Exam Review: Short Answer
Lecture 5: Drug Crime
1. Talk about the role of moral entrepreneurs in influencing US drug policies.
Compare how drug policies were formed in the US, UK, and Canada.
The role of moral entrepreneurs is to determine which behaviors are
criminalized. The most powerful use law to stigmatize the less powerful. Moral
entrepreneurs define conditions as offensive and harmful, enforcing rules and
providing enforcers. Moral entrepreneurs are groups that find certain behaviors
offensive and encourage society to make that behavior illegal. An example of a
moral entrepreneur is MADD. They are a group that find drinking and driving
offensive and encouraged politicians and legislators to make laws against it and
make punishments more severe. This labeling process is not always fair. The least
influential members of society are most often caught and labeled deviant. When
looking at the formation of drug policies, the policies differ in the US, UK, and
1) United States: The public opinion or the medical opinion does NOT shape drug
policy, influenced by treasury department in 1925, could give small dosages to
patients with drug addiction to relieve stress. Things like cocaine were actually put
in products (1925)
Federal bureau of narcotics: created by Harry Anslinger (moral entrepreneur)…
after FBN was established in 1930, any physician to prescribe drugs would be
2) United Kingdom: Drugs are used for medical use, in 50’s U.S pressured U.N to
demand an international ban of heroin, Britain turned into a drug free economy in
3) Canada: Anti-opium legislation passed in 1908: Mackenzie King’s investigation
let to the opiated used by the Chinese to be illegal. Medical doctors insisted on
treating drug addicts as ill but the general public saw them as criminals. The RCMP
convinced the public that they could wage a war on drugs. The Mountie drug squads
became leaders in the moral crusade within Canada.
2. What ideas does Hackler advocate to reduce drug crime?
Hackler advocates normalizing drug use instead of commercial forces
glamorizing drug use. Hackler believes advertising drug use should be banned and
educational advertising should be put in place. He believes small amounts of drug
possession should be decriminalized (harm reduction approach) and that heroin
should be available through prescription.
3. What did Desroche find in his study of higher level of drug trafficking in
Traffickers use friendship, kinship, criminal business and ethnic networks to
select partners, employees, suppliers and distributors. Drug groups are small. 2
Leaders hire risk takers so they can protect themselves from dangerous activities
such as crossing the border. Peripheral/fringe members are more vulnerable to be
arrested; they are within businesses who ship drugs across borders, include
lawyers, accountants and bankers whose job is to launder money, conceal its source
and invest in profits. Drug syndicates are small because it is difficult to corrupt
officials and the larger the group, the more police attention. Small drug trafficking
businesses reap millions of dollars in profits. The competition for drug trade is high
in Canada and the divisions of labor keep it alive.
4. Why do people become drug dealers and addicts according to strain theory?
Or according to social ecology theories?
Black youths: May be more represented in drug subcultures
Native people’s: Abuse of alcohol, limited access to other things
(a) Merton: Crime is structured by the lower-class phenomenon – which results
from strain created by a gap between culturally structural means
Five types of adaptation - Conformity, Innovation, Ritualism, Retreatism, Rebellion
(b) Cloward and Ohlin: Different types of illegitimate opportunities three different
types of gangs or subcultures: criminal, conflict, retreatist
(c) Albert Cohen: Schools: ‘middle-class measuring rod’-reversing middle-class
standards, subcultures form as a result of a hostile reaction to the strain
experienced by the lower-class youths
(d) Messner and Rosenfeld: American culture emphasizes monetary success,
weak emphasis on the importance of legitimate means = crime
(e) Kobrin: Opportunities differ in different communities
(f)Hagan and McCarthy: Street life - illegitimate opportunity structure - criminal
capital in those areas
Social Ecology Theories:
(a) Shaw and McKay: Socially disorganized neighborhoods lead individuals to
commit crime. This continues within a given area because of cultural transmission.
Crime: Results from the failure of neighborhood institutions and organizations such
as families, school, and churches to provide adequate social controls.
Crime is high among blacks: Because majority of blacks live in those areas where
the probabilities of anyone committing a crime are high.
Changing deteriorated neighbourhoods would reduce crime
(b) Thrasher: Gangs arise in city slums (economic inequality, and where social
controls are weak)
(c) Sampson and Wilson: Crime is concentrated among the underclass in inner-
city neighborhoods (poor)
(d) Bursick and Grasmick: Economic forces such as de-industrialization and the
“flight of the affluent” (white vs. black) from inner cities, leaves these neighborhoods
lacking their most skilled members, and what remains is the most disadvantaged
groups of minority populations – crime is an alternative means of attaining
economic goals 3
5. How did the structure of society influence drug addiction for the following
four groups: African Americans, Irish, Native, disadvantaged women.
1. Recent history of Ireland > Alcohol problem
2. African Americans in North America
3. Native People in Canada
4. Disadvantaged Women
Lecture 6: Violent Crime
1. What do biological or psychological theories say about why people commit
violent crimes? What solutions do they advocate?
People commit crime due to brain damage; could be caused by convicted parents,
lower IQ’s, abuse, low brain serotonin, high testosterone levels, mental issues such
as psychopathy, schizophrenia or major depression all caused from brain damage
and can lead to crime.
James Q. Wilson and Richard J. Herrnstein (1985): Bad families produce bad
children and your culture or ethnic background has a biological basis- example:
Japanese introverts, American- extroverts… cause more crime
Criticism of Wilson and Herrnstein’s Theory: Skin color is strongly influenced by
genetics, but must we conclude that unemployment, doing poorly in school, and
crime are explained by black skin? History of slavery, racial prejudice, and blocked
employment opportunity has contributed to that correlation.
Extra notes: In the 1930s, Hooton, a Harvard anthropologist, concluded that
criminals represent an aggregate of sociologically and biologically inferior
individuals. In the 1950s, William Sheldon related particular body type (i.e.
endomorph, ectomorph, and mesomorph) to particular kinds of criminal behavior.
He found that the muscular mesomorphs were the type that were most likely to
become involved in delinquent or criminal behavior. The policy implications of
some of the biological theories, culminating in the eugenics movement and policies
such as involuntary sterilization made biological theories unpopular. However, in
recent years, biological theories have once again become scientifically and politically
respectable. These theorists propose that factors, such as brain damage, epileptic
disorders, and endocrine disorders are direct causes of criminal behavior. The
individual is made a delinquent by predisposing forces within the individual
operating beyond his control. Biological theories consider the direct effect of
physical and physiological processes on behavior and the indirect effect of
environment on the brain whose processes then control behavior. Some people are
“born criminal” or inherit a predisposition to crime which may become manifest
when the individual is exposed to certain “triggering” environments. Humans are
determined by biological forces beyond individual control and that our behavior
reflects a prewritten code. Many of the early theorists believed that there was no
free will. These theorists study the offender or criminal rather than the offense or
crime. They identify the defective biological attributes, such chromosome balance,
hormone imbalance, or genetic makeup that make some people prone to deviate
under certain environmental conditions. 4
Motivation to commit delinquent acts.
1. Psychoanalytical theorists (i.e. Freud)
2. Moral development theorists (i.e. Piaget, Kohlberg)
3. Personality theorists (i.e. Eysenck)
4. Social learning theorists (i.e. Bandura)
5. Operant conditioning theorists (i.e. Skinner)
6. Psychopathy theorists (i.e. Cleckley, Hare)
Criminal offender categories: psychotic, psychopath, neurotic
• Antisocial Personality Disorder: psychopathy – examples - Ted Bundy,
Criticisms: They are not paying attention to environmental factors or social factors,
mentally ill criminals: only a small percentage of the total criminal population
No reliable method of distinguishing between normal and abnormal minds
Personality as a cause of criminal behavior
Biological and psychological theories – too simple of answers
2. Subcultures of Violence – What is it? What do Wolfgang and Ferracuti mean
about subcultures of violence. Provide 1-2 examples of subcultures of
Wolfgang and Ferracuti (1967): homicide is most prevalent among
relatively homogenous/mixed in subcultural groups in most large urban
communities. They are well integrated into a group of people who accept
violence as the norm – create subcultures of violence, where men are
expected to defend their honor with weapons
Own words: violence is mostly revolved around smaller subcultures within
larger communities where they have been taught violence is a sign of defense
and they accept it as the norm. specifically, men are expected to fight to
honor their weapons and possessions
(1) Prison subcultures
(2) School girls who beat up other girls may fit this pattern (Artz)- the
girls beat up other girls because they acted inappropriately and deserve it.
3. According to Phillips, what conditions fostered a subculture of violence for
Julie Phillips (1997) focusing on African Americans summarizes three
theories that may also explain homicide in Canada:
1. Social control: When forms of social control such as family and
communities are weak, they are less able to restrain violence in the family
2. Discrimination and inequality: Increase in discrimination and inequality,
higher level of frustration = violence
3. Limited economic opportunities: Violent activity may be a rational act for
blacks faced with limited economic opportunities. 5
4. Discuss Archer and Gartner’s two theoretical models that explain the impact
of war on homicide.
Dan Archer and Rosemary Gartner (1976): Wars contribute to violence.
During major wars, crime rates are lower. After a war, there are factors that
might lead to a reduction of violence, but the return of young males might
increase violent crime.
Archer and Gartner – two theoretical models explain the impact of war
1. Catharsis model: Wars substitute public violence for private violence.
Homicide would decrease during and after the war.
2. Legitimation of violence model: Social approval of violence as a way of
solving problems reduces inhibitions against taking human life. Wars
legitimate killing people. This model predicts increases in homicide in
Lecture 7: Property Crime
1. Is stealing all a rational or pleasurable behavior? What does Shavoer, Katz,
Cohen, Catz/Nettley say?
Neal Shover (1996): People growing up within poverty areas, have a poor
upbringing and do not realize the importance of school and working hard to
receive rewards. Thus they go out and party… when they are in need of
money they resort to stealing because they do not see other alternative.
These people do try to get out of their habits but see no other option and
usually end up being penalized (POVERTY=PARTY=STEALING)
Jack Katz (1988): Rational choice perspective, material needs are
insufficient to account for the fascination with theft.
Albert Cohen (1955): For many criminals crime is fun. They steal for the
“hell of it.”
Katz (1988) and Nettler (1982): Committing crime excites. Monetary gain
as the principal reward cannot account for robbery, or for most other
property crime. Robbery is risky and, from a rational standpoint, a
dangerous, difficult, and not an easy way to make a living. Those who persist
spend time in jail and face considerable risk, but sensual attraction comes
from the excitement, thrill, pursuit, satisfaction of forcing others to bow to
2. Why do people commit property crime according to social control theories?
Give an example of 1-2 theories to illustrate your point.
Social control theorists: Social bonds to institutions such as family and
school constrain crime. Social controls are learned, and were it not for these
controls, we would all be lawbreakers. Ineffective external socialization
can result in weak controls of behavior. Parents can work as a deterrent to
criminal behavior in their children or they can lead them to commit crime
(depending on parenting style). Criminal parents may provide a model of
aggression. For those who are successful in school and who enjoy their 6
educational experience, school makes them less likely to engage in
1) Reiss (1951): If social controls and personal controls are absent,
delinquency will result.
2) Nye (1958): Family is the most significant group in the development of
social controls. Children who came from families that were close and in which
there was agreement on basic values were unlikely to be delinquent.
3. Why do people commit property crime according to strain theory, or social
ecology theory. Provide 1-2 examples.
Strain theories and Subcultural theories
(a) Albert K. Cohen (1955 – Delinquent Boys: The Culture of the Gang): Schools -
“middle-class measuring rod” – standards needed to lead one to success in
the middle-class world, and lower-class children may have difficulty meeting
these standards. Adult role models from the lower classes provide different
set of norms.
(b)Merton (1938): Crime is normal, deviant adaptations to structural strain.
Crime is a symptom of the gap between culturally prescribed aspirations and
the socially structured means for realizing their aspirations. In America,
having money and wealth is a universal goal. Socially structured avenues
such as schooling and occupation mobility are the accepted institutional
means of reaching such goals, but these avenues may be only attainable for
some members of society, such as the middle- or upper-class youths. Not
everyone can reach these higher levels of success due to situations such as
poverty or racial discrimination in education and employment. To fix this we
must consider five goals: 1) Conformity; 2) Innovation; 3) Ritualism; 4)
Retreatism; 5) Rebellion (CHRIS IS REALLY, REALLY RED!)
Social Ecological Theories
(a)Shaw and McKay: Crime’s greatest near the center of the city. Crime is a
product of socially disorganized neighborhoods. Crime is an
environmentally structured choice for those seeking to survive in socially
disorganized neighborhoods. Delinquency and gang subcultures continued in
the neighborhoods all throughout history, no matter which ethnic group was
dominant. In these communities, families and schools do not provide social
control. Delinquency continues from generation to generation in this
community (known as cultural transmission). Crime is high among blacks
because the majority of blacks live in those areas where the probabilities of
anyone committing a crime are high. Changing deteriorated
neighborhoods would reduce crime. (SHAW AND MCKAY-POOR AREAS
DEVELOP THROUGH OUT TIME)
(b)Thrasher (Gangs – 1963): Gangs arise in city slums, characterized by
physical deterioration and inequality, and where social controls are weak. 7
Lecture 8: Corporate Crime
1. Why do people commit corporate crime according to strain theory and give
an example of a strain theorist (or rational choice theory, mutualization,
Strain theory says that Lower-class crime is caused by failure to achieve success’ goals,
while upper-class crimes arise from an over-commitment to success goals.
Braithwaite (1979): Affluent white-collar professional and corporate executives
perceive themselves as never making sufficient profit. More powerful people
become white-collar criminals because of vast opportunities and very little risk.
Additional Theories Mentioned:
Rational Choice Theory:
Hirschi and Gottfredson (1987): Apply rational choice principles to white-
collar crime to develop a general theory of crime. They argue that all crime is
motivated by rational self-interest. White-collar crime involves crimes of the
rich and powerful, committed in the course of an occupation, in which a
position of power, influence, or trust is used for the purpose of individual or
White collar crime is no different from any other crime, personal profit!
Cressey (1953): Showed how embezzlers consider their action in advance
in order to decide whether they will likely be able to justify it afterward
should they be subject to questioning.
This theory believes people will commit the crime if they can justify their
actions. Example; cheat on income tax, they say “everyone cheats on their
Snider (1993): Corporate crime does more harm, costs more money, and
ruins more lives than assaults, thefts, and rape.
Critical theorists call attention to crime committed by the powerful.
Capitalism increases crime, including crime by corporations because of
the pressure to make profits
2. What are the different legal solutions that we can implement to deal with
1) Improve working conditions and w