Psychology and The Law 4/15/2012
Chapter 4 -- Linking Theories to Practice
Changing Criminal Behavior:
1. Utilitarian model: suggests that people engage in criminal behavior because crime pays and to
reduce crime, its costs must increase.
• However, the refined model states: that criminality can be decreased when the rewards for
crime are reduced and the costs for crime are increased while the rewards for prosocial
behavior are increased and the costs for prosocial behavior are decreased.
• U.S – focuses on increasing individual costs to crime as a deterrent
• Canada – is beginning to focus on severe punishment despite the evidence that rehabilitative
approach is much more effective.
Punishment vs. Rehabilitative Programs:
- Hard and realistic
- Those who commit crimes are bad
- Criminals are unlikely to change
- Criminals need to be dealt with more strictly
- The costs and consequences of committing crimes need to be made as serious as possible.
- Soft and liberal
- Those who commit crimes are no different than others
- Criminals have the capacity to change and reform
- Offenders have grown up in adverse surroundings and need to be presented better
Purposes of Sentencing:
Section 718 of Canadian Criminal code – the fundamental purposes of sentencing are to ensure respect
for the law and maintenance of a just, peaceful and safe society
- To denounce unlawful conduct
- To remove offenders from society
- To assist in rehabilitation of offenders
- To provide reparation to victims
- To promote a sense of responsibility in offenders
Retribution asserts that society has the right, when harmed to harm the offender.
- This harm or punishment should correspond with severity of the crime.
***From an administration of justice perspective, retribution is not necessarily intended to address
issue at the individual level.
Incapacitation: the application of crime control by removing offenders’ ability to commit crimes by
incarcerating them.Psychology and The Law 4/15/2012
- This may have a limited impact since very few offenders die in prison.
- May also be an expensive method for reducing crime
- In order for punishment to be maximally effective, it must first be unavoidable
- Its application should immediately follow the target behavior
- It should be severe.
- These conditions are rarely met in a systematic manner within the criminal justice system,
potentially diminishing the effectiveness of punishment.
** It is important to note that findings suggest that general deterrence does not reduce crime in that
longer sentences and incarceration are not highly related to recidivism.
- Enhanced punishers such as boot camps, shock incarceration, electronic surveillance, curfews
and intensive supervision are applied.
o However, boot camps in the U.S were found to have no effect on reducing criminal
o Findings also suggest that intensive supervision does not reduce crime unless it includes
o Explanations for why punishment is ineffective include:
1. perceived risk of no arrest
2. criminal behavior is dominated by “here and now” thinking
3. Prior to committing an offence, most individuals are preoccupied with the
implementation of the act, rather than deliberating on the consequences should
they get caught.
- Responds to a criminal act by putting emphasis on the wrong done to a person as well as the
wrong done to the community.
- It emphasizes healing the wounds of victims, offenders and communities caused or revealed by
- Key elements of RJ include
o Identify and taking steps to repair harm
o Involving all stakeholders
o Transforming the traditional relationship between communities and their governments in
responding to crime.
Key values of RJ programs:
- Encounter: create opportunities for victims, offenders and community members who want to do
to meet and discuss the crime and its aftermath.
- Amends: expect offenders to take steps to repair the harm they have caused
- Reintegration: seek to restore victims and offenders to whole, contributing members of societyPsychology and The Law 4/15/2012
- Inclusion: Provide opportunities for parties with a stake in a specific crime to participate in its
Types of Approaches include:
- Victim offender mediatio