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Crime and Control Part 2 Ashleigh, Gordana and Oona Works Cited: Fleras, Augie. (2003) Social Problems in Canada. Siegel L.J., McCormack, C. (2003). Criminology.

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Presentation on theme: "Crime and Control Part 2 Ashleigh, Gordana and Oona Works Cited: Fleras, Augie. (2003) Social Problems in Canada. Siegel L.J., McCormack, C. (2003). Criminology."— Presentation transcript:

1 Crime and Control Part 2 Ashleigh, Gordana and Oona Works Cited: Fleras, Augie. (2003) Social Problems in Canada. Siegel L.J., McCormack, C. (2003). Criminology in Canada: Theories, Patterns and Typologies. Thomson Nelson: Toronto

2 Crime in Canada: Whodunit? Age and Crime –Criminologists Travis Hirschi and Michael Gottfredson: “age is everywhere correlated with crime. It’s effects on crime do not depend on other demographic correlates of crime” (Siegel, McCormick, page 73) –In every country, race, ethnic culture, marital and economic status, younger people are more likely to commit crime –This correlation is very important because certain sociological theories about crime and age fail to adequately explain the “aging out” process which refers to the statistics of crime rates dropping with age –The likelihood of a long term criminal career may be determined by the age at which the offending commences I.e.: an early onset of criminal activity sets the stage for chronic offending –Other theories about crime and age believe the correlation varies depending on the offence and the offender

3 Why Does Aging Out Occur? There is a general consensus that aging out does occur, and is also stable across country, race, ethnic background etc One view holds that, as troubled youths age they are able to develop a long term life view and resist the need for immediate gratification Gordon Trasler (criminologist) found that youths considered unlawful activity “fun” however, according to him, these delinquents will actually “grow out” of this mentality James Wilson and Richard Hernstein argue that the aging out process is a function of the natural history of human development. They argue that as young teenagers are becoming increasingly independent, they are becoming less attached to adults whom endorse conventional morality, and become more involved with peers who are also frustrated and deviant. As you continue to age, and arrive at adulthood one develops the ability to delay gratification and resist criminal activity

4 Gender and Crime How can the gender differences in the crime rate be explained? –Early criminologists suggested that some women lacked typical female traits such as piety, maternity, intelligence and weakness (Lombroso) –This theory became known as the masculinity hypothesis –Although these theories seem andocentric, the use of trait theories is still used in many criminological theory today

5 Quick Facts: Profile of Women and the Criminal Justice System Based on the 1999 General Social Survey –Women committed 22% of property crimes and 17% of violent crimes –Women are less likely to be found guilty (53% of the time) than men (63%) –The most common charge against women id theft (25% adult women; 32% young women) –Female inmates are more likely to be younger, of Aboriginal descent, single, less educated and unemployed

6 The Conflict View of Crime Conflict criminologists often compare and contrast the harsh penalties exacted on the poor for their “street crime” (i.e.: break and enter, robbery, larceny etc) with the minor penalties wealthy criminals receive for the “white collar crimes” such as illegal business practices, and security violations. The poor to go prison for minor violations, while the rich are given very lenient sentences for some very serious offenses. Many conflict criminologists, began to view the criminal justice system as a mechanism to control the lower classes and maintain status quo – rather than practicing fair and equal justice

7 One major motive of conflict theory is the concepts of social and economic power. This refers to the ability of a select group of persons given the ability to govern and control the behaviour of others Richard Quinney (a very influential conflict theorist) claims that where there is conflict between social groups those who hold power will create laws to keep their “rivals” in check Conflict theorists refer to data that shows that crime rates vary according to poverty and need

8 Problems with Conflict Theory To accept the conflict perspective, we must learn to reject the consensus view of the criminal justice system –that it is NOT representative of the values of the majority of citizens but rather the interests of the wealthiest groups Some criminologists view this theory as naïve, suggesting that crime is actually a matter of rational choice made by offenders motivated by greed rather than poverty and helplessness Others point to data which indicates only a weak relationship between crime and economic factors

9 The Interactionist View of Crime This view holds that people act according to their own interpretations of reality, they develop these interpretations from the way others respond to them (positively or negatively) and they interpret their own behaviour to the meaning and symbols they have learned from others This view is similar to the conflict view because they both suggest behaviour is outlawed when is offends people who maintain social, economic and political power However, the interactionist perspective does NOT attribute capitalist, economic and political motives to the process of defining crime In other words, crime is illegal because society defines them that way

10 The most commonly applied theory under interactionist perspective is: Labeling Theory –Throughout life we are given a variety of symbolic labels in our interactions with others –These labels are assigned to a person’s behaviours, attitudes and can generalize to describe the entire person (for example; Johnny gets caught smoking on school property, receives suspension and is called a deviant because he disobeyed school rules) –Each of these “labels” will have a multitude of adjectives that will be attributed to them. Someone considered insane will often be thought of as dangerous, violent, strange, or spontaneous. –Such labels will, in turn, effect how a person is treated by others and how they will behave around others

11 Problems with Labeling Theory Empirical evidence has shown that male drug users labeled “addicts” eventually became self-labeled and increased drug use Labeling theory has also been used to explain differences in crime rates through what is known as the self-fulfilling prophecy – once labeled a person will continue to behave in the way that is expected of them – they will begin to believe that this is all they can be - Fails to adequately explain why crime rates are higher at certain times of the year and in certain areas

12 General Strain Theory Developed by Robert Agnew, GST focuses on individual (micro-level) effects of strain This theory tries to explain why those people who feel stress or strain are more likely to commit crime This perspective suggests that criminality is a result of negative affective states (such as anger, frustration, etc) and destructive social relationships GST recognizes that certain people also have traits that make them more susceptible to strain Any variance in crime rates, according to GST theorists can be explained by the variance of strain over the course of a lifetime – if sources of strain can change with time – so too should crime rates

13 Problems with General Strain Theory GST theorists have been unable to explain gender differences in crime rates Statistics have shown that women face as much, if not more strain – yet crime rates for women are considerably less than those for men This may be a result of different coping methods that women have established

14 Anomie Theory Emile Durkheim (repsected sociologist) created the notion of anomie which refers to the breakdown of rules or norms during a peroid of rapid change He suggested that such anomie was most likely to occur in pre-industrialized countries held together by tradition, values and collective beliefs Durkheim’s theories of anomie was applied to criminology by Robert Merton Robert Merton suggested that 2 elements of culture interacted to produce anomic conditions. These included –Culturally defined goals (such as wealth, power and prestige)and –Acceptable ways of attaining these goals (ie: hard work, education and thrift)

15 Evaluating Anomie Theory To resolve any goals/means conflicts, many are forced to steal or extort money while others divulge into a world of drugs and alcohol etc Anomie theory attempts to pinpoint the cause that produces personal frustration and consequent criminality Anomie theory suggests that all cultures and people share the same goals and values. Wealth, power and prestige may not be the everyone’s ultimate goals and therefore the inability to attain those goals would fail to create anomic conditions

16 Controlling Crime: The Criminal Justice System Social Control: Collective efforts to enforce conformity to norms Often done through socialization, including the deliberate (family, education) or unintentional (mass media) Social control functions are inherent in all institutions since some degree of socialization always occurs Society increasingly relies on “courts, corrections and law enforcement officers” as formal sources of social control

17 Policing One of the primary sources of social control Mandate: to protect and serve Largest expense of the Criminal Justice system with an annual cost of 6 billion Despite the media’s depiction of the police majority of their duties are mundane Issue: they only succeed in addressing the symptoms of crime rather than the root causes of societal or personal problems Community Policing Establishing a closer and more meaningful relationship with the community as part of a coherent strategy to prevent crime in the first place Shed the “crime buster” image for a more proactive style

18 Five Principles: Community partnership Prevention Problem-solving Power-sharing Pluralism As a result of strapped resources community policing often not looked at as a priority instead the focus is places on the budget and human resources

19 Courts Adversarial in principle Key doctrine: presumption of innocence, the right to trial within a reasonable period of time, and reasonable doubt as the burden of proof The issue of young offenders: Violence and brutality in juvenile institutions Significant over crowding These institutions become finishing schools for gang members and career criminals resulting in high recidivism rates

20 The Issue of White Collar and Corporate Crime: The term organized crime is defined as “any enterprise, or group of persons, engaged in continuing illegal activities which has its primary purpose as the generation of profits, irrespective of national boundaries” Significant disparities between conviction rates and sentencing between “suite” crime and street crime Media instills fear about the dangers of street crime Larger recidivism rate among white collar offenders Question: The criminal justice system tends to punish more readily detected crimes rather than the more destructive forms of criminal activities, for example, often affluent members of society who participate in white-collar corporate crimes go unpunished. In addition, certain drug taking is considered a serious offence where others such as alcohol and tobacco are legally permissible. This reinforces the notion that social controls are socially constructed often in defence of vested interests but at the cost of impartiality and legal equality

21 Corrections (Prisons) Of Canada’s 30 million population, about can be found in prison at any given time (135 per of population) The average annual cost for inmates in a federal penitentiary reaches $ and that increases for maximum security and female penitentiaries It costs approximately $ for each inmate in the provincial jail system The functions: (although conflicting are…) Punishment: retribution for those who break the law Protection: isolation of the offender from society Rehabilitation: reformation of the offender and prevention of future offending through education Deterrence: serving as a warning to the rest of society Question: Should judges exercise leeway when handing out punishments by seeking creative alternatives to costly imprisonment, including remedial sentences in the community or rehabilitative programs?

22 Rethinking Criminal Justice Minorities tend to be disproportionately represented (issue of racial profiling) The 1995 Report on Systemic Racism in Ontario’s Criminal Justice System indicated that Blacks and aboriginal peoples are much more likely to end up in prison There are 827 prison admissions per of the total population The rate for blacks was 3686 First Nations, 1993 Caucasian, 706 Asians, 353 In 1993 Blacks constituted 7.1 percent of Ontario’s prison population while only comprising about 3 percent of the total population

23 The Problem with Crime Statistics: This data is often manipulated by governmental institutions and various media organizations The collection and composition of crime statistic is fraught with several deficiencies, which ultimately brings their accuracy and effectiveness into question Crime is socially constructed, meaning certain actions are perceived to be deviant, and others are not Consequently, police officers and victims utilize discretion when determining whether an offence is serious or “worthy” of being reported or recorded, which affects the overall crime rate

24 The punitive and adversarial focus of Canada’s prison centered criminal justice system focuses on determining what law was broken who broke it how much penalty must be applied By contrast, the restorative system is grounded on the principles of who was harmed how much harm was caused Whose responsibility is it to restore community equilibrium? Question: Should there be one set of rules for all Canadians, or should justice be customized to reflect the diverse realities of the disadvantaged or different? For example, Should historical, social circumstances, race or ethnic background be a factor when determining responsibility and sentencing of a crime?

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