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Sociology 2266A/B
Jennifer Reynolds

Criminology – Chapter One Crime, Criminals, and Criminology - Canadians have an endless fascination with crime (violent video games, movies, etc.) A Violent Crime: The Sand Brothers: - Daniel Sand, who served jail time for a variety of crimes, gave up when he was 20 to support his family - Dan and his brother Bob had trouble in school and were suspended a lot, got more serious in high school (drugs, assault, robbery) - do this to protect each other, they had nothing to lose - us versus them (RCMP, teachers, property owners, anyone with something they wanted to grab) - Bob was released in 7 years, as he was a model inmate, counsellors couldn’t tell why he did want he did - Dan would set involved in crimes again that would lead to his death - 2001: Bob was released to a halfway house and then escaped with his brother and girlfriend to start a new life - they would get into trouble with RCMP with Dan killing one, and lead to his own death by sniper - Bob wrote a diary which showed hate: - establishment, called it a war; “people die in war”  he was convicted of 1t degree murder - why did they do all this? - criminologists look at theories to explain this behaviour: biological, mental, family, schooling A White-collar crime: The downfall of Conrad Black: - Black was charged with a variety of offences relating to the fraudulent acquisition of funds that should have gone to shareholders of Hollinger: funds instead were taken by the accused - had a good up-bring - at college, he did try to alter his report card, stole exams, and sold them to students that needed them - one of his customers confessed to cheating and Black was expelled - he began law school and then started to buy newspapers - he find most of the workers and made millions - some investors wanted to know why their investment at Hollinger was not profitable whole Black was still wealthy and getting more - he later quit, followed by criminal fraud charges - this is illegal because the corporation is owned by share – holders not those who run it What is criminology?: - the body of knowledge regarding crime as a social phenomenon - it includes the process of making laws, breaking laws, and reacting to the breaking of laws - its objective 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 - commonly applied to those who study the criminal justice system Why Should we study crime?: - tell us a great deal about our society – difference between Canada and USA - before we can reduce crime, we need to study it - crime directly and indirectly affects us all The Discipline of Criminology: 1) Definition of Crime and Criminals: - not all social harms are criminal nor are all criminals acts harmful - necessary to specify what is criminal, what is defined as criminal 2) Origins and Role of the Law: - why are some acts criminal? - while others are dealt with under other types of legislation or are not sanctioned at all? 3) Social Distribution of Crime: - characteristics of people who commit crimes; trends that occur over time, differences between cities, provinces, and countries in the rate of cimes and type 4) Causation of crime: - why some people do it, while others obey the law 5) Patterns of criminal behaviour: - who are the offenders? - who are the victims? - what social circumstances will it take place? - consequences for victims? - how can types of crimes be prevented? Rules and Laws: Regulation of Behaviour: - if we are to live and work with others, rules are necessary - we have reasonable expectations that people will obey the rules - most of use to conform to these rules and norms - following accepted ways of walking and talking is almost automatic because these norms have been internalized - norms are established rules of behaviour or standards of conduct - rules help is to select from the vast numbers of potential behaviours of which we are capable - rules enhance our sense of belonging - informal penalties for breaking rules include disapproval from family, friends, or colleagues - laws exist when order can no longer be maintained through informal rules What is a crime?: - legal definition: an act that violates the criminal law and is punishable with jail terms, fines, other sanctions Is White-Collar Crime Really Crime?: - Sutherland argued that focusing only on violation of the criminal law presented a misleading picture of crime - white-collar crimes were committed by middle/upper-class people in the course of their legitimate business activities - crimes of lower class are handled by authority, with penal sanctions - crimes of upper class either result in no official action at all, or result in suits for damage in civil courts, or are handled by inspectors, and by administrative boards or commissions - penal sanctions come in the form of warning, orders to cease and desist, occasionally the loss of a license, and only in extreme causes by fines or prison sentences Human Rights Violations as Crime: - human rights is the minimum conditions required for a person to line a dignified life - among the rights set out by the UDHR are the right to life, liberty, and security of the person; right to be free of torture and other forms of cruel and degrading punishment; the right to equality before the law; and the right to basic necessities - Schwendinger: if an action violated the basic rights of humans to obtain the necessities of life and to be treated with respect and dignity, criminologists should consider it a crime A Continuum of Crime and Deviance: - Hagen says that a definition of crime must encompass not only violations of the criminal law, but also “a rouge of behaviours that for all practical purposes are treated as crimes, as well at those behaviours that across time and place vary in their location in and outside the boundaries of criminal law…” - deviance and crime be considered as a continuum ranging from the least serious to most serious acts - seriousness can be assessed on three dimensions: 1) Degree of consensus that an act is wrong: - murder is wrong, but not smoking weed 2) Severity of the society’s response to the act: - murder is punishable by death in some societies - possession of weed may be ignored or small fine 3) Assessment of the degree of harm of the act: - drugs use, prostitution = “victimless” crime that harms only offender - serious crimes can be very harmful FIGURE 1.1 Crime is Socially Defined: - an act is deviant only from the point of view of a set of rules and regulations, an these vary widely from society to society and from group to group - some societies consider as unlawful many acts that are tolerated or even encouraged in Canada while others permit practices that we restrict - there is nothing inherent in any act that makes it unlawful The Relativity of Crime: - rules can change - homosexuals in Canada  Trudeau legalized it “… state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation…” Who makes The Rules? Conflict versus Consensus Theories of Law: The Consensus Approach: - consensus theorists believe that laws represent the agreement of most of the people in society that certain acts should be prohibited by the criminal law - law is a codification of the values shared by most members of a society - a value is a collective idea about what is right or wrong, good or bad, and desirable, or undesirable in a particular culture Conflict Approach: - class conflict theorist believe that laws are passed by member of the ruling class in order to maintain their privileged position by keeping the common people under control - activities that threaten those with power are defined as illegal state enforces these laws - back in the day, Aboriginal were seen as a “threat”  legislation controlled them in 1885 Criminology is an evolving discipline: the new fields of Green Criminology and Terrorism Studies: Green Criminology: - acts that are socially harmful - pollution, smoking, etc. - the damage to the Earth caused by destructive environmental practices can be for more serious than the illegal acts that have traditionally been the subject matter of criminological study - global warming can cause mass starvation, migration from countries where drought has led to the collapse of agriculture, and the conflict between countries over water resources and food supplies - those interested in animal rights study “individual acts of cruelty to animals in agribusiness, in slaughter houses, and abattoirs, in so-called scientific experimentation and, in less obviously direct ways, in sports, school, zoos, etc.” - specialism  discrimination against non-human animals - work done include: 1) it has documented the existence of law breaking with respect to misuse of the Environment (resources, etc.) 2) Raised question relation to destruction of specific environments and resources In ways that are “legal” but very harmful to everything and everyone 3) Changed corporate definitions of good environmental practice 4) Emphasized the dynamic links between distribution of environmental “risk” and distinct communities, like how poor/minority have a bigger exposure to environmental harm 5) “rights” and human-non-human relationships as a shared planet 6) Criticized inadequacies of environmental regulation in both philosophical and practical terms 7) Exposed attempts to stifle environmental critique and dissent through the use of public relations propaganda and strategic lawsuits against public participation 8) Reconsidered the native of victimization in relation to environmental changes and event, including social and governmental responses to this victimization 9) Explored in with officials have intervened with regard to regulation of fisheries, prosecution of polluters, and conservation of specific environs and species - notions of morality and rights should be extended to non-human nature - societies should adopt a notion of ecological citizenship that obliges them to recognize that the environment should be protected for future generations Terrorism studies: - criminologists look at recruitment, training, organizations, social control, and link between terrorism and other types of criminality - terrorism constitutes the illegitimate use of form to achieve a political objective by tar
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