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Midterm #2 Review Criminology

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University of Saskatchewan
SOC 227
Adie Nelson

Part B CRIM Classical School (as in the first): one of the first to develop an organized perspective of crimes nature Outgrowth of the Age of Enlightenment Emphasis on rationality Non-empirical, arm chair theory Cesare Beccaria 1761: The Academy of Fists 1764: On Crime and Punishment (with assistance of Allesandro and Pietro Verri) Condemned Catholic church in 1766 Praised by Catherine the Great, William Blackstone, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams Basic Principle 1. Human nature: All beings rational beings, act wilfully and freely 2. Crime related to inequalities in criminal justice system at time judges unbridled autonomy, no consistency/uniformity in sentencing 3. The contractual society and the need for punishment Thomas Hobbes: special contract theory, Beccaria: despotic spirit (constant desire for more, greed), necessary to devise a system of punishment aimed at defending the public liberty from the usurpation of individuals 4. Function of legislatures and judges legislatures to determine punishments, judges to impose set punishments 5. Seriousness of crime: harm done to society focus on acts not actors, no exemptions 6. Proportionate punishment and the utilitarian calculus punishment proportionate and only as severe as necessary to deter The countries and times most notorious for severity penalties have always been those in which the bloodiest and more inhumane of deed were committed, for the same spirit of ferocity that guided the hand of the legislator also ruled that of the parricide and assassin Who made these laws? Rich and powerful men who have never designed to visit the squalid huts of the poor, who have never had to share a crust of mouldy bread amid the innocent cried of hungry, children and the tears of a wife. Let us break these bonds, fatal to the majority and useful to a few indolent tyrants, let us attack the injustice at its source. I shall, at least for a little time, live free and happy with the fruits of my courage and my industryand for a single day of suffering I shall have many years of liberty and pleasure 7. Promptness of punishment spare accused the useless and cruel torments of uncertainty 8. Certainty of punishment e.g., Waldo and Chiricos: undergrad beliefs about certainty of punishment re: petty theft, marijuana use 9. Preventing crime: ultimate end of all good legislation Proposed I. Laws should be clear and simple II. Laws should have the consent of society III. Laws should be published so people will know what they are IV. Torture and secret accusations should be abolished V. Capital punishment should be abolished and replaced with imprisonment VI. Jails be made more humane institutions VII. Law should not distinguish between wealthy/poor, noble/commoners 1 VIII. People should be tried by a jury of his/her peers IX. Where class differences exist between offender/victim, one-half jury; from the class of the offender, one half from the class of the victim X. No person treated as an exemption Beccarias ideas: provided basis for French Penal Code of 1791 Adopted suggestions that: o Crime be arranged in a scale o For every crime, the law should affix a penalty o Legislators should make law; judges apply it o Court only to judge guilt/innocence o Extenuating circumstances not considered o Particular heinousness of a crime not to result in additional penalty How well would our present system fulfill Beccarias proposals? 1. Crime funnel / Crime net E.g., criminal harassment 1993: repeatedly following communicating (via cards, letters, telephone, faxes, emails, etc.), waching a persons home/workplace, and/or uttering direct/indirect threats or promises of violence or forcible intimacy (primarily to deal with abusive exes) Maximum penalty: 5 years/10 years First 5 years of operation: o Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics o N=1,100 charges laid o 19% = dropped o 10% = acquittals o 36% = guilty verdict Of those convicted: o 6/10 probation o 2/10 jail term less than 6 months 1999: N=5,382 (up 32% from 1996) based on 106 police forces (41% of the annual volume of crime) Greater public/police awareness or more common? Female: victims Table 1: Accused-victim relationship in criminal harassment incidents Male victim Male Victim Female victim Female victim number % number % Accused current spouse 3 0.3 115 3.7 ex-spouse 98 10.9 1,134 36.3 current or ex- 49 5.5 482 15.4 dating relationship other family 59 6.6 111 3.6 2 casual 396 44.1 782 25.1 acquaintance business 107 11.9 146 4.7 relationship other known 44 4.9 24 0.8 relationship stranger 104 11.6 225 7.2 unknown 37 4.1 101 3.2 Total 897 100.0 3,120 100.00 1998/99 4000+ cases involving criminal harassment heard in adult provincial/territorial courts 50% led to a conviction (higher than for common assault [29%] but lower than for all other violent offences [55%]) Median length of prison sentences in criminal harassment cases up from 1994/1995 [30 days] to 90 days 2001: 154 Canadian police agencies: o N- 7, 610 incidents o Stalked by a current/former spouse/dating partner: 53% female victims, 26% male victims E.g, Family Violence: demonstration study sentencing outcomes (analysis of police and court records from 1997/98 to 2001/2002) Family members convicted of most forms of violent crimes against spouses/children/seniors less likely to get a prison term Comparison of sentences in violent cases involving a family members v. cases that did not involve a family member o focus: 18 urban areas in 4 provinces: Newfoundland and Labrador; Ontario; Saskatchewan; Alberta Judges handed down prison terms: o 19% of convicted cases of spousal violence o 29% - offenders convicted of other violent offences Spouses less likely to receive prison terms for almost all types of violent crimes Exception - criminal harassment (1/3 spouses v. 1/4 other) Table 2: Sentencing in single-conviction cases of spousal violence and non-spousal violence Prison term Conditional Probation Other sentence % of total cases % of total cases % of total cases % of total cases Spousal violence Sexual assault 28 24 48 0 Major assault 32 5 61 3 3 Common assault 17 1 74 8 Uttering threats 18 2 76 4 Criminal harassment 32 8 56 3 Other violent 46 10 41 2 offences Total 19 2 72 7 Non-Spousal violence Sexual assault 36 15 43 6 Major assault 36 5 47 12 Common assault 21 1 58 19 Uttering threats 25 1 64 9 Criminal harassment 26 5 67 1 Other violent 72 7 18 2 offences Total 29 4 63 14 Note: percentages may not equal 100% due to rounding Child abuse (physical/sexual) Family member convicted of physical violence against children less harsh sentences compared with cases that did not involve family member 15% of convicted family member received a prison term (vs. 28% of convicted offenders who were friends/acquaintances and 23% who were strangers) Opposite true in convicted cases of sexual assault (i.e., family members convicted of sexually assaulting children harsher sentences than other convicted of sexually assaulting a child to who they were unrelated) Almost half (47%) of fam
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