Criminology Chapter 1 Notes
Criminology Chapter 1 Notes SOC3890
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Carly Pate on Wednesday January 20, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to SOC3890 at Clemson University taught by William White in Spring 2015. Since its upload, it has received 58 views. For similar materials see Criminology in Sociology at Clemson University.
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Date Created: 01/20/16
CHAPTER 1 CRIME AND CRIMINOLOGY -What is Criminology? the study of criminal behavior as it deals with the processes of making laws, of breaking laws, and of reacting to the breaking of laws characterized by the use of the scientific method to study and research the above items criminal justice refers to describing, analyzing, and explaining the behavior of justice agencies the scientific approach to studying criminal behavior 5 aspects o 1. body of knowledge regarding crime as a social phenomenon o 2. the development of criminal law and its use to define crime (criminal law) o 3. the cause of law violations o 4. methods used to control criminal behavior o 5. a multidisciplinary science criminology o explains the origin, extent, and nature of crime (behavior) in society criminal justice o the study of agencies of social control- police, courts, and corrections criminology and deviance o behavior that departs from social norms o many deviant acts are neither illegal nor criminal o many crimes are not unusual or deviant o not all crimes are deviant; not all deviant acts are illegal -What Criminologists Do devoted to the study of crime and criminal behavior they do 3 things: o 1. try to create valid and reliable measurements of criminal behavior o 2. help agents of the criminal justice system develop effective crime control policies that rely on accurate measurement of crime rates o 3. make international comparisons by using criminal statistics -Criminal Statistics and Research Methodology criminologists interested in criminal statistics try to create valid and reliable measurements of criminal behavior they: o 1. measure the amount and trends of criminal activity o 2. determine who commits crime and where o 3. measure the effects of social policy and social trends on crime rate changes o 4. design crime prevention programs and measure their effectiveness -What Criminologists Do criminologists interested in the sociology of law are concerned with the role social forces play in shaping criminal law, and concomitantly, the role of criminal law in shaping society o they focus on: 1. the history of legal thought 2. how social forces shape the definition and content of the law 3. the impact of legal change on society 4. the relationship between law and social control 5. the effects of criminalization and legalization on behaviors criminologists who engage in theory construction view social theory as a systematic set of interrelated statements or principles that explain some aspect of social life o these constructed theories are based on social fact and tested by constructing hypotheses and then assessing the hypotheses using empirical research o the basics of theory construction and testing is to: 1) explain, 2)hypothesize, 3) test the criminological enterprise has 6 major subareas: o 1. criminal statistics- this describes and measures crime o 2. sociology of law- this analyzes how society shapes the law and how law shapes society o 3. theory construction and development- the focus is on crime causation o 4. criminal behavior systems and typologies- focus is on the nature and cause of specific crime patterns o 5. penology- focus is corrections, rehabilitation, and treatment o 6. Victimology- the focus is on the nature and cause of victimization, aiding victims, and theories of victimization risk the criminal behavior systems subarea also involves links between different types of crime and criminals; this is known as a crime typology o these are: 1. violent crime 2. theft crime 3. public order crime 4. organized crime based on this ability to define crime by type, we are able to categorize and classify crime also, it is from this ability to categorize and classify crime, based on research and statistics, that we get an understanding of criminal behavior worthy of future understanding and prediction punishment, penology, and social control o penology involves the correction and control of known criminal offenders; it is the subarea of criminology that overlaps criminal justice o criminologists conduct research that is designed to evaluate justice initiatives in order to determine their 1. efficiency, 2. effectiveness, and 3. impact o Victimology is the study of victims and victimization it consists primarily of: 1. measuring the extent of criminal victimization 2. calculating the costs of victimization 3. measuring the factors that increase the likelihood of becoming a victim 4. studying the victim’s role in precipitating crime 5. designing services for victims of crime -Principle why should we care? what is the purpose of all this energy and effort being directed and the study of crime? can we ever really understand crime anyway? does crime in other places effect you? “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” –Martin Luther King Jr. o people get the “it’s not going to happen to me” attitude -What Criminologists Do are you responsible for other people’s criminal activity? why should you care about crime that doesn’t directly affect you? does the commission of crime cause social harm? -How Criminologists View Crime criminologist view crimes from one of three different perspectives: o the consensus view of crime substantive criminal law reflects the values, beliefs, and opinions of society’s mainstream a general agreement among a majority of citizens on what behaviors should be illegal crimes are behaviors that are repugnant to all elements of society (or the majority) because they cause harm social harm: what sets strange, unusual, or deviant behavior (or any action that departs from the social norms) apart from criminal behaviors o the conflict view of crime society is a collection of diverse groups who are in constant and continuous conflict that groups who achieve power use the law and the criminal justice system to advance their economic and social position so that they become the haves and control the have-nots the criminal laws are viewed as acts created to protect the haves from the have-nots crime is a political concept designed to protect the power and position of the upper classes at the expense of the poor o the interactionist view of crime people act according to their own interpretation of reality they observe how others react positively or negatively then reevaluate and interpret their own behavior according to the meaning and symbols they have learned from others good and evil is interpreted by the evaluator (person committing the behavior and then observing the reactions) an integrated definition: o crime is a violation of societal rules of behavior as interpreted and expressed by a criminal legal code created by people holding social and political power o individuals who violate these rules are subject to sanctions by state authority, social stigma, and loss of status -Crime and the Law-History the concept of criminal law has been recognized for more than 3000 years the Code of Hammurabi, one of the oldest, established a system of crime and punishment based on retaliation (an eye for an eye) the Mosaic Code was the foundation for Judeo-Christian moral teachings and the US legal system common law is judge-made law that emerged after the Norman conquest of England in 1066, that was based on precedents commonly applied in all similar cases our system of criminal law is based on English common law and the use of precedents stare decisis, Latin term for “let the decision stand or to stand by that which is decided”; it is critical to our system of law so that people can safely know “what the law is” -Crime and the Law the law in contemporary society is categorized into four areas: substantive criminal law: crimes and their punishment procedural criminal law: provides for the basic rules of due process in the criminal justice system civil law: governs relations between private parties public or administrative law: deals with the government and its relationships with individuals or other governments we view crimes as being of two types o mala in se (violation of natural law; inherently wrong) theft: when you take something from someone else without their knowledge of you taking it o mala prohibitum (clearly prohibited by time and space) we also classify crimes based on the seriousness o crimes are divided into felonies and misdemeanors based on seriousness o felonies are serious offenses and misdemeanors are petty or minor crimes there are three required components in every crime: o the actus reus (guilty act) o the mens rea (guilty mind) o concurrence of the above two consequently, there are three basic criminal defenses: o deny the actus reus o deny the mens rea o provide justification for the act -Shaping the Criminal Law criminal behavior is defined primarily by statute the content of the law may also be shaped by judicial decision making a criminal statute may be no longer enforceable if ruled vague, no longer of interest to the public (against public policy), or an unfair exercise of state power conversely, a judicial ruling may expand the scope of an existing criminal law changing its application there are 6 social goals the state expects to achieve with criminal law enforcement: o enforcing social control o discouraging revenge o expressing public opinion and morality o deterring criminal behavior (deterrence) o punishing wrongdoing o maintaining social order -Ethical Issues in Criminology criminology is a discipline that involves several ethical issues that fall into three categories: o what is to be studied? o who is to be studied? o how are the studies to be conducted?
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