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An intential act in violation of the criminal law commited without defese or excuse, and penalized by the state as a felony or misdemeanor.
Commision of an act prohibited by Criminal law or the failure to act as required by criminal law.
* Public Opinion & Morality
- mala in se (bad in of itself)
* Crime Seriousness
* Criminal = Deviant (usually)
* Deviant is not always criminal.
1. Explain why certain laws exist
2. Why do some individuals break laws
* Biological, learning, subcultural
3. How laws are enforced
* Conflict & Labeling
Macro: Broad patterns in Crime
Micro: Individuals who commit Crime
Law is created by and reflection of powerful interest groups.
These Behaviors Contrary to the Interest of the Elite are Criminalized
"Street Crime" vs. "White Collar Crime"
Littering = Crime; Industrial Pollution is ok, Not a Crime.
Criminal law is a product of social needs & values
Rules & Laws are Established to Serve the Needs of the Majority of Society
Laws Formalize Norms & Morals of the Community
Establishes the Boundaries of What is Deemed Acceptable by the Majority
The content of legal codes are considered realtive (or changing) fiven the changing interest of the elite or powerful & shifts in societal consensus.
Examples: Abortion, Tobacco Use, Marijuana, Euthanasia, Homosexuality
* Regulation of behaviors deemed harmful to society
* Teach Morals & Norms of Society
* Restore balance to Society
* Just Deserts - Lex Talionis (eye for an eye)
* Resocialize law breakers
Prevention of crime by physically eliminating capacity for crime, usually through imprisonment.
Life without parole
Post-incarceration civil commitment of sex offenders
Eye for an Eye or Just Deserts
Educational opportunities or counseling for inmates
(AKA: Special, Individual, and Particular deterrence)
Used to discourage the sanctioned individual from engaging in the future
Punitive sanctions designed to influence the behavior of individuals other than thouse punished.
- sanctioned offender serves as an example
- publicity is vital
* Certainty (if you do "A", "B" will happen)
* Celerity [swiftness] (Punishment quickly after crime is commited)
'Get tough policies'
mandatory minimum sentences
3 strikes law
juvenile waivers to adult court
highest incarceration rate in the world
1 in 100 adults are in prision
1 in 37 adults will be, are, or have been incarcerated.
"Legal debt reporduces poverty & impedes reintgration in at least 4 ways"
1. Reduces household income
2. Monetary sanctions often create long-term debt
3. wages subject to garnishment - finding employment is "not worth it"
4. Due to sanctions, some go on the run.
Citizens only report half the crimes they discover
Of the crimes reported, only 20% are solved by Police
Prosecutors also only file charges in half the cases referred to them
For many charges are dismissed or result in acquital @ the justice phase
Uniform Crime Reports
National Incident Based Reporting System
Part 1: Index Offenses - 8 serious offenses
Part 2: Non Index Offenses - Twenty Specific crimes and a catch all "other" category including: Other assults, Embezzlement, Vandalism. Sex Offenses, Drunkeneess
Began in 1929
Reports of known offenses & persons arrested
Population counts via Census Bureau
Hierarchy Rule -- only worst crime /most serious crime in report
Intended to replace the UCR
More meaningful & complete data:
* Group A: 22 offense categories, 46 specific crimes
* Group B: 11 offenses, only arrest data
* Additional Category: Crimes against society (drug offenses, computer crimes, etc)
Offenses & Arrest
No Hierarchy Rule
From 8 index crimes to 46
Can distinguish attempted & completed offenses
Revised & new offense definitions
Ex: Forcible Rape
National Survey of Youth
National Youth Survey
National sample of 76.000 households covering more than 135,000 people
Measures frequency, characteristics & consequences of criminal victimization
Attempts to get at the 'dark figure crime'
Diversity (several ideas/schools of thought)
Scope: examines both mirco & macro levels of crime
Examines the effects across carious points of life cycle
Accounts for known statistical relationships
- Age & desistance; more male offenders; violent crimes occuring close to home, etc
Theory must be able to be tested using observable events
Cannot be Tautological ( true by definition )
* Involves circular reasoning
* low self-control causes crime; low self-control is defines as the failure ot refrain from crime.
Dominent through the 1700's
Moved us away from the "demonic perspective" (the devil made me do it)
Led by Cesare Baccaria & Jeremy Bentham
Developed in reaction to the harsh & corrupt legal system in the 1700's.
Laws = vague
Punishment = Overly Harsh
Legal System = Ineffective in crime reduction
People act in a rational manner that results in the greatest pleasure & least pain
*deterrence: pain of punishment outweighs the pleasure of crime*
Everyone is selfish
Motivated to pursue own self-interest
Swiftness, Certainty & Severity of punishment affects whether or people will commit the crime.
Deterremce: Focus on how we punish
Rational Choice: Focus on the thought process & affecting (forcing) the choice.
People are exposed to both direct & indirect experiences w/ punishment
Deterrence theory needs to also consider punishment avoidance
Indirect (general) Punishment: See others being punished
Indirect (general) Punishment Avoidance: See others Avoid being punished
Direct (specific) Punishment: We are punished
Direct (specific) Punishment Avoidance: We Avoid punishment
Arose in 1980's
Based on expected utility derived from economic theory:
People rationally chose actions based on maximixing their pleasure & minimizing their pain/cost
Specific focus on crime
Focus on theory is on crimes rather than offenders.
1.) Initial Involvement: Processes through which individuals choose to become initally invovled in a particular form of crime, to continue and to desist
Two decision points:
- Individuals recognition of readiness to commit specific offenses
- decision to actually commit specific offense.
2.) Criminal Event: Once invovlement decision is made, the individual has to decide to commit a particular offense.
- event decisions are short processes, utilizing information largely related to immeediate decision.
3.) Contnuing Involvement: Constantly re-evaluating decisions of continuing w/ particular kind of offense.
Desistance: Reevaluations that may lead to desistance.
Main Thesis: In order for a crime to occur, 3 things must meet in time & space:
1. Motivated Offender
2. Suitable Target
3. Lack of capable gardians
*probabilty of these factors occuring is influenced by our routine activities*
Main Thesis: Three features are the focus:
1. Reduce the physical Opportunites
2. Increase the risk of being caught
Classical : Individuals freely choose to engage in crim, as we are rational human beings.
Positivist: Crime is due to forces beyond an individuals control (biological, psychological & socail forces)
XYY Chromosome Abnormlity
Normal Male: XY
Normal Female: XX
Klinefkter Syndrome = XXY
Led by Lambroso
Criminals are ATAVISTIC or "Genetic throwbacks"
Criminals are different from non-criminals - they are viewed a biologically inferior & crime is essentially a disease.
The criminal greatly resembled the primitive caveman.
The born criminals only making up a third of the criminal population
Fully discredited by 20th Century
Goring: English Convict
Compared Criminals to non-criminals across a number of physical characterics
Found 0 support for Lambroso
Criminals differ in 2 ways: Physique & Intellectual deficits
1. Genetic studies: twin studies, adoption studies, molecular genetics
2. Biological Harms Study: (not due to your genes)
3. Autonomic Nervous System
4. Environmental Studies
Low Verbal IQ
Immature moral reasoning
Insensitity to Others
Poor Social Skills
Poor Problem Solving
Criminals on average do not have lower IQ's than general population
Low IQ's lead to negative learning environment and negative school experience
Individuals drop out
Associates with delinquent frineds
All act as intervening variables between IQ and Crime
Critizes ecological studies because it ignores the fact that social disorganization affects only a small groupe of people within a geographical area.
Criminal behavior is selective, it occurs only in a minority of individuals even in underprivileged areas.
Study in 1939 comparing 500 unstitutionalized deliquent boys in Mass. to a matched sample of 500 Non-deliquent boys from the Boston Area.
Factors that may cause delinquency:
2) Temperamental Traits
3) Intellectual Traits
Muscular (deliquents) vs. Linear morpholigies
Enuresis (bed wetting)
More extroverted; vivacious, impluse & less self-conrtol
More hostile, resentful, defiant, suspicious & destructive
Less fearful of failure or defeat
Less concerned about meeting conventional expectations & less submissive to authority
More Socially assertive
More feelings of not being recognized or appreciated.
Express themselves more directly- lesser ability to think abstractly
Lesser capacity to approach problems methodically, lower capacity to make cost/benefit analysis.
Less verbal intelligence
Greater variability in intelligence within the group
Two categories of cause variables:
Main Thesis: Crime pronesness is due to more than one dimension - personality traits are consistently found among anti-social or criminal populations
Low in harm avoidance
Multiplue traits combined into a single "supertrait" - Caspi found three:
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