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Chapter 5

WDW205 Textbook Summary - Chapter 5

3 Pages
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Department
Woodsworth College Courses
Course Code
WDW101Y1
Professor
William Watson

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Criminology WDW205H1 FSeptember 25, 2010 Note Series 5
Chapter 5 Choice Theory
The Development of Classical Theory and Choice Theory
Choice Theory- delinquent behaviour is a rational choice made by a motivated offender who perceives that
the chances of gain outweigh any perceived punishment or loss
Classical Criminology- the theory that (1) people have free will to choose criminal or conventional
behaviours; (2) people choose to commit crime for reasons of greed or personal need; and (3) crime can be
controlled only by the fear of criminal sanctions
Utilitarianism- a view that believes punishment of crime should be balanced and fair, and that even
criminal behaviour must be seen as purposeful and reasonable
Classical Criminology was based on the works of Beccaria, Bentham, and other utilitarianism
philosophers; at its core are the following principles:
-people choose all behaviour, including crimes
-a violation of another person is a violation of the social contract
-society must provide the greatest good for the greatest number
-the law shouldnt try to legislate morality
-people should be presumed innocent until proven guilty, with no torture
-laws should be written out with punishments prescribed in advance
-individuals give up some of their liberty in exchange for social protection
-people are motivated by pain and pleasure
-punishment should be limited to what is necessary to deter people from crime
-the law must be rational, transparent and just, or is itself a crime
-peoples choices can be controlled by the fear of punishment
-severity, certainty, swiftness of punishment are most effective in controlling criminal behaviour
Punishment has four main objectives:
-to prevent all criminal offences
-to convince the offender to commit a less serious crime when it cannot prevent a crime
-to ensure that a criminal uses no more force than is necessary
-to prevent crime as cheaply as possible
The choice to commit crime is structured by the choice of
-location
-target characteristics
-the techniques available for its completion
Offence and Offender Specifications
Crime Displacement- an effect of crime prevention efforts in which efforts to control crime in one area
shift illegal activities to another
Offence-Specific Crime- offenders react selectively to characteristics of some particular offences, assessing
opportunity and guardianship; relevant to routine activities theory
Offender-Specific Crime- refers to the fact that offenders do not usually engage in random acts of
antisocial behaviour, but evaluate their skill at accomplishing the crime
Rational Choice Theory- the view that crime is a function of decision-making process in which the
potential offender weighs the potential costs and benefits of an illegal act
Routine Activities Theory- crime as seen as a normal function of routine activities of modern living;
offences occur if there is a suitable target not protected by capable guardians
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Criminology WDW205H1 F September 25, 2010 Note Series 5 Chapter 5 Choice Theory The Development of Classical Theory and Choice Theory Choice Theory- delinquent behaviour is a rational choice made by a motivated offender who perceives that the chances of gain outweigh any perceived punishment or loss Classical Criminology- the theory that (1) people have free will to choose criminal or conventional behaviours; (2) people choose to commit crime for reasons of greed or personal need; and (3) crime can be controlled only by the fear of criminal sanctions Utilitarianism- a view that believes punishment of crime should be balanced and fair, and that even criminal behaviour must be seen as purposeful and reasonable Classical Criminology was based on the works of Beccaria, Bentham, and other utilitarianism philosophers; at its core are the following principles: -people choose all behaviour, including crimes -a violation of another person is a violation of the social contract -society must provide the greatest good for the greatest number -the law shouldnt try to legislate morality -people should be presumed innocent until proven guilty, with no torture -laws should be written out with punishments prescribed in advance -individuals give up some of their liberty in exchange for social protection -people are motivated by pain and pleasure -punishment should be limited to what is necessary to deter people from crime -the law must be rational, t
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