1. Summarize why people are born Criminals + Critical
Biological Theory: criminals were produced by genetic misfits who were born to break the rules.
Considers direct effect of physical/ physiological (brain damage) processes on behaviour and
indirect effect of environment (e.g. XYY- more aggressive).
(goring) found high correlation between criminality and low intelligence, concluded that
crime was transmitted genetically through mental inferiority, believed education can alter
(hooton) criminals are sociologically and biologically inferior individuals
(Sheldon) muscular mesomorphs linked to criminal behaviour
(Wilson, Herrnstein book) – bad families lead to bad children, personality has a biological
basis (Japanese are introverts)
Medical model: Punishment should fit the criminal. Crime should be prevented before it
occurs; sentencing is a treatment because offenders are not morally responsible. Use early
diagnosis of CAT/MRI scans
o (Lombroso)- comparison groups were chosen unsystematically and his statistical techniques
were crude, assumed those in prison were criminals and those out were not.
o (goring) concluded no evidence of a distinct physical type of criminal- compared officially
labelled criminals, not representative sample of all criminals, other people did not represent
o (hooton) used conviction to determine criminal, called them inferior and accounted this to
criminality, control group did not rep general population
o No significant differences in intelligence between inmates and others. Tests were biased in
favour of cultural groups of designers.
o Linking criminal behaviour to pathology ignored the political nature of social control
( scientifically designed technology of control could be used to “treat” troublesome
o No way to discover if biological factor will produce a criminal b/c crime is socially defined.
Biological factors interact with non biological ones to determine behaviour. ( us guns /japan)
o Genetic factors insufficient to determine adult criminality, impulsive does not CAUSE crime
o Most “born criminals” are not criminals. Most offenders are not mentally defective
o XXY – less rather than more aggressive than xy prisoners
o Only in CERTAIN environmental contexts MAY cause crime
o Medicalize political issues, Denial of due process rights
o Mobolized by media, quick fix solution
Psychological Theory: abnormal behaviour is a result of mind and thought process that forms during
human development in early years. Their motivation is influced by phychological variables ( learning
history) Community psychology: Ex. Drug abuse. Individual level: psychological problems. Small
group level: influence of peers. Organizational level: law enforcement agencies insufficient.
Institutional level: changing laws so they don’t affect people negatively.
Psychoanalytical theorist (bowlby): ego and superego cannot control the antisocial instincts
or ID b/c of bad socialization in childhood.
Moral development Theorist( piaget, Kohlberg): each individual must go through a sequence
of moral development to make responsible choices.
Personality Theorist ( Eyesenck): law abiding people must develop a conditioned fear of
deviance, no fear because of poor conditioning by parents, less susceptible to conditioning.
3 dimensions of personality : extraverts( excitement, impulse) , neurotics( anxiety),
psychotics(cold, impersonal), psychological variables and social variables can be interrelated
Social learning Theorists( bandura): deviant behaviour can be learned through direct
experience/ modeling of others. Aggressive behaviour can be learned through family,
subcultures, symbolic modelling(tv)
Operant conditioning theorists( skinner): behaviour is shaped through reinforcement and
Psychopathy Theorists( cleckley, hare) : psychopaths lack sympathy for victims, don’t feel
guilty, do no learn from experiences, all crime shows mental illness
Criminal offender categories : psychotic( delusions of reality – god told me to kill),
psychopath/antisocial personality disoarder (emotionally immature, fearless), neurotic
( attempt to seek punishment for their guilt)
Medical model: due process gives way, sentence according to diagnosis
o Ignores situational / environmental factors e.g. desire for material goods/ excitement
o Psychoanalytical theories -Hard to classify criminals e.g. white collar crime
o Psychoanalytical theories- aggressive impulses and aggressive acts
o sOme studies show eysenk theory(personality) does not hold
o violent people may enjoy watching violent shows
o many anitisocial people do not have a history of violence
o research on anitisocial personality use sample from institutions, impressions may not be
o increase rate of mental disorder in prisons may be the result of institutional /public
o mentally ill make up a small percentage of total criminals
o no reliable method of distinguishing between normal and abnormal
o no link between subconscious problem and a specific crime
o those who receive treatment have no greater change of being cured than no treatment
o failed to prove personality as a cause of crime
o simple answer 2. Subculture Violence Thesis + one example (south Carolina prison)
(Wolfgang and Ferracuti): homicide most prevalent among relatively homogenous
subcultural groups in large urban communities. They accept violence as the norm – create
subcultures of violence e.g. female violence cause she was a slut
Edgefield County, South Carolina (illustration of a subculture of violence): immigrants to
South Carolina included white men fight for honour. Those who killed others in matters of
honour were rarely punished by law, but were often elected to high office. Violence and
racism were characteristics of “rednecks” in South Carolina and elites. Honour, along with
violence, was part of the Southern heritage.
3. 3 theories for the increasing black and how it explains homicide in canada (Julie Phillips)
i. Social control: when forms of social control such as family and communities are weak, they are
less able to restrain violence.
ii. Discrimination and inequality: have increased absolute and relative deprivation for blacks (or
Natives), which produces frustration.
iii. Limited economic opportunities: violent activity may be a rational act for blacks (or Natives)
faced with limited economic opportunities.
4. Gardner & Archer – war influence ..which is correct ?
wars contribute to violence. During major wars, crime rates are lower. After a war, there are
factors that might lead to a reduction of violence, but the return of young males might increase
violent crime. Nations that saw more war showed the greatest postwar increase in homicide.
two theoretical models explain the impact of war on homicide:
i. Catharsis model: Wars substitute public violence for private violence. Homicide would
decrease during and after the war.
ii. CORRECT : Legitimation of violence model: Social approval of violence as a way of solving
problems reduces inhibitions against taking human life. Wars legitimate killing people. This
model predicts increases in homicide in postwar societies.
5. Discuss role of moral entre and how they influence drug policies in the US,UK, and Canada
Moral entrepreneurs determine which behaviours are criminalized and which are not, provide
enforcers with jobs. Law is the expression of the powerful to defend their socially constructed
interpretation of reality. Labelling process can be unfair because some who have not deviated are
labelled, least influential members of society most often caught. UNITED STATES : Drug policies are influenced by the Treasury Department: even though U.S.
Supreme Court Lindner decided that drug addiction should be viewed and treated as a
disease and physician could give an addict moderate amount of drugs ,Treasury Department
and its subsidiary, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, acted as if the Supreme Court decision
had never taken place. The risk of arrest was a fact for any physician who attempted to
treat drug addicts. Harry Anslinger: own version of morality - using Federal Narcotics Bureau,
sold his version to the legislators and the authorities – led to Marijuana Tax Act of 1937
The United Kingdom: Treating Drugs as a Medical Issue, Britain: legal for a physician to provide
drugs for medical purposes and drug addict defined as a person in need of medical care, rather
than as a criminal. Us pressured UN to ban heroin. UN eventually compiled
CANADA: anti-opium legislation passed in 1908: as a result of Mackenzie King’s investigation of
the use of opium in Vancouver. The types of opiates used by the Chinese became illegal.
Medical doctors: insisted on treating drug addiction as an illness, but the general public
assumed addicts were dangerous persons. Role of Law Enforcement Interests in Shaping Drug
Prohibition in Canada: RCMP convinced the public that they could wage a war on drugs. The
Mountie drug squads became leaders in the moral crusade in Canada.
6. Discuss solutions implemented in different countries . Which are effective, ineffective ?
E.g. western Australia : efforts to reduce supply of opiates led to homebake substitute ,
need to reduce demand instead of supply
E.g. Netherlands- retail market for drugs but less harmful consequences, hard druggies get
income without committing property crime. Legalization would end the militarization of
drug policy, the criminalization of drug users, and the violence inherent in an illegal drug
U.S. drug policy – failed strategy: 35 billion dollars each year, locks up a disproportionate
number of young blacks and Hispanics, corrupts local police, has not reduced drug use.
Same thing happened during Prohibition in the 1920s - increased bootlegging, encouraged
the spread of guns and organized crime, and corrupted many federal and local enforcement
Canada’s government: ignores drug professionals when developing policy – i.e. Addiction
Research Foundation favors harm-reduction strategies and the inclusion of drugs like
tobacco and alcohol in the “drug problem”
7. Discuss Desrouches research on higher level drug trafficking in Canada:
Drug traffickers use friendship, kinship, criminal, business, and ethnic networks to select ppl.
Leaders hire people( more vulnerable to arrest e. g. professionals such as lawyers,
accountants, legit ppl) who take most of the risks, so they can protect themselves. Drug-
dealing syndicates remain small because it is difficult to corrupt officials and because large
organizations attract the attention of police. Small drug trafficking businesses reap millions
of dollars in profits and competitive in Canada. Primary motive for higher-level traffickers is
money, but wealth is not the only goal or measure of success: other rewards include status.
They demonstrate success through conspicuous consumption. They enjoy taking risks and
feelings of power. Many dealers become addicted to the luxuries, power, status, freedom,
and financial security associated with drug trafficking. It gives them a lifestyle that other career choices cannot provide and produces a much higher level of respect than would be
available through legitimate employment.
8. Apply different theories to why people drug deal/ get addicted and provide one example of
1. Strain Theory: universal goals a society establishes may not be achievable by some and not
satisfying to others. (Unequal opportunities or failure to define achievable). This leads to
strain and crime is a normal adaptive response.
(kobrin): opportunities differ in different communities.e.g. disorganized communities offer
few legitimate opportunities
(hagan, mccarthy) : street life offers another type of marginal/ illegitimate opportunity
structure, meet experienced offenders who coach them.
1. (merton) in egalitarian societies structures of opportunities are mismatched to cultural goals.
Race, class etc provides unequal available legitimate means to achieve therefore turn to
illegitimate means. Crime is a lower class phenomenon. E.g. us : “material success”
o 5 types of adaptation to resolve strain frustration
Conformity : non deviant, most common b/c society keeps changing,
accepts goals and legitimate means
Innovation: ppl who believe in culturally defined goals but do not accept
limitations therefore turn to economic crimes ( theft, corporate, street),
increases competitive edge increasing profits
Ritualism : people who deemphasize, give up cultural goals for success,
maintain institutional means, not interested in getting ahead
Retreatism: abandon goals + institutionalized ways (drug addicts)
Rebellion: replace means and goals to change existing structure.
o (messner, rosenfelt): american culture emphasize monetary success and weak
emphasis on importance of legitimate means. Economy dominates all other
institutions e.g. family.
2. Subcultural Strain Theorists( cohen, cloward, ohlin) : collective response instead of alone
( gang delinquency). Depending on the neighbourhood opportunity structure, different
types of gangs arise.
o (cloward, ohlin) : illegitimate means are not available to everyone equally. E.g.
juveniles face different barriers than adults leading to different type of gang
subcultures( criminal-thieves, conflict- turf , retratist- drugs)
o (Cohen): since lower class boys aspire to middle class goals in school,domination by
the “middle class measuring rod” lead to difficulties meeting standards therefore
they set new values and standard where they can meet more easily, turn to gang for
gratification and become more separated from middle class orientation of school.
Idiology of meritocracy clashes with reality of inadequate means for certain people
which leads to delinquency. “status frustration” .
2. Social Ecology Theory : societies give birth to crime when they undergo rapid changes.
Society : cause of crime, not individuals (shaw mckay): crime and delinquency greatest in the center of city. Population changes,
living arrangements undermined traditional stable structures leading to coping
problems.(social disorganization)- people distrust each other e.g. various ethnics. Crime is a
method to survive in a socially disorganized neighbourhood, b/c insulated with dominant
culture but alienated from parent’ s traditional cultures lead to formation of new primary
support groups (gangs).Delinquency was culturally transmitted to next generations. (blacks)
(thrasher): gangs arise in city slums: gangs because social controls are weak
(Sampson and Wilson): changing in economic patterns produce inequality, concentrate
poverty in an immobile underclass in inner city neighbour hoods and more successful to
(bursick, grasmick) : deindustrialization , lack skills members make ppl disadvantaged.
9. Discuss 4 situations looking at how drug problems have been dealt with
Recent history of Iceland : drinking
African Americans in North America: cocoaine for pregnant black mother
Native people in Canada: glue sniffing
Disadvantage women : undue responsibility on women of her problems neglating society’s
contributions. Blamed for weak morals for taking drugs
10. Describe Shover, Katz, and Conen views of property offenders
(Neal Shover): property offenders are born into a life of poverty, have bad school
experiences – see failure as normal in school; poorly supervised at home; attracted to street
corner. Street corner offers “life as party” - see crime as an option to keeping the party
going; independence from routine imposed by school and work; gambling, drinking, using
drugs take priority, increased isolation from conventional others, these persistent criminals
have few realistic alternatives – in need of money, many of these people grow wiser with
age and search for ways to change, but when they try to change, they often receive the
most severe penalties,the best solution is to increase legitimate options and opportunities
(Jack Katz): rational choice perspective which assumes that criminals want to acquire money
or goods is inadequate. Material needs are insufficient to account for the fascination with
(Albert Cohen): for many criminals crime is fun. They steal for the “hell of it.”
11. Kat nettier/ desroches views of robbers
(Katz (1988) and Nettler): committing crime excites. Monetary gain as the principal reward
cannot account for robbery, or for most other property crime. Robbery is risky and, from a
rational standpoint, a dangerous, difficult, and not an easy way to make a living. Sensual
attraction comes from the excitement, thrill, pursuit, satisfaction of forcing others to bow to
(Fred Desroches): interviewed bank robbers in Ontario. Modern robber is typically a man
who works alone, does not carry a weapon, passes a note to teller, and walks out with
$1500 to $2500. 12. Discuss why people become property offenders
Social control Theories: focuses on social bonds to conventional institutions (family, school)
o (walter reckless) – Containment theory : inner control(containment system eg. Self
control, frustration tolerance) and outer containment system makes people
conform( institutional reinforcement of norms, discipline). Retains internal
pushes( need for immediate gratification) and external pressures(poverty) and
external pulls ( delinquent companions, media)
o (reiss): if social controls, personal controls, are absent and in a conflict, delinquency
o (nye): success of external controls depend on child’s development of internal
o (Hirshi)- Social bond :stable societies everyone agrees on improper behaviour, ones
who are bound by the social bond will be constrained. Crime results as a failure of
people to be socialized into a bond with society.
Attatchment : ties to primary groups
Commitment: pursuit of conventional goals
Involvement: busy with conventional activities
Belief :morality, law
o (Gottfredson ,hirshi)- Generalizing control theory: Impulsive ppl who have low self
control are more likely to engage in all and riskier types of deviant behaviour when
given the opportunity. Those who fail to develop self control in childhood are more
likely to be involved in crime for their entire lives and only constrained by
o (Cullen)- Social Support Theory : delivery of social supports early in life contributes
of a healthy phychosocial development- counters strains to deviance.
o (Thornberry)- Interactionist Theory : delinquency causes deterioration in
attachment to family and school which future erodes restraints on delinquency.
Family interventions should start early.
o (laub, Sampson)- Turning points throughout the life course : Experiences in
adulthood, social bonds (marriage, decline of economic opportunities) relates to
o (hagan)- Social control and conflict theory: links control and conflict perspectives,
integrating broad social trends such as economic globalization and racism with
community-level factors such as poverty and family breakdown. Those who come
from less advantaged community and family settings will be less able to provide
their children with the social and cultural capital that will help them be successful in
school and later in life. This is particularly likely for people living in communities
that have undergone “capital disinvestment”, involving race-linked inequality,
concentration of poverty, and residential racial segregation. Parents and children
may respond by developing their own ways of reaching goals, often involving illegal
behaviour. Those living in disorganized communities are less likely to have the
opportunity to develop good bonds. Differential association theory
o (Sutherland): Criminal behaviour is learned in interaction with others in
intimate personal groups. Criminals learn knowledge, skills, rationalizations, and
justifications for rule-breaking activity just as non-criminals learn the same skills
for conforming behaviour, and it is the extent to which they associate with them
relative to associating with conventional groups that determines whether they
will choose to commit crime. Whether people commit crime depends on (a)
priority of learning (stage of life) ; (b) frequency; (c) duration; (d)
intensity(closeness of personal bond).
o (Linden): combines differential association with control theory: Lack of ties with
the conventional order increases the likelihood of association with deviant
o (cohen): “middle-class measuring rod” - characteristics which lead to success in
the middle-class world, and lower-class children may have difficulty meeting
these standards. Adult role models from the lower classes provide different set
of norms. What can the young male do when things are going poorly in school?
One possibility is to change – adopt behaviour consistent with the middle-class
measuring rod. Second possibility - withdraw. Third option - reaction
formation - look for others who are in the same predicament - instead of
respecting authority, they challenge it by fighting in order to gain prestige in the
gang - middle class rules reversed - boys who are losing out in the conventional
school system create a delinquent su