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Criminology 1650 WINTER EXAM REVIEW.docx

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York University
CRIM 1650
James Williams

Criminology Exam Review 1. Definition of Crime Legal Definition: Acrime is an act or a failure to act, which violates the criminal law. Tapan (1947): Crime is “an intentional act or omission in violation of criminal law, committed w/o defense or justification, and sanctioned by the state.” Elements 1. ‘Actus Reus’ (end result product of your action/your conduct – voluntarily action or failure to act – criminal negligence) and ‘Mens Rea’(proof/evidstcndof an act/must be proved it was accompanied by a particular state of mind. 1 /2 degree murder – show intent to kill individual) 2. Defenses – self defense – assault someone/kill them as long as it is proved it was out of self-defense. Insanity defense – impacts men’s rea, if you’re suffering from mental disorder/delusional state. Limitations 1. Neglects harmful behaviour not sanctioned by criminal law – harmful activities not deemed crime (violence against women, smoking cigarettes, corporate/white collar crime – employee operating machinery AND false advertising – Nivea – My Silhouette) 2. Ignores the social, cultural, and historical relativity of law. – Neglects how criminal law varies/changes/evolves over time. How it varies across society and culture. (Drug legislation – 1900’s no prohibitions against drug use – first legislation in 1908/homelessness) 3. Overlooks the process of law formation and the social, political, and economic interests at stake in this process – marijuana example (tension b/w whites and Mexicans, politics involved to respond to the issue) Consensus Definition: Acrime is an act, which violates commonly held standards of public morality. Burgess (1950): “Alack 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 – similar values/beliefs to what is appropriate/inappropriate. 2. Definitions of criminal behaviour reflect common social values, norms, and beliefs – agreement b/w seriousness of diff. crimes. Limitations 1. Neglect of contextual variations – even the most severe acts (homicide) there are special situations in which killing another person wouldn’t be considered a crime – war, self defense, execution, assault – boxing, fighting in hockey, spanking 2. Whore morality? – Diff. groups of ppl have diff. values (sexual harassment – not treated as a crime, yet women believe it should be/honour killing – cultural practices acceptable w/one jurisdiction but against norms in another) 3. Absence of agreement as to what constitutes criminal behaviour – drug use? Prostitution? Pornography? Squeegeeing? Sexting? Constructionist Definition: Acrime is a label that is applied by a public audience. 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. Behaviour is not inherently criminal. 2. Whether a specific activity or behaviour is defined as a “crime” depends on a complex social process involving “claims-makers” and “moral entrepreneurs.” - Claims making – activities people defined as needing immediate attention. New laws or tough penalties for existing offences. Ex: victim right group that argues stalking is a significant social problem and needs tougher laws around it as an offence. Limitations 1. Overly relativistic – no independent standards or criteria by which the criminality of social activities can be judged. 2. Neglect of variables such as class, race, and gender and their influence on the ability to impose and resist criminal labels – product of being in the more powerful position, opposing one’s views/understanding, not much appreciation for the larger groups of power (corporate offenders/executives – powerful class positions and successful) Conflict Definition: Acrime is an act prohibited by those in positions of social power as a means of protecting their own values and interests. –Definitions are used to maintain groups in positions of power – like a tool or instrument Quinney (1970): “Crime describes behaviours that conflict w/the interests of the segments of society that have the power to shape public policy” Elements 1. Society is characterized by conflict rather than consensus – tensions b/w groups/very diff. model of society 2. Defining crime is a political exercise – what should and shouldn’t be criminalized 3. Definitions of criminal behaviour reflect the interests of the powerful – activities that threaten those occupying positions of power are defined as illegal, ex: early 1900s., prohibition of alcohol in the U.S. – 2.Alcohol trade seen as a source of employment/economic growth was a desperate need. 3 – legitimacy of law was being questioned in particular … from criminal to non-criminal Limitations 1. Instrumental view of law and overreliance on class as an explanatory variable – true in some cases law is used as interest of upper class, not always case. Instances where it was used for working class/poor. Early 1900s – laws passed limiting workweek, laws for basic worker rights – changed status of workers 2. Neglect of processes through which behaviour is criminalized – looks at big picture, not specific details. 2. Measurement of Crime Objectives 1. Links b/w Definition and Measurement 2. Collection Methods 3. Profile of Crime in Canada 4. The Use andAbuse of Crime Statistics 5. Conclusion: The Politics of Crime Statistics 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. 2. The broader the definition, the greater the amount of crime. 3. The narrower the definition, the smaller the amount of crime. Uniform Crime Report (UCR) 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. Important 4. Crime rate = 100, 000/Population x Number of Incidents 5. Crime Severity Index (2009) – capture more serious forms of crime Limitations 1. Reporting Practices – raises question have any of you become victimized but not reported it to police. Main reason for not reporting: not important enough, believed police couldn’t do anything or didn’t want them involved b/c of a personal matte. Most unreported crimes are sexual assaults (80%). Most reported crime: break and enter/motor vehicle theft/theft of household property = reported for insurance purposes. 2. Law Enforcement Practices -- # of ways of what police do that influence crime rates. First, exercise of everyday discretion – 911-call center. Operators have huge discretion in seeing if call is worthy to call police. Some may not feel it is important or real or qualify as a crime. 3. Sensitivity to Changes in Legal Definitions – ex: 1983: Canadian rape laws include sexual assault. As a result, sexual content out voluntarily consent. Rapes for sexual assault then increased. Another ex, 1990: broader definition of arson to include mischief fires which resulted n 0% increase b/w 1991 and 1992. Ex: 1990s: greater willingness to classify infant shaking deaths as a criminal act. 4. Patterns of “Offender” Behaviour – specially true for victimless crimes – how criminals act/organize activity. Ex: study from 1991, which documented very interesting change in heroin using community over a 10-year period. Changes: erosion of supportive relationships among those in this community. Which made less of a tendency to help other drug users.Also, observed reduction in resistance to enforce. Thirdly, changes in scoring., the packing practices/how drugs are carried. Crime Statistics 1. Social construction of crime statistics – product of social construction. a. “[Statistical facts’are not merely the result of science and proper methodology. They are also a human, bureaucratic, organization, and political achievement” (Haggerty, 2001: 37). b. “If anybody got into a statistical analysis of the UCR data, which is supposed to be our flagship, I think they would have as heart attack. My own personal opinion is that the data are crap” (Statistics CanadaAnalyst cited in Haggerty, 2001: 19). 2. Considerable “dark figure” of crime – “dark figure” referring to total # of offences not reported to police/do not appear as crime rate. 3. Use of alternative methods to better capture the “dark figure” of crime in Canada. Victimization Surveys 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 toward 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. Limitations 1. Over-reporting – incidents reported as crimes but they are not – wallet lost, but reported it as stolen. 2. Under-reporting 3. Excludes ”victimless” crimes – no questions about drug use, sex trade, etc. Self-Report Studies 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 crime such as drug use. 3. Independent of police and citizen reporting practices. Limitations 1. Inaccurate or Incomplete Reporting 2. Reporting Bias – males are in general more likely to under report their involvement in crime relative to females 3. No Independent Measure of Validity – we don’t know if these ppl are telling the truth whether they’re engaging in crime or not. No way to check or confirm. The Use and Abuse of Crime Statistics 1. Roles of Statistics in Claims-Making • Critical role of statistics in claim making process • Process through which activities/ppl defined as social problems that require immediate intervention often for more laws/tougher penalties for existing laws • In order to bring issue, statistics are critical 2. Forms ofAbuse Use of Aggregate Measures – reference to general categories of crim. Behaviours, that actually combines # of diff. crimes Violent youth crimes involve aggregated assault, sexual assault, common – level 1 – assault Manipulation of Time Frame – perfect example: data on Canadian Crime Rates for 2011 was released – Minister for Public Safety tweeted “Crime rate down 6%, shows conservative party tough on crime is working”. Best way for politicians to use and abuse time stats. Neglect of Changes in Definition of Crime and/or Data Collection Methods – Globe and Mail. Neglected important detail that 16 and 17 year olds were added to category of young offenders act in 1985. Employment of False or Deceptive Formats – perfect example: crime clock. It is misleading because it’s not talking about changes over time. Suggests these crimes are randomly distributed so that any one of us has potential to become a victim. 3. Case Study 1: The Missing Child Problem • Joel Best: 1998 – the problem of stranger abductions • One measure comes from center for Missing and Exploited Children (early 90s) – definition: every reported crimes include attempt to kidnap or kidnapping by a non relative – based on this, 50,000 kids being abducted every year in U.S. • 1/5 abductions are unsuccessful (20%) – misleading to count as stranger abduction • 97% of children in reported cases missing for less then 24 hours or short time (hours) • 60% cases reported by police as sex offences – sex crimes rather than abductions • Proposed narrower definition: include only children who are killed or missing overnight - # dropped from 50,000 down to 550 • Argued that non relative is not necessarily a stranger – if only strangers included, # drops from 550 to 115 – represents total # of missing children in U.S. (.00006%) 4. Case Study 2: Measuring Serial Murder • FBI produced # that there were 4, 000 serial murder victims every year in U.S. • Philip Jenkins looked at # in suspicious, argued that actually # was close to 300/4000 • Claims makers was FBI, benefited from larger numbers Conclusion – The Politics of Crime Statistics 1. Production and Collection of Statistics Hackler (2000), “Crime statistics do not measure criminal behaviour; they measure the response of various agencies to their perception of crime.” 2. Use of Statistics Best (1998), “Acitivitists use statistics… (92). Ask yourself: where do the numbers come from AND does the source have anything to gain from the way crime is being presented to the public? 3. Explaining Crime and Criminal Behaviour 1. Theories of Crime and Criminal Behaviour:An Introduction • Individual versus Sociological Theories 2. Individual Theories A) Biological and Psychological Theories B) Rational Choice Theories • Historical Context • Overview • Limitations and Policy Implications • Cultural and Political Significance For exam: connect theory w/ policy – identify policy behind theory, or theory behind policy Theories of Crime and Criminal Behaviour Variables Theories A) Model of Behaviour 1. Individual  Individual Determinism  Bio.And Psy. Free will  Rational Choice Theories 2. Social Sociological (to MOS) B) Model of Society  | 1. Consensus  Social Process Theories Structural Theories 2. Conflict  Conflict Theories Biological and Psychological Theories Historical Context: 1. MiddleAges (1400s-1600s) • Crime often viewed as sin by individual • Violent crime: viewed as satanic possession • Severe punishment: burning w/a stake • Famous U.S. case – Salem Witch Trial in 1692 – resulted in deaths of 19 ppl. Women targeted unmarried, live alone. 2. Enlightenment & Post-Enlightenment (1700s-1900s) • Shift away from spiritual/religious foundation towards natural • Try to understand through measurement, science • Criminology emerged as a science • Much of this work rested on a belief that crime could be read off body – skull, body type, faces – tell who criminal is based on physical make up of body itself o Phrenologists (1800-1850): skull abnormalities – study structure of skull and believe certain structures associated w/criminal activities, personality traits & mental capacity o (Best example) Lombroso and the theory ofAtavism (1876): referred to as “Father of Criminology”. Did autopsy on notorious killer and compared criminals to soldiers and proposed theory, “criminals can identified based on atavistic characteristics” – criminals are evolutionary throwbacks. Identified 18 abnormalities – enormous jaws, strong canine teeth, large lips. Concluded that if you possessed 5, you were a criminal and could explain, “irresistible craving for evil for its own sake…” o Sheldon and the Criminal Physique (1949): argued that criminals possessed a distinct physique. Theory: endomorph, mesomorph, ectomorph and normal body types. (Mesomorph most likely to become criminal). Positivism –Assumptions: 1. Human beings have unique biological characteristics and psychological traits that predispose them towards crime – using measurements, observations. 2. Using established methods of scientific observation, we can distinguish b/w criminals and non-criminals based on their physical, biological, and psychological attributes – i.e., those who have a propensity or predisposition to commit criminal behaviour. Biological Theories Variations 1. Neurophysiological – brain damage can cause criminalization 2. Genetic – XYY chromosomes 3. Biochemical – imbalances, hormones, high levels of adrenaline/testosterone, neurotransmitter linked to anxiety, depression Case Study: “The Psychopath” 1. Historical Context – term “psychopath” coined to late 1800s. Used since this time as a catch all term applied to violent and unstable criminals. Changed in early 1980s, Robert Hare, 2. Robert Hare and the Psychopathy Checklist – determine who was a psychopath, who wasn’t. Consists of about 20 diff. traits: pathological lying, impulsivity, irresponsibility, shallow affect, conning/manipulative, etc. 3. Biological Origins: TheAmygdala and Broca’sArea – ppl who are psychopaths have deficiencies withAmygdala. Use brain-scanning tech. and flash violent images in front of screens and measure scan/activity in brain. Individuals classified as psychopaths have less activity/emotional response to images flashed. Another theory, psychopaths produce emotion in an area where we produce language/speak (broca). Conclusion: psychopaths are fundamentally diff. from rest of us and this diff. can be picked up from tech. like brain scans. 4. Limitations a. Validity b. Breath and Reliability of Diagnostic Categories – two issues. First: way that checklist is designed (breath). Psychopath label applied to large # of ppl. Far too broad and not precise enough as a measure. Big problem in states. Other issue: reliability. Variation b/w psychiatrist’s b/w assessments. Should get some answer for assessment no matter how many or what psychiatrists do it. c. Correlations as Causes – studies done that demonstrate connection b/w individuals defined as psychopaths and individuals who clearly deemed to lack many key measures. Less activity in brain associated w/emotion. Conclusion: what’s going on in brain is causing violent behaviour, but there is no proof, it’s just a correlation. Relationship could be reverse – individuals who have a violent history have less activity in part of brain (amygdala). d. Policy Implications – true in cases used as a predictive tool. Determining whether criminal will engage in violence in future/what should happen to them within prison system. Problem of false positives – cases where indi. Comes out with high PCLR, but are not a psychopath. Other issue: connection b/w background. Conclusion from all of this: psychopath is a social construction. It’s a diagnostic category used to describe individuals w/violent histories rather than a reflection of an organic, natural abnormality for disorder. Because this is present in a scientific language it is perceived to be legitimate. Is there a connection b/w psychopaths and corporate success? 2 questions for movie: what exactly is being measured through instruments such as psychopathy checklistAND what are the limitations/implications of this particular assessment technique? Good possibility for exam question • Is the PCLR measuring what it’s suppose to measure? Suppose to measure underlying psychological condition, which predisposes individuals to acts of violence. These attributes don’t get to the underlying conditions – closely correlated to being violent.ARGUMENT: more of a scientific way of looking at criminal’s w/violent histories. No evidence produced from these tests that are convincing. The terms “scumbag” and “evil” aren’t scientific terms.At the end of the day, what are we measuring? –TIES INTO VALIDITY Psychological Theories Variations 1. Psychoanalytic – Freud. Criminal behaviour is rooted in inability to control self- conscious/conscious drives. Battle b/w id, ego and superego. 2. Trait-Based Personality Theories – idea is criminal activity is rooted by personality.ASPD, conduct disorder, juvenile delinquency. 3. Social Learning Theory – crime is a product of conditioning and modeling. Watching and imitating others. Ex: grow up in violent home, you will be conditioned to act violently. Case Study: Violent Video Games and Criminal Behaviour 1. Violent Video Games – Modeling and Reinforcing Violence 2. Effects – The Evidence a. Case Studies – high profile cases where connection revealed b/w individuals committed extremely violent act and have played video games immediately before or in past (Ex: Columbine shooting). Two teens shooting shot gun off bridge – killed one, injured another – played Grant Theft Auto. Kim Veer Gil (2006) – shot ppl in college in Montreal. Played 5 of top 10 worst violent video games. b. Experimental Research – divide ppl into 2 groups. One group plays violent video game/other group doesn’t. Then asked to do a task to measure violent behaviour. Length of time they punished an opponent by blasting them w/loud noise was measure of aggression. c. Cross-Sectional Research – uses questionnaires asking indi.Asking about video game habits and levels of aggression. See if there’s cthnectith. Ex: Jim Zealand (2004): study using this method asking 600 8 and 9 graders asking video games they played, identify 3 fave.And how much they played, and level of violence within game. Then asked about school grades, arguments w/teachers and if they’d been in fights. Conclusion: teens who play violent video games get in arguments w/teachers, involved in fights and get poor grades. 3. Limitations a. Correlations as Causes – many ppl play video games but don’t pursue violence. Parenting plays a role – low level of parental involvement/parents acting violently in the home b. Short-Term versus Long-Term Effects – true that violent video games cause aggression, but this aggression is short-term. Bobo doll c. “Aggression” versus “Crime” – many of these studies will present the conclusion that being exposed to violence causes aggressive thoughts (attitudes, etc.) but provide no evidence of aggressive behaviour. Big leap b/w aggression and crime. Limitations of Biological and Psychological Theories 1. Acceptance of Correlations as Causes – doesn’t necessarily mean causal relationship exists 2. Vague and Ambiguous Diagnostic Categories – each element w/psychopath is broad. Reliability also problem 3. Lack of Conclusive Empirical Support – true for links b/w biological and psychological variables of crime, that reveal the strongest links are studies that include more sociological variables, regions, socioeconomic status, social background, etc. 4. Inability to Account for the Social Distribution of Crime – evidence to suggest connection b/w crime and geographical region. Higher rates of crime in U.S. than Canada, but doesn’t mean more psychopaths in U.S. than here. Higher rates of crime due to political or economic differences. 5. Troubling Policy Implica
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