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Test 1 Outline Intro Chapter 1 Criminology and the Sociological Perspective 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 poverty and race and ethnicity as well as to the structure of communities and social relationships this view of criminology gave explicit attention to issues of The Sociological Perspective behavior and attitudes Social structure social interaction 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 refers to how a society is organized in terms of social relationships and o Horizontal social structure and network of social communities through which individuals belong the social and physical characteristics of communities o Vertical social structure groups of people social inequality refers to how a society ranks different C Wright Mills emphasized that social structure lies in the root of private troubles o 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 for personal troubles ability to understand the structural and historical basis 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 behavior o 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 theory Derives from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels opposite of consensus 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 criminals o 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 law o Legal Distinctions in Types of Crime Mala in se codes evil in themselves refers to behaviors that violate traditional norms and moral Mala Prohibita standards only wrong only because prohibited by law crimes refer to behaviors that violate contemporary 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 intent o Legal Defenses to Criminal Liability Accident or Mistake Ignorance Duress Self Defense Fear for one s life or safety Law does not exempt mistakes of fact that occur when someone engages in illegal activity without being aware it is illegal Traditionally the law of self defense does not apply to women killing their batters Someone commits a crime only because law enforcement agents induced the offender to do so Entrapment 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 face or another location and is often a random sample o We can generalize the results of a random sample to the entire population o In criminology used to gather three types of information Public opinion of crime Self report data Criminal victimization Experiments o Less

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

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