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FSU CCJ 4614 - Chapter 1: Criminology and the Sociological Perspective

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Test 1 Outline:Chapter 1: Criminology and the Sociological PerspectiveIntro:- Although the US crime rate has declined since 1990s, the prison and jail population has doubled with the highest incarceration rate in the Western world.- A major reason why crime is so misunderstood is that popular sources of our knowledge about crime say very little about its social roots. - If crime is rooted in the way our society is organized then crime-reduction efforts will succeed only to the extent that they address the structural roots of criminality- Sociological criminology : this view of criminology gave explicit attention to issues of poverty and race and ethnicity as well as to the structure of communities and social relationshipsThe Sociological Perspective:- The sociological perspective stresses that people are social beings more than individuals. This means that society profoundly shapes their behavior, attitudes and life chances. - Derives from the work of Emile Durkheim, stressed that social forces influence our behavior and attitudes- Social structure refers to how a society is organized in terms of social relationships and social interaction. o Horizontal social structure : the social and physical characteristics of communities and network of social communities through which individuals belongo Vertical social structure : (social inequality) refers to how a society ranks different groups of people- C. Wright Mills: emphasized that social structure lies in the root of private troubleso If only a few people are unemployed, that’s private troubles. If masses are unemployed, that is because of structural issues then private troubles become public issues. o Sociological imagination: ability to understand the structural and historical basis for personal troubles. - Berger:o Debunking motif: things are not always that they seem; research often exposes false claims about reality and taken-for-granted assumptions about social life and social institutions.∙ Mutual Relevance of Sociology and Criminology: o Many of criminology’s important concepts, including anomie, relative deprivation, and social conflict, draw from concepts originally developed in the larger body of sociology. o Criminology is just as relevant for its parent filed of sociology because of the structural basis for criminality. If crime and victimization derive from community characteristics, social relationships, and inequality, criminological insights both reinforce and advance sociological understandings of these areas.∙ Rise of Sociological Criminality:o Norms: standards of behavioro Deviance: behaviors that violate these norms and arouse negative social reactions.o Customs: norms remain unwritten and informal o Customs are enforced through informal social control o Formal norms are called laws. o In the 18th century, the classical school of criminology stressed that criminals rationally choose to commit crime after deciding that the potential rewards outweigh the risks.o Edwin Sutherland:  Differential association theory: how and why these conditions promote criminality and emphasized the importance of peer influences  Criminogenic : crime-causing o Robert K. Merton: Anomie theory: attributed deviance to the poor’s inability to achieve economic success in a society that highly values it. o Labeling and conflict theories emphasized bias and discrimination in the application of criminal labels and in the development of criminal laws. Crime, Deviance and Criminal Law: - Edwin Sutherland defined criminology as the scientific study of the creation of criminal law.- Crime is behavior that is considered so harmful that is banned by a criminal law- Deviance is a relative concept, whether a given behavior is judged deviant depends on no on the behavior itself but on the circumstances under which it occurs.- Deviance is also relative in time: within the same society, which is considered deviant in one time period may not be considered deviant in a later period, and vice versa. ∙ Consensus and Conflict in the Creation of Criminal Law:o Consensus Theory: Originates from Durkheim’s work Assumes a consensus among people from all walks of life on what the social norms of behavior are and should be. o Conflict Theory: Derives from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, opposite of consensus theory Assumed that members of the public disagree on many of society’s norms, with their disagreement reflecting their disparate positions based on their inequality of wealth and power. o Criminal law is thought to represent and protect the interests of all members of society. ∙ Goals of Criminal Law:o The most important goal is to keep the public safe from crime and criminalso Second goal is to articulate our society’s moral values and concerns. o Third: protect the rights and freedoms of the nation’s citizenry by protecting from potential governmental abuse. (rule of law) ∙ An Overview of Criminal Law:o Law in the US has its origins in English common lawo Legal Distinctions in Types of Crime: Mala in se: refers to behaviors that violate traditional norms and moral codes. (evil in themselves) Mala Prohibita: crimes refer to behaviors that violate contemporary standards only (wrong only because prohibited by law) Felonies: crimes punishable by more than one year in prison Misdemeanors: crimes punishable by less than one year. o Criminal Intent: For a defendant to be found guilty, actus reus and mens rea must be proved.∙ Actus reus: actual criminal act ∙ Mens rea: (guilty mind) criminal intento Legal Defenses to Criminal Liability: Accident or Mistake  Ignorance∙ Law does not exempt mistakes of fact that occur when someone engages in illegal activity without being aware it is illegal.  Duress:∙ Fear for one’s life or safety  Self-Defense:∙ Traditionally the law of self-defense does not apply to women killing their batters.  Entrapment:∙ Someone commits a crime only because law enforcement agents induced the offender to do so.  Insanity:∙ If the defendant does not have the capacity to have criminal intent at the time of offense, they will not be charged with mens rea. Research Methods in Criminology:- Independent variable: variable that does the influencing- Dependent variable: variable that is influenced- Surveys:o Involves the administration of a questionnaire to some group of respondents who are interviewed either fact to


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