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CRIM 1650
James Williams

CRIM 1650 September 11 , 2012 September 18 , 2012 - Crime has been on a decrease since 1991 - About a 6% decrease on Canadian crime rate – lowest level since 1972/1973 - Passed 10 years crime has dropped by about 26%, and since peak roughly 40% - Vast majority of decrease is based on property offences (break-ins, motor vehicle theft) - Property crime is at its lowest level in about 30 years - Gradual decline of about 4% in violent crimes since 2001 - Homicide rate has increased – roughly 600 homicides across Canada in 2011 - General downward trend in youth violent crime (about 3%) – vast majority of incidents are generally minor in nature (level 1/common assaults  fights, pushing, pulling) - Vast majority of crimes of violence are by individuals we know  greatest threat are usually people who are known to us - Winnepeg had highest rate of violent crime, followed by Saskatoon, thunder bay, regina - Toronto was 11 , behind Halifax, montreal, colona BC - Causal: research evidence has proven the statement – FALSE, weak correlation with being exposed to media violence and subsequent aggressive or criminal behaviour - Parental involvement could account for time spent watching tv and committing crime (just a possible factor) - Corporate white collar crime is more expensive than street crime  economic crime costs US roughly 4 biollion dollars each year  crisis from 2008 caused about 300 billion dollars with estimates of a trillion dollars in economic costs - No documented case where kids have been harmed by foreign objects put in their candy by strangers on Halloween - EG. James Joseph Smith – put needles in snicker bars and gave them to children on Halloween  generally an urban legend - “Get Tough” programs have not been proven to reduce rates of future offenders - EG. Project Turnaround in Ontario – issues around funding, and limited evidence of effectiveness - Canada has one of the strictest youth justice systems in the world  higher incarceration rate for young offenders  up until 2003, there was no provision for parole - 2003, Youth Criminal Justice Act – “Search for alternatives to prison”  number of juveniles has declined by 42% - Similarities between pharmacological properties of some prescription drugs and street drugs Definition of Crime - What is criminology?  interdisciplinary, united simply by common interest in crime What is “Crime” and who are the “Criminals”? - Crime is incredibly common, widespread in our society, and is not confined to small number of repeat offenders - About 10% of Canadians have criminal records - In US about 90% of Americans have committed a crime for which they could be incarcerated - Crime is diverse - Crime in Criminals are normal  “criminals are predisposed to crime by biological, psychological reasons, while others are perfectly law abiding citizens”…FALSE  no line drawn between criminal and non-criminal Continuum of Crime and Deviance - Where the line is drawn between crime and deviance is arbitrary  depends on societal values - How do we establish what should be included in the criminal code as a crime? - EXAMPLE: Prostitution – should it be criminalized? Or is it not nearly as harmful as its shown? Four Approaches Criminologists use to Think about Crime and Approach it: Legal - Belief, assertion, that a crime is an act or a failure to act which violates the criminal law - Example: Tapan (1947) – Crime is “an intentional act or omission in violation of criminal law, committed without defense or justification, and sanctioned by the state” Elements: - 1) Actus Reus (evidence of an action or failure to act - negligence) and Mens Rea (proof that conduct st nd was accompanied by particular state of mind)  subjective standard applied to 1 degree murder, 2 degree murder (prove that was their intent), and objective standard, based on legal argument that reasonable person would appreciate activity that was engaged in (manslaughter, dangerous drive, assault causing bodily harm) - 2) Defenses – self defense (as long as it can be proved), insanity defense Limitations: - 1) Neglects harmful behaviour not sanctioned by criminal law (if it is not defined as a crime in criminal code, then it is not a crime) - EXAMPLE: Corporate White Collar Crime – a safety guard must be at place if a dangerous machine is being used  treated as regulatory violations but NOT CRIME - EXAMPLE: False Advertisement  Nivea – My Silhouette - Human Rights Cases (EG. in brazil destroying pavellas to make room for Olympics) - 2) Legal Approaches ignore the social, cultural, and historical relativity of law - EXAMPLE: Drug Legislation, there were no prohibition against drug use early times, opium was first criminalized in 1908, marijuana in 1923 (virtually no research, just a decision of parliament), US criminalized in 1937 (bureau of narcotics wanted to maintain its jurisdiction and funding level, by adding marijuana to list of drugs being criminalized) - EXAMPLE: Homelessness – criminalized aspects of homelessness (sleeping on public benches)  views of homeless people has changed, less about social welfare, and more about injustice - Numerous laws in the criminal code but do not exist or would not be taken upon in present time (EG. Practicing witchcraft)  view of acts can change without change being reflected In criminal code - 3) Legal definitions overlook the process of law formation and the social, political, and economic interests at stake in this process Consensus: - A crime is an act which violates commonly held standards of public morality - EXAMPLE: Burgess (1950) – “A lack of public outrage, stigma, and official punishment attached to social action indicates that such action is not a violation of society’s rules, independent of whether it is legally punishable” Elements - 1) Society is characterized by a social and moral consensus - 2) Definitions of criminal behaviour reflect common social values, norms, and beliefs (agreement regarding seriousness of different crimes) Limitations - 1) neglect of contextual variations  even for the most severe acts that we would all agree should be considered crime (eg homicide), there are special situations in which killing another person would not be considered a crime (eg. Police officers, self defense) - 2) Whose Morality?  Isn’t it possible that society isn’t characterized by same set of moral values? - EXAMPLE: Sexual harassment is not considered a crime, but women may feel as if it should be - 3) Absence of agreement as to what constitutes criminal behaviour  should prostitution, drug use, pornography, sexting be considered criminal behaviour? Constructionist - A crime is a label that is applied by a public audience - EXAMPLE: Becker (1967) – “Deviance is not a quality of the act a person commits, but rather a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an “offender”. The deviant is one to whom that label has been successfully applied; deviant behaviour is behaviour people so label” Elements - 1) Assuming that there is no behaviour that is inherently criminal  criminality is not inherent to an act - 2) Whether a specific activity or behaviour is defined as a “crime” depends on a complex social process involving “claims-makers” and “moral entrepreneurs”  activities people define as social problems, requiring immediate attention - EXAMPLE: Victim rights groups that argue ‘stalking is a significant social problems, and there should be tougher laws for that offense’ - What is considered criminal depends entirely on people’s subjective views, opinions, and ability to impose those views and opinions on individuals, LABEL activities as crimes Limitations - 1) Overly Relativistic – any behaviour could potentially be defined as a crime – no independent standards or criteria by which criminality of social activities could be judged - EXAMPLE: being a pack-rat (people who collect junk) are harmless, but thanks to media they are now considered ‘hoarders’  should not elicit a negative reaction, but now does - 2) Neglect of variables such as class, rate, and gender and their influence on the ability to impose and resist criminal labels - EXAMPLE: Corporate offenders, who because of their powerful class position are successful in deflecting negative attention  what they do is for the benefit of the economy, so it should not be treated as a crime Conflict Approach (sometimes known as Marxist approach) - A crime is an act prohibited by those in p - positions of social power as a means of protecting their own values and interests - Definitions of crime are used to maintain individuals, groups within positions of power - Quinney (1970): “Crime describes behaviours that conflict with the interests of the segments of society that have the power to shape public policy Elements 1. Society is characterized by conflict (tensions between groups) rather than consensus 2. Defining crime is a political exercise  real political interests at stake 3. Definitions of criminal behaviour reflect the interests of the powerful EXAMPLE: Early 1900’s (prohibition of alcohol)  move was made because first, the work forces were consuming high levels of alcohol. There was a need for a sober work force. The second, a feeling that if consumers weren’t spending money on alcohol, there would be more money to spend on other commodities. Third, there was a belief that prohibition of alcohol would cut down crime, violence, and disorder. Finally, consumption of alcohol was tied to particular groups and places (saloons) where working class individuals, primary catholic workers, would be recruited for revolutionary activities. Alcohol legalized in 1933 because, 1) if alcohol was legalized, it could be important part of tax revenue. 2) alcohol trade was seen as source of employment and economic growth. 3) Legitimacy of law  people were still drinking, so people began to question the power of the law. DEALS WITH POLITICAL, ECONOMICAL, AND SOCIAL INTERESTS Limitations 1. Instrumental view of law and overreliance on class as an explanatory variable - Overemphasis on class (limitation of Marxist conflict perspective)  need to look at other variables like gender, sex, age 2. Neglect of processes through which behaviour is criminalized - Macro perspective  doesn’t spend enough time on details for how laws get passed and are put into effect LESSONS LEARNED: 1. Definitions of criminal behaviour are the outcome of a social in which definitions are created, imposed, and resisted 2. This social process is informed by social, political, and economic conflicts, power relations, and forms of inequality 3. Definitions vary across societies and cultures, and time periods  criminalization of most forms of drug use, and the sex trade 4. Constructions of crime and criminal behaviour are informed by a variety of crime myths and mythmakers th September 25 , 2012 Links between definition and Measurement - How crime is defined will invariably influence how it is measured 1. Activities that are not defined as crimes will not be measured EXAMPLE: Krista Striland, in 2007, died from complications of lipo-suction procedure. Surgeon later found to engage in negligence, lost license, but never charged as crime 2. The broader the definition, the greater amount of crime 3. The narrower the definition, the smaller the amount of crime Uniform Crime Report (UCR) - Initially developed in 1960’s Features 1. Most commonly and widely reported crime statistic 2. Compiled by Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics based on monthly reports from police forces across Canada 3. Includes both crimes reported to the police, and the outcomes of police patrols and investigations  police must determine that an incident is qualified as a crime, holding discretion if something is a crime or not. Also, there can be a crime that is reported, recognized as crime, but may not have charges. DRUG OFFENSES are not included in the UCR 4. Crime Rate = 100,000/population*Number of incidents 5. Crime Severity Index (2009)  intended to capture more serious forms of crime, to develop a measure which reflects crime severity. A weighting system, so that more serious crimes carry a higher weight. Also includes, drug offenses, traffic offenses, and statutes. FORMULA: Multiplying incarceration rate for given crime*Average length of prison sentence. Limitations 1. Reporting practices  being victimized, but not reporting crime to police - Underreporting is a serious issue. Fewer than 4 in 10 incidents in Canada (37%) are reported to police. Majority of Assaults (about 70%), and majority of robberies (55%) are not reported to police. Usually because: not important enough, police couldn’t do anything, incident could be dealt in other way, didn’t want police involved. 80% of sexual assaults are not reported to police, as well as domestic violence and fraud is most underreported. Most reported: break and enter, motor vehicle theft, theft of household property (mostly for insurance purposes). Also issues with OVERREPORTING  crimes involving young offenders, and crimes occurring in school. Starting in 1990’s there was issue with crime on school grounds  teachers reporting crimes to police that before wouldn’t be reported (bringing weapons to school, yard fights) 2. Law Enforcement Practices  exercise of everyday discretion, initially starting with 911 phone answers (is incident worthy). Found only 25% of calls were passed on to police officers. Discretion also exist in how police officers respond to calls, whether to lay a charge or not, whether it is a crime or not (is matter to trivial?) o Enforcement and deployment practices  they may decide to focus policing efforts and strategies in particular neighbourhoods, or particular crimes. Crimes that are most dependant are prostitution related offenses  there is no victim, so largely dependant on police (morality squads). o Organizational Objectives: pressures on police departments to “massage the data” (manage image of department, display good budget, political pressure, needing a decrease in crime to show they are doing a good job). Can be manipulated through downgrading (making crimes sound less severe, eg: burglary to vandalism) o COMSTAT  designed to give police a management tool, producing rates of different types of offenses for different policing districts. “why is that assault is not decreasing in your district?” “why is this crime on a rise?”. Pressure to produce lower crime rates, increased reason to downgrade crimes 3. Sensitivity to changes in legal definitions  statistics are reported as a significant increase without any reference or discussion in change of legal definition - 1983 canadian rate laws were told to include sexual assault, as a result the rates for sexual assault increased  product purely out of expansion of definition - broadening definition of arson, mischief fires), resulting in 20% increase in arson rate between 1991 and 1992  largest increase in any given year - in 1990s, there was a greater willingness on part of forensic pathologist to classify infant deaths as a criminal offense. Accidents (shaking infants) were considered crimes 4. Patterns of “offender” behaviour  what offenders do, how they act, how they organize their activity, may have an impact on whether or not the police are notified, whether police can identify what they are doing is criminal - in 1991, a study documented on heroin using community: first, there was an erosion of supportive relationships. Observed reduction in resistance to enforcement (greater tendency to go along with police). Third, changes in scoring. How drugs are carried and transported can have impact on drug users susceptibility to arrest Crime Statistics CONCLUSIONS 1. Crime statistics are products of social construction “Statistical facts are not merely the result of science and proper methodology. They are also a human, bureaucratic, organization, and political achievement” 2. Considerable “dark figure” of crime - Referring to total number of offenses not reported to police, thus, not appearing on official crime rate - Crime is unreported or unknown  UCR very limited as measurement of crime 3. Use of alternative method to better capture the “dark figure” of crime in Canada Victimization Surveys (in reference to point number 3 above) Features 1. Phone administered questionnaires seeking information on victimization experiences of individuals over specific time period 2. Questions relate to the incidence and characteristics of victimization experiences, as well as reasons for reporting or not reporting the incident, fear of crime, and attitudes towards the police 3. Alternate data source independent of police and citizen reporting practices 4. Surveys typically yield levels of crime higher than those reported in official statistics - Despite significant overall differences in crimes reported, within specific points of time, if you look at trends they are very much consistent  if you compare trend over 10 year period of UCR and Victimization Survey, you will find gap in absolute levels but trend is very similar. Suggests that even if numbers are not accurate for UCR, the trend of time is somewhat accurate. Limitations 1. Over-reporting  reported a stolen wallet, but actually lost it, also untimely reports 2. Under-reporting  still situations where victims are hesitant over phone. Cases where there was a relatively minor altercation, which may not be considered assault, but in actual fact it was. Especially a problem with respect to sexual assault, violence, and forms of domestic violence. 3. Excludes “victimless” crimes  no questions about drug use, sex trade, etc - Homicide not reported, OBVIOUSLY BECAUSE YOU ARE DEAD Self-Report Studies (also refer to point number 3 above relating to alternative methods) Features 1. Phone surveys or written questionnaires asking individuals about their past involvement in various forms of criminal behaviour 2. Valuable source of information for victimless crimes such as drug use 3. Independent of police and citizen reporting practices Limitations 1. Inaccurate of Incomplete Reporting  hesitant regardless if they are anonymous 2. Reporting Bias  males are more likely to underreport relative to females 3. No Independent measure of validity  we don’t actually know if people are telling truth nd October 2 , 2012 - Youth crimes are based on number of youth charged by police  instances of crime are marked in general, while youth crimes are taken down on the UCR by charges PATTERNS OF CRIME IN CANADA 1. Crime rate comparable to what it was in 1973 2. Majority of crimes are non-violent  of 2.5 million offenses in Canada, 12% would be violent, homicide accounts for .0003% of all crimes in Canada 3. Majority of violent crimes are perpetrated by non-strangers  73% by non-strangers 4. Most crimes do not involve the use of a weapon or involve serious injury  70% of violent crimes, there are no weapons present 5. What are my chances of becoming a victim of violent crime? - Gender is equally at risk for crime (excluding sexual assault for women) - Age: crime occurs decreases as people get older, people at highest risk are 15-24 - Marital status: if you are single, separated or divorce you have higher rate of victimization - Occupation: unemployed/students have highest rate of victimization - Activities: the more time you spent out in public, at night, the greater risk of victimized - Household income: low income <15,000 risk of violent victimization increases - Place of residence: urban areas are “riskier” than rural areas - People who fear crime most are least likely to be victimized, while students like us are scared less, but have higher chance of being victimized - Patterns of crime tell us that vast majority of crimes are not serious, violent, dangerous crime that meets public stereotypes. Majority of crime has neither serious economic loss or violent injury The Use and Abuse of Crime Statistics 1. Role of statistics in claims-making  define social problems that need immediate intervention that require new laws or adjustment to current laws. In our society, numbers carry more weight, credibility, and legitimacy than words 2. Forms of Abuse  o Use of aggregate measures: reference to general categories of criminal behaviour that combine very different types of crime (e.g. violent youth crimes + incidents of severe violence). Misleading distortion of the problem o Manipulation of time frame: selective focus on specific time period in order to make the claim that X crime is on the rise. Random historical comparisons make very little sense, unless there is an underlying agenda o Neglect of changes in definition of crime and/or data collection methods: reports/journalists fail to acknowledge changes. EXAMPLE  globe and mail reported 131% increase in # of young people charged with violent crime between 1978-1988 Suggests there is a significant problem, however, this neglects that in 1985 16, and 17 year olds were added to definition of young persons o Employment of false or deceptive formats: EXAMPLE  CRIME CLOCK  suggests that these crimes are randomly distributed, that any one of us has the potential to be a victim. Misleading because crime is not only depending on personal characteristics, but tied to particular places. Crime is not evenly distributed, some places have more of a likelihood for a crime to occur than other 3. Case Study I: The Missing Child Problem o Problem of missing children/stranger abduction o First, researcher found that 1 out of 5 abductions are unsuccessful. Second, 97% of children were missing for less than 24 hours or short period of time. Third, found that 60% of cases were recorded as sex offenses, involving various forms of molestation (sex crimes rather than abduction). Misleading to count sexual offenses as stranger abductions o Proposed a narrower definition: only children who were killed or missing overnight. Number dropped from 15000 a year to 550 in the US o A Non-relative is not necessarily a stranger  family acquaintances 4. Case Study II: Measuring Serial Murder o FBI stated that there were 4000 serial murder victims each year in the US o Phillip Jenkins argued that actual number was much closer to 300-400 o Confusion was because unsolved homicides were counted by the FBI, being attributed to actions of serial murders without proof or evidence o Claims maker (the FBI) stood to benefit from the larger number of serial murder victims  were going to get greater jurisdiction and were going to get more funding from the government Conclusion – The Politics of Crime Statistics 1. Production and Collection of Statistics - Hackler: Crime statistics do not measure criminal behaviour, they measure the response of various agencies to their perception of crime 2. Use of Statistics - Best: Activists use statistics to persuade; but these numbers must be understood for what they are – part of the rhetoric of social problems promotion. Statistics are products of social processes, and they have social consequences. When trying to understand social problems, we need figures we can count on, but we especially need to know what it is we’re counting Two questions to ask when looking at statistics: What is the source of the numbers? Does the source have anything to gain from the way the crime is being presented? EXPLAINING CRIME AND CRIMINAL BEHAVIOUR 1. Theories of Crime and Criminal Behaviour: An introduction o Individual versus sociological theories 2. Individual Theories  historical context, overview, limitation sand policy implications (BE ABLE TO CONNECT THEORY WITH POLICY FOR EXAM), cultural and political significance o Biological and Psychological Theories o Rational Choice Theory Theories of Crime and Criminal Behaviour - Two variables: model of behaviour and model of society - If model of behaviour is INDIVIDUAL and you believe in DETERMINISM then you would be a BIOLOGICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL theories - If model of behaviour is INDIVIDUAL and you believe in FREE WILL then you would be a RATIONAL CHOICE THEORIST - If your model of behaviour is SOCIAL then you would be a SOCIOLOGICAL theorist - If your model of society is CONSENSUS then you would believe in SOCIAL PROCESS THEORIES and STRUCTURAL THEORIES - If your model of society is CONFLICT then you would be a CONFLICT THEORIST Biological and Psychological Theories Historical Context 1. Middle Ages (1400-1600s) during which time crime was often viewed as a sin, a sin committed by the individual. Crime is viewed as a form of satanic possession  religious world o Resulted in heinous punishments such as burning by stake o Instances from US where there would be trials of witchcraft. Of the women who were killed, they did not fit the stereotype of woman. o witchcraft was used as an explanation for crime 2. Enlightenment & Post-Enlightenment (1700s-1900s) o Shift from spiritual to natural  crime being understood through science, measurement, and empirical study o Foundation for first criminological theories of crime  emerged as a science o Much of this work rested on the belief that crime could be revealed by makeup of the body o Phrenologists (1800-1850)  focused on skull abnormalities. Believed structure determined likelihood and aspects of why crime occurred o Lombroso and the Theory of Atavism (1876)  referred to as the FATHER of criminology  Wrote a book where he proposed a theory of criminal behaviour: compared facial and skull characteristics of criminals and non-criminals (soldiers). Proposed theory that criminals could be identified by their atavistic characteristics which refer to theory that criminals are evolutionary throwbacks  If you possess 5 out of 18 characteristics, you had the irresistible craving of evil for its own sake o Sheldon and the Criminal Physique (1949)  focusing on the physical body  Argued that criminals have distinct physiques or body types Positivism – Assumptions 1. Human beings have unique biological characteristics and psychological traits that predispose them towards crime. By using measurements, empirical observations, we can determine who is committing crime and who isn’t/distinguishing between who is criminal and who isn’t 2. Using established methods of scientific observation, we can distinguish between criminals and non- criminals based on their physical, biological, and psychological attributes Biological Theories Variations 1. Neurophysiological  physical structure/abnormalities of the brain 2. Genetic  focusing on the genes 3. Biochemical  biochemical imbalances, such as hormone imbalances, high levels of testosterone or adrenaline, neurotransmitter imbalances such as serotonin Case Study: “The Psychopath” 1. Historical Context  term “psychopath” coined in late 1800s, being used since that time as a term that was implied to violent and unstable criminals – a label 2. Robert Hare and the Psychopathy Checklist  in early 1980s he developed the psychopathy checklist. Checklist had 20 different characteristics. Arbitrary distinction at 30/40 where person is considered a psychopath  has been used to develop estimates of amount of psychopaths in general population 3. Biological Origins; The Amygdala and Broca’s Area  people who are psychopaths, determined through the checklist, have deficiencies in the part of the brain responsible for emotion. Psychopaths produce emotion in an area where the rest of us produce language and speech (Broca’s area). Ultimate conclusion is that psychopaths are fundamentally different from the rest of us, and these differences are biologically determined and can be picked up by technology such as brain scans TH OCTOBER 9 , 2012 Documentary  “Checklist, A Measure of Evil” What is being measured through the PCLR? What are the implications and limitations of this particular assessment technique? - We lock people in prisons and hospitals because of what they “might do”, not what they’ve done - Psychopaths can be hard to spot  gain your trust, love, and then destroy your life - Characteristics of a Psychopath: Narcissistic, very gleam, like to believe that they are bigger than everybody, friendly, intelligent, complete lack of remorse, empathy, and lack of regard of how people feel - Complete absence of remorse  can tell a torturous horrible story, and not even have a flicker of remorse, shock, or worry - A form of personality disorder, which is a chronic form of mental disorder o The whole concept is different. Personality disorder is a developmental disorder (essentially they were never normal) - Psychopath processes emotion in area where regular humans process language o “they know the words, but not the music” - At least 1% of the population are psychopaths (over 300,000 in Canada, and 3 million in US) - In prison, about 20% of the prisoners are psychopathic  they commit about 50% of the crimes - The Psychopathy Checklist o Grade criminals on their degree of psychopathy o Method for making an objective assessment of psychopathy o Having assessments on characteristics important to distinguish between psychopath and non- psychopath o 20 characteristics are measured on a 3.0 scale from 0-2  Anyone over 30/40 is a psychopath o Valuable tool for risk-assessment  single best predictor for future violent predictor  Those with high scores are 2-4 times as likely to re-offend  Used for decisions on sentencing, and release  Assumed pre-eminence in risk assessment  Prison inmates can participate in a variety of rehabilitation programs  E.g. someone who participated well in activities, but because of high pclr score, he merely “manipulated his personality” o Worries test can be skewed because of financial or social status  PCLR: factor 1: personality, factor 2: case history o Law-breaking is not so much a factor of doing something illegal, it is a factor of being caught o UK  people who seem to be psychopaths can be detained and locked up o Checklist reputation for predicting future violence is used in capital sentence sentences to argue for execution  can become a matter of life and death o PCLR can have a due or un-due influence on decision making  becoming primary grounds on denying civil rights and detaining people o Term psychopath” has an aura around it, coming with emotional baggage o Increasingly used with what to do with offenders in prison - is the PCLR measuring what it is supposed to measure? o Underlying psychological condition is what it’s supposed to measure  Underlying psychological condition that predisposes people to an act of violence o Characteristics seem to be measuring people who are also in the same category as violence, rather than psychopathic activity  Attributes don’t necessarily get to the real issue of the underlying condition - Why is it that just one psychiatrist does this evaluation? - The PCLR is really just a scientific way of talking about individuals who have violent histories in (professor’s opinion) - In the documentary, unscientific, and moralistic words were used to describe individuals Lecture… Limitations of the Case Study 1) Validity 2) Breadth and reliability of diagnostic categories o Psychopathic label can apply to a large variety of people based on this checklist o Far too broad and not precise enough as a measure o Reliability  might there be variations between psychiatrists?  If measures are reliable, the same results should be given 3) Correlation as Causes o There is no proof that the brain causes the psychopathy – this is a correlation, not a causation 4) Policy Implications o Especially true in cases where it is used as a predictive tool – means in determining whether an individual will commit violence in the future. What should happen to them? o Can result in having someone being termed a dangerous offender o Problem of false positives  cases where individual make come out with high psychopath score, but in actuality are not o There is a connection between high PCLR scores and socio-economic status o The answer is incarceration rather than incapacitation Conclusion: psychopath is a social construction  a diagnostic category that is used to describe individuals with violent histories, rather than a reflection of an organic, natural abnormality or disorder. Tends to be accepted and perceived to be legitimate (beyond criticism) because it is spoken through a scientific language (psychiatry) Psychological Theories - Criminal behaviour is linked to abnormal or inadequate socialization, and the development of personality disorders Variations 1. Psychoanalytic  criminal behaviour is rooted in the inability to control conscious or subconscious drives 2. Trait-based personality theories  criminal activity is rooted in abnormal personality traits 3. Social Learning Theory  crime is a product of conditioning and modelling. Watching and imitating others Case Study: Violent video games and Criminal Behaviour 1. Violent video games – modeling and reinforcing violence o Playing violent games leads to violence is one of main causes of aggression 2. Effects – the Evidence a. Case Studies  high profile cases where a connection has been revealed EXAMPLE: Columbine shooting -- Individuals were known to play highly violent video games EXAMPLE: 2003, 14 and 16 year old fired their shotguns at passing vehicles on highway. Told police that playing GTA3 inspired them to commit the crime b. Experimental Research  develop an experimental situation (mostly dividing people into two groups where one person will play violent games and other group is not playing violent game. They will then be asked to do a task that tests aggression) EXAMPLE: 2000, had 210 college students playing a violent or non-violent video game. Based on results of experiment, those who played violent game were found to be more aggressive based on blasting an opponent with a loud noise for longer time c. Cross-sectional Research  uses questionnaires, asking individuals about both their video game habits and their levels of aggression. th th EXAMPLE: 2004, asked 600 8 and 9 graders about 1) the video games the play, 2) school gades. Teenagers who played more violent video games get into more arguments with teachers, are more likely to get involved in fights, and get poor grades Limitations a) Correlations as Causes  research demonstrated a correlation between playing video games and violence, not a causation. An individual may just have aggressive tendencies in their personality, which may attract them to violent video games b) Short-term versus long-term effects  aggression is typically short term from playing a video game c) “Aggression” versus “Crime”  aggression is a behaviour assessment, while crime is a legal assessment. If someone is aggressive, it does not mean they are conducting in criminal behaviour Limitations of Biological and Psychological Theories 1. Acceptance of Correlations as Causes  always important to distinguish between correlational and causal research 2. Vague and ambiguous diagnostic categories  psychopathy, for example, is incredibly broad, leaving it subject to interpretation 3. Lack of conclusive empirical support  for link between biological and psychological theories 4. Inability to account for the social distribution of Crime  there must be other legitimate explanations for certain comparisons that are made 5. Troubling policy implications  one of the key issues is that the only way of proceeding is through: identification (Develop screening programs, profiling programs, etc) and incapacitation (e.g. believing in a born, incurable criminal. The elimination of crime can only be stopped with the elimination of those who are born/known to have pure evil intentions) Cultural and Political Significance - Despite limited empirical evidence, and questionable value, biological and psychological factors remain very influential o They resonate, and reinforce larger cultural representations of crime 1. Cultural Resonance o Nature of Criminality  pervasive belief that crime is a product of individual deficiencies. Consistent with the way we are taught about crime, where there are various references to the criminal mind o Identification, detection, and investigation  belief that we can identify offenders based on their physical, psychological, and biological characteristics. In fact, psychological profiling in reality does very little for police officers because their profiles are vague and broad 2. Political Expediency o Refers to speed and ease with which policies can be developed and implemented o Invariably, we as a society and politicians, want explanations that are simple and straightforward, providing policy solutions o Translation of social disadvantage into a natural deficit  social disadvantages that individuals may experience (poverty, lack of education, lack of employment) are viewed simply as natural deficits. We don’t think of these disadvantages, we think of deficits within the individual o Simplistic Policy Implications  we can screen individuals, incapacitate them, rather than trying to concern ourselves with broad-scale social change. EXAMPLE: InfoSeek scanning brains to find terrorists OCTOBER 16 , 2012 - COMPARISON OF Lombro’s Ideas of the criminal and Robert Hare’s Checklist o Rooted in highly individualized understanding of crime  crime being a function of biology and psychology o Rooted in a very deterministic view of crime  one’s criminality is to an extent predetermined o Supporting evidence in each case is relatively week  Robert Hare’s biological checklist is a lot weaker than authors would admit Rational Choice Theories - Based on free choice, the expression of the will of the individual, rational self-reflection - Also referred to as “rational actor theories” and “opportunity theories” Historical Context 1. Rational choice theories preceded biological and psychological approaches  came around late 1800s, early 1900s  School of thought associated with Cesare Beccaria and Jeremy Bentham 2. Reaction against unjust, arbitrary, and severe forms of punishment associated with absolute monarchies and religious rule  punishments were also used for confessions 3. Foundation in two core enlightenment philosophies a) Individual rights and freedoms, and importance of fairness, equality, and predictability in responses to crime o Punishment should fit the crime (principle of predictability) o Reform of the innocent until proven guilty o Equality before the law o Due process o Jury system  All emerged from this enlightenment belief b) Human behaviour is a product of rational choice and calculation, rather than biological, psychological, or spiritual predispositions. Humans are rational and reasoning beings who strive to maximize pleasure and minimize pain o Principle of utilitarianism 4. Philosophy of Punishment – Deterrence Deterrence Theory Underlying Principle 1. Criminal behaviour is a product of rational decision-making process through which offenders evaluate the risks and rewards of committing a criminal offense 2. Laws and punishments must be responsive to this decision-making process 3. The effect of punishment on criminal behaviour depends on three variables: severity, certainty, and swiftness 4. There are two forms of deterrence: (1) specific deterrence (punishments designed to ensure the individual offender does not re-offend); and (2) general deterrence (punishment designed to prevent offending on the part of the general population, intended to “send a message” to the potential criminals) Policy Implications 1. Increase the severity, certainty, and swiftness of punishment Limitations 1. Failure of offenders to consider or care about future punishments  Assuming that offenders actually continue to calculate their choices every single time 2. Weak empirical support  weak correlation between severity of punishments and changes in criminal behaviour  EXAMPLE: There is no credible evidence that the death penalty deters homicide, or any other serious offenses. Rational Choice Theory - Rational choice is truly about developing practical prevention policies Underlying Principles 1. Crimes are purposive and deliberate acts committed with the intention of benefiting the offender  Motivations can also be fun, excitement, sexual pleasure  not just material gain 2. Key variable is opportunity  theories invariably emphasize the role of opportunity crime causation  If an opportunity exists to steal something and that opportunity involves a relatively high reward and the risk is relatively low, then you will engage in that activity. This works in contrast as well  Conceivable, removable, easy accessible, something valuable, something that is enjoyable, something that is disposable  goes by acronym CRAVED (decisions on physical targets)  Offenders may be focused on individuals who are alone, at night, at remote areas (decisions on human targets) 3. Offender decision making varies with the nature of the crime  Recognition that motivation from a crime like robbery will be very different than a crime like sexual assault.  Motivation for the same offense can also be very different  EXAMPLE: some individuals may steal a car for a joyride, while others may want to steal a crime for economic gains 4. Rational choice applies to both the decision to become involved in crime (involvement), and the decision to commit specific offenses (event) Benefits 1. Choice versus Determinism 2. Dynamic nature of crime  ever-changing, rather than a determined motivated individual constantly engaging in crime regardless of the circumstances 3. Crime as normal  we have moved away from individualized pathology, and now It is possible that anyone can engage in rational choices Policy Implications 1. Situational Crime Prevention  refers to a collection of different techniques designed to reduce the opportunities for crime, and the rewards of offending (largely through interventions in specific situations, and contexts where crime is likely to occur)  Hot spots: idea that crime tends to be higher within particular areas of the city, and particular parts of neighbourhoods  CPTED: Crime prevention through environmental design  Impact how neighbourhoods are organized by decreasing opportunities for offenders Limitations 1. Presumption of Rationality  Overly simplistic, neglects the fact that offenders aren’t always concerned with costs and benefits of their actions. Do not take into account the crimes that aren’t clearly defined as rational/irrational (crimes of passion)  Robberies may be impulsive and in the spur of the moment. Many don’t even consider the action before it’s done  The effectiveness of policy interventions is questioned because of the lack of actual rational calculations 2. Crime Displacement  idea that through these interventions, crime is not actually prevented, it is displaced from one area to another  If a hot spot is focused on, and interventions are engineered you may see decrease in hot spot. But overall rate in city may not decrease, because offenders may move to another area 3. Neglect of the underlying causes of crime  very little discussion or interest in social influences, and background factors such as: poverty, emotional and physical abuse, negative influences 4. Over-emphasis on policy-relevance and practical utility Cultural and Political Significance 1. Widespread endorsement of rational choice theories as a foundation for crime control policies 2. Popular appeal and political expedience  crime “problem” is reduced to a problem of opportunity, so once opportunities are eliminated crimes will disappear Sociological Theories I: Social Process Theories Objectives 1. Limitations of individual theories and the shift to sociological theories 2. Overview of social process theories a. Social control b. Differential association c. Labeling 3. Strengths and limitations of social process theories Limitations of individual theories and the Shift to Sociological Theories 1. Society rather than the individual is the appropriate unit of analysis 2. Sociological theories of crime focus on two key sets of variables: (1) social processes; (2) social structures 3. According to social process theories, crime is a product of social processes (bonding, learning, and labeling) rather than individual traits 4. These processes may discourage criminal behaviour through the development of social bonds, or encourage criminal behaviour through social learning and the imposition of deviant labels 5. Explaining how individuals become involved in crime is more important than accounting for their motivations Special Bond Theory (Travis Hirschi) Underlying Principles 1. Everyone has the potential for criminal behaviour  it is not a distinct predisposition or a special motivation, we all have the incentive and the potential to commit a crime 2. Question: why is it that more people do not commit crimes?  challenge is explaining conformity, rather than criminality 3. Response: most people have attachments and commitments which them to conventional society. Crime is an outcome of either the failure to develop these social bonds or their weakening over time 4. Elements of social bond: a. Attachment  refers to degree to which individuals possess effective (emotional) ties to others b. Commitment  refers to degree to which individual pursues conventional goals (education, find a career) c. Involvement  amount of time spent on a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly basis on engaging in conventional activities  degree to which an individual is active In conventional activities d. Belief  degree to which an individual believes, embraces, and identifies with conventional values, norms, and legitimacy of law 5. Empirical Support  There is research that supports idea that relationships with parents, schools, and peers, plays a big role in preventing kids from involving in crime  Parenting plays a very protective, important role from future criminal activity Policy Implications 1. Foster the development of social bonds through positive forms of socialization 2. Points of intervention a. Family b. School c. Peer groups o Parental responsibility act  people can sue the parents of the child and take them to small claims court for any property damages  Liable unless they provided reasonable supervision of their children o Parental report cards in the US  parents will be graded on whether the child appears: well rested, parents responded to phone calls, if child has necessary supplies, if child completed homework, if child receives adequate medical attention Criticisms and Limitations  Failure to account for the motivation to deviate  Assumption that individuals involved in crime lack social bonds  Neglected structural variables and their impact on social bonds  social bond theory can be a relatively conservative theory in an approach to crime. Focuses on parents to the exclusion of unemployment and precarious employment. People need to take on multiple part time jobs to survive, which may cause lack of time spent with kids. o E.g. bullying occurs because of the existence of social bonds, not the lack of it - -this approach can contribute to the blaming of parents, and can result in comments OCTOBER 23 , 2012 Romney: single parent families, especially single mother families are the problem in decreasing the rate of poverty Newspaper article  kids are poor because families are poor o Root cause is not guns, inadequate policing, or such, it is family and community breakdown  lack of fathers. All the social problems cannot make up for lack of familiar disorganization  Factually incorrect. Family structure is not associated with future crime and violence  What’s significant is the nature and quality of the family interactions, the actual quality of parenting - It is not the structure of the family, but rather the stresses bearing on the family relationships that can create immediate risk factors for violence involving youth - Neglects the influence of policing strategies, such as those associated with the war on drugs o Disproportionately targeting young black men, eventually removing them from the home  A form of systemic racism - Contrary to what journalists believe, race clearly is very important in understanding what’s going on in the way that this particular problem is being defined and characterized Documentary about the incident where a 6 year old boy finds a gun at his uncle’s house, brings it to school, and shoots a classmate. He was with his uncle because his mom was being evicted - Lockheed found perfect way to diversify and profit from people’s fears  specifically poor black mothers - In order to get food stamps and healthcare for her son, the mother worked at Lockheed - The chief believed that this was an ineffective system, bringing parents away from the community o 80 mile roundtrip journey everyday o Would leave early in the morning, arrive late at night  rarely seeing children - The mother worked two jobs - Contradiction in government policies: emphasis on family, but offer to work programs which have the effect of preventing mothers and fathers from actually engaging in effective parenting Differential Association Theory (Edwin Sutherland) Underlying Principles - (1) crime is a behaviour that is learned through interactions with significant others - (2) what differentiates criminals from non-criminals is differential exposure to deviant peer groups and opportunities for social learning - (3) individuals must learn both the techniques necessary for committing crimes and the justifications which support this activity o Rationalizes conducive to criminal activity (e.g. embezzlement because employer is unfair) o If there are an excess of definitions/justifications to commit crime, crime will occur more often - (4) Differential associations vary in terms of frequency, duration, priority, and intensity (prestige or status of a person) - (5) applicability to a range of crime types Policy Implications - (1) prevent or reduce exposure to deviant peer groups o E.g. mentoring programs, afterschool programs - (2) challenge justifications for criminal behaviour o Resistance skills training  provides young people ways to resist peer pressure Criticisms and Limitations - (1) Inability to explain crimes committed by those who are isolated from peer groups - (2) failure to explain differential responses to peer groups o Doesn’t explain how you can have differential responses to peer group pressures  Doesn’t account for how family may serve as a protective factor o You may spend time with the wrong crowd, but you don’t actually engage in that activity yourself - **** connection between Sutherland and white collar-crime Labelling Theory (Edwin Lemert) - Emphasis is on the social reaction to crime, and how that social reaction may actually contribute to criminal behaviour rather than preventing it Underlying Principles - (1) Our identities and concepts of self are formed through interactions with significant others. These interactions are critical to the formation of criminal identities o Our sense of self is formed through our social interactions  “the looking-glass self” (our understanding of ourselves depends on society) o E.g. we think we’re funny because people laugh when they’re around us - (2) everyone engages in minor acts of deviance and crime [Primary Deviance]  relatively minor, everyday acts of criminality - (3) in most cases, this deviant behaviour goes unnoticed or is rationalized o E.g. teacher’s may see pushing or shoving between kids and say “boys will be boys” - (4) However…if the deviant acts are repetitive and have a high visibility, and if there is a significant societal reaction, individuals may start to think of themselves as “deviants” or “criminals” o People become “criminals” when significant others label them as such - (5) once formed, criminal identities are linked to criminal behaviour through a self-fulfilling prophesy [Secondary Deviance]  deviance that actually a process of the label being applied o We act in ways that are consistent with how others view us  If we are treated as criminals, and we think of ourselves in terms of that label, we will have a much greater tendency to act in a way that is consistent with the label Documentary called “EMP 4 Life”  program developed where support was given to kids to get them back into school, and teaching of math skills 3 nights a week o Impact of policing and how they respond to kids in different neighbourhoods o The kid believes that this results in a form of labelling that is brought into schools, which becomes a self- perpetuating cycle Policy Implications - (1) Reduce or mitigate the effects of negative labelling - (2) Options o Decriminalization (one of the downsides of the criminalization of drugs like marijuana is that you are encouraging this process of negative labelling, giving the young people a formal criminal record) o Diversion and Decarceration (police should maybe refer kids to counselling programs or community support instead of charging them, or if a charge would result the police should suggest sending them to a community program instead of jail) o Shift enforcement strategies and practices (the police need to avoid targeting particular areas and particular individuals. There needs to be serious discussion around racial profiling and its implications) Criticisms and Limitations - (1) Failure to account for either the origins of criminal behaviour or the decision to forego a criminal career o They don’t explain why people engage in primary deviance, or why the primary deviance can escalate to the frequency and severity to a point where it sustains a societal reaction o Not responsive to the constantly shifting involvement of crime  to the extent that young people who are involved in crime is around 16-20 years of age then decreases greatly  “maturational effect”  people grow out of crime - (2) inability to account for criminal behaviour which occurs over time and in the absence of a negative label o Cluster of crimes that don’t involve a negative stigma or a negative label in any way but continue to occur (e.g. white collar crime, sexual assault) - (3) difficulty in operationalizing core concepts and limited empirical support o Very difficult to test empirically, very difficult to study labelling theory because it is difficult to operationalize a label (which is an abstract idea) o How do you observe the process of labeling? (you can’t) Social Process Theories Strengths - (1) criminal behaviour linked to social processes rather than individual traits or structural positions - (2) interactions with family, school, and peers essential to the onset of avoidance of criminal behaviour - (3) applicability to a range of different crimes and criminals o Recognize that anyone from any background could be involved in crime  social status isn’t destiny Limitations -
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