Textbook Notes (369,082)
Canada (162,376)
Sociology (1,112)
SOC 1500 (173)
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Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 1500
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Mavis Morton

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Textbook Notes Objectivist-legalistic: crime is factual and precise. Crime is “something that is against the law”. Views crime as a violation of legal statues, where criminality is limited to its legal construction. -This perspective has the focus of criminology is the analysis of the rule-breakers in society. “What are the causes of criminal behavior?” To answer this you can look at official crime statistics. -They are aware that a large amount of behavior that isn‟t against the law but can cause harm. Criminal law: rules made by a society that define what behaviours are „crimes‟; what may be determined to have happened and can be punished by the state. Criminologists: study criminal offences. *They started to look at pathology and personality defects for causes of criminal behavior. -The Canadian criminal justice system is based on the objectivist-legalistic approach. *Administrative law: a form of public law that governs the relationships between individuals and the state by regulating the activities or organizations dealing with matters like unemployment insurance, labour relations, and landlord and tenant relations. *The penalties of breaking these laws are warnings or fines *Civil law: an arrangement between individuals, such as property disputes, wills, and contracts. Social-reaction: the meaning of crime varies across social and cultural contexts. Behavior considered criminal in one society might be acceptable to people in a different society -Moral Regulation: Michel Foucault‟s view; keeping with social-reaction, the social regulation of behavior is not based on consensus but is mediated by a complex system of social institution that reward and punish people, thus defining what is right and wrong for society, encouraging certain forms of behavior while discouraging others. -Moral entrepreneur: Becker defines a moral entrepreneur as an enterprising person (or group of people) who wants to bring a particular non-criminalized behavior under the purview of criminal behavior, whether or not there is societal consensus on its dangers. Brookfield (1990) explains that critical reflection involves three phases: 1. Identifying the assumptions (“those taken-for-granted ideas, commonsense beliefs, and self-evident rules of thumb” (pg. 177)) that underlie our thoughts and actions 2. Assessing and scrutinizing the validity of these assumptions in terms of how they relate to our „real-life‟ experiences and our present context(s); 3. Transforming these assumptions to become more inclusive and integrative, and use this newly- formed knowledge to more appropriately inform our future actions and practices. Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) system: most countries have official crime reporting systems based on reports of crime by the police. Thus, crime is measured under the objectivist-legalistic definition. In theory, whatever crime comes to the attention of the police is reported by the police to their government‟s statistical agencies. Ex: the FBI in the States is responsible for counting crime across the nation. Ex: in the United Kingdom the British Home Office is responsible. -Crime in Canada has been collected since 1962 (before then information about crime was available- like homicides) but no until then were the police required by law to collect it. -Canadian Centre for Justice Statics (CCJS): responsible for gathering and analyzing the reports submitted by the police from across Canada. UCR data: are crimes known by the police to have taken place. (Including violent crime, property crime and other violation). -A Uniform Crime Reporting Aggregate Survey has to be sent to Ottawa after every incident so the records are kept up. However, some Aboriginal police forces do not respond to the survey, thus throwing off the numbers slightly. UCR2 Survey: the collect more detailed information on each incident including data on victims and accused people. Its known as incident based reporting system -Also, in an incident that has two offences (breaking and entering and assault) the more violent crime would be reported (assault), leaving the other one. Reasons official police statistics have to be treated with caution: -Many victims may feel intimidated (particularly if they know the person) -The person feels like nothing will be done about it (i.e. bicycle theft) -Some instances may seem trivial (2 men pushing each other) -Some people may not feel as though they are a victim of a crime (fake charities that the victim doesn‟t know about) -May fear/distrust the police The way crime is defined is very important to the number of reports there are. (Ex: sexual assault from rape laws) Youth Criminal Justice Act: in 2003 this act replaced the Young Offenders act as the legislation defending and dealing with crimes committed by persons from 12-17. There are factors to consider before creating a survey: 1. Sampling: Usually random sampling is the best method. The larger the sample the better. 2. Reliability: the extent to which a measurement procedure produces the same results on repeated trials 3. Validity: the accuracy of a measure in relation to the concept that one is attempting to measure. *Reliability and validity are a problem because in the survey, participants aren‟t forced to tell the truth. Also, since they are anonymous there is no way a person‟s identity can be linked to their responses. There is also a possibility of exaggeration of the criminal activity. 4. Deception: the people taking it could not take the questions in the survey seriously. (Ex: sexual assault questionnaire in high schools) Victimization Surveys: -First developed in the US in 1960‟s, implemented in Canada in 1981. -They differ from UCR and self-report surveys because they collect information on the victimization experiences of individuals, usually sampled at the level of the household. -These surveys have revealed that many crimes happen without police attention. -Participants are asked to report their experiences as a victim, whether or not they reported it, information about each incident (why/why not they reported it, how they were affected). Age, sex, marital status, and number of children living in the household are collected. Criticisms: -Not focusing on populations who may be most vulnerable to crime. (Every landline has an equal chance of being selected) -Canadians are becoming less tolerant to questionnaires on the phone due to the increasing number of telemarketers, saying it is an invasion of time and privacy. -It‟s hard to trace the events of old crimes back. Telescoping: a respondent‟s mistaken specification of when an experience of victimization occurred relative to the reference period specified by a researcher. Bounding: is achieved by comparing incidents reported in an interview with incidents reported in previous interview and deleting duplicate incidents. Observational Accounts: -The researcher interacts with individuals face to face in a natural setting -This type doesn‟t gather information about crime so that estimates can be made about the volume or character of crime in the general population. -This type takes place on a small scale so a deeper understanding and appreciation of crime and victimization can be achieved. -Mainly takes place in participant observation -Participant observation has also been used to study people who make and enforce the law -This method is also very valid because the observer just says what they see. Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED): the basis behind this is that through proper design of the physical environment can be effective in preventing crime. Ex: installing lighting in outdoor areas that are frequently worked by women in hours of darkness Observational research limitations: -Not a good technique is one wants to make generalizations or inferences about the level and the character of crime in a larger population. -The researcher may be putting him/herself in dangerous situation There are two ways changes over time in levels of certain types of crime in Canada can be analyzed: 1. Using victimization data from GSS surveys 2. Rely on UCR data, specifically stats that measure homicide. This method works better for long-term trends. -Robberies, assaults, remain stable -Property crimes seem to be rising Homicide: First-degree murder- homicide that is planned and deliberate, or if they kill and on-duty police officer or correctional officer. Murder committed while also committing other offences such as kidnapping, sexual assault, etc. Second-degree murder- all murder that is not first-degree. There is a possibility of release on parole. After 10 years, fir 2st-degree its‟ after 25 years Manslaughter- killed another human in the heat of passion or by sudden provocation Infanticide - a female who by willful act or by omission causes the death of her newly born child less than 12 months. The mother must not have fully recovered from the effects of childbirth. *Both have shorter jail terms, maximum for manslaughter is 25 years. Trends and Correlates of Canadian Homicide -Canadian homicide rate, after the 1970‟s has been declining. -More homicide in western Canada and in the North. -More frequent on some First Nations reserves and communities that experience severe economic strain and cultural instability -Also a lot of homicide in populations over 500,000 (Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton) -Males are more likely to be homicide victims than women -Males ages 18-24, and females 18-24 & 30-39 are the highest %. -Handguns are responsible for 2/3 of all firearm related homicides in Canada. -Canada‟s homicide rate is more than double Japan‟s; the US is triple Canada‟s. British Home Office: the part of the government for England and Wales called the home office is responsible, for completing stats on crime General Social Survey: surveys family and work life, education, use of information technology, and criminal victimization Crime Prevention through Environmental Design: proper design of the physical environment can be effective in preventing crime (lighting in outdoor areas) is the CPTED approach to crime prevention Empirical reality: the systematic collection of observable data finds what is empirical reality Police-Reported Crime Severity Index (PRCSI): a measure where more serious crimes in Canada are assigned higher weights and less serious offences lower weights. The more serious offences have a greater impact on changes in the index Nasty Girl Phenomenon: Mass media perpetrated a new breed of female criminal has emerged. Folk Devils- Term by Stanly Cohen in 1960. It is groups portrayed as deviance of which society disapproves; occupy a constant position of Folk Devils. (Remind us what not to be) The demonic era is the latter half of the 1600‟s, criminal behavior was believed to be demons, evil spirits, or simply by an interdeterminate “force of evil”. Magna Carta- is an important historical document because it was the foundation of modern laws and procedures in English Law and in places like Canada that are colonized by Britain. (Guaranteed land rights to barons, made guarantees under the law to freemen and protected religious rights and local customs.) *Hobbes argued the fear of violent death forces humans into SOCIAL CONTRACT with each other that leads to the formation of the state. -The first principal of human behavior is egoism or self-interest and this egoism is the root of all social conflict. - Believed that it is unnatural for people to put themselves under the control of the state, it is rational for people to do so. Utilitarianism - is the belief that reason requires decisions to be made according to what will procure the greatest good for the greatest number. John Howard Society – was formed, dedicated to humane treatment of prisoners. Today it is active in 10 provinces and NWT. Psychopathy: -A compulsive person who lacks guilt remorse and is unable to hold lasting bonds with others. -They have 7 traits: 1. Failure to conform to social norms 2. Deceitfulness, repeated lying, use of aliases, or conning 3. Impulsivity or failure to plan ahead 4. Irritability and aggressiveness; fights/assaults 5. Reckless disregard for the safety of self or others 6. Consistent irresponsibility, failure of consistent employment 7. Lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another -This is a predictor of recidivism. Criticisms of linking psychopathy and crime: 1. There are many people in the general population possess 3 of the above traits. There are also many inmates that don‟t possess any of the traits 2. There is also no consensus in the research to what causes psychopathy Durkheim -He took a sociological approach to the idea of suicide. -He noticed that suicide rates were lower for Catholics than for Protestants -People in cities were more likely than small towns, people who were living alone more likely than people living in a family. -He explained that the difference was in the basis of social integration and social cohesion. -He also showed that society was not simply the result of individual action. -Society was not a direct reflection of the characteristics of its individual members. Criticism: he didn‟t pay attention to how suicide statistics were collected (not addressing the problems surrounding how coroners interpret causes of death and produce inaccurate stats) Chicago School -Ecological school or criminology -The members argued that crime was not randomly distributed across the population. -Park and Burgess gave evidence that levels of crime in Chicago were not distributed across the population. -Crime was geographically patterned -Crime was concentrated in the zone of transition (an area in the city that surrounded the central business district and contained the oldest housing in the city. The affordable housing attracted people who have little money. -The zone is seen as the transition zone because these people who lived there were transient, and the housing was soon to be torn down for business expansion. -The model is important because it associates criminal activity with areas in cities that are in turmoil or are otherwise socially disorganized. -Crime rates rise for people who are displaced like new immigrants because of their inability to successfully integrate into a foreign city and strange culture. Crime and Social Disorganization Shaw and McKay plotted special distribution of crime on maps of Chicago and other American cities. -They argued that crime and juvenile delinquency were not randomly distributed in the population. -Police-reported crime was concentrated in the area of Chicago as the zone of transition, an area characterized by substandard housing, low incomes and a concentration of visible minorities. -They argued that social disorganization, not biological or psychological pathology -Social disorganization can also be found In Thrasher‟s work. Thrasher started the research involving gangs. -Normal people who are living in abnormal places commit crime. Social Disorganization Criticism: -The zone model doesn‟t apply to all cities -Some areas in the city that are supposed to be “disorganized” are actually very organized. Strain/Anomie Theory Merton‟s theory -Anomie: a situation where societies inadvertently bring to bear pressure, or strain, on an individual can lead to rule-breaking behavior. -The strain is caused by the discrepancy between culturally defined goals and the institutionally means available to achieve these goals. -Merto
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