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SOC 2700
Norman Dubeski

Volds Theoretical Criminology Chapter Notes CHAPTER ONE Spiritual Explanations -Spiritual view of the world was closely tied to the origin and development of the modern Criminal Justice system -Europe in Middle Ages, crime was a private affair where victim/victims family obtained revenge by inflicting similar or great harm on offender/offenders family -tended to start blood feuds -The feudal Lords instituted methods by which God could indicate who was innocent or guilty -trial by battleboth parties would sear to the truth and then fight each other, God would give victory to the righteous person defeating the one who had sworn to a false oath -great warriors would always win therefore they could commit as many crimes as they wanted to -Trial by ordealthe accused was subjected to difficult and painful tests, an innocent person would emerge unharmed and a guilty person would die a painful death -ie throw a witch into water that was blessed, if she sank she was innocent and if she floated she was guilty -Compurgationthe accused gather a group of twelve reputable people who would swear to their innocence (idea was that no one would lie under oath—fear Gods punishment) -evolved into testimony under oath and trial by jury -New World in the Puritan Colony of Massachusetts Bay: Three serious “crime waves” that were thought to be caused by the devil most serious was in 1692, community was thought to have been invaded by a large number of witches -Modern Prison system originated in association with a spiritual explanation of crime—1790, a group of Quakers in Philidelphia conceived the idea of isolating criminals in cells with only the bible to read and some manual labour they thought they would reflect on their wrongdoings and repent called it a penitentiary—place for penitents who were sorry -Charles Colsonattributes crime to sinful human nature and argues that religious conversion is the only “cure” for crime Natural Explanations -uses objects and events in material world to explain things -Greeksnaturalistic, this-world explanations Hippocrates—physiological explanation of thinking by arguing the brain is an organ of the mind Democritus—indestructible unit of matter, the atom Volds Theoretical Criminology -by the first century B.C. Roman thought was heavily infused with naturalism Roman Law combined spiritualism of Hebrew tradition with the naturalism of the Greeks to provide a natural basis for penalties and rights nature of things the rule of kings by divine right became a natural law looking to the “nature of things” for principal justification Scientific Theories -one kind of natural explanation -make statements about the relationship between observable phenomena relationship between the certainty or severity of criminal punishment and the volume of criminal behaviours in society relationship between biological, psychological or social characteristics of individuals and the likelihood that these people will engage in criminal behaviours -scientific theories can be falsified -systematically observing relationships described in theory and then comparing the observations to the arguments of the theory -This is called research -if the observations are inconsistent wih the assertion of the theory it is falsified -it becomes more credible if the observations are consistent But, it is not proved there are always alternate theories Causation in Scientific Theories -means four things: correlation, theoretical rationale, time sequence, and absence of spuriousness Correlation—things tend to vary systematically in relation to each other (ie. Height and weight) -the relation is not perfect, but the tendency still exists -more height= more weight., less height=less weight”positive correlation -a negative correlation is when more of
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