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Soc 2700 questions 1 and 2.docx

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University of Guelph
SOC 2700
Norman Dubeski

Soc 2700 - Midterm 2 1. Discuss the central ideas of contemporary classicism (deterrence, rational choice, and routine activities) in criminological theory, What role do there theories play in the way we perceive crime? What distinctions and similarities exist between each theory? Use examples from lectures and readings in your answer. Contemporary Classicism ▪ umbrella for several theories ▪ motivation and choice in crime ▪ controlling peoples behaviours ▪ what are the way people choose to commit crime/ be deviant Core Ideas ▪ People are rational calculators ▪ am i going to get caught? ▪ we all have free will ▪ make their own choices ▪ no ones forcing your to commit crimes ▪ people choose behaviours ▪ people also fear punishment ▪ methods of crime prevention ▪ Criminal code/ courts structured in specific way Deterrence Theory ▪ Draws on classical ideas ▪ importance of rationality ▪ punishment can deter crime ▪ will stop people from becoming criminals at all ▪ general deterrence ▪ we see others being punished, so don't do it ▪ becomes a warning signal ▪ "you will get caught" ▪ pat of human nature ▪ specific deterrence ▪ for offenders that have gone to jail ▪ occasional deviance/ small crimes ▪ does it work on long-term offenders/repeat offenders? ▪ 3 dimensions of punishment: severity, certainty, and swiftness (or celebrity) ▪ harshness of punishment ▪ long- term punishment for serious crimes ▪ likelihood of being caught ▪ how quickly will law catch up with you vs. when you commit the crime (time factor)? ▪ main goal: to reduce crime and stop it from happening at all ▪ criminologists study how the criminal choices people make are affected by their perceptions of whether they will be caught and punished Debates about deterrence ▪ effective of deterrence-based policies ▪ teenagers don't think about future consequences ▪ YCJA ▪ rational thought doesn't kick in 100% of time ▪ do they increase or decrease crime? Rational Choice Theory ▪ ties to classicism ▪ people are rational by nature ▪ rational calculators ▪ "economic" ideas of behaviour ▪ maximization of benefits/rewards ▪ a void costs of crime -offenders are "rational" in the decisions they make (they choose crimes that offer immediate gratification, the require little effort to complete , and that expose them to scant risk of detection and arrest) Rational Choice and Crime ▪ Sanctions can be informal or formal ▪ Benefits can be tangible (money), or intangible (thrill, peer respect) Routine Activities Theory ▪ developed by Cohen and Felson ▪ assumes rationality of offenders ▪ motives of offenders ▪ for crimes to happen ▪ condition 1: motivated offenders ▪ if there’s an opportunity an offender will take it ▪ condition 2: suitable targets ▪ homes, cars, big screen TV, valuable items, easy to move. ▪ condition 3: absence of a capable guardian ▪ no one there to guard property ▪ changes in lifestyle determine crime levels -theorists tend to see crime emerging from the routines that people - whether offenders or the victims- follow as they go about their daily lives. What is a suitable target? ▪ value (iPods, iPads, notebooks) ▪ inertia (can it be moved quickly? ) ▪ visibility (location) ▪ access (quick getaway) How does Routine Activities explain crime? ▪ importance of work and leisure ▪ structure of the family (divorce) ▪ importance of "hot spots" of crime Similarities of these theories: ▪ criminality is something that develops over time ▪ these theories focus on that conditions that surround people as they are raised in disorganized communities, are ineffectively parented for years, spend their youth in schools that prostrate them or are unable to earn their commitment, associate with delinquents in gang, perhaps are incarcerated for a lengthy tenure ▪ crime- the actual behavioural act of breaking the law - is implicitly assumed to be inevitable and thus not in need or any special explanation ▪ these theories are concerned with crime and not with criminality and what is occurring in the presen
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