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CRM Midterm 1

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Christine Gervais

Criminological Theories I Midterm 1 Chapter 1: Introduction to Theory -Theory meets two criteria: (1) the use of objective evidence and systematic observation (2) a rational explanation of that evidence -Theories about the effect of social structure on crime rates are abstract -Theories allow us to develop and test potential solutions to problems we encounter in life -Theories explain how two or more events are related to each other and how the conditions under which the relationship takes place -Systematic observation: observation made through the use of certain rules -A good theory: one that can be tested and that best fits the evidence of research - Criteria for the utility of a theory: logical soundness (means that the theory does not propose illogical relationships, and that it is internally consistent), the ability to make sense out of several conflicting positions (means that evidence seems to indicate that there are two or more opposing facts, a theory that can reconcile those facts is a good one and is better than having different theories to account for each fact), and sensitizing ability (refers to focusing peoples attention on a new, or even forgotten, direction of inquiry, or perhaps suggesting a different way of looking at and interpreting a fact they already know) -Popularity is an indicator of a good theory *Kinds of theories: -unit theories: emphasize a particular problem and make testable assertions of that problem -metatheories: rarely testable and best viewed as ways of looking and interpreting reality (theories about theories) -macrotheories: broad in their scope, and explain social structure and its effects. They focus on rates of crime (epidemiology) -microtheories: a particular way of characterizing society; characterization is then used to explain how people become criminals (etiology). Focus may be on small specific groups of people or the individual -bridging theories: attempt to tell us both how social structure comes about and how people become criminal; often both epidemiological and etiological -Most theories use a system of three basic types of theories: biological, psychological, social *Classification schemes: -classical: focus on legal statutes, governmental structures, and the rights of humans. The theory is concerned about the essence of the humans condition -positivist: focus on pathology in criminal behaviour, on treatment, and on the correction of criminality within individuals -structure: focus on the way society is organized and its effect on behaviour, some are referred to as strain theories -process: attempt to explain how people become criminal -consensus: those based on the assumption that there is agreement among people in society -conflict: the assumption that disagreement is common and people hold conflicting values *THEORYRESEARCHPOLICY (linear model with feedback between the research and the theory) 1 Chapter 2: The Classical School -Cesare Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham, opposed the arbitrary nature of the criminal justice system of the time. They proposed that both the law and administration of justice should be based on rationality and human rights -Major concepts: humans are free-willed, rational beings; utilitarianism (the greatest good for the greatest number), civil rights and due process of law; rules of evidence and testimony; determinate sentencing; deterrence -Social heritage: arose during the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, societies becoming urbanized, rule of the Church threatened, people began to understand the success of hard work, era of great thought and expression -Intellectual heritage: the Naturalists, a group of philosophers, believed experience and observation could determine much about the world, moral/ethics/responsibilities were great topics, government as a social contract, emphasis on human dignity stemming from the Enlightenment *Perspective of the school: -hedonism(seek pleasure/minimize pain) used as a theory of human nature and this helped shape legal structures -law was to protect the society and the individual, but its main purpose was deterrence -Bentham: punishment was evil and the only reason for it was deterrence -two forms of deterrence: specific (for that individual) and general (for potential offenders) -three components to deterrence: celerity (the speed in which a punishment is applied), certainty (making a punishment sure to happen), severity (the amount of pain to be inflicted) -all individuals equal before the law -due process of law (equality, and evidence obtained from facts) -Bentham divided offenses between private and public wrongs/against the person and against property -Bentham created the felicific calculus (an elaborate schedule of punishments designed to take into account a combination of pleasure, pain, and mitigating circumstances) -Beccaria specifically decried the use of torture in interrogation to elicit confessions, and supported time limits on case preparation for both sides, and opposed to conviction awaiting trial -opposed capital punishment -crime is a breach of social contract, therefore, a moral offence against society Chapter 3: The Positivist School -focus on systematic observation, accumulation of evidence, and objective fact within a deductive framework -they reached out to order and explain the world around them -saw behaviour/human nature as determined by its biological, psychological, and social traits -focus on criminal behaviour -world is of cause and effect -through the application of science, human existence can be made better -systematic study of human behaviour can be the remedy of social problems 2-abnormal features can be found in comparison with those that are normal -criminal behaviour is a product of abnormality; among the individual or society -treatment and reform are the purpose of sentencing , not punishment -sociological theories are structurally oriented and macrotheoretical, whereas, biological and psychological are processual and microtheoretical Theorists: -Quetelet applied probability theory to produce the average person. He also found variations in crime rates by climate and season, and age and sex differences -Lombroso pointed out that criminals have multiple physical abnormalities of an atavist (subhuman or primitive) or degenerative nature. These physical inferiorities characterized a biological throwback called the born criminal (traits including: lack of morality, tattoos, absence of remorse). He also distinguished other types of criminals: the insane criminal, epileptic criminal, and the occasional criminal. -Ferri modified the classification scheme of Lombrosos criminals and stated that crime was caused by a number of factors including physical, anthropological, and social, psychological, etc. -Garofalo believe that civilized people have certain basic sentiments about the values of human life and property; absence of these sentiments indicates a lack of concern for fellow humans. Finding a combination of environmental, circumstantial, and organic reasons for criminal behaviour, he termed such behaviour as psychic or moral anomaly, a deficiency of altruistic sensibility. He believed that the dangerousness of the criminal should shape the criteria of social crime-fighting policies Chapter 4: Chicago Scho
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