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Sociology 2267A/B Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Travis Hirschi, Moral Development, Learning Disability

Course Code
SOC 2267A/B
Tara L Fidler- Bruno
Study Guide

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What to Know?
1.) What do we know about youth crime rates? (increase/decrease), why?
2.) The politics of youth crime
3.) Stanley Cohen and Moral Panic
4.) Penal Populism
1.) Youth crime rates are decreasing steadily since 2008. This is because of Police
enforcement strategies, Crime reporting, Changes in legislation/policy, Change in
socioeconomic status.
2.) Rate of violent youth crime going down. But articles increasing by drastic amount
involving youth crime. Violence crime is highest talked about subject in newspapers.
Reena Virk Case: Moral Panic, exaggerated fears about social problems. Based on
perception rather than reality of the problem. Huge headlines.
3.) Moral Panic: exaggerated fears about social problems, including youth deviance. Based
on perceptions rather than reality of problem. “out of control youth” = moral panic.
4.) Politicians who respond with policy that addresses moral panic. Public fear drives
political agendas resulting in change of legislation.
Extra.) Youth advocate: “child welfare” approach. Law-and-order-group “get tough”
-facts about youth crime socially constructed.
-Youth crime is political.
Conclusion Ch.1
Instead of saving youth from corrupt and immoral environments, we are concerned about
depraved class of youth criminals preying on the good people of society.
-Common view on youth crime is law-and-order perspective. This view sees youth crime as out
of control and farm more serious than it was in the past.
-youth advocates argue that youth crime is no better or worse than in other periods in history.
From this perspective, the most important issues are youth marginalization and the social
problems affecting youth, not youth crime.
-Early 1800’s anyone over age 7 who committed crime could be treated as adult. English
common law allowed leniency for children aged 7-14.
-Period of mid 1800s known as Victorian era: witnessed increasing amount of poor, abandoned,
orphaned and neglected children in NA cities. Also witnessed perceptions of rise in criminal
activity by children and young people. Reformers wanted to “save” the children.
-Post Victorian, modern period, was characterized by a rise in official criminal, and delinquent
behavior by children and young people. This increase can be attributed to changes in
demographics, in the administration of Juvenile Justice, and in police practices.
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-Despite the limitations of historical records pertaining to youth crime, it appears that we have
always had youth crime; that young men are responsible for most of this crime; and that most
youth crime is of a petty nature, with only a small portion involving serious crime. Young girls
have always been sexually exploited in the prostitution trade by men, and children and youth
have always stolen what they needed to ensure their material survival. Only the specifics of
youth crimes and the availability of different goods to sell are different today (ie. Crack,
cocaine, etc.)
-Public concerns about youth crime today are similar in many ways to those expressed in the
past. People worry today as they did in the colonial era that children had no respect for
authority, that they have to much freedom, and that we need more policing of youth. Similarly,
in the Victorian Era, as today, people worried about bad parenting and lack of appropriate
guidance for youth.
-What is different today is the gradual criminalizing of youth issues. Over the past 100 years, we
have gone from talking about youth “delinquents” to referring to them as youth “offenders” to
calling them youth “criminals”.
-The media is a major player in public discourse. They frame public discourse in such a way as to
define and reproduce views of youth and youth crime in a manner that promotes hatred and
fear. A result is moral panic. Some academics maintain that moral panic is a greater problem
than youth crime.
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Week 2:
Doli Incapax
Parens Patriae
Perceived causes of youth crime
The social reform movement/child savers
Anthony Platt critique
The brown commission
The JDA (year, components, criticisms)
The YOA (year, components, criticisms)
The YCJA (year, components, criticisms)
Doli Incapax: Doctrine “ Juvenile Delinquents” meaning  “Incapable of doing any harm”
-Under the age of 7 was not convicted. Ages 7-12 still not capable (but can be brought to trial).
-Relevant until 1983 ; now considered “age of responsibility”
-Now if you are under 12 you can’t be charged.
Lea Bonneau case: Saskatchewan, 2013. Showed failure of the system.
Parens Patriae: Doctrine. Gives the state right to act as parent or guardian. “A duty to be a
parent”. (JDA based on this doctrine).
Perceived causes of youth crime: youth in 19th century: industrial revolution gave a lot
more opportunity for crime. (Forced to now deal with crime). This was b/c :
1) Parents (parent neglect in rich families)
2) The fur Trade (fraud, immortality, theft, assault, etc.)
3) Immigration (Promises of new world often didn’t stay true, resulting in youth alone
and impoverished)
4) Rapidly growing cities
Social reform movement / child savers: 1850-1908 based on belief in the ability to
2 key players:
JJ KELSO: Started social reform movement.
1887- First humane society Toronto
1891- First Children’s aid society in Toronto
-Enacted and act for the protection and reformation of neglected children. (act as parent of
WL SCOTT:Drafted first legislation. :Juvenile Delinquents Act 1908
Reformatory prisons 1857
Extra player:
STANLEY HALL: 1st introduced term “adolescence” in 1904.
-progressing biologically and emotionally as a theory, which is now proven to be correct.
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