Criminology Final Exam Review
Race and Crime
1. Racialization of Crime: The process through which crime is constructed and defined in
explicitly racial terms.
Significance: It is significant because it shows how cultural representations of crime and
criminality are informed by race. Direct product of symbolic racism. Hurricane Katrina
where black individuals gathering food were represented much differently than whites.
Leads to Criminalization of Race.
2. Criminalization of Race: A perception that certain racial groups are predisposed to crime
and are crime prone and therefore they are treated as such. Criminalization of race has to
do with institutional practices (ex: racial profiling: we sometimes think that racial profiling is
just a problem of the police, but it has a much larger set of ripples than just a policing issue,
Significance: Connects to the concept of systemic racism ( How particular institutions
treat certain races as if they are predisposed to crime and are crime prone, this may appear
at traffic stops) Criminalization of Race is an implication of racialization of crime. It treats
particular racial groups as though they are criminal or potential criminals. This leads to
overrepresentation of particular groups in terms of prison populations.
3. Symbolic racism: negative representation of social groups that are expressed through
coded language and symbols. (How groups are described, how conditions and activities
like crime are described). Common understandings of race, and they reproduce a common
Significance: These are informed by popular understandings of race. They are less visible
and avert than traditional racism. Therefore reproducing race-based accounts of common
4. Systemic Racism: The practices of institution. Systemic racism Is about the effects of
symbolic representations. Systemic racism refers to practices and patterns in society and
its institutions which, although may not be intended to disadvantage any particular racial
group, can in practice have the effect of discrimination against racialized, non- white groups
and thus, reproduce inequality.
Significance: The deniability and the invisibility of systemic racism. Racism has become
less avert and less obvious. Ex: districts, loans etc. This is so embedded in institutional
practices, that it becomes invisible and even deniable. It is also direct factor to racial profiling as well as disproportionate offending.
5. Racial Profiling: Any action taken for reasons of security/protection that relies on
stereotype about race, rather than reasonable suspicion, in order to single out an individual
of scrutiny/different treatment. It is the idea of focusing on personal characteristic of race.
For ex: this is done by taking in factors such as previous offending are taken into account.
Racial profiling is more informal than formal.
Significance: Racial profiling exists, however it is denied and is very difficult to prove
because it is found mainly at informal ends of the justice system. It is more likely to occur in
drug offences. It is the result of racial discrimination and systemic racism. It leads to
criminalization of race and systemic racism.
6. Disproportionate Offending: The disproportionate overrepresentation of a particular racial
group in terms of their prison population.
Significance: It is used as a way to explain the race-crime link. It explains why certain
groups are crime-prone by attaching it to a particular context. Race is a social construction
and the social context becomes attached to historical events which get linked to racial
communities. Aboriginals and Blacks are overrepresented. We explain crime giving context
to crime through:
1. Historical Legacies of Colonialism and Slavery
2. Social Economic and Political Marginalization
3. Community Disorder, Helplessness, and Anomie
1. How are links, between race and crime, socially constructed? How does race inform
social and cultural representations of crime and criminal justice? What is the
significance of the race-crime link?
Race is a social and political construction and is used to categorize people and also express
power, develop policies, procedures and practices that may be overtly or covertly discriminatory.
Symbolic and Systemic racism socially construct links between race and crime through the
process of racialization of crime and criminalization of race. Race informs social and cultural
representations of crime and criminal justice by racialization of crime and criminalization of race.
The significance of the crime-race link is that there are various dilemmas of definition and
measurement, mainly the fact that there is absence of valid statistics and problematic policy
implications such as disproportionate offending and racial discrimination (racial profiling). In
addition, certain racial groups are overrepresented in terms of their prison population. 2. What do we mean by the "Racialization of crime" and the "Criminalization of race"?
What is the relationship between the two processes?
Racialization of crime: the process through which crime is constructed & defined in explicitly
racial terms. (Crime is expressed through assumptions about race)
Criminalization of Race: a perception that certain racial groups are predisposed to crime and are
crime prone and therefore treated as such.
The relationship between the two processes is that criminalization of race is an implication of
the racialization of crime. (perception that races are predisposed to crime)
3. Why is there so little data on the relationship between crime and race in Canada?
Why does the collection of race-based statistics generate so much controversy?
What does the evidence that is available suggest about the relationship between race
The reason why there is so little data on race-crime is because the center for justice
statistics does not collect race-based stats. Police do, but those are not official and do not
get reported to the Center for Justice Stats, and therefore do not appear as an official
It generates controversy in terms of validity and interpretation. Eugenics, holocaust types of
policy implications are the only things you can do. Collecting race statistics creates so much
controversy due to:
a) Validity and interpretation of race-based crime statistics: It would go against
multiculturalism, would lead to stereotyping, interpretation would be a problem , what to do
with the data would be a problem.
b) Problematic policy implications of collecting race statistics:
• racial profiling would be justifiable and could lead to more policing
• leads back to eugenetics, where they tried to cut down the “bad genes” by prohibiting
people from reproducing. (Sterilization of women)
The evidence available about race suggests that racialized communities are
disproportionately or overrepresented in terms of prison populations. In the context of
Canada we need to talk about colonialism and if we’re talking about Black people we need
to put it into context of slavery. Race is a social construct, how is the social context
influencing these constructs, thus we need to go back to historic events. ( Lead to
Disproportionate offending and Racial Discrimination (racial profiling))
a) Over-representation of Aboriginal peoples in both federal and provincial prison
b) Over-representation of Blacks-particularly in Ontario. 4. What are the 2 primary explanations for the relationship between race and crime?
How do they differ? How are they related?
The two primary explanations are Disproportionate Offending and Racial Discrimination.
Disproportionate offending: a certain group is prone to crime. It can be linked to historical
facts of colonialism. There are economic factors. It is Systemic. Discussion of the conditions in
which people live. Certain people do not have the same number of resources and are therefore
forced to live in “public” where they “commit these crimes”
Racial discrimination: Although many criminologists believe that it exists, it is difficult to prove.
We’re talking about institutional practices. Racial discrimination is both symbolic and systemic
and its concealed therefore it is difficult to prove. It is more informal rather than formal.
1. Difficulties in defining and quantifying racial discrimination in the criminal justice system
a) Opinion research + Anecdotal Data
b)Police + Court Research
2. Invisibility of systemic and symbolic racism
They are related because racial discrimination is ... disproportionate offending is explaining why
there is so much offending in a certain race (you're looking at the three concepts
Historical legacy...) Racial discrimination is the treatment of a particular races differently.
They both explain race-crime link.
5. Why is it so difficult to study and document racial discrimination in the Canadian
criminal justice system? To what extent is this a product/reflection of the "invisibility"
and "deniability" of systemic racism?
It is so difficult because there are:
1) Difficulties in defining and quantifying racial discrimination in the criminal justice system
a) Opinion research and Anecdotal Data
b) Researching the Police and the Courts
This largely has to do with the fact that systemic racism is invisible and dined.
2) The invisibility and deniability of "systemic racism"
3) Roney King Casestudy: black male pulled over and arrested by police due to his "animalistic
behaviour" as a result of PCP which was perceived to have extreme negative effects on
6. Why is racial discrimination-particularly in the form of racial profiling is more likely to
appear in drug offenses than other types of crime?
This has to do with the historical context involving the criminalization of drugs use. Chinese
for example were connected to opium and blacks were connected to cocaine and crack with
the abolition of slavery. Therefore due to these drug links, racial discrimination is likely to
appear in drug offences. Morality and Crime
1. Crime on the Margins: Activities that exist on the boundaries of what is criminal and what is
deviant. The focus on the boundaries between crime and deviance. The ambiguous boundary
between what is criminal and deviant. It is significant because it represents how the individual
acts ... not the objective reality. Conflict crime and disagreements are revealed between harm of
an act and whether it should be considered a crime. “victimless crime”. Crime on the margins
helps reveal the impact of the influence of social political .. and the influence of power. These
are the crimes where influence of power becomes evident because of the disagreement of
Significance: Conflict crime occurs due to lack of agreement what should and should not be
treated as crime. Relates back to the idea of a continuum, where there are grey areas about not
only what should be considered criminal or deviant but also in terms of who's morality are we
talking about. Definition of criminal behaviour are key stakes in social and political struggles.
2. Amplification of Deviance: the process through which deviant aspects of behavior/activity
are exaggerated/amplified with the result of this behavior/activity as being redefined as crime.
Significance: Process of amplification of Deviance becomes associated with drugs and
prostitution as a result of social, political, and economic interests and anxieties rather than
objective harms. There is a disconnect in terms of where law stands on drugs and questions of
true harm. The most harmful drugs are legal, and some not so harmful drugs are illegal.
Significant because crimes become criminalized because they are perceived as criminal.
3. Objective Harm: A harm consequences of which can be scientifically measured and studied.
Significance: Results in criminalization of drug use due to the false belief that illegal drugs
are rooted in their objective harms (personal and societal) where there are much more harms
associated with some legal forms of drug.
4. Objectivist VS Constructionist Approach:
Objectivist Approach Constructionist Approach
Definition: status of behaviour/practice as a Definition: the status of behaviour/ practices
social problem is based on its objective as social problem is the result of process of
characteristics, in particular objective and social construction, not their objective
measurable forms of harm. (Scientific study evidence of harm but rather what is perceived
documenting harms and based on these to be as harmful.
documented harms we figure out how to treat
the problem as such)
Significance: In prostitution for example,
there's not much physical harm but more of a
moral/social harm. Morality becomes very grey in this area because who’s morality are we
Significance: They lead to criminalization of activity. Its the morals that come in play.
5. Claims-Makers: Contribute to claims being made about drugs and therefore creating moral
1) Moral Entrepreneurs: made claims on drugs themselves and also drug users.
2)Politicians: used drugs as a scapegoat for other problems, trying to stir up anxiety about
3)Physicians and the Medical Establishment
Significance: Contribute to the criminalization of drug use. Criminalized drug use before their
actual objective harms were determined. They effect the society's view of the substance and
socially construct criminalization of that substance because the society believes they're harmful
cause of them.
6.”War on Drugs”: Politics and the Criminal Justice Policy that emerged as a result of
Criminalization of drugs. Was Initiated by Ronald Regan (1981) who declared the ward on drugs
and Bush (1989). Its principles and tactics were to Reduce Supply through Interception, Seizure
and Domestic drug Enforcement and Eliminate Demand through educational programs such as
DARE. The reality (supply purity price rate of drug use.)
Significance: The effectiveness of the war on drugs was questioned. It was costly, prison
population increased, it resulted in systemic discrimination and the war on people of colour and
disproportionate amount of arrest and incarceration.
7. De-Criminalization VS Legalization:
Decriminalization: the act will no longer be a crime. That is not to say it’ll be legal, but the
penalty wouldn’t be a criminal charge, but still subject to ticketing /being fined.
Legalization: Drug use production, distribution is no longer illegal but still subject to regulation.
Ex: alcohol model where the drug is regulated (you can only purchase it at liquor stores and
you will not be sold alcohol if you are too intoxicated and on prescription drugs) Legalization
does not mean a “Free for all”. This is seen as a more radical option from the point of view of
the general public.
Significance: Caused various barriers. Political: became a political scapegoat, deflected true
causes of social problems to an easy target. Economic issues. Bureaucratic: provided message
that police are effective and brought money into these agencies. Symbolic: part of the fear
society has is the belief that this will lead to a growing influence of minorities. It is highly unlikely
that drugs will be legalize.
Themes 1.What is the significance of the phrase “Crime on the Margins”? What do the shifting
boundaries between crime and deviance tell us about the influence of social, political
and economic context, and prevailing forms of power, conflict and social inequality on
the formation and enforcement of criminal law? How are these processes reflected in
societal and legal responses to victimless crimes such as drugs and prostitution?
2. What does it mean to talk about the criminalization of drug use and abuse in terms of
‘objective harms’ vs ‘social constructions? Why is the disjuncture between objective
harm and criminal law so important? What does this disjuncture tell us about the
influence of social, political and economic interests on the process of 'deviance
Criminalizing Drug Use: Social Construction
1. Historical Novelty of Criminalization as a Response to Drug Use
2. Historical Context of Criminalization: Social, Economic, and Political Anxieties
3. Characteristics of Users and Contexts of Use
a) Moral Entrepreneurs:
c) Physicians and the Medical Establishment
There is a disconnect/disjuncture with criminal law and objective harms because it doesn’t allow
us to see why some drugs are legal and why some are criminalized. It’s not necessarily about
objective harms (we know alcohol is harmful yet its legal) we also know that marijuana doesn’t
make ppl incredibly violent and the health effects are less than that of tobacco. Criminalization
of drugs was suddenly in place after being linked to particular social groups. We therefore don’t
see why some drugs are criminalized and others aren’t.
3. How is the process of social construction informed by broader social, political and
economic contexts? To what extend does the criminalization of marijuana in Canada and
the US reflect these types of influences?
4. What is the underlying rationale for the "War on Drugs"? Why is it important to
differentiate its "Effectiveness" from its "Effects"? What are these effects and what are
their implications for social and political inequality? 5. What are the differences between de-criminalization and legalization? What are the
pros and cons of these types of strategies as alternatives to the "War on Drugs"? Why is
it unlikely that these measures will ever be implemented on a large scale in the US and
Canada? What are some of the barriers to more creative approaches to the drug
6. Film: Hooked: Illegal Drugs and How they Got That Way.
Hooked: Illegal drugs and how they got that way.
-hemp remains most pop. Drug in world.
-since the legalization of marj. Over 20 million Americans have been arrested
-government relied on educational films
-drugs became illegal before they became associated with their health effects
-drugs used as scapegoats
-for 1 reason or another these drugs were to be criminalized
-concern for Mexicans consuming marij.
-cases in Texas of ppl serving decades in prison for possession of marij.
-fears of immigrants, gangs, communists and alcohol
-National Firearms Act
-Assassin of Youth
-there was no evidence to back up the harms of marijuana for students
-marijuana effects exaggerated or distorted by media
Story of criminalization of marijuana: view of it being dangerous because it was linked to visible
minorities (specifically Mexians)
-moral entrepreneurs: Harry Anslinger (bureaucrat concerned with conserving his budget) and
William Randolph Hurst
- using drugs as scapegoat in context of racial tension in US south
-great depression, economy of the time
-marijuana was criminalized not because of its harms but because of the way it was perceived
-marijuana criminalized in 1937 in US and 1923 in Canada ( Emily Murphy had significance
where her book contained a chapter on marijuana) Passed without any real discussion or
debate and was simply added to criminalized substances in 1923)
Corporate and White-Collar Crime
1. Normalization of Deviance: The process through which deviant aspects of
behaviour/activity are downplayed/minimized with the result of the behaviour/activity as being
not defined as a crime. (activities that are harmful are treated as normal) i) Crime Law and Power
ii) Ability of corporations to normalize their activity and resist/avoid application of criminal law in
a way that many other individuals are unable to.
iii) Normalization of deviance as a reflection of corporate influence on both the formation and
enforcement of law.
iv) Language of corporate wrongdoing and flexibility of law.
• Terminology used to describe corporate activities, mainly their actions defined as
offenses/violations rather than being defined as crime.
• Immoral is referred to as unethical (which sounds less serious than the other)
• flexibility of law (prostitution and drug offenses and any other street crime and the legal
status of these activities. There's one option: using drugs= crime, not using drugs= not a
crime, yet using prescription drugs = also not a crime)
• corporations can be perceived through criminal, civil, regulatory and ethical violation
(these provide different sets of responses/punishments)
• all crimes that we have looked at have only been looked at in terms of criminal law
where as with corporate crime, law is much more flexible as there are different ways of
looking at this law not just through criminal law (there are multiple options)
v) De-criminalization of corporate crime: objective vs. perceived harm
• people are more fearful of individual crime and therefore take it more seriously than
• media are a corporate entity and therefore help limit the coverage of corporate crime
• corporate crime involves more technical language, vocabulary and more sophisticated
understanding of crime
• murder for example is more visual where as corporate crime is something that we don't
• we live in a really dramatized society
• corporate crime is invisible and complex & happens over period of time
• corporations have a lot more power, influence and financial sources (corporations sued
the press who have attempted to capture their activity for the media)
• street offenses -> clear action involved where as corporate crime, it is the failure to act
(the act of omission). There are no forms of dramatization through the media. Significance: The process of normalization of deviance is a reflection of economic interests
and capitalist ideologies rather than objective harms. Crime law and power have the ability to
define something as criminal or non-criminal. There is a disconnect between criminal law and
what is actually socially harmful. Normalization of Deviance aids the "disappearance" of
2. White-Collar versus Corporate Crime:
White Collar (Occupational) Crime: criminal act committed in the course of one's occupation
for the benefit of the individual
Corporate (Organizational) Crime: criminal act committed in the course of organizational
activities for the benefit of the corporation.
Significance: These definitions could merge and therefore corporate and white collar crime
become ambiguous as to whether they are benefitting the individual or a corporation as a whole.
Ex: gym membership is free for a period and then you would have to pay. This may benefit the
salesperson who may receive a commission and it may at the same time benefit the company
who's profit will increase due to sales. Both of them use techniques of neutralization to justify
3. Offenses VS Crimes: Is this the whole idea with the language used to describe corporate
crime which downplays it in a way that it seems acceptable to the general public and is
therefore not so highly dramatized? As opposed to street crime which can be easily visualized
by the media, corporate crime is "invisible" ? The language by corporations to
downplay/minimize their actions. Using language and the flexibility of the law, when corporations
have committed a crime, they say the action was an offence or unethical, that way it doesn't
provide such a negative outlook on the company if it was described as a crime.
Significance: It is significant because it further normalizes the deviant acts of corporations.
4. Pro-Business Ideology: refers to cultural norms, values and attitudes within capitalist
societies which support the role of business in the generation of wealth.
Significance: It is a problem that revolves around the general public, because it says that
business builds the economy. This is important because it neutralizes the way we think about
crime and it operates like a technique of normalization. Like in patriarchy, there is ideology
which is associated with patriarchy and techniques are used to enforce patriarchy. What's good
for the business is good for the county and the people, and these ideas support corporations
and in the case something bad happens within the corporation it gets downplayed and
minimized as long as id