subjects to reveal their own participation in criminal behaviour.  Strengths: o The accuracy of this research approach is predicated on the honesty of the respondent. o Lack of standardized data collection methods. o Certain crimes are more likely to be captured in police data than others. o Class: poor are overrepresented in our crime stats. Regardless of class, most respondents said that they have committed some type of crime. Content Analysis:  Social Dimensions: aspects of crime and victimization as they relate to socially significant attributes by which groups are defined, and according to which individuals are assigned group memberships. o Negative correlation between being a victim and age o Correlation does not imply a causation – spurious o Correlates of crime- those variables observed to be related to criminal activity such as age, gender, ethnicity and social class  Age is one the strongest correlates with committing crime— biological explanations involving hormones  crime rates peek from age 15-19 then decline globally.  we could predict when we had high levels of crime.  Demographics can tell us when we will have higher and lower crime rates.  Gender- males account for over 80% of crime  Males are stronger and have more physical ability to do things and they have more psychological personalities to commit crimes.  Men and women are socialized differently.  Women are socially controlled differently.  Opportunity: because females are more controlled, they don't have the same opportunity to commit crime.  When women commit crimes- more likely to be followers than leaders  Role of convergence- female behavior takes on that of men  Ethnicity- Canada does not report on the racial and ethnic makeup of offenders.  The only exceptions are aboriginal and non aboriginals.  Aboriginal offenders are discriminated against, yet they don’t commit that much crime compared to other ethnicities.  In the us, they systematically report the race and ethnicity. They have white, African-American, Hispanic, and other. Minority populations are over represented as suspects, victims.  Social class- members of lower social classes are more prone to commit crime  Correlation between lower socio-economic status, and criminal activity. Explaining Crime  We have different theories about explaining crimes.  A theory helps give understanding to people who commit crime.  Concepts are the building block of theory.  Variables: concepts that vary. They can be measured or observed.  Independent: influencing something in some way  Dependent: the outcomes  Hypothesis: statements that tries to link separate variables Classical School 5 reasons why people behave: 1) Hedonism: you want pleasure. You want things that feel good. People seek pleasure and avoid pain. We can calculate the risk of our behaviour 2) Free will: everything we choose to do, we want to do it. 3) society operates under a social contract: we give up our hedonism for social order. We want social order more than our own pleasure. 4) Punishment: Our punishment should be justified. Should be used for us to use our rational thought 5) We should be based a society on utilitarianism. Greater good for the greatest number of people. We should only act in ways that bring about the greater good Punishment: It is appropriate when…. 1) People shouldn’t benefit from crime. No profit. 2) Seriousness of the offence should have a more serious punishment. 3) Should have discouragement against all parts of crimes. Not just serious ones. 4) Should never be more than the value of the offence to the offender. Should mean something so that punishment has value to the person. 5) You need the same consistency across similar or same offences. Deterrence: We deter people from committing
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