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SOC 227 Lecture Notes Review Test #1

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SOC 227
Fred Desroches

Chapter 1: Crime, Criminals, and Criminology ­ criminology is the body of knowledge regarding crime as a social phenomenon o includes within its scope the processes of making laws, breaking laws and of reacting to the breaking of laws o objectivity of criminology is the development of a body of general and verified principles and of other types of knowledge regarding this process of law, crime and treatment o criminologists take a scientific approach to the study of crime ­ 3 reasons for us to study crime: o social scientists believe that it is intrinsically worthwhile to learn more about all aspects of our social life b/c learning about crime can tell us about society o before we can reduce crime, we have to understand it o crime directly or indirectly affects all of us ­ the consequences of media’s misrepresentation is that Canadians over-estimate the amount of violent crime and have higher fear of crime o the media provides a distorted stereotype of offenders, crimes are usually committed by people we know not really strangers The Disciplines of criminology-includes 6 major areas 1.The Definition of Crime and Criminals 2.The Origins and Role of the Law 3.The Social Distribution of Crime 4.The Causation of Crime 5.Patterns of Criminal Behavior 6.Societal Reactions to Crime Norms- established rules of behaviors or standards of conducts Edwin Sutherland argued that focusing only on violations of the criminal law presented a misleading picture of crime White-collar crime- crime that is committed by middle and upper-class people in the course of their legitimate business activities- neglected because not tried in a criminal court ­ crimes of lower class are handled by judges, police with results of jail ­ crimes by upper class either result in no official action at all or result in suits for damages in civil courts with results of warnings or loss of license Human rights- the minimum conditions required for a person to live a dignified life ­ the right to life, liberty and security of the person; the right to be free of torture and other forms of cruel and degrading punishment; the right to equality before the law and the right to the basic necessities of life ­ government policies that create poverty should be studied as crime along with racism, sexism, etc ­ law is biased against the poor John Hagan says we need a definition that considers behaviors that are both actually ant potentially liable to criminal law, he proposed that deviance and crime be considered as a continuous ranging from the least serious to most serious acts Seriousness assessed on three dimensions ­ 1.the degree of consensus that an act is wrong. Most people feel that mass murder is wrong but less feel like weed is wrong ­ 2.the severity of the society’s response to the act. Murder is punishable by death in some societies and by life imprisonment in others. On the other hand, possession of small amount of weed is ignored ­ 3.the assessment of the degree of harm of the act. Drug use and prostitution are considered “victimless” crimes that harm only the offender, while serious crimes of violence are considered harmful Who Makes the Rules? Conflict Versus Consensus Theories of Law The Consensus Approach ­ believe that laws represent the consensus of people ­ law is simply a codification of the values shared by most members of a society Consensus theory- laws represent the agreement of most of the people in society that certain acts should be prohibited by the criminal law The ConflictApproach Class conflict theory- laws are passed by members of the ruling class in order to maintain their privileged position by keeping the common people under control ­ activities that threaten those that are in power are defined as illegal 1 Green criminology ­ argue that damage to the Earth caused by destructive environmental practices can be far more serious such as the impact of global warming could cause mass starvation, migration from countries where drought has led to the collapse of agriculture, etc. further more, its roots are in environmental and animal rights movement, focus of it covers the study of environmental damage, including air and water pollution and harm to natural ecosystems Range of work done by green criminologists has been outlined this way ­ documented the existence of law breaking with respect to pollution, misuse of environmental resource, etc ­ raised questions relating to the destruction of specific environments and resources that are “legal” but ecologically harmful ­ challenged corporate definitions of good environmental practice and emphasized the claims of non-human nature to ecological justice ­ emphasized the dynamic links between distribution of environmental risk and distinct communities. Ex how poor and minority populations experience disproportionate exposure to environmental harm ­ investigate the specific place of animal in relation to issues of “rights” and human non human relationships on a shared planet ­ criticized the inadequacies of environmental regulation in both philosophical and practical terms Terrorism Studies-terrorism constitutes the illegitimate use of force to achieve a political objective by targeting innocent people Chapter 3: Criminal Law Crime- the coupling of a prohibition against certain conduct with a penal sanction Basic Question about criminal law is “Where does it come from?” 1. Legislation and 2. Judicial decisions that either interpret such legislation or state the “common law” Chapter 4: Counting Crime The criminal justice system operates as a funnel: only some fraction of incidents result in police record, only a portion of recorded incidents result in suspects identified, only a portion of suspects are arrested or charged, only a portion of charges result in convictions, and only a portion od convictions result in incarcerations Kaplan’s Law of the Hammer- holds that if you give a small child a hammer, they discover that everything needs pounding Chapter 6: Feminism and Criminology Hiedensohn described the analysis of women and crime as lonely uncharted seas and stated the need for a crash program of research which telescopes decades of comparable studies of males Klein and Smart focused on the sexism of the small body of theories that had been developed to explain women’s crime Chapter 17: Corporate and White-Collar Crime Churning- practice of making unnecessary trades to generate higher commision Lecture One: Public fascination with crime in general and violent crime in particular “Free time” = “Prime Time”= >crime time- there is a huge amount of variety in the number of crime shows that are at our finger tips on the web and tv Problems that can arise due to crime time involves: U.S.: prosecutors have blamed “CSI effect” for cases being dismissed or the accused acquitted when there is a lack of forensic evidence presented in court. The impact from watching it makes people have to expectations that forensics is capable of things it cant – claims forensic evidences is the main proof that someone is guilty of a crime while a person is part of a jury. In reality, one episode of CSI: ~$3 million to produce which is equal to annual budget of a real lab Study by criminologist Jean-Paul Brodeur of 153 homicides committed in Montreal between 1990-2001: Forensic evidence used in only 0.7% of cases the main proof was by *22.5% cases: use eyewitness accounts, and *20.5% cases: spontaneous confession Quebec provincial police forensic scientist Alexandre Beaudoin (invented application for a solution used to lift fingerprints off wet paper) –forensics investigations really take place: crime lab work takes between 80-188 days, you are assigned a case file number and told to bring the crime scene to them if car was stolen or things like that. Internet has gotten so extreme that there is now true crime auctions- cutlery used by killers, you can buy these objects that criminals have used, some things could not be sold because the auction didn’t know if they should give money to the victims family or the offenders family, furthermore crime tours take place which you can tour famous crime scenes. Durkheim: crime “functional”-public reaction was of a sort to see non criminals who made the rules feel virtuous while the other criminals need justice, Response to crime leads to social stability by drawing group together against offender as a result this reinforces moral imperatives, social norms and values Charles Dickens, attending a public executions and he was opposed to public killing and called it “city of devils”(no one felt sorrow it was like a celebration that the killer was dying) and the “attraction of repulsion”: he found that “no sorrow, no salutary terror, no 2 abhorrence, no seriousness; nothing but ribaldry, debauchery, levity, drunkenness and flaunting vice...It was so loathsome, pitiful and vile a sight, that the law appeared to be as bad as he, or worse, being very much the stronger, and shedding round it a far more dismal contagion.” Effects of Media Presentation of Crime-->distorted perceptions of the incidence of crime in Canadian society and the most common dynamics of criminal victimization. Canada Day Poll (2004)-* Province whose residents were most afraid of being a victim of crime: British Columbia The crime rate measures the volume of crime while the Crime Severity Index measures the seriousness of crime.Crime rate: The police-reported crime rate is based upon all criminal incidents, excluding Criminal Code traffic offences, drug offences and other federal statute offences, as well as provincial statute offences. Traffic offences are not included in the calculation of the crime rate.As such, the crime rate tends to be driven by high-volume, less serious offences, such as minor thefts and mischief. Crime Severity Index: The Crime Severity Index (CSI) not only takes into account the volume of crime but also the seriousness of crime. In the calculation of the CSI, each offence is assigned a weight, derived from average sentences handed down by criminal courts. The more serious the average sentence, the higher the weight for that offence. As a result, more serious offences have a greater impact on changes in the index. All offences, including traffic offences as well as other provincial and federal statute offences, are included in the CSI. There is a violent CSI and a non-violent CSI. There is also a CSI specific to youth. As with the youth crime rate, counts are based upon the number of youth (12 to 17 years) accused of crime rather than the number of incidents. As is the case for the CSI in general, there is a youth overall CSI, a youth violent CSI and a youth non-violent CSI. The police-reported crime rate, which measures the total volume of crime per 100,000 population, continued to decline in 2012, down 3% from 2011. After peaking in 1991, the police-reported crime rate has generally declined and, in 2012, it reached its lowest level since 1972. Over the past decade, the severity of police-reported crime has decreased in all but one year (2003). There has been a decrease is the violence crime over the years. In 2012, there was also a decrease in some of the most frequent violent crimes, such as common assault and robbery As in past years, both the volume and severity of police-reported crime were highest in the territories, particularly in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Saskatchewan remained the province with the highest crime rate and CSI in 2012. Only the territories reported higher crime rates and CSIs. Among the provinces, those in the west reported higher crime rates and crime severity compared to those in the east, continuing a well established trend. Regina ranked second among census metropolitan areas (CMAs) in 2012., while Kelowna’s had the highest rate among CMAs in 2012. Toronto reported a 7% decrease in its police-reported crime rate in 2012, and was the CMA with the lowest overall crime rate for the sixth consecutive year. Québec’s rate was second lowest, and recorded the lowest for severity. Looking at violent crime severity index by, CMAWinnipeg reported the highest violent Crime Severity Index, followed by Saskatoon and Thunder Bay and Barrie was the lowest The police-reported violent crime rate was at its lowest level since 1987 in 2012.Among the provinces, Saskatchewan had the highest violent crime rate in 2012, despite reporting the largest decrease from 2011. Ontario had the lowest rate. The overall severity of violent crime, as measured by the violent CSI, also declined in 2012 The violent CSI was down in every province except Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island. Despite the increase, Prince Edward Island continued to record the lowest violent Crime Severity Index among the provinces while the violent CSI was greatest in Manitoba. Similar to the overall crime rate, violent crime rates and violent CSIs were higher for the territories than for the provinces. Attempted murder and homicide, police-reported rates, Canada, 1982 to 2012- gradually decreasing, increases every couple years but overall it is decreasing Homicide, police-reported rate, by province and territory, 2012-The decrease in the number of homicides was more pronounced in Western Canada. Together,Alberta (-24), British Columbia (-16), and Saskatchewan (-9) were responsible for most of the decline in 2012. Nevertheless, homicide rates remained lower in Eastern Canada. Every province east of Manitoba, except Nova Scotia, recorded a homicide rate that was below the national average. The most homicides where in the territories although the least is in Yukon and pei with none About 21,900 sexual assaults were reported to police in 2012, about 60 fewer than in the previous year. This relatively modest decline is primarily due to a decrease in major sexual assaults (levels 2 and 3). However, the number of sexual assaults reported by police likely understates the actual number of sexual assaults that occurred in Canada in 2012.According to 2009 victimization data from the General Social Survey, the vast majority of sexual assaults are never reported to police For the second consecutive year, the number of sexual offences against children increased slightly (+3%). Assault is the most common form of violent crime in Canada, accounting for more than one-half of all police-reported violent offences. Assaults are divided into three levels on the basis of severity with level 3 being the most severe.All types of assault were 3 down in 2012 compared to the previous year. The largest decrease was in the rate of assaults against a peace officer (-8%). Simple assault- grabbing an arm, Level 2- causing bodily harm, Third level- below attempted murder Chart 7: Major assault (levels 2 and 3) and robbery, police-reported rates, Canada, 1982 to 2012- seems to be gradually increasing however current it looks like it is decreasing-Among the provinces, Saskatchewan and Manitoba had the highest major assault rates while Prince Edward Island recorded the lowest rate. -Robbery, one of the most serious and most frequent types of violent crime, also fell in 2012 and reached its lowest level in more than 30 years. there is on average about one break-in every three minutes and one motor vehicle theft every seven minutes. However, these two types of offences have declined sharply in recent years. This trend continued in 2012 More police-reported incidents of identity fraud-In 2010, police reported about an additional 700 incidents of fraud other than identity fraud compared to 2011. The identity fraud rate varied substantially across the country, from 70 incidents per 100,000 in Quebec to 46 in British Columbia and 10 or fewer in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nunavut and Manitoba. Increase in police- reported terrorism-related incidents. According to police-reported data, terrorism-related incidents remain extremely rare in Canada. The increase was largely due to an additional 62 hoax terrorism incidents that occurred in Quebec in 2012 compared to 2011 Overall, fewer drug-related incidents were reported in 2012 than in 2011. The decline was due primarily to a decrease in cannabis- related incidents, which accounted for two-thirds of all drug-related incidents reported by police. Nearly all types of other drug offences increased. The largest increase in police-reported drug offences in 2012 was in cocaine possession (+5%), although over the previous 10-year period, the rate of possession of drugs other than cannabis and cocaine rose most, up 89%. British Columbia continued to report the highest rates for some specific drugs, such as cannabis, heroin and ecstasy offences. It also had the second highest rate of methamphetamine (crystal meth) incidents, behind Quebec, but well above the other provinces. Overall, rates of drug-related offences were generally higher in the territories than in the provinces. Saskatchewan had the highest overall rate of police-reported drug offences in 2012, followed by British Columbia. After generally rising over the previous five years, both the number and rate of impaired driving decreased in 2012. However, the number of drug-impaired driving incidents continued to climb, reaching nearly 2,000 in 2012, or 2% of impaired driving incidents. The decrease in the overall impaired driving rate was primarily due to a large decline in British Columbia (-24%) where, in 2011, the introduction of the Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) in British Columbia provided an alternative method for police to proceed with penalties for impaired drivers. Who commits crimes?-Young people, aged 16- 21Police-reported youth Crime Severity Indexes, Canada, 2002 to 2012-had generally decreased over the years. However violent crimes have more of a steady pyramid shape and now are decreasing. Youth accused of crime, by selected offence, Canada, 2012- highest was theft of $5000 or under and lowest was possession of stolen property In Canada, youth (12 to 17 years) and adults (18 years and older) accused of crime are governed by separate justice systems. Level 1 assault was the most common type of violent offence committed by youth in 2012. In addition, youth accused rates were down sharply in 2012 for some of the most serious violent crimes, particularly major assaults (levels 2 and 3) (-10%) robbery (-8%) and homicide, of which 12 fewer were reported in 2012 So, the News Is: Overall, both the volume and the severity of crime declined in 2012. The decrease was observed in most provinces. There were declines in both the numbers and the rates for most offences. In particular, in 2012, Canada reached its lowest homicide rate in more than 40 years. That said, offences causing death other than homicide were up, as were extortion, identity fraud, terrorism-related offences and arson. Slight increases were also seen in violent firearms offences, sexual offences against children, attempted murder and non-cannabis drug offences. Youth crime was also down in 2012. Half of the youth accused of crime were accused of theft of $5,000 or under, mischief, level 1 assault or cannabis possession. 4 Homicide victims in Canada are most likely to be killed by someone known to them. Of all homicides that were solved (police identified an accused person) in 2009, 39% of victims were killed by an acquaintance, 34% by a family member and 9% by someone known to them through criminal activities such as drug trafficking. Women about three times more likely to be victims of spousal homicide than men and also at greater risk than men of being killed by an ex-spouse High presence of U.S. programming and distortion of “crime problem”-Despite incarceration rates that are 5-7x times higher, American cities much more dangerous than comparable Canadian cities th Homicide rates for selected countries- USAis the highest. Japan is the lowest, Canada is ranked 6 I“Celebrity Status” accorded to criminals - victims ignored,e.g., The Killer Clown (John Wayne Gacy), The Night Stalker (Richard Ramirez), The Hillside Strangler (Ken Bianchi), The Son of Sam (David Berkowitz), The Yorkshire Ripper (Peter Sutcliffe), The Barbie and Ken of Crime (Homolka and Bernardo)- Canadian press named this but Canadian usually isn’t the one to do something like this, e.g., Toronto radio poll in midst of Bernardo trial- would you like to fleek with homoka, once they are famous we tend to forget why they are famous and beginning to admire them Media-inculcated stereotypes of criminals and their consequences-In contrast: victims of Ted Bundy-“Miss February”; “Miss March”; “Miss April”- with the month being the month she disappeared or the month she was found the person was lost Esses and Webster: stereotypes of “what criminals look like” - source of potential bias in court- done in cananda, N=284 adults undergrad in psych, gave them composit profollios showing different looking people have good looking criminals and ugly morally good citizens Varied: 1. Physical attractiveness of “offender” at three levels: stereotypic abnormality - normality 2. Conviction record of offender -record for sexual/nonsexual offences -one present conviction/5 prior convictions Respondents asked: “Does the offender fit the criteria needed to judge the individual a `dangerous offender”? You have to understand that the designations is the fateful and serve that anyone could ever get, means that you are considered at a high risk of offending in the future Those physically attractive are less likely to be seen as meeting the criteria unlike the unattractive people, the beautiful are the better people, Stats Canada doesn’t report race when they report crime- which can cause problems when people try to profile immigrants and aboriginals to certain crimes Star National Survey: Perceptions of Criminals (August 2008) Caveat: not every criminal in the data base (police forces aren’t obligated to provide their criminal records although most do) We under estimate how many people have a criminal record –Q1 CANADAOVER Estimate the proportion of the Canadian population do you believe is non-white?- Q2 Over estimate what proportion of people in Canada with a criminal record do you believe is nonwhite - Q3 Canadians overestimate: -the proportion of Canada’s population that is visible minority and immigrants and their presence in certain crime categories Media-Inculcated Stereotypes of Criminals Must be Recognized as Potent *Extrapolating from “celebrity criminals” to all criminals e.g. Karla Homolka “cover girl” for female offenders? The ad that the prof got in the mail for unwanted, most female criminals are not like her, although she had a middle class back ground that is not the case of other female offenders, especially not true with aboriginals H
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