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Criminology 227 Test 1.doc

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SOC 227
Rashmee Singh

Criminology 227 Test 1  Chapter 1 A White collar crime: the downfall of Conrad black • the board of directors accused Black and other executives of running a “corporate kleptocracy” that conspired to steak $400 million from o black and several colleagues were charged with conspiring to take funds from Hollinger International for their own personal gain. This is illegal because the corporation was owned by shareholders, not by then men who ran the company • Criminology the body of knowledge regarding crime as a social phenomenon. It included the prcoceww3w of making laws, breaking laws, and reacting to the breaking of laws. Its objective 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. Why should we study Crime? 1. Social scientists believe that it is intrinsically worthwhile to learn more about all aspects of our social lives, including criminal behaviour and society’s response to this behaviour a. Ex. US has a much higher rate of firearm crimes and harsher prison sentence, than Canada 2. Just as an understanding of a disease helps medical scientists develop cures, before we can reduce crime we need to understand it a. Ex. Boys who violent behaviour had not followed the normal pattern of declining by age 16 were more likely than other boys to be the sons of young mothers with low levels of education 3. Crime directly or indirectly affects all of us Focus box 1.1 • Unfortunately, the picture of crime we receive from the media is often inaccurate. • The portrayal of crime in the fictional media is even more distorted • The popularity of programs related to crime such as CSI affects people perception about crime o Some prosecutors have spoken about the CSI effect, which they feel has caused crime victims and jurors members to expect more definite forensic evidence than is available outside the fictional laboratories of a television show • Canadians greatly over estimate the amount of violent crime and have a fear of crime that is higher than the actual risk of victimization • Second the media provides a distorted stereotype of offenders The Discipline of Criminology The Definition of crime and Criminals not all social harms are criminals nor are all criminal acts harmful. The origins and role of the law it is important to understand the social origins of our laws as well as the role that law plays in society The social distribution of crime in order to understand crime we must know such things as the characteristics of people who commit crimes; trends in the occurrence of crime over time; and difference between cities, provinces, and countries in the rates and types of crime The causation of crime one of the most important questions for criminologists is why some people commit crimes, while others live more law-abiding lives Patterns of criminal behaviour criminal acts are defined by law in particular categories such as homicide, theft, and sexual assault Societal reactions to crime historically societies, have responded to crime in many different ways and the issue of how best to deal with offenders is an important one. • Under the Constitution act of 1867, the federal parliament has exclusive jurisdiction over criminal law and procedure; therefore the provinces and territories cannot pass or amend the criminal law • The provinces are responsible for appointing some judges and for administering the “lower” courts that deal with most criminal cases, including those involving young offenders. Higher level courts that try serious criminal cases are the responsibility of the federal government, as are the provincial appeal courts. Appeal courts do not try cases but hear appeals of cases decided by other courts. • Offenders who receive sentences less than two years are dealt with by the provincial government. More than two years, sentence must be served in a federal institution that is run by the Correctional Service of Canada. Affirm The regulation of behaviour • Society cannot function without them- if we are to live and to work with others, rules are necessary • Crime- behaviour that breaks the rules • Norms established rules of behaviour or standards of conduct The legal definition of crime • Most common definition of crime is a legalistic one that defines a crime as an act that violates the criminal law and is punishable with jail terms, fines and other sanctions. • Legal definition of crime crime is an act that violates the criminal law and is punishable with jail terms, fines, and other sanctions • For a sociological definition of crime that encompasses a broader range of harmful behaviour than this strict legal definition provides • White-collar crime crime that is committed by middle and upper class people in the course of their legitimate business activities. • Edward Sutherland argued that focusing only on violations of the criminal law presented a misleading picture of crime. That how, middle and upper class people committed white collar crimes. Human Rights Violations as Crime • Human rights the minimum conditions required for a person to live a dignified life. Among the rights set out by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are the right to life, liberty, security, etc. • Herman and Julia Schwendiger defined crime as an action that violates human rights A continuum of crime and Deviance • John Hagan says that a definition of crime must encompass not only violations of the criminal law, but also “a range of behaviours that for all practical purposes are treated as crimes” in other words, we need a definition that considers behaviours that are both actually and potentially liable to criminal law. • Hagan proposed that deviance and crime is considered as a continuum ranging from the least serious to the most serious acts. Seriousness can be assessed on three dimensions o The degree of consensus that an act is wrong murder is wrong, marijuana is alright. o The severity of the society’s response to the act murder is punishable by death in some societies and by life imprisonment in others o The assessment of the degree of harm of the act drug use, illegal gambling, and prostitutions are often considered to be “victimless” crime that harm only the offender o Four major categories of crime and deviance: consensus crimes, conflict crimes, social deviations, and social diversions. Crime is socially defined • An act is deviant only from the point of view of a set of rules and regulations, and these vary widely from society to society and from group to group • We can define deviance as behaviour that violates the rules, whatever those rules may be. The Consensus Approach • Consensus theorists believe that the law represents the consensus of the people. That is, the 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 • Value a collective idea about what is right or wrong, good or bad and desirable or undesirable in a particular culture. • Support for the consensus view is also found in the fact that there is a broad agreement regarding many laws, particularly those that deal with street crimes such as robbery, burglary, and murder. The conflict Approach • Take the view that laws are passed by members of the ruling class to maintain their privileged position by keeping the common people under control. Activities that threaten those with power are defined as illegal, and the legal mechanism of the state is used to enforce the laws • 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 • This perspective recognizes that all laws are the result of a political process and that this process typically involves a conflict or a debate between different interests groups. Green Criminology • Believe that criminology should not just study actions that violate the criminal law but also actions that are socially harmful. Some environmental harms are illegal • Has roots in environmental and animals rights movements. The environmental focuses on the study of environmental damage, including the air and water pollution and harm to natural ecosystems The social definition of terrorism • Constitutes the illegitimate use of force to achieve a political objective by targeting innocent people Terrorism and the rule of law • To fight terrorism the state has assumed greater powers. Enhanced methods of surveillance and control have been put in place and normal restraints, such as the need for due process and the rights of accused persons, have been ignored in the search for security Chapter 3 What is crime? • The definition of a crime is remarkably simple: namely, the coupling of a prohibition against certain conduct with a penal sanction (such as imprisonment or a fine) • Crime conduct that is prohibited by law and that is subject to a penal sanction. What is criminal law? The body of jurisprudence known as criminal law includes not only the definitions of the various crimes and the specification of the represective penalties but also a set of general principles concerning criminal responsibility and a series of defences to a criminal charge. The sources of criminal Law • Two primary sources of criminal law are legislation and judicial decisions that either interpret such legislation or state the “common law” • A crime can be defined in terms of two basic elements. A prohibition against certain conduct and two, a penalty for violating that prohibition • Substantive criminal law refers to legislation that defines the nature of various legal elements that must be present before a conviction can be entered against an accused person • Criminal procedure refers to legislation that specifies the procedures to be followed in the prosecution of a criminal case and defines the nature and scope of the powers of criminal justice officials. Quasi criminal law • Regulatory legislation is concerned with the orderly regulation of activities that are inherently legitimate (such as driving a vehicle or operating a business) • Criminal law is directed toward the control of behaviour that is considered to be inherently wrong • True crimes occurs when an individual engaged in conduct that s not only prohibited but also constitutes a serious breach of community values; as such, it is perceived by Canadians as being inherently wrong and deserving of punishment. Such as theft, assault, sexual assault, willful damage to property • Regulatory offences arise under the legislation that regulates inherently legitimate activities connected with trade, commerce, and industry or with everyday living (driving, fishing) these offences are not considered to be serious in nature and usually serve minor penalty upon conviction. o Classified as quasi-criminal law (meaning not real or halfway) • Common law refers to that body of judge-made law that evolved in areas that were not covered by legislation o Defence of necessity- excuse or defence to criminal charge Actus and Mens Reus • Particular event or state of affairs was “caused” by the accused person’s conduct (actus reus) • That this conduct was simultaneously accompanied by a certain state of mind (mens rea) • Concept of mens rea refers to the mental elements of an offence while the term actus reus refers to all the other elements that must be proved by the Crown. • Actus reus o Conduct o Surrounding or material circumstances o The consequences of the voluntary conduct • Can a mere failure to act can qualify as the conduct element of the actus reus of an offence o A failure to act can constitute a crime only if the accused was under a pre existing legal study to act. For ex. Necessaries of life. Parent raising a child. Subjective and Objective Mens Rea • Subjective mens rea the mens rea elements of c criminal offence are considered to be subjective if they are based on a determination of “what actually went on in the accused person’s mind” o Based on the notion that the accused person may not be convicted of a criminal offence unless they  Deliberately intended to being about the consequences prohibited by the law  Subjectively realized that their conduct might bring about such prohibited consequences but recklessly continued with that conduct in spite of their knowledge of the risks involved  Wilfully blind in that they deliberately closed their minds to the obvious criminality of their actions • Objective mens rea is predicted on the principle that accused persons should be convicted of certain offences, not because they intend to bring about the prohibited consequences or acted recklessly, but rather because reasonable people in the same situation would have taken the risk • There are 3 forms of subjective mens rea that the crown may be required to prove in a criminal prosecution o Intention and knowledge crown must establish that the person either intended to kill or intended to inflict bodily harm that he or she knew was likely to cause death. Crown must also prove that the killing was planned and deliberate o Recklessness accused knows that his or her conduct could cause certain prohibited consequences but deliberately proceeds without a care o Wilful blindness  accused persons have ever reason to make some kind of inquiry as tp whether there are circumstances that would render their conduct criminal but deliberately chose to shirt their eyes to the obvious • The essence of culpability in objective mens rea is the notion that the accused had the capacity to forsee- and avoid- the risk of physical; harm but did not do so. Mens Rea and Regulatory offences • Most regulatory offences asre considered to be offences of strict liability. This means that the crown only has to prove the actus reus elements of the offence; the onus is then on the accused to prove, on the balance of probabilities, that he or she was not negligent (or that he or she acted with due diligence) Inchoate offences • Conspiracy is an inchoate offence • Once their agreement to commit a crime has been reached, the accused may be convicted of the crime of conspiracy even though the offence that they originally planned to commit is never brought to fruition Conspiracy • Established when two or more individuals form a common intention to commit a crime • The actus reus of conspiracy is the agreement to engage in criminal conduct, while the mens rea component consists of the intent not only to enter into this agreement but also to implement it Defences to criminal charge • Mistake of fact where the accused person acts under the influence of an honest mistake in relation to any of the elements of the actus reus of the offence charged • Intoxication caused by alcohol and/or other drugs may be a defence if it prevents the accused from forming the intent required for a specific intent offence, such as murder or robbery • Necessity may be a defence to a criminal charge when the accused person commits the lesser evil of a crime in order to avoid the occurrence of a greater evil. • Duress duress may be a defence to a criminal charge when the accused was forced to commit a crime as a consequence of threats of death or serious bodily harm made by another person Chapter 4 Controversies over counting crime • There have always been problems with police statistics. When police officers are dispatched to a call, each officer must use his or her own judgement to decide whether a crime has been committed or whether the call is unfounded • The criminal justice system operates like a funnel: only some fraction of incidents result in a police record of a criminal incident • Over 40 years ago, the American sociologists Ned Polsky argued that our understanding of crime would never be significantly advanced if we relied on statistical data. He was concerned that sociologists are criminologists relied too heavily on remote sources of information • Three broad types of criminal justice statistics o Statistics about crime and criminals o Statistics about the criminal justice system and its response to crime o Statistics about perceptions of crime and criminal justice From records to statistics • Administrative records are not statistics. Records are concerned with individual cases and are intended primarily to help practitioners make decisions about these individual cases • Statistics are aggregated; they are concerned with what is common among individual cases. Meant to provide information about larger questions : the theory of building and testing. • The following issues ,must be addressed before records can be converted into statistics: unit of count, levels of aggression, definition, data elements, and counting procedures. o Unit of count statistical system will depend on what we are trying to achieve o Levels of aggression a crucial decision is the level at which we want our statistics. Criminologists prefer the richer and more detailed information available from local police to the abstracted, less complete data available about national policing. o Definitions remains a good deal of discretion about when an incident of crime is truly an incident o Data elements extremely difficult to build aggregated statistic out of different types of records that may be incompatible o Counting procedures Canadian criminal justice statistics • Correctional statistics are the most accurate because we can count the number of prisoners in Canada and provide some information on their social characteristics. • Dark figure of crime the amount of crime that is unreported or unknown • Uniform crime reports since 1962, statistics Canada has published the Uniform Crime Reports based on a standardized set of procedures for collecting and reporting crime information • Serious rule if there are several crimes committed in one incident, only the most serious crime is counted UCR1.0 uses the seriousness rule o First this rule deflates the total crime count since less serious crime are not counted separately o Second, it inflates serious crimes as a proportion of the total o Third, the w
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