Crime in America

Edwin Sutherland
"Dean of American Criminology"
His definition of crime- It is a social problem and criminology as a body of knowledge regarding delinquency and crime as a social phenomenon including within its range of function the process of making and breaking laws and the reactions
3 Divisions of Criminology by Edwin Sutherland
1. the sociology of law
2. the scientific analysis of the causes of crime
3. Crime control
One of the ways we interpret crime states:
"Laws should be enacted to criminalize given forms of behavior when members of society generally agree the law is necessary"
Second way we interpret crime states:
"Recognizes the importance of diversity in society. and criminalization of actions occurs often after much debate and centered on a political process to determine the appropriate course of action."
Definition from Consensus & Pluralist Perspective:
"Human conduct in violation of the criminal laws of the state, federal government, or local jurisdiction that has the power to make such laws."
Definition from Paul Tappan:
"Crime is an intentional act in violation of criminial law committed without defense or excuse and penalized by the state as a felony or misdemeanor."
Paul Topinard
He coined Criminology as:
"The study of human criminal behavior."
Prior to that time the focus was more on the physical than on the sociological or psychological makeup
Definition from Edwin Sutherland:
"An interdisciplinary profession built around the scientific study of crime and criminal behavior, including manifestations, causes, legal aspects and crime control."
Theoretical Criminology
Focusing on the manifestations and causes of crime:
"Seeks to define, describe, and explain crime and criminal behavior in an attempt to aid the criminial justice system, to include law enforcement, the courts, and correctional institutions."
Cesare Beccaria
Crime should be: SWIFT, CERTAIN & SEVERE
He states: "Laws are the conditions under which independent and isolated men united to form a society"
Objective of Punishment is DETERRENCE, rather than punishment as "retribution"- known as Crime Prevention
3 Types of Crime
Defined by Cesare Beccaria
1. threatens the security of the state
2. injure citizens
3. destroy or steal their property
Laws influenced by Cesare Beccaria
1. French Penal Code of 1791
2. The doctrines of Catherine & Fred the Great
2. Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution
Franz Joseph Gall
Used physical features for criminals - phrenology
He stated" "That the shape of the human skull was indicative of the personality and could be used to predict criminality"
- less developed brains were more conducive for criminal tendencies
- He was never able to test his theories
States: "The brain controls the mind in some capacity and that skull shape influences brain shape"
Influence by Franz Gall
His perspective was viewed as primitive, however did much to advance physiological understanding of the mind-body connection in the Western thought.
Cesare Lombroso
- Based on Darwin's Theory of Evolution
- Stated crime is the result of primitive urges
- Focused on biology of criminals in order to enhance crime prevention tactics of his time
- focused research on postmorten on criminals to include body types, characteristics, etc to postulate that there existed pre-determined physical characteristics for humans towards criminal activity
In modern day humans there are throw back urges that survived that some people don't have someone to contain or correct behavior
2 TYPES of Criminals
Cesare Lombroso stated:
1. Criminal Lodes- "occasional" Not Planned
Pulled into behavior based on enviroment - crime of opportunity

2. Born Criminals- Born - do not try to hide it
States: "Women can become more masculine" Lombroso theorized they could be criminal lodes or born criminals - Lombroso theory of masculinity states: "the belief that, over time, me and women will commit crimes that are increasingly similar in nature, seriousness and frequency."
Positivistic School
Ceasare Lombroso was a member they focused on:
Physiological theories to explain criminal activity
William Sheldon
Utilized biology in crime determinism in his studies of criminology
He was a psychologists, sought to explain criminal actions but postulating specific body types of individuals calling the differing forms of body types collectively somatotyping
Focused on the stomach and was more plump and round in shape
Personality: a more peaceful, love oreinted trait - Round
Exhibits more muscular physique
Personality: Trended towards courage, activity, assertive and aggression - Hard - Risk-Takers
These have a higher correlation & probality of criminal activity
Personality: Introverted- exhibits enhanced levels of sensitivity, artistc feelings and also apprehension - Soft & Sensitive
A relation between aggression and criminal activity through somatotype- coined from Sheldon- relationship between body build and personaility type
Defined by Manual in Chapter 2
"As the scientific approach to studying criminal behavior"
Important Areas of Interest for a Criminologist
1. Crime is a social phenomenon
2. The process of making laws
3. The breaking of laws and the reaction towards breaking the laws
4. Development of principles
Difference between Criminology & Criminal Justice
- explains the origin of crime
- explains the extent and nature of crime in a society

Criminal Justice
The study of the agencies of social control
- Police/ Courts/ Corrections
Agencies of Social Controls
1. Police
2. Courts
3. Corrections
History of Criminology 1: Middle Ages
Viewed people who broke the rules or laws as being possessed by the devil
History of Criminology 2: 1700's
Bentham and Utilitarianism
Belief that the pain of punishment should be more severer than the benefit of the crime
History of Criminology 3: Classical Criminology
Belief that people have free will and criminal or lawful solutions to meet needs- A criminal solutions can be attractive- A person will not commit crime if they believe that the pain expected from the punishment is greater than the promised reward (deterrence)
Punishment needs to be severe, certain and swift to be effective
History of Criminology 4: 19th Century Positivism
All True knowledge is acquired through direct observation- Tried to make a hard science by using the scientific method
- Cesare Lombroso: believed serious offenders were born criminals
Specific Features: large jaws/cheekbones or strong canine teeth
History of Criminology 5: The Chicago School
Looked at crime from a sociological perspective- Belief there was a relationship between the enviroment and crime. Neighborhood conditions influence the shape and direction of crime rates- challenged the positivists who argued that crime was a biological or psychological condition
History of Criminology 6: Social - Psychological Views
1930's - 1940's
Individuals began to link social-psychological interactions to criminal behavior - believe human interaction and relationships effect crime
Group Dynamics: Education/ Family/ Peers - who do you hold more weight with??
Karl Marx
There are economic & political forces- knowns as conflict & crime
"Have's versus the Have Nots"
He believed that human behavior is due to conflict between those who have all the power and money (bourgeosis)
- they use the power to further their own needs
- believed that the working class (proletariat) was exploited and eventually they would lead a revolt ad ultimately end a capitalistic society
Working Class or Middle Class
Wealthy or Polticial Leaders
History of Criminology 7: Developmental Criminiology
Emerged in the 20th century
Belief that crime is a dynamic process that is influenced by our social experiences and individual characteristics
Look at crime from all angles: sociological/ psychological/ economic
History of Criminology 8: Contemporary Criminology
The various schools of criminology have developed and evolved over the past 200 years- each continues to impact the field
- Rational choice theory
- Deterrence theory
- Trait Theory: social structure/ social process
Code of Hammurabi
"Eye for an eye"/ "Tooth for a Tooth"
Earliest form of law or code- developed around 2000 BC
Criminal Law has been around for thousands of years
Mosaic Code
Laws od the Old Testament including the 10 commandments
Foundation of Judaism and Christianity
Bases for the U.S. legal system
Common Law
Early English Law (around 1100s)
Developed by judges who would travel around and decide what to do for specific crimes
- Courts were bounded by judges decisions
- eventually judges published their decisions in local cases
- other judges began to use these written decisions as a basis for future procedures
- Eventually became precedent and the basis for common law
- is just the standard law of the land in England which eventually formed the basis of criminal law in the US
Mala In Se
Consesus that it's wrong - evail/bad
example: murder
Mala prohibitum
Actually Law - not evil just illegal
example: wearing a seat belt/ no alcohol on Sunday
US LAW Statute #1: Felonies
1. State Jail Felony
2. 3rd Degree Felony
3. 2nd Degree Felony
4. 1st Degree Felony
5. Capital Felony- Murder of Police Officer
US LAW Statute #2:
Class "C" Misdemeanor
Class "B" Misdemeanor
Class "A" Misdemeanor
2 Types of Class "C" Misdemeanors
1. Punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.00
EXAMPLE: less than an oz of pot- possession charge

2. Transportation Code very from county to county and jurisdictions
EXAMPLE: Traffic Tickets- speeding/ reckless driving
Social Goals for Sanctions against Criminals
1. Enforce social control
2. Discourage revenge
3. Express public opinion and morality
4. Deter criminal behavior
5. Punish wrong doing
6. Maintain social order- crimes affect groups as a whole
Evolution of Criminal Law
Criminal Law is constantly changing
- some acts are being decriminalized while other penalities are increasing-
Must always reflect social values and contempory issues/problems
example: texting while driving- violations in school zones
- our court system allows for exposure of laws that may need to be changed- Trial/ Appellate/ Supreme- for mistakes that are made
Ethical Issues with Criminology
1. There are political and social consequences from results of criminological research
2. need to be aware of ethical issues
3. What to study- can not let funding dictate what you choose
4. Whom to study- should not focus on poor or minorities
5. How to conduct studies- need to inform subjects, keep records confidential/ selection of research subjects need to be random