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Introduction to Criminology

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1 Introduction to Criminology
Defining Criminology The Criminal Law Development of Academic Criminology Theories of Crime Politics/Ideology Introduction to Criminology

2 Defining Criminology Edwin Sutherland’s definition
The scientific study of lawmaking, lawbreaking, and the response to lawbreaking Lawmaking = how laws are created/changed Lawbreaking = nature/extent of crime Reaction = police, courts, corrections Science vs. other ways of knowing stuff

3 Criminology vs. Criminal Justice
The study of agencies related to the control of crime Criminology The study of crime trends, nature of crime, theories of crime Reality? Two sides of the same coin

4 Criminology vs. Deviance
Criminology focuses on crimes Crime = violation of criminal law Deviance focuses on violations of societal norms These may or may not also be law violations Can you think of a norm violation that is not a law violation? How about a law violation that does not violate a norm?

5 Types of Law Criminal Law Civil Law Procedural vs. Substantive
Statutory vs. Common Civil Law Tort law

6 Substantive vs. Procedural Law
Substantive Law Written code that defines crimes and punishments Procedural Law Governs actors in the criminal justice system (e.g., when can the police search your vehicle?)

7 Common Law v. Statutory Law
Common Law is judge-made law. The law is found in previously decided cases. Statutory Laws are derived from legislative acts that decide the definition of the behavior that is codified into law.

8 Criminal and Tort Law A public offense Enforcement is state business
Punishment is often loss of liberties or sometimes death Fines go to the state State doesn’t ordinarily appeal Proof beyond a reasonable doubt A civil or private wrong Individuals bring action Sanction is normally monetary damages Both parties can appeal Individuals receives the compensation for harm done “Preponderance of the evidence” is required for a decision.

9 Seriousness of Crimes I
Mala in se Mala prohibita Wrong or evil in themselves Core of legal code Homicide Robbery Wrong because they are prohibited Change over time and across society Prostitution Gambling

10 Seriousness of Crimes II
More serious offenses Punishable by death or imprisonment for more than a year in a state prison. FELONY Less serious offenses Punishable by incar- ceration for less than a year in a local jail or house of correction. MISDEMEANOR

11 A criminal law must indicate a type of intent and a specific behavior
Actus Reas Physical act must be voluntary If crime is“Failure to act,” there must be legal obligation. Statutory Obligation, Relationship between parties, Contract Mens Rea General or specific intent Transferred Intent Negligence Strict Liability Offenses

12 Specific Criminal Defenses
Deny the Actus Reas (I didn’t do it) Deny the Mens Rea Ignorance / Mistake Intoxication? Insanity Defense

13 Who does the law serve? Consensus view Conflict view Which is correct?
Law results from societal agreement on what behaviors are most harmful Laws apply to all citizens equally Conflict view Law results from conflict over what behavior should be criminalized Those with the most power define what is criminal and often use the law to protect their interests Which is correct?

14 Criminology as a Discipline
Until the 1970s, there was no “criminology” or “criminal justice” degree Sociology became the dominant disciple Still contributions from biology, psychology, political science 1980-Present Criminology emerging as separate entity PhD in Criminology/Criminal Justice now the norm Still debate about whether Criminology is a distinct discipline Organized around a class of behaviors rather than a distinct way of looking at the world Sociologists still see criminology as a “sub-discipline” of sociology

15 Sociological Criminology—Good & Bad
Good: Focus on social structure and inequality; healthy skepticism (debunking) Bad: Ignore/ridicule “outside” disciplines and their focus on individual differences The Irony? Psychologists and biologists believe that social forces are as (or more) important than individual differences This class will explore crime from a multidisciplinary lens

16 A Crude History of Criminology
Demonic Perspective pre-1750s Crime as god’s will, result of demonic possession Classical School (1750s-1900; 1970s to now) Utilitarian philosophy (Becarria, Bentham) A response to an unjust/arbitrary legal system Free will, humans use a “hedonistic calculus” Rational legal code  less crime Basis of deterrence theory

17 Crude History—Part II Positive School (1900-present)
Crime is “caused” by outside forces (determinism) Solution is to fix these causes (medical model, rehab) Scientific research on offenders, crime (not law) Different types of positivism Bio/psych determinism ( s) Sociological theory (1920s-Present) Critical theories (1960s-early 1970s) Developmental Theory (1990s-present)

18 Crime Theory Backbone of criminology Scientific Theory
Must be able to test theory A GOOD theory survives empirical testing Empirical = real world observations Some theories are sexier than others Parsimony Scope Usefulness of policy implications

19 Flow Chart for Evaluation
NO = Useless, stop here Evaluate the Following: Scope Parsimony Policy Implications Falsifiable? Logical? Yes Empirical Evidence? YES NO: Modify/Discard

20 Empirical Evidence is the KEY
Theories attempt to demonstrate cause-effect Criteria for causation in social science using a poverty  crime example Time ordering: poverty happens before crime Correlation: X is related to Y Relationship is not spurious (e.g., low self-control causes both poverty and crime)

21 Methods for generating evidence
Experiment Key is randomly assigned groups Only factor that effects outcome is group difference at start of experiment Limit = artificial nature

22 Experimental Design

23 Methods for generating evidence II
Non-experimental Survey research Cross sectional  Stimulant Study Longitudinal Limit = how to rule out spuriousness Upside = ask whatever you want

24 Ideology in Criminology
Walter Miller Ideology is the “permanent hidden agenda of Criminal Justice” What is “Ideology?” American Political Ideology Liberal/Progressive Ideology Conservative Ideology Radical Ideology

25 Dominant Ideologies in U.S.
CONSERVATIES LIBERALS Value order/stability, respect for authority People get what they deserve Crime caused by poor choice (Free will) Value equal opportunities and individual rights Success depends on outside forces & where you start Crime is caused by outside influences

26 Implications of Ideology for Crime and Justice
Conservatives tend to fit with “Classical School” “Neo-Classical” = deterrence, incapacitation James Q. Wilson’s “policy analysis” Liberal/Progressive fit with positive school Favor decriminalizing some acts “Root causes” of crime only fixed by social change Rehabilitation may be possible Elliott Currie = ample evidence that government can address social ills and prevent crime Radical = Marxist/conflict theory

27 Ideology as “hidden agenda”
Many policies and programs are driven more by ideology than empirical evidence Intensive supervision probation (conservatives) Restorative justice (liberals)

28 The “Martinson Report” (MR)
The “Martinson Report” was review of studies on rehabilitation published in the early 1970s Concluded that not much is working Used by politicians as the reason for abandoning rehab Social Context of the 1960s Hippies, Watergate, Attica, Viet Nam, Kent State… Conservatives? SKY IS FALLING Liberals? Cannot trust the government Reality = liberals and conservatives were both “ready” to pull the plug on rehabilitation

29 The Limits of Empirical Evidence
Criminologists tend to be cautions with conclusions All studies are flawed in some way Politicians and public tend to “over generalize” from a single study This can lead to bad policy RAND Felony Probation study Domestic Violence Experiments

30 Good theory makes good policy…
In a perfect world, programs and policies would flow from empirically supported theories of crime Unfortunately, people often “shoot from hip” Policy without Theory The “panacea” problem: scared straight, intensive probation, boot camps, warm and fuzzy circle… Some hope in “evidence-based” movement Multisystemic Therapy (MST) Targets for change = parental supervision, delinquent friends, reducing rewards for deviance…

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