CRMJ 201 Exam 2 Review

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Criminal Justice
CRMJ 201
Gianluca Di Fazio

Barkan Chapter 5: Criminological Theories-Rational Choice theory Crime theories try to answer at least one of three questions: 1. Why are some individuals more likely than other to commit crime? 2. Why are some categories or kinds of people more likely than others to commit crime? 3. Why is crime more common in some locations than in other locations? ∙ If we want to reduce crime we first must understand why they are even happening in the first place. ∙ Neoclassical explanations assume that people act with free will. ∙ If the fault of the crime lies within the individual, then to reduce crime we must change the individual. ∙ If the roots of crime lie more in criminogenic features of the social environment then new criminals will always be emerging and the crime problem will continue unless we address these features. People in ancient time had different explanations of crime: 1. God was testing their faith 2. God was punishing them 3. God wad using their behavior to warn other to follow divine rules 4. They were possessed by demons The classical school of criminology -Founder: Cesare Beccaria -Jeremy Bentham and Cesare Becaria had the same views -He believed that people act rationally and with free will -People choose all behavior, including criminal behavior -They make choices that will bring them pleasure/benefits -The more certain, proportionate and swift the punishment the easier it is to control criminal behavior -He believed that the primary purpose of the criminal justice system was to deter criminal behavior rather than to avenge the harm that criminals do. ∙ Therefore the criminal justice system needs to make criminals believe that they have a strong chance of being arrested and punished. ∙ Criminals can be controlled by fear Positive School of Criminology -Founded byAuguste Comte -Believed that human behavior is determined by forces beyond the individuals control -Positivism accepts the states definition of crime by ignoring the possibility that society’s ruling groups define what is criminal. Therefore it accepts the legitimacy of a social system that may contain serous injustices. -Denies free will, external and internal forces affect individuals criminal behavior -Believe that criminals are different than the rest of us not only in their behavior but also in the biological, psychological, and social factors determine their behavior. In the 1960s, rehabilitation of known criminals was under attack National surveys failed to find good examples of what worked regarding rehabilitation of offenders By the mid-1970s there was renewed interest in the classical approach to crime Criminologist began to suggest that it made more sense to frighten criminals with severe punishments than to waste public funds trying to improve social conditions linked to crime Neoclassical Perspectives ∙ Based on classical view that criminals are normal, rational individual who choose to commit crime after calculation the potential risk and rewards of doing so ∙ Rationale choice theory, deterrence theory, routine activities theory should be “Close Cousins” Rational Choice Theory -Law violating behavior is the product of careful thought and planning -Offenders choose crime after considering both personal and situational factors -They weigh the cost and benefits (rewards and risks) -They take into account several factors: ∙ Possible opportunities for earning money from legitimate occupations ∙ Amount of legitimate money they might earn ∙ Amount of money they might gain from committing crime ∙ Possibility of being arrested for committing crime ∙ Possibility of being punished if arrested -Motivations are not important -Rational choice focuses on Event decisions not Involvement decisions -Event Decisions have 5 stages: 1. Preparing to commit crime 2. Selecting a target 3. Committing the crime 4. Escaping 5. Aftermath of crime -Involvement decisions have 3 stages: 1. Committing crime for the first time (initiation) 2. Continuing to commit crime (habituation) 3. Ceasing to commit crime (desistance) -Mainly for monetary gain -WC crimes, robberies -Criticism: exaggerating the rationality of criminal offenders (most are under the influence therefore are unable to think rationally. Deterrence Theory -Shares views with rational choice theory -Looks at how we can deter people from committing crime -Looks at punishment -Believes the more we punish the less crime there will be -There are many different types of deterrence: ∙ Absolute deterrence: having some legal punishment (arrest, incarceration) ∙ Marginal deterrence: increasing severity, certainty, and swiftness of legal punishment ∙ General deterrence: don’t break law because they fear legal punishment ∙ Specific deterrence: offenders that have already been punished do not commit another crime because they do not want to face legal consequences again. ∙ Objective deterrence: impact of actual legal punishment ∙ Subjective deterrence: perception of the likelihood and severity of legal punishment -Research shows that general and specific deterrence does not work There are 2 types of criminal offenses: ∙ Instrumental offenses: committed for material gain with some type of planning ∙ Expressive offenses: committed for emotional reason with little to no planning. RoutineActivities Theory -Situational Crime prevention to reduce criminal activity, city planners must be aware of the characteristics of sites and situations. -Criminal acts can be avoided if: ∙ Potential targets are carefully secure ∙ The means to commit crime are controlled ∙ Potential offenders are carefully monitored Ex. Hot –spot policing, Increased lighting and use of CCTV cameras, security cameras, security systems for cars and buildings. = Policies Strengths: it explains important aspects of differences in crime rates among different categories of people and among different locations and also explains important aspects of changes in crime rate over time. Weakness: ignores the factors that motivate offenders to commit crime. Barkan Chapter 7: Theories of Crime- Social Processes Theories Social Process Theories -Based on the process of socialization · The interactions people have with various organizations, institutions and processes of society · Criminality is a function of the above -All people, regardless of their race, class, or gender, have the potential to become delinquents or criminals - Human nature is basically selfish There are elements that are critical for socialization: ∙ Family Structure and family functioning ∙ Educational experience ∙ Peer relations ∙ Institutional Involvement and belief (religion) -Socialization is critical for social order -There are 3 types of Social process theories, learning, control, labeling Social Learning Theories -Most people learn to obey society’s norm but some learn to violate these norms -Crime is a product of learning the norms, values, and behaviors associated with criminal activity · Learning the techniques of crime -Prominent social learning theories are: · DifferentialAssociation theory · Neutralization Theory DifferentialAssociation theory -Has principles: 1. Criminal behavior is learned 2. Learning takes place through criminal teachers 3. Learning is more effective when the teachers have close, intimate ties with learners 4. Criminal behaviors are defined and valued in a favorable light 5. Aperson becomes delinquent because of an excess of definitions favorable to the violations of law over definitions unfavorable to the violation of the law 6. Differential associations may vary in frequency, duration. Priority, and intensity Weaknesses: -Doesn’t account for origin of criminal definitions -Assumes criminal acts are planned and group based, ignores rand violent acts and individuals’ crime -Internalization of deviant norms may follow, rather than precede, criminal acts. Strengths: Helps explain gender difference in criminality because females have fewer delinquent peers. Neutralization Theory -Process of becoming a criminal is a learning experience in which potential delinquents and criminals master techniques that enable them to neutralize conventional values ∙ Subterranean values ∙ Drift -Helps to explain: ∙ why many delinquents do not become adult criminals (aging out of crime) ∙ onset of white collar crime ∙ why youthful law violators can participate in conventional behavior -Adolescents develop neutralization techniques or rationalization to minimize amount of guilt they can possibly feel: · Denial of responsibility (They made me do it! I didn’t have a choice!) · Denial of injury (They have insurance! They have too much money) · Denial of the victim (She talked back! He has it coming!) · Condemnation of the condemners (Everyone does it!) · Appeal to higher loyalties (He is a stranger! Only cowards run away!) -Criminals sometimes voice guilt over their illegal acts -Offenders frequently respect and admire honest, law-abiding people -Criminals draw a line between those whom they can victimize and those whom they cannot -Criminals are not immune to the demands of conformity Criticism of Neutralization theory: Serious adolescent offenders don’t feel guilt and have nothing to neutralize Strengths of learning theories: -They make a significant contribution to our understanding of the onset of criminal behavior. Weaknesses of learning theories: -Fail to account for the origin of criminal definitions -Fail to explain random acts of violence -There is little evidence that people learn techniques that enable them to become criminals before the actually commit crimes Social Control Theories -All people have the potential to violate the law -Society presents many opportunities for illegal activity -Social Control Theory is actually an attempt to explain why people obey the rules and do not commit crime -Strengths · Explains the onset of crime · Can apply to both the middle and lower classes -People obey the rules because they have: ∙ Self-control -Astrong moral sense that renders someone incapable of hurting others and violation social norms ∙ Commitment to conformity -Develops with a strong commitment to conventional institutions, individuals, and processes Social Bond Theory- Travis Hirschi -Why people don’t commit crime -Humans are selfish -Crime is more common among individuals with weakened bonds to the same institutions -Links the onset of criminality to the weakening of the ties that bind people to society -Assumes that everyone is potentially a law violator ∙ They are kept under control because they fear illegal behavior will damage their relationship ∙ Without social bonds people are more likely to commit crime -Social bonds have 4 dimensions: ∙ Attachment (to family friend’s education. How much we care about their opinion) ∙ Commitment (to conventional values. Investment of energy) ∙ Involvement (in conventional activities. More time spent less time to deviate) ∙ Belief (acceptance of norms) -When any of the dimensions are weakened individuals are more prone to criminal activity. -When the dimensions are strong individual are more prone to conforming behavior. 1. Focus on family and schools to strengthen bond 2. Reconfigure an offenders self-image Labeling Theory -Deviance is not a property of behavior, but a result of how others regard the behavior -People in power impose definitions of deviance/crime on behaviors committed by people without power ∙ What is ‘criminal’and what is legal -‘Deviant labels’are applied not only to acts but to people too ∙ Sexual Offender Society’s response to offenders is key, because: -It determines the individual futures of those labeled as criminals -It may contribute to increased criminality by reducing the options available to labeled offenders ∙ Once a person has been labeled, access to legitimate opportunities is limited, and only others who have been similarly defined by society are available to associate with them -Continued association with negatively defined others lead to continued crime -Labeling Process is as follows: ∙ Initial CriminalAct ∙ Detection by the Criminal Justice System ∙ Decision to Label (Deviant Labels) ∙ Creation of a New Identity ∙ Acceptance of Labels ∙ DevianceAmplification There are consequences to labeling: -Stigma -Labeled individuals may join deviant cliques -Retrospective reading ∙ Afte
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