Textbook Notes (369,018)
Canada (162,342)
Psychology (9,698)
PSYC39H3 (201)
Chapter 1

Chapter 1: Crime In Canada

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David Nussbaum

Psychology of Criminal Behaviour: A Canadian Perspective Chapter 1: Crime in Canada INTRODUCTION  Analysis of sensational cases does not inform us about most prevalent crimes or what motivates them The Influence of the Media  Canadian surveys indicate that crime is an important concern  44% of Canadians believe more should be spent on the criminal justice system Current Context  Focus asserts that greater understanding of criminal behaviour comes from psychological explanations that consider individual difference  Psychology is interested in intra-individual differences and inter-individual differences  Intra-individual differences: variations in criminal conduct within an individual across time and situations  Inter-individual differences: variations in criminal conduct between individuals  McGuire states that the difference between psychology and sociology is the level of focus of comparisons o Psychology focuses on individuals o Sociology focuses on groups  Boarder social context is insufficient viewpoint to understand individual differences  Forensic psychology: any application of psychology to the legal system o Some reserve the term for practice of clinical psychology within the legal system  In the UK the psychological study of criminal behaviour is referred to as criminological psychology o In The US and Canada it’s referred to as correctional psychology  Correctional psychology conducts crisis management and individual and group psychotherapy with inmates and offenders with mental disorders and substance abuse problems  Sociological explanations regarding age, gender and social class provide insight into groups of individuals  Younger males are more likely to be involved in criminal behaviour  Criminal behaviour: intentional behaviour that is sanctioned by the courts as a breach of society’s established rules  Crime decreases with increased age  Criminals tend to be less well educated and have poorer employment histories  As the level of analysis varies so does the theoretical explanation o At the macro level the objective is to understand crime as a large-scale social phenomenon reflecting  Narrowing perspectives focus on socialization and the influence of community, family and peer groups  Approximately 70% of offenders follow some approximation of age-crime curve Psychology of Criminal Behaviour: A Canadian Perspective o A small percentage maintains criminal activity in adulthood  Crime desistance: the cessation of criminal behaviour, most often described as a process of change rather than an instantaneous event  A psychological understanding of criminal behaviour is derived from recognizing the variability of criminal behaviour between individuals and within individuals over time and across situations  Personal, Interpersonal and Community-Reinforcement model (PIC-R) o The model posits that criminal behaviour reflects the immediate situation in that factors combine to influence a decision to engage in criminal behaviour  Cognitive social learning theory of crime: a learning theory of crime that attends to social and cognitive factors as well as behaviour o Similar to contemporary criminological viewpoints DEFINITION OF CRIME  Types of definitions include legal, moral, social and psychological explanations o Legal refers to acts prohibited by the state that are punishable under the law o Moral refers to the violation of norms of religion and morality punishable by supreme beings o Social refers to violation of norms and customs that are punishable by the community o Psychological refers to acts that are rewarding to the perpetrator but harmful to others  Crime is a socially constructed phenomenon  Consistency across countries regarding what is viewed as criminal o Robbery, theft and incest  Criminal behaviour refers to international behaviour that violates a criminal code; intentional in that it did not occur accidentally or without justification of excuse  Courts adjudicate cases and determine sanctions  Any definition of crime must concede that there are inter-cultural variations regarding normative and acceptable behaviour DETERMINANTS OF CRIME  Determinants of crime have been described as distal and proximal  To identify determinants of crime --> meta-analysis  Statistical techniques exist to allow differences between groups to be converted to a Pearson correlation coefficient (r) First and Second Order correlates of Criminal Conduct  Central Eight: the eight most strongly identified risk factors as identified through meta- analysis o Family and/or marital o School and/or work o Leisure and/or recreation Psychology of Criminal Behaviour: A Canadian Perspective o Substance abuse  Big four: the four most strongly correlated risk factors as identified through meta-analysis o History of antisocial behaviour o Antisocial personality pattern o Antisocial cognition o Antisocial associates  Minor risk factors: risk factors with very weak associations with criminal behaviour o Personal and/or emotional distress o Major mental disorder o Physical health issues o Fear of official punishment o Physical conditioning o Low IQ o Social class of origin o Seriousness of current offence  Moderate risk factors: risk factors with moderates association with criminal behaviour; less strong than the Big Four  Some risk factors are static meaning they don’t change others change o Dynamic risk factors: risk factors that can change with change related to reduced criminal behaviour  Assessment and treatment must attend to factors most highly correlated with criminal conduct o Antisocial attitudes and associates  The 8 meta-analyses yielded very consistent findings regardin the relative importance of risk factors  Confidence interval for minor risk factors includes 0.00 indicating that there is no relationship between predictor variables and criminal behaviour o Minor risk factors cannot explain criminal conduct  Strong support for cognitive social learning model of criminal behaviour  Major risk factors are termed criminogenic (empirically related to criminal conduct and when reduced lead to reductions in future o
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