WDW205H Chapter One Crime and Criminology Notes

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Woodsworth College Courses
Breese Davies

th September 10 , 2012 Chapter One: Crime and Criminology - Criminal justice system: the various sequential stages of criminal justice through which the offender passes: police, courts, corrections - Intimate violence: crime that occurs in a context of familiarity, such as wife abuse or child abuse. - Criminology: the scientific study of the nature, extent, cause, and control of criminal behaviour - Criminologist: one who brings objectivity and method to the study of crime and its consequences - Deviant behaviour: behaviour that departs from social norms but isn’t always a crime - Decriminalization: reducing the penalty for a criminal act but not actually legalizing it - Utilitarianism: a view that punishment should be balanced and fair because criminal behaviour must be seen as purposeful and reasonable - Classical criminology: the theoretical perspective suggesting that people have free will to choose criminal or conventional behaviours; that people choose to commit crime for greed or personal need; and crime can be controlled only by fear of criminal sanctions - Positivism: the branch of social science that uses the scientific method of the natural sciences and suggests that human behaviour is a product of social, biological, psychological, or economic forces - Criminal anthropology: early efforts to discover a biological basis of crime through measurement of physical and mental processes; associated with Cesare Lombroso and the biological positivists - Atavistic anomalies (or traits): according to Lombroso, the physical characteristics of born criminals that indicate they are throwbacks to animals or primitive people - Anomie: a condition produced by normlessness. Because of rapidly shifting moral values, the individual has few guides to what is socially acceptable. According to Merton, anomie is a condition that occurs when personal goals cannot be achieved by available means - Chicago school: a type of sociological research begun in the early 20 century associated with Park, Burgess, Wirth, Thrasher, and their colleagues in the sociology department at the University of Chicago. These sociologists pioneered research on the social ecology of the city and the study of urban crime - Criminological enterprise: the totality of criminology, which includes many fields, or subareas, of study - White-collar-crime: illegal acts that capitalize on a person’s status in the marketplace, such as embezzlement, market manipulation, restraint of trade, and false advertising (economic crime activities) - Moral entrepreneurs: interest groups or powerful individuals who attempt to control social life and the legal order in an effort to promote their own personal set of moral values - Longitudinal research: research that tracks the development of a group of subjects over time - Cohort: a sample of subjects whose behavior is followed over a period - What we usually know about crime and criminal justice comes from media th September 10 , 2012 - The public fear of crime is an important barometer of social health and how people feel about their communities - People do not rely on their experience when assessing the likelihood of being a victim of crime, but rather draw from such sources as the media - Third-hand knowledge of crime has long-term effects, creating fear of crime, a negative view of the police and the courts, and an attitude favouring harsher punishments for offenders - The fear of crime skews the larger social agenda, resulting in people being more in favour of investing resources into reducing crime than into reducing poverty o 2005 Boxing Day shooting led 87% of residents to believe that Toronto was becoming more violent, 64% would rather see an increase in policing and stricter penalties for crime - Concern about crime and the need to develop effective measures to control criminal behaviour has spurred the development of the study of criminology o Devoted to the study of crime patterns and trends and the development of valid and reliable information regarding the causes of crime - Criminologists use scientific methods to study the nature, extent, cause, and control of criminal behaviour - Criminologists attempt to bring objectivity and scientific methods to the study of crime and its consequences What is Criminology? - Criminology is the scientific approach to the study of criminal behaviour - Edwin Sutherland & Donald Cressey: o Criminology is the body of knowledge regarding crime as a social phenomenon. It includes within its scope the processes of making laws, of breaking laws, and of reacting toward the breaking of laws. The objective of criminology is the development of a body of general and verified principles and of other types of knowledge regarding this process of law, crime, and treatment - Most important areas of interest to criminologists: the development of criminal law and its use to define crime, the cause of law violations, and the methods used to control criminal behaviour - Criminologists use objective research methods to pose research questions (hypotheses), gather data, create theories, and test the validity of theories - Criminology combines elements from many other fields (i.e. sociology, political science) Criminology and Criminal Justice - In the late 1960s, research projects were developed to understand the way police, courts, and correctional agencies operated - Criminologists explain the etiology (origin), extent, and nature of crime in society, whereas criminal justice scholars describe and analyze the work of the police, courts, and correctional facilities, and how to better design effective methods of crime control Criminology and Deviance - Deviance is more widely defined as behaviour that departs from social norms and is not always subject to formal sanction (i.e. sunbathing in the nude, woman going topless, etc) th September 10 , 2012 - Not all crimes are deviant or unusual acts. Not all deviant acts are illegal or criminal. o Using drugs like marijuana is illegal, but is it deviant? - Many deviant acts are not criminal even though they may be shocking (i.e. a person sees a person drowning but does not intend on saving him) - “Hagan’s Varieties of Deviance” depicts the relationship between crime and deviance along three dimensions: the evaluation of social harm, the level of agreement about the harm, and the severity of societal response - Two issues that involve deviance are of particular interest to criminologists: (1) how do deviant behaviours become crimes? (2) when should acts considered crimes be legalized? o The first issue involves the historical development of law. Many acts that are legally forbidden today were once considered merely unusual or deviant behaviour. Thus, criminologists study the process by which crimes are created from deviance (i.e. the use of marijuana) - The discussion about where to draw the line between behaviour that is merely considered deviant and unusual and behaviour that is outlawed and criminal can become controversial (i.e. pornography) o R. v. Sharpe, Sharpe was charged with the possession of violent, pornographic stories involving children and was acquitted. When appealed, it ruled that he was deprived of his right to freedom of expression when police seized his pornography because the stories were for his own personal use Classical Criminology - Utilitarianism emphasized that behaviour is purposeful and not motivated by supernatural forces - Rather than cruel public executions designed to frighten people into obedience or to punish those the law failed to deter, reformers called for a more moderate and just approach to penal sanctions - Famous reformer Beccaria described both a motive for committing crime and methods for its control o Believed that people want to achieve pleasure and avoid pain o If crime provides pleasure to the criminal, pain must be used to prevent crime o Classical criminology basic elements:  People have free will to choose criminal or lawful solutions to meet their needs or settle their problems  Criminal solutions may be more attractive because they usually require less work for a greater payoff  People’s choice of criminal solutions may be controlled by their fear of punishment  The more severe, certain, and swift the punishment, the better able it is to control criminal behaviour th - Thethlassical perspective influenced judicial philosophy during much of the late 18 and 19 centuries o Prisons began to be used as a form of punishment, sentences were geared proportionately to the seriousness of the crime… “let the punishment fit the crime” th 19 Century Positivism th September 10 , 2012 - Positivism developed as the scientific method began to take hold in Europe o Inspired by new discoveries in biology, astronomy, and chemistry - Comte applied scientific methods to the study of society o Believed societies pass through stages that can be grouped on the basis of how people understand the world o People in primitive societies consider inanimate objects as having life (i.e. sun is god). In later social stages, people embrace a rational, scientific view of the world o Positivism has two elements:  The belief that human behaviour is a function of external forces that are beyond individual control (i.e. some forces are social like the effect of wealth and class, personal and psychological forces include individual’s brain structure or mental ability. All of these forces operate to influence human behaviour)  Its use of the scientific method to solve problems (i.e. abstract concept such as intelligence exists because it can be measure by IQ tests. Darwin encouraged the view that all human activity could be verified by scientific principles) Positivist Criminiology - By mid-19 century, scientific methods were being applied to understanding criminality - Physiognomists studied the facial features of criminals to determine whether the shape of ears, noses, and eyes and the distance between them were associated with antisocial behaviour - Phrenologists such as Spurzheim and Gall studied the shape of the skull and bumps on the head to determine whether these physical attributes were liked to criminal behaviour - By early 19 century, abnormality in the human mind was being linked to criminal behaviour patterns - Philippe Pinel claimed that some people behave abnormally even without being mentally ill o Coined the phrase manie sans delire meaning mania without delusion – now known as psychopathic personality - Henry Maudsley believed that insanity and criminal behaviour were strongly linked - Early research efforts shifted attention to brain functioning and personality as the keys to criminal behaviour Cesare Lombroso and the Criminal Man - Lombrosian theory: o Lombroso believed that offenders are born criminals who engage in repeated assault- or theft- related activities because they have inherited criminal traits that impel them into a life of crime (criminal anthropology) o Lombroso held that born criminals suffer from atavistic anomalies (or traits) physically. They are throwbacks to more primitive times, when people were savages. Criminals supposedly have the enormous jaws and strong canin teeth common to carnivores and savages who devour raw flesh o Lombroso compared criminals’ behaviour with that of people with mental illnesses and those who had certain forms of epilepsy th September 10 , 2012 o Concluded that criminogenic traits could be acquired through indirect heredity: from a “degenerate family with frequent cases of insanity, deafness, syphilis, epilepsy, and alcoholism among its members”  For Lombroso, indirect heredity is the primary cause of crime o Direct heredity – being related to a family of criminals – is the second primary cause of crime The development of sociological criminology - The foundations of sociological criminal can be traced to the works of L. A. J. (Adolphe) Quetelet and Emile Durkheim L. A. J. Quetelet - Belgian mathematician who began what is known as the cartographic school of criminology - Made use of social statistics developed in France in the early 19 century (called the Comptes generaux de l’administration de la justice) and was one of the first social scientists to use objective mathematical techniques to investigate the influence of social factors, such as season, climate, sex, and age, on the propensity to commit crime - Most important finding: social forces were significately correlated with crime rates Emile Durkheim - One of the founders of sociology and made significant contribution to criminology - According to Durkheim, crime is normal because it has existed in every age, in both poverty and prosperity - Crime is an integral part of all societies - The inevitability of crime is linked to the human differences within society - As long as human differences exist, crime is inevitable, serving as a symbolic reminder of moral boundaries - Argued that crime could be useful, and even healthy, for a society to experience - The existence of crime implies that a way is open for social change and that the social structure is not rigid or inflexible o If there was no crime, it would mean that everyone would behave the same way and would agree totally on what is right and wrong - Crime is beneficial because it calls attention to social ills. A rising crime rate can signal the need for social change and promote a variety of programs designed to relieve the human suffering that may have caused crime in the first place - Durkheim described the consequences of the shift from a small, rural society (mechanical society) to the more modern organic society, characterized by a large urban population, division of labour, and personal isolation o From this shift flowed anomie (norm and role confusion), describes the chaos and disarray accompanying the loss of traditional values in modern society o Anomic societies maintain high suicide rates; by implication, anomie might cause other forms of deviance to develop The Chicago school and the McGill school th September 10 , 2012 - Chicago school: Park, Burgess, Wirth, Thrasher, and colleages pioneered research on the social ecology of the city and inspired a generation of scholars to conclude that social forces operating in urban areas create criminal interactions, thereby making some neighbourhoods almost natural areas for crime - These urban neighbourhoods maintain such a high level of poverty that critical social institutions like schools and families break down. Thus reducing the ability to control behaviour - The Chicago school sociologists and their contemporaries focused on the functions of social institutions and how their breakdown influences behavior o They pioneered the ecological study of crime, which involves looking at crime in the context of where a person lives - During the 1930s, social psychologists argued that the individual’s relationship to education, family life, and peer relations is the key to understanding human behavior - Criminality links to the failure of socialization - By mid-20 century, most criminologists had embraced either the ecological or socialization view of crime Conflict criminology - Oppressive labour conditions prevalent during the rise of industrial capitalism convinced Marx that the character of society is determined by the way people develop and produce material goods - The most important relationship is between the owners of the means of production – the capitalist bourgeoisie – and the people who do the actual labour – the proletariat - The Vietnam war, the development of an anti-establishment counterculture move
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