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UA CJ 300 - Lecture Note

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August 27What is theory? Scientific theories make statements about relationships between observable phenomena What is criminology? Study of the process of law-making, law-breaking, and law-enforcing (Sutherland)o Theories of law and criminal justiceo Theories of criminal and deviant behavior Theories of law and criminal justice  What behavior is considered illegal? Who makes this decision? What are the consequences of the behavior?Theories of criminal and deviant behavior Why do people commit crime? Why do people not commit crime? Macro (difference between groups) vs. micro (difference between individuals)Classifying theories Typically based on scientific disciplineCriteria for evaluating theory Internal logical consistencyo Concepts clearly defined o Propositions logically stated and consistent Scope and parsimonyo Scope=range (broad)o Parsimony= simple is besto Work separately and together Testabilityo Objective, repeatable measureso Tautology= bad  Empirical validityo Most important (that’s why it’s italicized!)o Does the measure test what it’s supposed to test? Correlation=/= causation (third variable problem)o Soft determinism (a= .05) Usefulness and policy implicationo Policy already guided by theory- but how well?o Utility and effectivenesso Both formal & informal implications Formal commit crime and got to jail Q. how do you know it is the fittest? A. Because it survivedQ. How did it survive?A. Because it is the fittest Informal your family or peers judge youo Must meet ethical and moral standards August 29Classical criminology  1700s Jeremy bentham & Cesare becarria Rational exercise of free willo Hedonistic calculus Primary purpose of criminal law= deterrenceDeterrence theory Hot topic in research since 1970 Certainty, celerity, severity of punishment crucial (C/C/S) Specific (preventing individual crime) vs. general (society) C/C/S of punishment Crime Positive correlation Negative correlation  Empirical validity Objective measures: Certainty= arrest rates, convictions Perceptual measures Perception of C/C/S determines if crime is deterred  A lot of people do not think they will get caught Negative correlation Meta-analysesRational choice theory Based on the expected utility principle in economic theoryo Expected reward vs. likelihood/severity of punishment  Empirical validity o Difficult to measureo Often subconscious and/or “irrational” motivations at playo Opportunity is a factor Routine activities theory  Cahen & felson, 1979 3 main variables that must “converge in space and time” (same time, same location)1. Motivated offender2. Suitable target3. Lack of a capable guardian  “hot spots” (policy implication- theory in action)o Crime mapping Deterrence and CJ Policy Basis of the CJ system Most common policies are crime-control based Does it work?o Absolute deterrence vs. informal deterrenceo Capital punishment= no significant effect on homicide rateso Depends on the “deterrability” of offenders  Acute conformists o Follow the law no matter what Incorrigible offenders o Going to commit crime no matter what (repeat offenders) Deterrable offenderso Take measure to not get caught (ski mask, gloves, etc) Policy in action: scared straight o Put fear in whomever so they can comply Early positivism “born that way” Late 1800s to early 1900s Crime is a result of “inborn abnormalities” Nature over nurture September 1, 2019Biological Theories Cesare Lombrosso (1870s-early 1900s)o Influenced by Darwino Basis of nearly all other biological theorieso The Criminal Man, The Female Offender Born criminal (most dangerous) Insane criminal (mentally unfit for society) Criminaloid ( no stigmata ) More male offenders because of natural selection Stigmata= individual physical characteristics (forehead, elongated nose, large lips, excessive cheekbones, excessive skin crinkles)5 for men, 3 for womenAtavism= overall appearance  Empirical validity of Lombroso’s “born criminal”o Idea of stigmata later refuted, but until mid 1900s, scientists still upheld that biology is the “chief” determinant of character and behavior”  Flaws in early biological theorieso Social factors also important but ignoredo Reasoning tautologicalo Little empirical evidence and supporto Notions racist and sexist  Discredited by the 1950sPhrenology The science of determining human dispositions basedon distinctions in the skull 1700S Franz Joseph Gall Different areas of the brain are responsible for different actions (what they got right)Modern biosocial theories  1970s to present o Advances in techo Shift from physical appearance to genetics, brainfunctioning, neurology, nutrition, and biochemistryo “there is no nature vs. nature; there is only nature via nature” (walsh) <- biosocial Modern biological/biosocial theories of crime & delinquency Biology and environment interacto Neurobiological approaches to crime Testosterone & criminal aggressiveness (biochemistry) IQ/mental functioning & delinquency (neurophysiology) ANS functioning & arousal (neurophysiology) Empirical validity o How do we test these theories? Trough studies on behavioral genetics Shared environments vs. non-shared Adoption studies Twin studies - Concordance o How similar twins’ characteristics areo Cant arrest someone for a crime they haven’t committed yetIdentical (mz)


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