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Criminological Theory Exam 1 Study Guide

by: kyrabacon

Criminological Theory Exam 1 Study Guide CCJ4014

Marketplace > University of Florida > CRIMINOLOGY > CCJ4014 > Criminological Theory Exam 1 Study Guide
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Hi everyone! This is my exam 1 study guide, which includes the most important information from every single lecture, chapters 1, 2, 3, and 5, as well as all the readings assigned (Caspi et al, Ande...
Criminological Theory
Dr. Abby Fagan
Study Guide
crime, criminology, Criminal Justice, CCJ4014 Criminological theory theory criminology crim, fagan, Criminal, Theory, CCJ4014
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This 7 page Study Guide was uploaded by kyrabacon on Thursday September 15, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to CCJ4014 at University of Florida taught by Dr. Abby Fagan in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 59 views. For similar materials see Criminological Theory in CRIMINOLOGY at University of Florida.


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Date Created: 09/15/16
Criminological Theory­ Exam 1 Study Guide  The test is on Thursday, Sept 22 at 4:05PM  There will be 50 questions in MC/ TF format  Covers chapters 1, 2, 3 and 5  Covers Juvenile Arrests, Caspi et al and Anderson readings Theory and Crime  What is a theory? o Generalizations about relationships between two observable phenomenon  Why are theories important? o Explains  How to reduce crime  Who commits crime  Why they commit it  Why crimes are illegal  Types o Macro­ large scale, looks at big picture and focuses on multiple factors o Micro­ small scale, small picture, focuses on individual traits or small groups  What makes a theory good? o Logical­ defined, clear and makes sense o Broad scope­ can apply to multiple crimes o Parsimonious­ simplest and fewest words used to define the theory o Testable­ can be studied with a hypothesis  Can’t be tautological (repeating itself, or true only by definition) o Empirical evidence­ studies have supported it  Tries to prove causality (X always = Y and if no X, then no Y)  Realistically, theories prove probabilistic concept of causality  When X is present, Y is more likely  Soft Determinism­ several factors influence action  Crime­ how does it vary? o By age?  Average age = 18  Peaks during adolescence  Why so young?  Frontal lobe is last to develop (~ age 25) and is used in making  judgements about situations  Juveniles and Crime o Significant drop in Juvenile Crimes since 2012  Overall arrests fell by 36%  Violent arrests record low  All racial group arrests fell o By gender?  Men more likely than women  31% arrested and 7% incarcerated in 2012  19% violent crimes  35% property crimes o By race?  28% arrested were blacks (but only 13% population)  2X more likely to be arrested  But self­report studies show less crime gap  Juveniles have even smaller gap between black/white arrests o By social class?  Official reports show larger difference than self­reports  Difficult to determine Deterrence Theory  What is it? o Crime is less likely to occur when there are punishments for committing crime o Assumes all people are motivated and seeks to determine why people DON'T  commit crime o Focuses on harsh punishments of CJ system o Created by Cesare Beccaria o Macro theory  What punishments work best? o Known­ universally understood o Swift­ applied immediately o Severe­ proportionate to crime o Certain­ always punished  Who should be deterred? o Specific­ offender won't commit crime again because he has been dealt  punishment  Does it work? ▯ Studies found that recidivism rates are high, so not really o General­ people will see offender get punished and won't want to commit crime  and receive same punishment  Does it work? ▯ Certainty of punishment works, but not severity  Juvenile Justice waiver, Death penalty, three strikes laws,  etc have no effect on crime rates ▯ Informal deterrence­ do not commit crime for fear of family or  friends disappointment and moral beliefs  Evidence o Self­report studies show the more punishment people attribute to a crime, the less  likely they will commit crime  Crime Prevention o Increase certainty by increasing police presence  o Scared Straight  Aims to deter at risk youth by exposing them to prison life ▯ Rather than preventing crime, actually raises likelihood those  individuals will engage in crime later in life  Strengths and Weaknesses o Logical, broad, parsimonious and suggests good prevention strategies o Not empirically supported!  Compared to other theories? o Similar to Rational Choice theory  Both assume criminals are rational thinkers who willingly and knowingly  choose to commit crime  Both view punishment as important cost of crime o Similar to social learning theory (see theory) Rational Choice  What is it? o Crime occurs when someone weighs all the costs and benefits of committing the  crime and rationalizes that the benefits outweigh the costs. o "Expected utility principle" o Simply a choice made by offender (no biological influence) o Micro theory  Strengths and Weaknesses? o Weakness: most criminals are not "rational" thinkers  Supporters say that offenders make a very quick assessment of pros and  cons, and they may not make a "rational" choice to us, but to them, it  makes sense o Strength: broad scope, logical and parsimonious o Weakness: Not empirically supported, theory is hard to research  Thoughtfully reflective decision making  Compared to other theories? o Similar to Deterrence theory (see theory) o Similar to Social learning theory (see theory) Biological Theories  What is it? o Crime is caused by genetic abnormalities o Micro theory o Seeks to explain individual differences o Derived from positive school of criminology  Past theorists o Cesare Lombroso  Wrote the Criminal Man  Biological positivism­ believed that criminals had certain physical  abnormalities (ex: twisted nose, crooked ear, scars, bad teeth, busted chin)  atavism­ throwback to an earlier stage of human evolution o Sheldon  Crime is related to somatotype, or body type  "Mesomorphs", or large, muscular men, are more likely to become  criminals  Biology and Crime o Testosterone  Weak but some relationship o Heart Rate  Study shows that men with heart rates very high or very low are 49% more likely to be convicted of violent crimes and 25% more for nonviolent o Personality  low self­control, lack of empathy, and negative emotionality make one  more likely to commit crime o IQ  Weak relationship but studies have shown criminals have less verbal  intelligence  life­course persistent (over lifetime) vs adolescent limited (ends after  teenagehood) o Age  Teenagers have undeveloped frontal lobes  Supreme Court rules that "children are different" and outlawed life in  prison and death penalty o MAOA  Caspi et al studied relationship between maltreatment as a child and crime  and found that when individuals have low MAOA and were maltreated,  they were more likely to commit crime o Adoption vs Twin Studies  Studies show that children share criminal inclinations more closely with  biological parents than adoptive parents  Twins likely to share criminal behavior patterns  Strengths and Weaknesses o Weakness: tautological issues, not very empirically supported o Strengths: broad, parsimonious, somewhat logical  Also helps us understand why certain people commit crime  Crime Prevention? o Suggestions for policies are unclear and morally problematic (can't alter at risk  people's genes) o Start early and provide treatment and counseling   Compare to other theories? o Biosocial theories use some biological components but addresses nature via  nurture argument more Biosocial Theory  What is it? o Crime is caused by interaction of biological characteristics with environmental  factors o Micro theory o Similar to Biological theory  Compares to other theories? o Like biological theory, it focuses on genetics of individual, but also includes  social aspects  Crime Prevention? o Can suggest strategies to limit criminogenic environmental conditions rather than  genetics Differential Association/ Social Learning Theory  What is it? o People learn how to be criminal through interactions with others o Micro theory o Focuses on intimate, small groups who influence others o Originally create by Sutherland, and expanded upon by Akers  Modalities of Association­ who is important? o Priority­ who exposed to first o Frequency­ how often o Duration­ how much time together o Intensity­ importance of person  Original components o Definitions  Motives, attitudes and rationalizations that affect out behavior  Crime most likely when definitions favorable to crime outweigh  definitions unfavorable to crime  Types ▯ Positive­ crime is always desirable ▯ Negative­ crime is always wrong ▯ Neutral­ crime is usually wrong, but can be justified sometimes o Differential Association  Criminal behavior is learned through interaction with small groups  Types ▯ Interactional dimension­ direct association (peer groups, family) ▯ Normative dimension­ people with same patterns and values  (virtual friends, religion, school)  Akers o Added new components to focus more on how exactly behaviors were learned o Focused on classical and operant conditioning, schedules of reinforcement, and  discriminative stimuli o Uses broader scope than Sutherland  Imitation ▯ Imitate criminal actions of those important to you and you see are  rewarded for behavior  ▯ Primary groups and media  Differential Reinforcement ▯ The more behaviors are rewarded/ punished, the more they will be  continued/ stopped ▯ Rewards can be intangible (such as praise) or tangible (such as an  A or a raise)  How does this compare to other theories? o Similar to rational choice and deterrence  Assumes individuals will refrain from crime to avoid punishment  Assumes criminals are rational thinkers  Research o Certain crimes more likely correlated (drinking, smoking) o Family structure is strong predictor of future crime o Peer groups most strongly affect criminal behavior o Delinquent gangs are more likely to influence criminal activity o Social disorganization promotes crime  Anderson study on "Code of the Street" ▯ Children who lived in disorganized and impoverished households  had to abide by the "code", where respect was most important and  achieved only through violence ▯ Why? People did not trust that police and system would protect  them and believed that they must look out for themselves  Decent households cared for children and had certain  expectations and hopes, such as moral values, working  hard, committing to church, going to school  Street households had no regard for children, were often  addicted to drugs and did not take care of their children,  instead showing them violence, and most felt hopeless o Both types of families were poor ▯ Must obtain "manhood" by showing "nerve" ▯ Females followed code for beauty status and popularity with boys ▯ Most of the kids did not want a violent culture and wanted to raise  a family like normal society but felt that mainstream culture had  rejected them  Weakness and Strengths o Strengths­ Empirically supported, broad, parsimonious, and logical o Weaknesses­ selection or socialization?  Selection­ Delinquent people form relationships with other delinquents  and become more criminally inclined  Socialization­ Delinquency is learned purely through social interaction o Weakness: strategies for prevention are not always effective  Crime Prevention o Suggests counseling, peer groups, school programs, etc o Some have already been tried  Pinehills Experiment­ alternative to juvie, used peer group interaction to  foster favorable attitudes towards the law ▯ 1/2 recidivism rates of normal prison  Highfields and Essex­ guided group interaction used to treat delinquent  boys  Teaching Family model­ emphasized community and created "foster­like"  homes ▯ Some evidence of lower recidivism rates  Oregon Social Learning Center­ Multiple programs used to foster  delinquents and treat them before sending them home  ▯ Some evidence of lower recidivism rates  Drug abuse prevention programs also very effective  G.R.E.A.T. sought to reduce gangs


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