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SOC327 Chapter Notes -Money Laundering, Class Discrimination, Mens Rea

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Alison Dunwoody

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Sociology 327
Textbook Notes
Chapter 1: Studying Criminal Justice
-Durkheim believes crime is necessary for society to function effectively
-Criminology: how and why crime happens
-Criminal justice: response to criminal activity
oUnderstanding how the system works to maintain and promote justice
-Three areas of study of criminal justice:
Municipal, provincial and federal laws
Community-based strategies
Specialized forces like the First Nations police service
Forensic sciences
Centers on criminal law and its procedures
Lawyers, judges, research teams
Bailiffs, registrars, jury and court reporters
Social workers, victim services organizations
Largest area of research
Procedures and institutions of imprisonment
Assessment, treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration of
Correctional officers, security personnel, prison administration workers
Parole officers, drug/alcohol abuse counselors, mental health workers
Outside of court system, more community-based
Halfway house workers, group home workers
Ex. Neighborhood watch
Use help from community volunteers
-Media makes us believe that crimes that are the least common are actually the most
-Police officers perceived as crime fighters and see crime as something that needs to be
fought rather than prevented
-Areas of focus also show how we respond and define crime
-Crime rates are decreasing
oLess crime and less violent crime
-Homicides and violent crimes are not more prevalent in larger cities
-Crime rate measures theft and homicide as the same therefore it is driven by more
frequent, less serious offences
oMeasured by UCR
oAdds up all the crime and divides it by the population (rate per 100 000 people)
-Crime severity index (2006) gives a better understanding of serious crimes
oCrimes are weighted depending on the sentence given
-Self-report studies are used to give data on unreported crimes (the dark figure of crime)
oSurveys ask how safe Canadians feel, how much they believe in the justice
system and their satisfaction with policing
oDifficult to determine how much crime there really is

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Sociology 327
Textbook Notes
-Sexual assaults are the most common unreported crime
-General Social Survey (1985)
oEvery 5 years
oLargest source of data about unreported crime
oN=25 000, ages 15 and older
o1/3 of incidents reported to police
Usually if it was violent or they lost something (theft)
oDefinition of terms such as sexual assault makes a difference in whether or not
they are reported
-Majority of Canadians are satisfied with their safety but media has a big influence on
attitudes and beliefs on crime
oSince violent crimes are the crimes that are most commonly reported, people
believe that violent crimes are still on the rise making governments put emphasis
on the “tough on crime approach”
oPeople show a lot of support for mandatory minimum sentences for people
selling drugs at or near a school or tougher sentences on marijuana growers and
gang-related crimes
oSupport to get rid of the Faint Hope Clause
Those who have committed a very serious offence like murder have a
chance to get parole after 15 years if they only killed one person
-Definition of criminal is also ambiguous
oTo count crime accurately, must define “criminal”
oDefinition: criminal is anyone who has been convicted of a crime
oThe smallest group of people who have come into contact with the criminal
justice system are those who are sentenced
oThere is way more crime than the number of sentences suggests
As cases move through the justice system many factors determine
whether or not they will move on to the next stage
Attrition: filtering process that criminal cases undergo as they
move through the criminal justice system
-Social context of crime
oNarrowing concerns and topics to reach a better understanding
oLooks at the social conditions in which a crime occurs which is central in
understanding how crime is treated by the criminal justice system, including the
definition of crime and criminals
-The Crime Funnel (Attrition)
1. Whether or not the victim reports the crime
2. Police investigation to see if the allegation is credible/supported by
3. Discussions between police and Crown prosecutors and their joint
discretion to lay a charge
4. The criminal prosecution of an accused (pretrial and trial procedures)
5. Judge or jury’s verdict
6. Determination of a sentence
-Much harsher approach to street crime rather than white collar crime
-Definition of crime and how crime is addressed within the CJS is subject to bias and

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Sociology 327
Textbook Notes
oRaces and certain social status’s get privileged treatment
-The Crime Net
oPolice = fishers for criminals but when taking out their crime “nets” must decide
where to go and what fish to catch
Not all people who commit offences are selected for prosecution
oBig fish can get out due to how the net is designed, who they are aiming to catch
and who falls out of the police interest
-Overrepresentation of some members in prison
oAlthough wealthy people commit the same level of offences, they “swim away”
oDefining certain activities as crime results in different types of criminals
oHowever, when workplace safety is not taken care of, the number of people that
die, especially in impoverished working conditions results in more deaths than
serial killers
-Definitions of crime and criminals and how to respond to criminal activity is based on
your ideological perspective
-Continued debate on whether or not treating social and individual factors is a better
option or making offenders pay for their crimes
-Recidivism: reoffending after rehabilitation
oThought rehabilitation was useless
-Realized that programs have the cater to what specifically the offender needs
oEx. Low-risk offender being put into an intense program can do more harm than
-Net widening
oEffects of providing alternatives to incarceration that deal with offenders outside
of the court system in order to reduce the number going to court and going to
correctional facilities
-Net is widened with more labeling of low-risk offenders
-Theoretical models: all restorative justice
oCrime control (far right): collectivist, free will
Assuring public that crime will not be tolerated and if discovered, will be
severely punished
oWelfare model (towards left side): individualist, determinism
Looking after the needs of the offender and treating individual problems
to prevent future crime
oJustice model (towards right): individualist, free will
Protection of society through deterrence
Making sure punishments are severe enough to deter crime but still equal
and fair
Focuses on crime, not individual
There should be no differential treatment in any circumstances
oCommunity change model (far left): collectivist, determinism
Looking at social demographics
Root causes of crime
Lack of access to resources and disadvantages lead to crime
All members of community are responsible for ongoing prevention and
rehabilitation of people who come in conflict with the law
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