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Introduction to Criminology Instructor: Jorge Pierrott

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1 Introduction to Criminology Instructor: Jorge Pierrott
CRJ 270 Instructor: Jorge Pierrott

2 1 What Is Crime?

3 Instructor Introduction
Jorge Pierrott Mobile: (775) Please text me for emergency only

4 Chapter Objectives After reading this chapter, students should be able to answer the following questions: What is crime? What is the definition of crime that the author of this textbook has chosen to use? What is deviance? How are crime and deviance similar? How do they differ? Who decides what should be criminal? How are such decisions made? What is the theme of this book? Upon what two contrasting viewpoints does it build? What does it mean to say that “criminal activity is diversely created and variously interpreted”?

5 Introduction Crime-related entertainment extremely popular today.
Inexplicability of crime fascinates people. This text examines causative factors in effect when a crime is committed. It encourages an appreciation of the challenges of crafting effective crime-control policy.

6 What are your favorites?
22. Orange is the New Black – Prison Drama 21. Luther – Crime Drama 15. Homeland – Crime/Terrorist Drama 14. Walking Dead – Violent Drama 13. American Horror Story – Horror/Crime Drama 12. Top of the Lake – Mystery/Crime Drama 8. Boardwalk Empire – Crime Drama 7. Archer – Crime/Spy/Comedy 5. The Americans – Crime/Spy Drama 4. Game of Thrones – Fantasy/Crime/Violent Drama 3. Justified – Crime Drama 2. Hannibal – Crime Drama 1. Breaking Bad – Crime Drama List drafted by: Slant Magazine

7 Impact of the Media on Crime
What are the typical images on crime? How are they distorted by the media? What types of crimes are normally featured? How “real” are reality TV shows? Do you believe crime related shows and information leave viewers with a mistaken impression of law enforcement?

8 Activity 1 Gather up in your assign groups and discuss the following:
Discuss TV shows such as Cops, NCIS, Blue Bloods, Breaking Bad and provide the following information: What is commonly the gender and race of the suspects? The gender and race of the police officers? The type of crime? The products being advertised during these programs.

9 What is Crime? Four definitional perspectives Legalistic Political
Sociological Psychological continued on next slide

10 What is Crime? Perspective is important because it determines the assumptions we make and the questions we ask This book uses the legalistic perspective Perspective: Under this definition, immoral forms of behavior that are not contravened by state statute are not recognized as crimes.

11 Legalistic Perspective
Crime: Human conduct in violation of the criminal laws of a state, the federal government, or a local jurisdiction that has the power to make such laws continued on next slide

12 Legalistic Perspective
Key shortcoming Yields moral high ground to powerful individuals who can influence lawmaking Laws are social products – crime is socially relative, created by legislative activity

13 Political Perspective
Crime: The result of criteria that have been built into the law by powerful groups and are then used to label selected undesirable forms of behavior as illegal Laws serve the interests of the politically powerful Crimes are behaviors those in power perceive as threats to their interests

14 Sociological (Sociolegal) Perspective
Crime: An antisocial act of such a nature that its repression is necessary or is supposed to be necessary to the preservation of the existing system of society Crime is an offense against human relationships first, a violation of law second

15 Psychological (Maladaptive) Perspective
Crime: Problem behavior, especially human activity that contravenes the criminal law and results in difficulties in living within a framework of generally acceptable social arrangements Any behavior which is maladaptive would be considered crime Includes any harmful or potentially harmful behaviors

16 Crime and Deviance Deviant behavior
Human activity that violates social norms Deviance and crime overlap – not identical Delinquency: Violations of the criminal law and other misbehavior committed by young people Who here thinks themselves a deviant? Some forms of deviance are not violations of the criminal law and the reverse is equally true. Some years ago, for example, a judge in Palm Beach County, Florida, held that a city ordinance barring wearing baggy pants was unconstitutional. He referred to them as “tacky and distasteful”. In San Francisco, a 2012 vote made public nudity in the city illegal. This after people were walking the Castro District nude and in coffee shops. Speeding – Who here speeds?

17 Illegal in certain areas and not others.
Figure The Overlap between Deviance and Crime Source: Schmalleger, Frank J., Criminology. Printed and Electronically reproduced by permission of Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. Illegal in certain areas and not others. What are some examples of this being the case? Gambling here in Nevada Prostitution What’s illegal for some may be illegal for others. Drinking Smoking

18 What Should Be Criminal?
Lack agreement about appropriate legal status of behaviors such as drug use, abortion, gambling, etc. Question answered differently by two contrasting perspectives Consensus Pluralist What can we agree on? What should be criminal? Murder Rape Burglary Theft Violent crimes

19 Activity #2 Make a list of five legal behaviors, which you consider deviant. Compare and contrast the items on your lists. Focus on the wide range of opinions present among a fairly homogenous group (university students studying criminal justice). Discuss possible reasons for differing opinions (e.g., religious beliefs, profession, prior experiences with the criminal justice system).

20 What Should Be Criminal?
Consensus Pluralist Laws enacted to criminalize behaviors when members of society agree Homogeneous societies Shared consensus hard to achieve in diverse multicultural societies Behaviors criminalized through a political process, after debate over appropriate course of action Involves legislation, appellate court action Most applicable to diverse societies Homogeneous societies - A homogenous society is a society where most of the community members share the same culture, language, ethnicity and religious beliefs. The most prominent homogenous societies are grouped according to ethnicity; thus people with the same skin complexion are found in the same locality. Some homogenous societies are made of people with the same financial background. Is this an easy thing to achieve here in the U.S.? Why or why not? Consensus example: Alexa – taken into custody for doodling on her junior high school desk. She was charged with defacing school property and forced to spend several hours in custody. She was ordered to perform 8 hours of community service and to write an essay on what she had learned from the experience. Pluralist example: After the tragic shootings that occurred around the nation and in the Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, legislatures and federal officials reexamined gun laws to see if new laws were needed to keep guns out of the hands of potential mass killers.

21 What Is Criminology? Wide variety of definitions available
Text definition of criminology: An interdisciplinary profession built around the scientific study of crime and criminal behavior, including their manifestations, causes, legal aspects, and control Includes consideration of possible solutions to crime problem Ology – the study of something Crime – comes from the Latin meaning “accusation”, “charge” or “guilt”. Criminology literally means – the study of criminal accusations.

22 Criminology’s Basic Questions
Why do crime rates vary? Why do individuals differ as to criminality? Why is there variation in reactions to crime? What are the possible means of controlling criminality?

23 What Is Criminology? Criminology is interdisciplinary
Criminology needs to be integrated Criminology contributes to criminal justice: Application of the criminal law and study of the components of the justice system Police, courts, corrections Focus on control of law-breaking Why does criminology need to be integrated? Wide range of subjects, criminal activity and unpredictability of crime. A successfully integrated field of criminology must bring together the contributions of various theoretical perspectives and disciplines, but it must also, if it is to have any relevance blend the practical requirements of our nation’s judicial system with emotional and rational class for morality and justice. Is the death penalty justified? Is it vengeance and therefore deserved? Or is it unjustified because statistics have show that it does little to reduce crime?

24 What Do Criminologists Do?
Studies crime, criminals and criminal behavior Criminalist A specialist in the collection and examination of the physical evidence of crime Criminologist Specialty skilled investigators Crime lab techs Fingerprint experts Crime scene photographers Ballistic experts Criminalists Police officers Corrections professionals Probation and parole officers Judges District Attorneys continued on next slide

25 What Do Criminologists Do?
Criminal Justice Professionals Do the day-to-day work of the criminal justice system continued on next slide

26 What Do Criminologists Do?
Academic criminologists Other career tracks Ph.D. in criminology, CJ, related field Teach in universities Conduct research to advance criminological knowledge Publish in journals Work in CJS Private security or private investigation Law school Work for legislative bodies, provide expertise to civil organizations Researches work in places such as: The National Institute of Justice The Bureau of Justice Statistics The National Criminal Justice Reference Service Or they work for private agencies to perform research on criminal justice related topics.

27 Theoretical Criminology
Subfield of general criminology mainly found in colleges and universities Assume explanations for criminal behavior Theoretical Criminology rather than simply describing crime and its occurrence, pose explanations for criminal behavior. continued on next slide

28 Theoretical Criminology
Theory: Made up of clearly stated propositions that affirm or assume relationships between events and things under study Criminologists have developed many theories to explain and understand crime continued on next slide

29 Theoretical Criminology
General theory Tries to explain all/most forms of crime through a single overarching approach Unicausal theory Assumes a single identifiable source for all serious deviant and criminal behavior Integrated theory Tries to explain crime by merging concepts from different sources General theory – Ask the class – Would this theory truly be an effective method to explaining crime? Why or why not? “It’s not because theories in criminology tend to be unclear and lacking in justifiable generality” There is a wide range of behaviors regarded as criminals from: Murder Drug use White collar crime Cybercrime

30 Criminology and Social Policy
Translational criminology Focuses on translating research results into workable social policy Sound social policy needs to be linked to objective findings of well-conducted criminological research The idea is to prevent, reduce and manage crime through scientific discoveries into policy and practice. Question: Who believes that video games, violent movies and violent TV shows make children more violent?

31 The Theme of This Text Social Problems Social Responsibility
Crime a manifestation of underlying social problems Public health model to deal with crime Macro approach People responsible for own behavior, choose crime over legitimate options Personalized crime-reduction strategies Micro approach What are some of these social problems? Poverty Discrimination Inequality of opportunity Breakdown of traditional social institutions Low level of formal education Pervasive family violence experience by some during formative years Inadequate socialization practices Social Responsibility Personalized crime reduction strategies Based on firm punishments Imprisonment Individualized rehabilitation and Increased security as well as a wider use of police powers Micro approach Focuses on individual offenders and their unique biology, psychology, background and immediate life experiences. Examples include: The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 Increased the number of police officers on the street nationally by 100,000 Created boot camps Created the 3 strikes and your out law The Patriot Act of 2001 Targets terrorism and crimes committed in support of terrorist activity

32 The Social Context of Crime
Crime does not occur in a vacuum – every crime has a unique set of Causes Consequences Participants Crime provokes reactions from many sources Reactions to crime may affect future criminal events Crime provokes reactions from many sources which include: Its victims Concerned groups of citizens Society as a whole Creates social policy Reactions to crime may affect future criminal events – What does this mean? Police being better equipped in the future. Changes to policies may be made to increase effectiveness. Planning for situations may lead to more staffing levels and funding.

33 Figure 1-7 Interpreting the Criminal Event

34 The Causes and Consequences of the Criminal Event
Crime is a social event, not an isolated individual activity Crime is socially relative Crime does not only affect the individual it affects the rest of society. This occurs when social interests groups, victims, advocates, gun control organizations, and prisoner rights organizations. Social relativity means that social events are interpreted differently according to the cultural experiences and personal interests of the initiator, the observer, or the recipient of that behavior. Ask the class for an example. continued on next slide

35 The Causes and Consequences of the Criminal Event
Crime results from the coming together of inputs provided by the offender, the victim, the criminal justice system, and society Foreground – features that immediately determine the nature of the crime Background causes – generic contributions to the crime

36 Crime and the Offender Background Foreground Life experiences
Biology/genetic inventory Personality Values/beliefs Skills/knowledge Motivation Specific intent State of mind (drug-induced)

37 Crime and the Criminal Justice System
Background Foreground CJS contributes to crime through failure to: Prevent crime Identify/inhibit specific offenders Prevent release of recidivists Proper system response may reduce crime Presence/absence of police officers Availability of official assistance Willingness of officers to intervene pre-crime Response time

38 Crime and the Victim Background Foreground Passive presence
Active contributions through lifestyle Victim precipitation Active victim participation in initial stages of criminal event Victim instigates chain of events resulting in victimization

39 Crime and Society Background Foreground Legislation defining crime
Generic social practices and conditions Socialization process Distribution of resources Accessibility of services

40 The Consequences of Crime
Outputs/immediate consequences affect those parties directly involved Real impact mediated by perceptual filters Results in ongoing interpretations before, during, after crime Everyone associated with a crime engages in interpretations

41 Integrative Approach to Crime
Text takes 3-D integrative view of crime Try to identify, understand causes of crime Highlight processes involved in the criminal event Analyze interpretation of the crime phenomenon continued on next slide

42 Integrative Approach to Crime
Crime seen as emergent activity that Arises out of past complex causes Assumes a course building on immediate interrelationships Elicits formal response from CJS, shapes public perceptions, may lead to changes in social policy

43 The Primacy of Sociology?
Many disciplines have made important contributions to criminology Many criminologists today operate primarily from a sociological perspective Many modern theories of criminal behavior based in sociology continued on next slide

44 The Primacy of Sociology?
New and emerging perspectives being recognized, but sociological perspective dominates

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