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CRIM 2650 Midterm: Mid-Term

10 Pages

Course Code
CRIM 2650
Danny O' Rourke- Dicarlo

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Rational Choice Theory (Beccaria)
 !"
Deterrence (Beccaria)
Policy Implications
Routine Activities Theory (Cohen and Ferguson)
Policy Implications
Biological Theories (Lombroso)
=! !"
Policy Implications
 212"
Bio-Social Theories
Policy Implications
1" 
Anomie (Durkheim)
Bfunctional activity 
,*)emotional responseC
1%too little%@
Too muchanomie"
Policy Implications
odenunciation or condemnation of
acts that cross moral boundaries
Strain Theory (Agnew)
(%Crime is socially induced
,abnormal circumstances
 
Policy Implications
 
Social disorganization theory (Chicago School)

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Rational Choice Theory (Beccaria) • Beccaria: people have free will and their behaviour can be explained by hedonism • So, criminal inclinations are normal • We are all motivated offenders given the right situation and circumstances • Weigh pain against pleasure • People are rational ‘maximizers of self-interest’ • We calculate benefits against the likelihood of costs Deterrence (Beccaria) • crime can be controlled through the use of punishments that combine the proper degrees of certainty, severity, and celerity. Deterrence is a key element in the our own justice system. • The punishment should a) specifically deter you from committing more offences • b) generally deter others from doing the same and • c) satisfy the public and victim’s need for retribution (a legal response to an impulse for vengeance.) • Specific deterrence: prevents specific offender from doing further harm to society • General deterrence: prevents other people in society from committing similar kinds of crimes o Celerity (speed) o Certainty o Severity Limitations • Criminals tend to overestimate the money they can earn from crime • Criminals are overly optimistic about their chances of getting away with each individual crime. Policy Implications • Perhaps not all offenders are actually ‘reasonable;’ they over-estimate their own ability to escape detection, act impulsively, or don’t care • Perhaps, deterrence via the CJS is an inefficient way of addressing crime/criminality Routine Activities Theory (Cohen and Ferguson) • there needs to be three main elements in order for a crime to take place: o a motivated offender (having a criminal predisposition and having the skills/abilities to commit the alleged offence), o a suitable target (a victim being accessible, valuable, and visible to the offender, in order for an offence to take place) o And the absence of a capable guardian against a violation (obstacles create less motivation for crime) Limitations • Does not consider other social factors that may help assist crime, such as socio-economic factors, family background, education, etc. • Suggests that people who spend more time at home are safer compared to those who are in public. o Not the case with individuals who experience domestic violence and abuse in the privacy of their homes. Policy Implications • Situational crime prevention • Crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) • Reduce crime by reducing number of criminal opportunitiesBiological Theories (Lombroso) • Four major classes of criminals: o 1) the born criminal (atavism as the by-product of random genetic mutations) o 2) the insane criminal: suffering from various diseases of the mind o 3) the criminaloid (a early version of the 'psychopath' or criminal opportunist; difficult to detect because they don’t look ‘abnormal.’) o 4) criminal of passion (motivated by love, anger etc,) Limitations • Very pessimistic about dealing or preventing criminal behavior ~ crime is a result of someone's 'inner nature’ • These theories are limited in their explanatory value • They fail to take into consideration the interaction between our biological instincts and the environment that shapes the direction of those instincts • Most current bio-psych research emphasize a ‘biological-social’ approach to understanding anti-social behaviour Policy Implications • the policy recommendations that follow from early biological positivism are: Anti-Welfare or Anti-Egalitarian and Eugenics-focused (the policy of improving the mental and racial qualities of future generations) • Concerned with reducing the reproduction among ‘degenerates’ (alcoholics, criminals, lower classes, ‘coloured’ races, the feeble-minded, etc.) • Sterilization policies in the North America and, of course, National Socialism’s attempt to create a ‘pure’ German race • Suggests a genetic source (inherit a trait or propensity to violate criminal laws) for a socially-defined category of behavior. Bio-Social Theories • chemical imbalances and brain injury/trauma, Can result in a ‘dulled’ response to risk, fear or danger while also contributing to a lack of empathy (underestimating the severity of harm that you cause) • Leading to anti-social or maladaptive behavioral patterns • Results in Impulsivity, Lack of perseverance (achieving long term goals ), Preference for risky behaviour ,Self- centeredness & Low threshold for frustration • Slower arousal rates result in an inability to inhibit self-destructive or harmful behavior Limitations • Some forms of deviance require high levels of cognitive functioning i.e. calculated/instrumental aggression associated with ‘white collar’ crime • Explanations must aim to be dynamic not reductive • i.e. adolescents with chemical predisposition may act out for reasons that are socially induced or • Some predispositions could also be caused by environmental factors such as the presence of toxins (i.e. lead paint) Policy Implications The Negative • The scientific data can be manipulated for the purposes of social exclusion The Positive • Bio-psych-social research advocates for prevention and early intervention in dealing with crime control • Assists in providing ‘mitigating’ circumstances that help with individualized sentences (without undermining the determination of criminal responsibility altogether.) Anomie (Durkheim) • He is interested in crime as a functional activity and punishment as a representation of public morality where solidarity is formed/maintained • Crime happens (always) and punishment is an emotional response that reflects a shared background of meaning • A certain amount of crime is healthy. But, too little crime is dysfunctional. It means that there are low levels of individuality and great levels of conformity/repression. This type of conformity hinders progress. • Too much crime is also unhealthy in that it signals ‘anomie’ which is a state of ‘lawlessness’ • Anomie is a result of too few social controls Policy Implications • Durkheim conceives of punishment as a penal ritual or ceremony o Public punishment • A) news media coverage of crime o People do not read crime news stories for their factual content, but for their moral content. Reading crimes news serves as a daily moral workout. o Emotional, visceral reaction to crime news • B) courtroom trial o During sentencing, judges give formal expression to the feelings of society o Punishment is symbolic: it functions as moral denunciation or condemnation of acts that cross moral boundaries Strain Theory (Agnew) • The sources of criminal behaviour are cultural and social. Crime is socially induced • Crime is committed by normal people in abnormal circumstances • Definition of crime: violation of consensus • Focus of analysis: structure of opportunities/nature of social learning and youth subcultures • Causes of crime: social strain due to opportunity structure/learned behaviour • Nature of offender: determined by ‘social pathology’ • Response to crime: provide an opportunity to reduce strain, resocialize the offender Policy Implications • Strain coupled with low levels of informal social control, social disorganization, poor future prospects, a justice system that seems to act on people in a personal or prejudicial manner = a general disinvestment on behalf of whole groups • A further weakening of already weak normative bonds of social solidarity Social disorganization theory (Chicago School) • Conditions in urban environment affect crime rates • Break down of institutions of social control are a good predictor of crime and criminality • The Chicago School set out to understand the ‘indicators of social disorganization’ • Social disorganization is defined as an inability of community members to achieve shared values or to solve jointly experienced problems • Had 5 zones: 1) Central Business District 2) Transitional Zone 3) Working Class Zone 4) Residential Zone 5) Commuter Limitations • Criminals do not always come from the lower classes • Focus on social psychological processes and interactions that shape all people in all environments o Criminality is a function of individual socialization • We all have the potential to become criminal Policy Implications • Change the individual: Remove the individual from the toxic environment. Cognitive behavioral therapy to curb recidivism (altering the offender’s learning.) Parental educational programming. • Change the environment: (i.e. The Chicago Cap Area Project.) Improve the quality of life within the communities through a combined public sector effort and grassroots participation (i.e. peer mentorship, youth advocacy, recreational centers) • Broken Windows Reinforcing Collective Efficacy) Social Learning Theory • Social bond: on-going link, created through socialization, between individuals and society • Stake in conformity • Is composed of 4 elements • Attachment: ties to social institutions formed via continuing and intimate interactions • Commitment: energy and effort invested and expended in given set of activities • Involvement: amount of time spent with others in shared activities • Belief: approbation of shared value system Limitations • Tautological or circular reasoning: impulsivity  crime/criminal • Fails to address ecological patterns in crime rate • Fallacy of autonomy • Fails to adequately address group differences that affect crime rates • People do change over time: changing influences on criminal behaviour Policy Implications • Integration into social order • Improve people’s commitment to conventional activities, and create strong social bonds early in life o E.g. Head Start and early intervention programs o Parenting programs • Repair broken social bonds o E.g. Prison programs that provide work or educational opportunities (e.g. CORCAN) • Integration into conventional, middle-class society (functionalist)Theory: Causality. A concept more applicable to the hard sciences. Does the appearance of X cause effect Y? In a perfect relationship, the appearance of X would always cause the effect Y each and every time the relationship is seen. Empirical Validity. This is the most important factor in evaluating a theory, and means that the theory has been supported by research evidence. Ideology. A belief system and a set of core values or philosophy. In a pure sense, an ideology states or explains how things should be, and a theory explains how things actually are. Internal Logical Consistency. A theory needs to be presented in a logical manner and to have clearly stated propositions that agree with or do not contradict one another. Restated, does the theory make logical and consistent sense? Macro. Macro theories of criminal behavior explain the “big picture” of crime—crime across the world or across a society. They attempt to answer why there are variations in group rates of crime. (i.e. social structural theories.) Micro. Micro theories of criminal behavior focus on a small group of offenders or on an individual crime. They attempt to answer why some individuals are more likely than others to commit crime. Necessary Condition. This means that X must be present to produce effect Y. If X is not present, Y will not occur. Parsimony. This refers to how many propositions, steps, or statements are involved. How simple is the theory? Policy Implications. If the theory is empirically valid, what solutions are suggested. Probabilistic Causality. A concept more applicable to the social sciences. X is more or less likely to cause effect Y. Restated, X tends to cause Y. Scope. Refers to how much or how many types of crime or deviance the theory covers. Soft Determinism. The view that human behavior is not wholly caused, determined, or
predictable by any set of biological, psychological, or sociological forces but that these interact with exercise of choice and will by individuals. Therefore, explaining or predicting human behavior is difficult. Sufficient Condition. Each time X is present, effect Y will always occur. Tautology. Circular reasoning. If a theory states that greed causes people to commit crime, and then says we know Jon is greedy because he committed a crime, it becomes impossible to subject the theory to the scientific process. In this case, you would find that greed has been defined as someone who commits criminal acts. The circle of the reasoning never stops. Testability. To be valid and ultimately useful, a theory must be able to be subjected to scientific research. Theories may be untestable if they are tautological, propose causes that are not measurable, or are so open-ended that empirical findings can always be re- interpreted to support the theory. Theory. In simple terms, theory is an explanation of something.
Theories of Criminal and Deviant Behavior. Theories in this category attempt to explain why an individual commits criminal or delinquent acts. Usefulness. This refers to the real-world applications that the theory proposes or suggests, and the ability to implement those applications. Theories: Deterrence and Rational Choice Theories Terms Absolute Deterrence. This refers to the amount of crime that has been prevented simply due to the fact that a formal system is in place so that an individual could be legally punished for committing a criminal act. Celerity. One of the three elements of deterrence. Celerity refers to how quickly an individual is punished after committing a crime. Certainty. One of the three elements of deterrence. Certainty refers to how likely it is that an individual will be caught and punished for a crimethat he or she has committed. Certainty is the most important of the three elements. Classical Criminology. A school of thought based upon utilitarian notions of free will and the greatest good for the greatest number. At its core, classical criminology refers to a belief that a crime is committed after an individual weighs the pros and cons. The decision to commit a crime is a rational decision, and is best countered through a deterrence-based system. Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). This refers to a set of practices designed to make potential criminal targets less attractive. The belief that crime is a rational act is used to make a potential target less attractive to a criminal, and thus not a “rational” target. Deterrence Theory. A core principle of classical school and rational choice theories. This theory states that crime can be controlled through the use of punishments that combine the proper degrees of certainty, severity, and celerity. Deterrence is a key element in the our own justice system. Expected Utility Principle. Economic theory which states that people will act in a manner that increases their benefits and reduces their losses. This ties in closely with classical criminology and, by definition, rational choice theory, where people seek to increase their pleasure and reduce their pain. Free Will. The belief that humans are rational, and have the ability to make decisions according to each individual’s own will and purposes. Under this perspective, people can understand the difference between right and wrong, and can choose to commit criminal acts or to follow the law. In later chapters, this view will be contrasted with views that claim that crime is a result of biological, psychological, or social forces beyond an individual’s control. General Deterrence. General deterrence is the doctrine that a community or a society of people can be deterred from committing a criminal act after having witnessed the punishment of an individual or individuals for having committed that act. Perceptual Deterrence. This concept applies to an individual offender, and refers to what he or she believes the likelihood of arrest to be, and how severe he or she believes the punishment for a crime will be if caught. The perceptions of the individual are often very different from the actual reality experienced. Proportionality. Punishment should fit the crime without regard to individual differences. Rational Choice Theory. This is the 1980s formulation of classical criminology. While the beliefs of rational choice theory can be traced back to eighteenth-century philosopher Cesare Beccaria, this version adds a new dimension that emphasizes the expanding role of the economist in criminological thought. The emphasis is placed on the expected reward for committing a crime, and other associated costs and benefits surrounding criminal activity. Routine Activities Theory. This theory states that for crime to be committed, three elements must be present: an available target, a motivated offender, and a lack of guardians. Severity. One of the three elements of deterrence. Severity refers to how harsh the punishment for a crime will be. In classical criminology, it i
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