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SOC 2760
Rob Shearer

1 SOC 2760  Final Exam Course Reader Notes Pozzulo et al (13 questions) Homicidal Offenders Nature and Extent of Homicidal Violence  Canadian criminal law recognizes four different types of homicide: first-degree murder, second-degree murder, manslaughter, and infanticide  First-degree murder includes all murder that is planned and deliberate – also includes the murder of a law enforcement officer or correctional staff member, or a murder occurring during the commission of another violent act offence  Manslaughter is unintentional murder that occurs during the “heat of passion: or because of criminal negligence  Canada‟s homicide rate peaked in the 1970s and gradually decline from 1975- 2003  Increased in 2004 and 2005, reaching its highest points in nearly a decade, but appears to be generally decreasing again  Additional details relating to homicide in Canada include: o Canada is seeing a steady rise in gang-related homicides o Gun-related homicides have also been on the rise since 2007 o The rate of female homicide victims is decreasing o Homicides are more likely to occur in the Western provinces than the Eastern provinces Bimodal Classification of Homicide  Kingsbury, Lambert and Hendrickse (1997) proposed a bimodal classification scheme for the study of aggression and homicide in humans, in which homicides are classified as reactive aggression or instrumental aggression  Reactive aggression: violence that is impulsive, unplanned, immediate, driven by negative emotions, and occurring in response to some perceived negative provocation (affective violence) o Occurs among relatives  Instrumental aggression: violence that is premeditated calculated behaviour, motivated by some goal (predatory aggression) o Occurs among strangers 2 Filicide: When Parents Kill  The killing of children by their biological parents or step-parents; includes neonaticide (killing a baby within the first 24 hours) and infanticide (killing a baby within the first year of life)  Child murder in Canada is uncommon  In 2004, 55 children and youth under the age of 18 were killed – lowest rate since 1974, but the murder of children still accounted for 9% of national homicides  62% if these homicides were perpetrated by family members, and 85% of these homicides were committed by a parent  The father was the perpetrator in 59% of homicides against children, while 32% involved mothers  Some studies have found that stepfathers are more likely to kill a child than are biological fathers  The proportion of step-parents accused of killing their stepchild in their family has increased in the last decade, with 14% of all parents accused of killing their child between 1995 and 2004 being the child‟s stepfather or stepmother Mothers Who Kill  Stanton and Simpson (2000) reviewed these and other studies of child murder and concluded that there are three broad types of maternal filicides: o Neonaticides Those who kill their child within the first 24 hours of birth, are typically young, unmarried women with no prior history of mental illness, who are not suicidal and who have concealed their pregnancies, fearing rejection or disapproval from their families o Those committed by battering mothers  killed their child impulsively in response to the behaviour of the child – have the highest rates of social and family stress, including marital stress and financial problems o Those committed by mothers with mental illness  likely to have killed other children, to have multiple victims, and to be diagnosed with psychosis or depression o Altruistic filicide  mothers who kill out of love – mother‟s delusional beliefs that the child‟s death will somehow protect the child Infanticide and Mental Illness  Three types of mental illness have been identified during the postpartum period o Postpartum blues  most common, which includes crying, irritability, and anxiety, beginning within few days of childbirth and lasting from a few hours to days but rarely continuing past 12 3 o Postpartum depression  occurs within the first few weeks or months after birth and usually lasts several months – symptoms are identical to clinical depression and include depressed mood, loss of appetite, concentration and sleep problems, and suicidal thoughts o Postpartum psychosis  most severe type of mental illness that has been associated with childbirth – involves delusions, hallucinations and suicidal or homicidal thoughts within the first three months after child birth Fathers Who Kill  Rarely commit neonaticide  Paternal filicides are often described as fatal child abuse – have higher rates alcohol abuse and previous criminality  Familicide: the killing of a spouse and children o Almost always committed by a man, and is often accompanied by a history of spousal and child abuse prior to the offence  Wilson et al. (1995) described two types of Familicide murderers: o The despondent non-hostile killer  depressed and worried about an impending disaster for himself or his family – kills family and then commits suicide o Hostile accusatory killer  expresses hostility towards his wife, often related to alleged infidelities or her intensions to terminate the relationship Youth Who Kill  83% youths aged 12-17 were accused of homicide in Canada in 2006  Juvenile homicide rate remained relatively stable over the past decade  Corder, Ball, Haizlip Rollins and Beaumont (1976) compared three groups of youths o Ten youths charged with killing their parents  more likely to have been abused, to have witnessed spousal abuse and to report amnesia for the murders o Ten youths charged with killing relatives or acquaintances o Ten youths charged with killing strangers  Darby, Allan, Kashani, Hartke and Reid (1998) examined the association between family abuse and suicide attempt, in a sample of 112 adolescents convicted of homicide o Abused youth were younger, more often Caucasian and more likely to have attempted suicide prior to the homicide than the non-abused youth 4  Cornell, Benedek and Benedek (1987) developed a typology of juvenile homicide offenders based on the circumstances of offences o Psychotic – youth who had symptoms of severe mental illness at the time of the murder o Conflict – youth who were engaged in an argument of conflict with the victim when the killing occurred o Crime – youth who killed during the commission of another crime, such as a robbery or sexual assault Spousal Killers  Husbands are more likely to kill their wives than wives are to kill their husbands  Femicide: the killing of women  Uxoricide: the killing of a wife by her husband  Matricide: killing of a husband by his wife  In 2008, 62 spousal homicides occurred in Canada, with women‟s victimization rates three times higher than men‟s  Crawford and Gartner (1992) found that 551 (62%) of the femicides were uxoricides – high incidence of the perpetrator suicide following the murder o Found that the most common motive for uxoricide was the perpetrators‟ anger over either estrangement from their partners sexual jealousy about perceived infidelity  Wilson and Daly (1993) found that recent or imminent departure by the eventual victim was associated only with a husband killing his wife not with a wife killing her husband  Campbell, Webster and Koziol-McLain (2003) found the following factors increased risk for homicide: offender access to gun, previous threats with a weapon estrangement, and the victim having left for another partner Serial Murderers: The Ultimate Predator  Serial murder was first coined in the early 1980s  Definition: the killing of a minimum of three people over time. The time interval between the murders varies and has been called a cooling-off period. Subsequent murders occur at different times, have no apparent connection to the initial murder, and are usually committed at different locations 5  Characteristics of Serial murders (Hickey, 2006) o Most serial murderers are male o Most serial murderers operate on their own o Most serial murderers in the US are Caucasian o Victims of serial murderers are usually young females who are not related to the murderer. However, the age and sex of a victim can vary Female Serial Murderers  Serial killings by women are extremely rare  Female serial killers are either “black widows”, those who kill husbands or family members for financial gain, or “angels of death”, nurses who kill their patients  Female serial murderers are more likely to have no prior criminal record, have an accomplice, use poison, kill for money and kill a family member or someone they know Typologies of Serial Murderers  Holmes and Holmes (1998) proposed four major types of serial murderers: o Visionary  a murderer who kills in response to voices or visions telling him or her to kill – most likely to be diagnosed as delusional or psychotic o Mission-oriented  a murderer who targets individuals from a group that he or she considers to be „undesirable‟, such as homeless people, sex-trade workers or a specific minority group o Hedonistic  a murderer who is motivated by self-gratification  Lust murderer  motivated by sexual gratification  Thrill murderer  motivated by excitement associated with the act of killing  Comfort murderer  motivated by material or financial gain o Power/control oriented  a murderer who is motivated not by sexual gratification, but by wanting to have absolute dominance over the victim  Criticisms: o There is considerable overlap among categories o The typology‟s developers have failed to test it empirically  Keppel and Walter (1999) o Power-assertive o Power-reassurance o Anger-retaliation o Anger-excitement 6 Mass Murderers  Definition: the killing of three or more victims at a single location during one event with no cooling-off period  Examples: School shootings at Columbine and Virginia Tech  Mass murderers are much more likely to commit suicide or get killed by police during the killing rampage than are serial murderers  Are often depressed, angry, frustrated individuals who believe they have not succeeded in life  Often described as socially isolated and lacking in interpersonal skills  Often feel rejected by others and come to regard suicide and homicide as justified acts of revenge Theories of Homicidal Aggression  Trauma-control model (Hickey, 2006): the model suggesting that a multitude of factors are involved in predicting who many be predisposed to commit serial murder  Social learning theory o Aggressive behaviour is learned the same way non-aggressive behaviour is, through the process of reinforcement  Evolutionary theory o The focus in evolutionary theories is on how crime can he thought as adaptive behaviour, developed as a means for people to survive (and pass on genes) in their ancestral environment o Homicide emerged as one approach to best competitors who were competing for limited resources, and modern humans have simply inherited this strategy from their successful ancestors  General Aggression Model o General theory of human aggression in that is integrates a number of domain-specific theories to explain the emergence of all types of aggression o First component is referred to inputs, which refer to biological, environmental, psychological and social factors that influence aggression in a specific social encounter o Input variables are thought to influence cognitions, emotions, and arousal, and these three routes are also thought to influence on another 7 o These internal states in turn influence behavioural outcomes through a variety of appraisal and decision processes o Some of the outcomes reflect relatively automatic, impulsive actions, whereas other actions are heavily controlled and thoughtful in nature o These outcomes influence the social encounter, which has an impact on the inputs of the next social encounter Treatment of Homicidal Offenders  The treatment of homicidal offenders has not received the same degree of attention as the treatment of sexual offenders  Given the serious consequences of their actions, it is remarkable that so little attention has been given to the development and evaluation of treatment programs for violent offenders, including offenders who have committed homicide  Many treatment programs are designed to target some or all of the following factors: anger (and emotions) management, self-regulation, problem solving, interpersonal skills and social attitudes  A variety of other programs are also used to intervene with violent offenders  When it comes to the effectiveness of these treatment programs, there are few well-controlled evaluations – there have been some attempts to recently fill the gaps with meta-analysis techniques  Jolliffe and Farrington (2007) designed a recent meta-analysis to evaluate treatment effectiveness for violent (male) offenders specifically o Included eight studies which treated and untreated violent offenders were compared and they calculated an effect size to determine the impact of treatment o In each of these studies, violent reoffending (in addition to general reoffending) was used as the outcome measure of interest o Positive effect sized indicated lower rates of reoffending in the treated group and negative effect sizes indicated higher rates of reoffending in the treated group o Results indicated that the treatment programs that they examined were effective in some extent, though the effect certainly wasn‟t very large o Found that not all violent offender treatment programs were equally effective  Beyond the content of intervention, other factors had an impact on the effectiveness of treatment included features of study, the delivery of intervention, and the methodology of the study 8 Pridemore (10 questions) Recognizing homicide as a public health threat: Toward an integration of sociological and public health perspectives in the study of violence Recognizing homicide as a public health threat: Toward an integration of sociological and public health perspectives in the study of violence  Many sociologists and criminologists are struggling over issues that public health counterparts have already recognized  Both sides are wasting important scientific energy because they are either unaware of the other‟s literature or too-discipline centered  Several researchers have recognized the importance of violence as a public health problem, and public health officials are beginning to come abroad  Sociologists and criminologists have recognized the importance of public health approaches  This article is meant to encourage debate over the potential benefits and drawbacks to the integration of criminology and public health The Burden of Violence  1996: The World Health Assembly declared violence health and concern o Interpersonal violence and war-related deaths constituted nearly ¼ of injury related mortality worldwide  Interpersonal violence alone is the third leading cause of death in the injury category o Males suffer this fate at a disproportionately higher rate than females  Excess mortality due to violence disproportionately influences a population‟s life expectancy o Victims of violence tend to be younger than those dying of internal causes o It is often a leading cause of total years of potential life lost  Intentional violent injuries contribute substantially to overall mortality worldwide  There is accumulating evidence that direct and indirect exposure to violence in childhood is a risk factor for o Delinquency o Violence as an adult o Mental or other health problems  High rates of violence create fear, uncertainty, and stress among community members. This affects: o Individual health o Social cohesion 9 o Social institutions  Families of the victim and the convicted offender also suffer the psychological anguish and economic burdens associated with the death or incarnation of a love one o This affects emotional health  There are enormous costs associated with the private public response to violence. This includes: o Physicians o Hospitals o Prisons o Police and protective services o Annual cost of gun violence in US  100 billion  Homicide is thus an avoidable cause of death that can be mitigated with concerted policies and prevention techniques  Adding a public health perspective to this work will be beneficial in translating what we know about the cause of violence into effective practices for its reduction and prevention Nations and Populations with High Levels of Excess Mortality From Lethal Violence  1990: Estimated 560,000 homicides world wide (10,5 per 100,000) o Interpersonal homicides accounted for 30% of all violent deaths  Age and gender specific homicide rates were highest for: o Young men age 15-29 o Females age 0-4  High rates of female infanticide are likely the result of the relative devaluing of the lives of girls/women in certain cultures Two Examples of the burden to specific population of homicide  Violence related morbidity among African Americans in the US is recognized as a serious public health issue in the 1980s/90s o Homicide is the #1 killer of Blacks aged 15-24, with an age-specific rate of 55 per 100,000 o This is a cause for concern among public health officials  Russia o First, homicide mortality in Russia was not as low as previously advertised by Soviet Officials, and recent research comparable to the US for at least 35 years 10 o Second, during the transition years, violent death became one of the main components of the sharp reduction in life-expectancy among males in Russia  The Russian homicide rate tripled between 1988-1994 o Homicide victimization rates also show a curious age pattern, with men and women in their 30s, 40s, and 50s, more at risk of homicide victimization than younger ages  Rate for men 30-5- more than 75 per 100,000  This rise certainly qualifies as a serious health threat among Russian citizens, especially working age men Integrating Sociological and Public Health Perspectives Sociological Criminology  The main goal of sociological criminologists is to develop causal theories from past observations and empirically evaluate their validity  Theory construction and testing, together with policy and intervention analysis, might be the main roles for sociologically oriented criminologists in an integrated approach to the prevention of violence  Most criminologists and sociologists believe that examining group-level and community characteristics is vital to understanding the patterns and antecedents of homicide rates  Interpersonal interactions are often conditioned by the location and social setting in which they occur, normative expectations and behaviour responses vary from place to place  However, social features have never committed a homicide o Individuals commit homicide and are victims too  Thus, long term goals of sociologists who study homicide include o How structural factors operate to cause higher homicide rates in certain areas o How these group-level effects translate into risk and protective factors for potential homicide victims and offenders  Much knowledge about homicide developed by criminologists and sociologists mirrors that developed by public health researchers o Multiple level causation o Structural covariates of health outcomes  Finally, complex interactions effects: those infected with a disease-causing agent are not at equal risk of developing a conditions, just like all individuals and 11 families with similar levels of poverty don‟t face the same risk of homicide mortality o This is a clear example of how place and social structure matter Public Health  Although they are external in nature, violence related morbidity and mortality are less a threat to physical and mental health  A main public health goal is harm reduction, not just scientific knowledge  Public health has a tradition of focusing on individual risk and protective factors  There has been a shift in public health toward realizing the role of the social environment in the incidence and prevalence of morbidity and mortality  Main Contributions of Public Health to the study of Violence o An emphasis on and commitment to violence prevention o Prevention strategies that are based on sound scientific evidence o Acting in an interdisciplinary manner to integrate information from several fields and use it to create efficient, cost-effective and complementary responses o Providing effective health services that mitigate the physical and psychological injuries of victims of violence o A commitment to recognizing the important role of communities in responding to violence  Public health perspective in action oriented, its main goal is analysis of scientific evidence to improve injury prevention and violence reduction  To carry out the contributions outlined: o Create a surveillance system: outline/identify the problem o Discover risk factors: identify causes o Develop and test interventions: what works? o Implementation and evaluations: what works, where and how? Conclusion:  The article suggests that violence is a serious health threat in many populations and that it has extensive negative physical, emotional, social and economic consequences 12  Homicide is an external cause of death that exhibits consistent demographic, temporal and spatial patterns. In other words, homicide is not necessarily a random event but instead is a patterned cause of death with antecedents that can be empirically determined.  Homicide is a preventable form of mortality, and the burden of violence can be minimized via public health interventions, especially among those populations with high levels of excess mortality resulting from it.  Public health has a history of successfully applying scientific knowledge to implement efficacious intervention strategies that involve changing institutional and individual behaviours that are difficult to influence  The traditionally interdisciplinary approach of public health provides the tools to discover both individual and social risk and protective factors and develop effective intervention strategies that can reduce the public health burden of violence  Despite difficulties in doing so, an integration of the sociological/criminological and public health perspectives should be synergistic, allowing us to improve our understanding of and response to the heavy burden of homicide and other types of violence 13 Fox et al (8 questions) Explaining the Will to Kill  Pg. 27: table with all theories summarized Why do people kill one another?  Society cannot make informed policy decisions and create successful violence intervention and prevention programs without first attempting to understand the causes of violent behaviour o If homicidal acts are learned/reinforced, prevention policies would be very different than if the primary causes of violence are biological  Except for life and death consequences, there's little different between homicide and aggravated assaults o Have similar offender/victim race, class, gender and age characteristics The devil made me do it  Before the 1800s there were two major schools of thought about the causes of criminal behaviour  1) supernatural or spiritual explanations (demonic possession) o Left a legacy or irrationality, resulting in thousands of witch hunts and execution o Examples of cases – Rayoung Kim, Amora Carson (p. 8)  2) By the mid-eighteenth century, the supernatural phase of explanation and its history of chaos, injustice and torture have way to the classical school of thought based on the presumption of free will (ppl are responsible for their decisions/actions)  Claims of satanic influence – “the devil made me do it” – continue to be present in many US murder cases each year and remain a convenient explanation for what we do no understand o Examples - Lindsey Kasinger, Irenia Cotner and Joshua Bennett (p. 8/9) Back to the classics  In response to the irrationality, anarchy, and injustice of the supernatural phase of explanation and its punishment methods, a school of thought emerged in the 14 eighteenth century that viewed criminal behaviour (incl. homicide) as a product of free will, a rational choice o Led to classical criminology  Fundamental premise: crime is a rational choice made by the offender, who chooses to kill with free will o Believed human beings to have a “mental calculator” that they used to determine “is this murder worth it” etc.  Government officials believed that in order to prevent crime, criminal codes, laws and punishments should be created so that each person, knowing the risks, would decide that crime does not pay o For each offense, therefore, there would be a fitting and proportional punishment  Many factors can affect out decisions and choices : alcohol, drugs, anger, mental illness o The classical school lost favor in part bc of its rigid orientation toward punishing the crime and ignoring individual circumstances  Made a comeback in 1970s retooled as “rational choice theory”  Pamela smart (p 9), Wanda Holloway (p 10)  Most research on homicides illustrates that they are unlike the planned, premeditated murders discussed, and are actually rather spontaneous, seemingly irrational events o Jack Katz on “senseless murders”  Argues that the killers in these cases are often defending their own moral worth and social status  Must consdiuer the emotional benefits of murder as part of the offenders‟ crim calculations  Serial medical murders: research shows they get a thrill from taking their patents lives – they get to play God and decide who lives/dies and it makes them feel superior 15 Using science to explain violence th  Emerging in the late 19 century was positivism – as reflected in biology, psychology, sociology and economics – which employed scientific observation and measurement to explain criminal behaviour o Shift away from rational choice/free will towards determinism o Positivists believe that external factors cause criminal behav/murder  Criminology is a “soft” science – there are no certainties, just likelihoods and probabilities Biology then and now  Earliest biological theories of criminal behaviour focused on body constitution, heredity and intelligence o Studying physiognomy (study of facial features) and phrenology (bumps of the head) etc. as clues of criminal behaviour  Cesare Lombroso 1876 Italian physician – father of modern criminology o Advanced the premise of “born criminal” o Suggested that criminals were atavistic – they are a throwback to an earlier, more primitive evolutionary stage of human development, a notion heavily influences by Charles Darwin o Identified that criminals show outward signs of their differentness (stigmata), such as long arms, large ears and slopping foreheads o Theory has long been discredited  Other research suggests that criminal tendency (although not necessarily visible from physical characteristics) is an inherited condition that persists through generations of offspring o 1940s William Sheldon suggested that the
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