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Chapter 3: Theories of Crime
Terms in this set (38)
LO1: Tell what a trial by ordeal might have been like
In a trial by ordeal, authorities would place heavy stones on suspects or throw them into deep water based on the idea that God would let only a guilty person die under such circumstances. People who were crushed or drowned were "proven" guilty (salem witch trials).
LO2: Discuss the modern criminal justice system's relationship toward supernatural explanations of crim
It is impossible for the court of law to determine whether God or the devil instructed someone to break the law, and in a secular society such as the United States, the criminal justice system cannot consider such religious explanations.
LO3: Summarize the Enlightenment's effect on the study of crime
The Enlightenment advanced the scientific method in the physical sciences and allowed for freedom to criticize powerful social institutions. The rights of monarchies to make the rules by which society lived came under scrutiny and criticism, and the procedures for dispensing justice were fundamentally altered by the emergence of the classical school of criminology.
LO4: Explain the classical school of criminology
The classical school of criminology argues that people freely choose to break the law. The principle of "free will" allows us to consider various courses of action, then select the one we believe is most desirable. If we structure the criminal justice system in such a way that penalties for breaking the law are sufficiently severe, swift, and certain, then people will rationally choose not to break the law.
LO5: Outline Beccaria's approach to crime
Beccaria presented nine principles that should guide our thinking about crime and the way society responds to lawbreakers. Beccaria suggested that punishment should only be stringent enough to deter crime. He also advocated the abolition of physical punishment and the death penalty. The presumption of innocence, the right to confront accusers, the right to a speedy trial, and the right to not be required to testify against oneself are all traceable to Beccaria.
LO6: Outline Bentham's approach to crime
According to Bentham's utilitarianism theory, people are guided by their desire for pleasure and aversion to pain. According to Bentham, we perform a mental exercise he called the hedonistic calculus when we consider our behavior. We attempt to weigh the pleasures we would accrue from breaking the law and the pain that would result if we were caught. We consider the following: (1) intensity, (2) duration, (3) certainty or uncertainty, and (4) propinquity or remoteness. Crime can be prevented by structuring the criminal justice system and the law in such a way that potential offenders can calculate that the pains of crime outweigh the pleasures.
LO7: Discuss the positivist school of criminology
The positivist school of criminology is a natural growth of the scientific method, which developed during the Enlightenment in the 19th century. By applying emerging scientific disciplines, criminologists shifted the focus of criminology away from the law and the criminal justice system and toward the offender. The question is now: what factors influence people to break the law? Possible that social behavior is a part of a biological imperative that can explain human interactions.
LO8: Differentiate biological and psychological theories of criminology
Biological theories of crime are concerned with the mechanics of the body and brain, such as heredity, hormones, blood chemistry, genes, and environmental effects.
Psychological theories of crime focus on how antisocial individuals acquire, display, maintain, and modify their behavior, as well as consider the influence of societal, personality, and individual mental processes. Criminal psychology embraces cognitive and developmental approaches.
LO9: Distinguish critical sociological theories of crime from other sociological theories
Sociological theories of crime find problems with the social situation or environment and consider social structure and social processes as explanations for crime. Critical sociological theory, however, critiques how justice is dispensed and considers social justice to be a legitimate end. Critical theories examine how power is distributed in society and how the criminal justice system often is a reflection of power and sometimes a tool of power.
LO10: Analyze what makes integrated theories of crime and life-course and developmental theories of crime different from other types of positivist theory
Integrated theories attempt to either link theories in an end-to-end approach to demonstrate where one theory's dependent variable might be used as another theory's independent variable or look for central issues that run through several theories. Integrated theories do not attempt to link biological, psychological, and sociological families of theories.
Life-course and developmental theories use longitudinal data to observe how subjects grow and mature over long periods of time. Researchers testing other types of theories examine their subjects at a single point in time. Life-course theories provide a broader context to their explanations of crime and demonstrate how continuity and change are important.
Condition in which people or society undergoes a breakdown of social norms and values.
The appearance in a person of physical features thought to be from earlier stages of human evolution; outdated (phrenology)
The assessment of human psychology via the examination of objectively observable and quantifiable actions, as opposed to subjective mental states.
Hormones, brain structure and brain chemistry, lead; biosocial criminology
Criminological theories that rely, in part, on individuals' demographics and geographic location to explain criminal behavior.
Classical School of Criminology
Set of criminological theories that uses the idea of free will to explain criminal behavior.
Embodied the works of Cesare Beccaria (9 principles) and Jeremy Bentham (hedonistic calc).
Two Themes of the Classical School
-Punishment e.g. deterrence, punishment should fit the crime
Differential Association Theory
Theory developed by Edwin Sutherland that states that crime is learned.
Differential Association-Reinforcement Theory
Akers' theory that behaviors are conditioned by environmental feedback and are likely to increase when they are given positive reinforcement or negative reinforcement
The idea that the attitudes held by the lower class do not accurately reflect the reality of that class's existence; from Marxism
The idea that society has different expectations of females and males; gender and justice theory
Curran and Renzetti highlight 3 ways crime can be appreciated from feminist perspectives:
1. Liberal Feminism and Criminology
2. Radical Feminist Criminology
3. Socialist Feminist Criminology
An individual's mental calculation of the personal value of an activity by how much pleasure or pain it will incur. We consider the following:
3. certainty or uncertainty
4. propinquity or remoteness
A perspective that considers recidivism to be a consequence, in part, of the negative labels applied to offenders.
Moral Development Theory
Lawrence Kohlberg's theory that human moral development proceeds through clearly defined stages of moral reasoning.
Stage 1. Obedience and Punishment Orientation
Stage 2. Individualism and Exchange
Stage 3. Good Interpersonal Relationships
Stage 4. Maintaining the Social Order
Stage 5. Social Contract and Individual Rights
Stage 6. Universal Principles
A perspective that states that juvenile delinquents have feelings of guilt when involved in illegal activities and search for explanations to diminish that guilt.
Sykes and Matza identified 5 techniques of neutralization:
1. Denial of responsibility - blame drugs or others to live with their deviant acts w/o thinking of themselves as bad people
2. Denial of injury - claim no one got hurt..."drugs only hurt me"
3. Denial of victim - the victim of rape was "asking for it," "everybody takes steroids," "the house was insured," says the thief
4. Condemnation of condemners - offenders claim that the criminal justice system or society is unfair and corrupt; offenders claim moral superior position from which they reject the legitimacy of those judging them
5. Appeal to higher loyalty - offenders take responsibility for their actions but claim they're acting to satisfy a higher calling e.g. those protesting abortion clinics
The process of leaning by watching the behavior of others.
e.g. Bandura's Bobo Doll Experiments
The alteration of behavior by rewarding or punishing a subject for a specified action until the subject associates the action with pleasure or pain.
Persistent-Offending and Desistance-From-Crime Theory
1. The offenders experienced a structural turning point
2. Conventional lifestyles resulted in greater social control over their lives
3. The new lifestyle provided opportunities for pro-social activities
4. The new lifestyle required commitment
Positivist School of Criminology
A set of criminological theories that uses scientific techniques to study crime and criminal offenders.
Positivist School Theories
Biological Theories (phrenology, atavisms, body measurements, biochemistry, somatotyping, biosocial criminology)
Psychological Theories (psychoanalytic theory, behaviorism/operant conditioning, observational learning, moral development theory, psychopathy, antisocial personality disorder)
Sociological Theories (chicago school, differential association theory, social control theory, strain theory, neutralization theory, labeling theory)
Critical Sociologists Theories (Marxism, Feminism gender, Critical Race Theory)
Integrated Theories (integrated theory of delinquent behavior, interactional theory of delinquency, control balance theory)
Life-Course Theories (pathway theory, persistent-offending and desistance-from-crime theory)
Id - pleasure principle
Ego - reality principle
Superego - morality principle
Primary Psychopath: set of innate psychological, emotional, cognitive, and biological differences that distinguish primary psychopaths from the rest of society
Secondary Psychopath: a person with this condition engages in antisocial and violent behavior because of sever emotional issues
Dyssocial Psychopath: this offender is aggressive, violent, and antisocial because he/she learned these behaviors, not because of any illness or inner conflict
Social Control Theory
Theory that does not seek to explain why people break the law, but instead explores what keeps most people from breaking the law.
1. Attachment: when people are concerned with the feelings of others, they are less likely to do things that are wrong (good attachments with parents, friends, schools, peers, etc)
2. Commitment: people are committed to a society when they are successful in it (money, property, and good reputations are measures of success)
3. Involvement: people involved in conventional activities have less time and energy for crime (keep children busy with activities)
4. Beliefs: children who believe in the conventional value system of society are less likely to break the law
Social Disorganization Theory
The theory that the structural and cultural conditions of the neighborhood affect criminal behavior.
The use of body types and physical characteristics to classify human personalities; Ernst Kretschmer.
The theory that the causes of crime can be connected to the pressure on culturally or materially disadvantaged groups of individuals to achieve the goals held by society, even if the means to those goals require the breaking of laws. Robert Merton: conformist, innovator, ritualist, retreats, rebel.
3 sources of strain: the disconnection b/w fair consequences and actual consequences, the loss of something valuable, the presence of negative stimuli
Trial by Ordeal
Ancient custom in which the accused was required to perform a test that appealed to divine authority to prove guilt or innocence. (see demonology pg 74)
A theory associated with Jeremy Bentham that states people will choose not to break the law when the pain of punishment outweighs the benefits of the offense.
This set is often in folders with...
JUST Chp 1
JUST Chp 2
JUST Exam 1
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