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CRIMINAL THEORY AND CURRENT BEHAVIORAL TRENDS Kate Chadwick Johnson October 5, 2011 PACFE Annual Fraud Conference.

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Presentation on theme: "CRIMINAL THEORY AND CURRENT BEHAVIORAL TRENDS Kate Chadwick Johnson October 5, 2011 PACFE Annual Fraud Conference."— Presentation transcript:

1 CRIMINAL THEORY AND CURRENT BEHAVIORAL TRENDS Kate Chadwick Johnson October 5, 2011 PACFE Annual Fraud Conference

2 This Presentation Will…. Provide an overview of the history of modern-day criminology theory. Identify the three most robust criminological theories. Review common theories associated with White Collar & Corporate Crime.

3 What is Crime? Crime is a social construct. Defined by the state and the ruling elite to control the masses. Many criminal behaviors are similar to legal behaviors.

4 The Classical School of Criminology “The Demonic Perspective” God would determine guilt. Cesare Beccaria An Essay on Crimes and Punishments (1794) Hedonistic Calculus People are generally rational, motivated by their interests to maximize pleasure and minimize pain Crime (by force or fraud) is the result of unchecked desire and ineffective systems of consequence Social contract, give up some freedom to the state Punishment must be swift, severe, and certain

5 Biological/Gene-based Theories Cesare Lombroso, Criminal Man (1876) Criminals differ from non-criminals biologically and psychologically. Criminals are evolutionary throwbacks, “savages in the midst of modern society”. Crime occurs as a result of interaction with the social environment. Enormous jaw, strong canines, prominent zygomae, strongly developed orbital arches common to carnivores and savages, long arms, prognathism like apes.

6 The Chicago School of Criminology Shaw, McKay, Park and Burgess: 1940s Farming towns  industrial cities Population constantly in flux Cause of crime found not in individual traits but in traits of a neighborhood. Persistent poverty, rapid population growth, ethnic heterogeneity, and high rate of transiency in the inner city combine to interrupt core social institutions, causing social disorganization

7 The Chicago School

8 Three Robust Modern Theories of Criminal Offending/Crime Social Control Criminal behavior caused by lack of self control Gottfredson & Hirschi’s A General Theory of Crime Differential Association Learning of criminal values Strain “Anomie” produces crime

9 Social Control Assumes people will naturally break the law if not for controls. Not “why do they do it?” but “why don’t they do it?” Delinquent acts result when an individual’s bond to society is weak or broken. Based on social bonds, delinquency would be low among those who are attached to and care about the opinions of others.

10 Social Control Social bond theory (Hirschi, 1969) Attachment Commitment Involvement Belief Self-control Theory / A General Theory of Crime (Gottfredson & Hirschi, 1990) A lack of self-control is the main source of criminal behavior Control inside the individual, versus a person’s relationship to society

11 Differential Association 1. Criminal behavior is learned 2. …in interaction with other persons in a process of communication. 3. …within intimate personal groups. 4. Learning of criminal behavior includes (1) techniques, (2) motives, drives and rationalizations. 5. Drives and motives are dependent on definitions of legal codes as favorable or unfavorable. 6. A person becomes delinquent due to an excess of definitions in favor of law violation over definitions unfavorable to violation of law. 7. Criminal behavior is learned like any other behavior. 8. Criminal behavior is an expression of general needs and values but is not explained by those needs and values.

12 Strain Theory Modern culture defines certain goals as worth striving for. American culture encourages these goals beyond any intrinsic awards the goal may have = severe strain on cultural values. The culture places disproportionate emphasis on the achievement of the goal of wealth and maintains the goal as applicable to all. Social structure limits individuals in certain groups from achieving this goal through institutionalized means. Strain is most pronounced among persons of the lower class. Anomie is the contradiction between the culture and the social structure of society. Respond to anomie with conformity, innovation, ritualism, retreatism, and rebellion. White collar crime often attributed to “innovating” in response to anomie.

13 Strain Theory Crime and the American Dream (Messner & Rosenfeld) American culture exerts significant pressure on monetary success. The AD does not strongly prohibit the use of efficient but illegal means. There will always be “losers” pressured toward crime, regardless of distribution of opportunity. Influence of economic systems is overwhelming, out-shadowing other institutions (family, politics, schools, etc.)

14 White Collar Crime & Criminology Can theories explaining “Crime in the Streets” be applied to “Crime in the Suites?” All criminals seek some level of personal benefit. Crime in the Street, Church, Corporate Office are all “crime” but are the causal factors the same? Crime is not confined to just the lower class, as some theories would suggest.

15 White Collar Crime v. Corporate Crime White Collar Crime A crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of their occupation. (Sutherland) Corporate Crime Conduct of a corporation, or of employees acting on behalf of a corporation, which is proscribed and punishable by law. (Braithwaite) White Collar and Corporate Criminals: Seek to maintain a “non-criminal” self-concept Use impression management, self-persuasion and creative language constructs to “save face” and avoid labeling as a “common” criminal.

16 Current Research: Control Balance Control Balance Theory Control surpluses v. control deficits. Individuals with Surpluses will seek to expand their control, individuals with deficits seek to gain more control toward a control balance. Control imbalances predispose a person to be motivated toward deviance. Control surpluses have been linked to corporate exploitation. Acts of “plunder” and “decadence”

17 Current Research: Control Balance Control surplus results in autonomous forms of deviance, usually exploitative in nature, indirect predation. “Using their controlling positions to arrange things so that other persons or organizational units accomplish acts that enhance their control.” Corporate crime often conflicts with personal values: What is right at work may not be right at home, in the church. Workplace structure and informal “Code” often more influential than personal values and morals. Research area of new inquiry, few studies at this time.

18 Combatting White Collar Crime Make social structures more important than “the American Dream”: Family, church, school, bonds Replace the capitalist system with socialism. Reduce gaps between the “haves” and “have-nots” Will eliminate the need for cogs in the “capitalist machine” to break the law to maintain power.

19 Questions? Thank you for your time.


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