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Introduction to Criminology – Midterm 1

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Steven Bittle

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Introduction to Criminology – Midterm Crime, Law and Criminal Justice III:  New punitiveness o Concern with the infliction of punishment for those committing crimes  David Garland’s 7 conditions of ‘culture control’ o (1) Increased crime rates are normal  They’ve BECOME normal  Crime statistics are popularized  We live in a society where we believe increased crime rates are normal o (2) Emotional Investment/ fascination with crime  Victimization fascination o (3) Crime politicized  Used for re-election o (4) Concern for victims/public safety o (5) Punishment is seen as ineffective  Doesn’t deter o (6) Privatization of security  Private security outnumbers police  Alarm systems o (7) Crime consciousness  Media and pop. Culture Official Crime Statistics  Uniform Crime Reports (UCRs) o Used to record crime information o Causes uniformity to how police officers record crimes o Not all crimes are reported to the police = “dark figure”  Perspectives to crime stats o (1) Prima facia: primary way  Crime stats are fairly accurate reflection of nature and extension of crime in our society o (2) Constructionist: Institutionalist  Reflects decision making of law officials  Which crimes are worthy of attention o (3) Structural  Reflects our priorities in society  What people in power deem as criminal o (4) Integrationist  We should take something from each perspective Common errors in data gathering  Crime rates can be influenced by a number of factors o Changes in the way police respond to crimes  Growth in police force strength o Changes in the law  An increase in REPORTED assaults does not mean there was and increase in ACTUAL assaults  Random Errors: usually balance each other out o E.g. Police in various cities make mistakes with familiar frequency and in random fashion  Systematic Errors: are due to inaccuracy in the way you ask something or measure something o E.g. Survey asks how many children in your household, and you do not count your newborn because your wife is in the hospital having the baby  We want statistics to be reliable and valid o Reliability: refers to consistency in measurement, the process must yield same results when repeated o Validity: refers to how accurate or how truthfully the measure captures the meaning of the concept Problems with Numerator  What counts as a crime? o Do we count each individual crime, offenders or victims? o Canadian Center for Justice Statistics  The ‘incident’ as UCR measurement unit  E.g. for murder, they count the number of victims as the number of incidents  How are crimes counted? o ‘Clearance rates’: ratio of crimes solved crimes to crimes known = measures the policy efficiency  Used for basis on how well they are doing  Leads to misclassifying unsolved crimes o Proactive vs. reactive policy  Is police station looking for crime or not o Effects of social factors (age, race, gender) will affect which crimes they will count o Crime discretion Problem with Denominator  Who gets included o Some sex offences would double if only men get counted (since it is mostly men who commit sex offences)  You would get a different denominator  Changes across time and space o Lowering crime rates due to aging population  Crime is largely a phenomenon of young people o Need to break down denominator (separate young males) Observational Studies  Studying in natural setting (watching, observing, interviewing)  Variety of types o One type = first hand accounts (books or accounts written by offenders who have experienced the deterrence effects, from criminal justice officials to know what it is really about)  First hand accounts are not generalizable, loosely biographical and unscientific but gives is that ‘rich picture’ that statistics doesn’t.  William Gordon West’s Study of “Serious Thieves” o Observed young offenders, interviewed them o Few special skills (as apposed to how people believe they are very skilled) o Little income from theft (no one actually gets rich from it) o Subscription to Moral Code (how thieves act within community, learnt criminal behavior) o Avoidance of violence (professional thieves actually try to avoid violence seriously) Positive School of Criminology  Positivism originated in late 1800s o It was the birth of science (Italian school) o This is where we really see the birth of criminology o Criminology became a ‘penal science’  We should understand that being criminal is that it is something wrong with the individual o Crime was due to biological reasons  Discover natural and physical laws of crime and punishment  Positivism= what we see, we can measure and observe (make patterns) to understand why some people commit crimes (scientific method)  Influences by the rise of science (Darwinism) o Notion of evolution o Most advanced people were less likely to commit a crime  Shifted from criminal behavior to the individual causes o Search for biological causes (e.g. Gull’s phrenology, feeling the skull to see who is criminal)  It is the notion that there is something wrong with you o Moral and physical defect  We should be able to differentiate between criminals and non-criminals by their traits  Cesare Lombroso o Believed we can identify criminals by physical characteristics o Notion of ‘atavistic criminal’ = criminals were a throw back to more savage state, they were less evolved than non-criminals  Studied corpses of criminals in jai and compared them to corpses of military men  Said that criminals were turned to a savage state and were born criminal  Compared them to savage like beings (canine)  Physical stigmata of criminals were that of large jaws, thick brows and a craving for evil o Believed in distinct differences (physical and others) between criminals and non-criminals  We can quantify who is and who isn’t criminal  Positivism 5 main premises o (1) Idea of natural crime should replace legal definitions  We should no longer focus on the act, trials will intervene accordingly to biology o (2) Criminology is a science of reforming people and society, through analysis  Punishment wont do good because your are biologically disposed to commit the crime, instead we should find treatments o (3) Questions should concern individual origins of crime  Crime is anything but rational, it something wrong with you o (4) Deterministic: people are compelled to commit crime due to internal and external conditions o (5) Response to crime should be individual treatment (rehab) NOT punishment 20th Century Positivism  Idea that we can identify criminals by biological aspects, still lives today  Sheldon’s Somatotypes: o Endomorph: happy, joyous, round body o Ectomorph: frail, delicate body, sensitive o Mesomorph: heavy, muscular, assertive and aggressive, most likely to be violent o He doesn’t take into social variations o Deterministic  J.P. Rushtons ‘Race Theory’ of crime o Argues there are 3 fundamentally different human races o Those who evolved more recently (Asians) were more advanced o Believed that brain size, sex drive, crime are all determined by race o ‘Oriental’ allegedly are more highly evolved than ‘whites’, and ‘whites’ are more evolved than ‘blacks’ o Doesn’t look at social and cultural factors  Positivistic way of thinking still emerges today (stereotypes) o E.g. Aboriginals Psychological Theories: Hans Eysenck (Criminal Personalities)  People pursue crime for gratification  We should ask why some people DON’T commit crimes o People may be conditioned not too commit crimes  There are circumstances where individual was not classically conditioned o Some may be immune to it (something inherently wrong) o They have not been taught  3 personality types that are immune to conditioning o (1) Extraverts: under stimulated and seek arousal o (2) Neurotics: over-stimulated, generally touchy and impulsive o (3) Psychotics: most violent  Theory is deterministic and it does not consider wider social factors Psychological Theories: Kohlberg’s Moral Development  How individuals develop (or don’t) their morality  Humans undergo 3 stages o (1) Preconventional (‘me’): morality defined by physical reaction (reward and approval). Have not developed notions of right and wrong. o (2) Conventional (‘you’): understand there are rules in place (learn them) and learn what others expect of us. Persons strives for social approval and acceptance, especially from peers o (3) Postconventional (‘us’): understand how everything comes together, and understand social contract  Says most people never reach postconventional stage o Criminals get trapped in preconventional o Education is aimed at moral training so we can rehabilitate criminal offenders (model for many prison programs) Criminal Explanations II (Groups)  Shift from the individual to social dynamics o Factors that reside outside of the individual o Start to see interplay between social factors on the individual  Goes from consensus to conflict (problems with social structure) perspective  Asks why people commit crime and why some people don’t  Some situations can be criminogenic o E.g. Milligram experiment and Zimbardo prison experiment Control Containment I: General Assumptions and Questions  Examines ability of society to manage and control human behavior or restrain crime (a form of socialization theory) o How do you get socialized and how that affects whether you commit an offence or not  Turns crime question to causation o Why don’t we all commit crimes o How can society prevent us from breaking the law  Assumptions rooted in Classical Criminology o We are all self-seeking and capable of committing crime so society must contain us from doing so o We obey law only because we are constrained into obedience o Society’s problem is the control and prevention of war against all (social contact) Control Containment II: Walter Reckless  Interested in why some people are immune to this control of society  Why do people conform? o Conformity around institutions that keep us in check  Individual differences in our ‘immunity’ to crime can help us explain it  2 main kinds of control o (1) Outer control: characteristics of the surrounding world that provide restraints (a consistent moral front presented by family, institutional reinforcement or norms and goals etc) sense of identity an belonging. These containments act to restrain the tendency of juveniles to get into trouble because of internal pushes (restlessness, hostility, anxiety and need for immediate gratification).  Family and school brings learned consensus  Where most deviance emerges o (2) Inner control: development of crime fighting conscience, components of the self (5 features)  Good self-concept  Goal directedness  Realistic objectives  Tolerance of frustration  Identifiable with lawfulness (belief in system)  If you have all of these you are less likely to commit a crime, if you do not have a good concept of these, it can lead to deviance  A bad self aspect will lead to crime Control Containment III: Travis Hirschi (Social Bond)  Focuses on why people DON’T commit crime  We all want our best interest and that can lead to criminal behavior  He assumes that most people would commit crime if they dared, particularly children  Our ‘closeness’ to society saves us from criminality o E.g. our relationships with other o If your bonds and relationships are broken, will seek our own interest, which could lead to crime  We are moral beings to the extent that we have internalized the norms of society and have become sensitive to the needs of others  4 components to social bond o (1) Attachment: Sensitivity to the opinion of others (sense of obligation) and ties of affection and respect to people like parents, teachers and friends.  You are sensitive to others expectations of you  Most important bond  Stronger the non-deviant attachments are, the less likely you are to commit a crime o (2) Commitment: investme
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