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Chapters 1,2,3,7 and RL chapter 1 notes

by: Melissa Kaufman

Chapters 1,2,3,7 and RL chapter 1 notes 1300-03

Marketplace > Tulane University > Sociology > 1300-03 > Chapters 1 2 3 7 and RL chapter 1 notes
Melissa Kaufman
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All class notes up until Friday Feb. 5th 2016
John Hall
Class Notes




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This 13 page Class Notes was uploaded by Melissa Kaufman on Tuesday February 9, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 1300-03 at Tulane University taught by John Hall in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 63 views. For similar materials see Criminology in Sociology at Tulane University.

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Date Created: 02/09/16
1/13/16 Criminology Chapter 1 Class Notes How do crime and response to crime relate to one’s place in social structure?  Sociological Imagination (Mills)—crime is a problem that needs to be reduced  What produced these problems? Why do they persist over time? -Personal Troubles (causing crimes) -Public Troubles (larger social systems that condition crimes) -Males are arrested 92% of the time Deviant Behavior vs. “Crime”  Criminology (Sutherland) -Definition: Study of the making of laws, the breaking of laws, and responses to illegal acts (goes beyond this now) -How do certain laws come about (they change over time) -When you look at current laws in a particular society, you ask why this law is there and why other laws aren’t -Consensus vs. Conflict view point in terms of how laws are created -Consensus View: represents majority viewpoint in society (certain behaviors are agreed upon as not okay and should be declared as a criminal sanction) -Conflict View: the laws that are on the books are there because of a powerful interest group was able to influence the laws on their behalf -MALA IN SE crimes: translates as a crime that is evil within itself (violent crime/murder/rape/robbery/threats/break in) -MALA PROHIBITA: crimes that are later added as crime offenses, not directly threatening to other individuals (consensus breaks down in terms of support) 1/22/16 Criminology Class Lecture Notes Chapter 2: media and crime  Media distorts what is known about crime  What is accurate according to data isn’t what people think  Right now there is a lot of fear of crime (particularly in cities, violent crime and property theft)  Crime wave=because of what is focused on in the news  But its not actually new/worse?  The concerns may or may not be valid  Shapes policy because people demand protection  Who sets the policies?  Leave it up to the experts means that things wouldn’t go by what people want/demand  Misleading things about media: 1. Crime rate is “getting out of hand”, jails overcrowded, but the official data shows that it is going down consistently over the past 20 years 2. Most criminal cases where people are actually charged are never actually put into trial (people don’t usually do that) 3. For every 1 violent crime there are 9 property crimes (violent crimes are less likely to occur) 4. Emphasis in media is mostly on street crime, less on white collar or organized crime—impacts peoples perceptions 5. Disproportionately represents minorities in crimes 6. Laws are NOT neutrally enforced (in certain areas they are enforced greater against certain people than others) 7. The connection between youth and crime (varies in terms of what they consider is youth), there are different conclusions, varies every year, can’t predict based on certain ages 8. Tendency when there is a violent crime on the street to assume the person who was killed was innocent (usually victim is the one that started the crime, but they ended up getting killed) 9. The experts say: if there is a disassociation, they will say you are ignorant to deter them from trying to change policy 10. Fear of crime: nothing new, comes in waves, its not equal to all individuals whether people think things are bad/threatening etc., lower class expresses more fear about crime (they are more likely to victimized), depends on where you are living (urban vs. rural), race (black vs. white) 11. The reactions to the fear of crime that leads to a lot of policies that have caused us great problems in the US (make more arrest, convict more people, lock more people up, etc.), the responses to this causes prison overcrowding, court overcrowding, etc. (comes from unrealistic concern) 12. A lot of people are concerned, a lot think people over exaggerate, they disagree on how to handle certain situations, causes overcharges, wrongful criminal records, results putting more money into courts 13. Consequences of fear: think about criminals as acts of individuals, but people forget that the actions of one individual happens everywhere…? The way we set up our social system pushes people into the direction of committing criminal offenses. Not individual weaknesses, only a portion of it. 14. Prevent crime from occurring in the first place vs. finding the offender 1/25/16 Chapter 3 Lecture notes Measures of crime from the UCR (Uniform Crime Reports) -Measure of what’s going on in the nation (or cities, states) --most common source of information --biggest statistical data base we have --measuring crime reports -the data includes part 1 and part 2 offenses -trying to convince people that more serious offenses are starting to drop off so they target trying to control illegal drugs, prostitution, etc. (less serious offenses are out of hand)—in favor of the police? Part 1: ones that are most likely to be reported (most severe)  Murder  Aggravated assault  Forcible rape  Robbery  Violent^^^^  Burglary  Larceny Theft  Auto Theft  Property^^^^  Arson * - not added as part 1 offense until 1979 (not part of original so they don’t usually count it when news and press reports are released) –mostly juvenile offenders *Indicates that all the part 1 offenses have been dropping since 1995 (crime is decreasing) * Two different forcible rape categories -up until 2013, rape by definition had to have a male offender and female victim -now they are keeping track of both definitions (female to male, female to female, etc.) Only get record of the most severe offenses (throw out one at the expense of another) ---reduces crime rates 1/27/16 National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) -pick a random national sample (approx. 150,000 people surveyed, age 12 and older) -surveying: victimization by part 1 offenses (except for arson) -why do they have a victimization survey? They want to see how often these crimes are committed that aren’t necessarily recorded by the police -surveys victimization by age, race, gender -also showing a decrease in offenses just like the UCR Problems with it 1. give people a brief description of what the crime entails and ask how many times its happened to you in the past 6 months -people don’t know that they have been a victim of crime -a lot of the crimes take place in households and people are reluctant to report household crime 2. when you ask people the criminal activity they are committing there will always be underreporting Nobody knows how the rates could be dropping at this kind of rate -We do know we have the highest percentage of its population behind bars -What we are known for is having the highest homicide rates and violent crime rates -this is due to the availability of guns -America is highly self-interested Patterns in the data  Violent crime is most likely to happen in the summer and December (holidays) -Disproportionate amount of crime done by juveniles (they aren’t in school)  Men commit more crimes (report less attachment to bonds that could stabilize and condition them to obey the norms)  Women are actually escalating in arrest reports -more involved with property crimes, prostitutions, drug crimes (less violent/serious crimes)  Men more active in delinquent subcultures  Race: blacks and Hispanics (representation in criminal stats vs. rep in community?) -why are minorities more likely to be arrested and charged with crimes? -they are much more likely to live in depressed socioeconomic circumstances -more likely to live in neighborhoods that are severely economically depressed -subcultural violence makes certain parts in the US to accept violence  Strong connection between age and crime  Age, gender, race: when you combine these attributes they all join together and enhance your chances of being involved/arrested for crime  Black or Hispanic, below age of 21 or 22, and a male, you have a really high probability of being arrested for some type of crime  Women who are white younger than 22, they are least likely to be charged for a crime in the US  The more “deviant” statuses you occupy the more likely you are to be charged with a crime  BUT all we are talking about is STREET CRIME 1/29/16 Chapter 7 Class Lecture Notes *Overall view of the some of the more prominent thinkers perspectives on why some people become more deviant than others *Structural theories Emile Durkheim sociologist -his question: we know ways to reduce the crime rate so why don’t we do these things?? -his theory: crime is just a violation of formal rules and there can be things done against those people for violating social norms -anomie=normlessness (the more detached they become) -crime is normal because it always exists, and perserves social unity -its good to reduce criminality but you don’t want to eliminate it!!! -there should still be all the crimes -why? Because the laws tend to reflect the behaviors that most people in the society -the act of arresting a criminal and going through the criminal justice system reminds us what kinds of behaviors are NOT OK -examples of what you shouldn’t do -people’s ideas of right and wrong would be blurred -guidelines would be broken down -crime is needed to reinforce what people value -reminded us about the connections b/t social structure and individual behavior -sociological imagination: when he looked at individual behavior there were 2 factors that influence behavior=socialization (who taught us, brought us up, parents, schools, etc.) and social ties (community, your commitment to society) -deviance is an example of weak social ties Durkheim’s Suicide Theory  Relate it back to what he considered to be a social structural influence  Initial hypothesis: divided Catholic and Protestant nations and believed that in Protestant communities (people were more individualistic) the suicide rates are higher  Married are much less likely to commit  Connection to social ties is important  The stronger you are in a particular community then the less likely you are to commit suicide Other Theories (offshoots of Durkheims)  Predominantly try to explain street crime Social Ecology Perspectives  Social disorganization  Focus on relationship between social and geographic environment with an emphasis on the particular communities and neighborhoods people live in  Where do you live geographically  Neighborhoods in society are not random  Dependent on social status  There is a connection between the place that you live and the propensity of you to get charged/arrested for a street crime  In poverty sectors they look at the connection between poverty, neighborhood and socialization  The more disadvantaged community the more likely people wont respect the community and law  Detached from commitments and values because they don’t have as many opportunities Ecological Theories Focus mainly on: geographic position and socioeconomic status (not race) -Districts outside the Central Business District (zone 1) had the most crime -CBDs used to be very industrial so those workers would live near that area Social Disorganization Theory: died out after 1940s because of changes in economy which changed distribution of residents but now they are back -why it came back: trying to get rid of the public houses in nola (draw poor people out of the city) took down the old buildings but put up new mixed income neighborhoods to try to get around the socialization problems that happen when there are distinct class resident areas Stark: “Deviant Places” in the ecological perspectives -Criticism: you could be in poverty or really bad poverty but in cities there are certain areas that are more crowded/overpopulated so you establish contact with people with criminal behaviors but it doesn’t work that way in terms of statistics (because there are more people in these areas even if the crime count is higher) -crowding in the neighborhood Broken Windows Theory of Crime: looking at the areas where the underclass live and the buildings look like there was just a tornado, cops don’t care about what the people do to themselves there *Merton’s Anomie-Strain Theory (Goals and Means Theory): -most cited theory ever -looking at social forces -how we set ourselves up for demise -every community share a consensus of important values and norms -norms: we agree that there are acceptable ways and illegitimate ways to get material success -values: certain objective or goal that people want to pursue, material success --different ways people can pursue values/norms -if you do things normatively you aren’t deviant or a criminal -any other form by which you combine these particular viewpoints will lead to deviant or criminal misconduct -two categories: innovation—people who bought into view of American Dream but can’t get ahead by legitimate means so they turn to criminal means of trying to get ahead -Retreatists: people who have become alienated to the idea of material success (they don’t care/can’t get ahead), but if they aren’t trying to get ahead in the material world then they don’t care if they are abiding by acceptable norm -drug addicts -alcoholics -given up -Rebels: we think that the game sucks but we play it anyway and they change it -get involved -want changes to be made -Problem w theory: only applies to street crime, civilian population -when you focus on poverty circumstances and criminality you miss a big part because it’s only about street crime -poorer people are more likely to get involved in street crime than others but you still can’t say what crime they will get involved in due to their economic status -most of the economically damaged are not getting involved with street crime 2/3/16 **There is more emphasis on material success than on the means by which you obtain them** -means are played down -doesn’t matter how you do it, just do it Agnew: 2 factors that influence street criminality -removal of positive stimuli -introduction of negative stimuli Subculture: culture that differs from the mainstream culture -language -symbolic connections -values -norms Delinquent Youth Subculture: -focuses on gang membership and organized crime activity -explaining why some are involved in crime and others are not -Albert Cohen: status frustration theory—what people consider being material success varies from person to person -if what you want, you can’t obtain, you get frustrated and get involved in criminal behavior (more likely to be street crime) -relative deprivation -teens caught between dependence and independence (so there is more of an urge to commit crime) 6 concerns 1. get into trouble because they’re less powerful so they lash out against authority 2. toughness: if you are subject to authority domination, you go against authority to look tough to the other people in your crowd 3. smartness: learning ways to manipulate others (street smarts) 4. variable of excitement: youths are usually always regulated so they want to find something exciting (want to generate thrills) 5. fate: if no one you know has experienced any real success, you think you have no control over your life, resign yourself (no matter what you believe your life sucks, you don’t have much to lose) 6. autonomy: independence issues with this: these same variables occur with anyone who is a minor, but there is a difference in how authority responds -lower economic status vs. middle and high status Cloward and Ohlin: differential opportunity theory -there needs to be the opportunity to turn to crime to be able to commit crime Anderson: surveyed a lot of youth gangs -wanted to find out their basic values -their economic disadvantage led them to want to gain respect -in the eyes of those who are in their society community Criminology class lecture notes 1/15/16 Goals of criminal law— 1. Protect people or contain them against acts that are victimized (harmful acts) (what is directly harmful?) 2. Articulate morals (drugs, prostitution, etc.) (are these directly offensive types of behaviors?) 3. Protect victim and the suspected criminal How threatening/harmful are certain acts? How does the legal system respond to these people who are “criminals?” Severity of Harm: Felony  misdemeanor Severity of the PENALTY is different (not the HARM) In the US if you are convicted with a felony offense by definition the penalty will be a year or more in prison and a 1000$ or over in terms of fines If it’s a misdemeanor offense it will be less than a year in jail and less than 1000$ in fines District Attorneys—paid by the state to get convictions and to convict (not to determine justice) If they cant get a conviction they won’t take the case into court You go to court on what the DA charges you for What goes on your criminal record is what you are arrested for (whether or not you were actually charged won’t usually show up) Infractions: most common, no criminal record, illegal act against criminal law, they are so ordinary that rather than facing jail time you just face a fine (red lights, parking tickets) What makes something a crime? Actus res—you have to have done something that was against the criminal code Mens Re—not only did you act in a criminal way but it was planned and you intended to do it (much more serious), calculated thought Crimes of negligence—committed the crime that happened because of recklessness 2/5/16 Chapter one of R&L book Ideology: justifications for a social group’s behavior and practices System Blame Approach—systems are set up for certain acts to occur  US is well known for over incarceration, so they ask why? Why we do respond this way? Have these habits?  Acknowledging that crime rates are decreasing 1. more charges, more people in prison, less people out there to victimize you 2. major movement in policing—they are now encouraged to be less radical in response to criminal behaviors in their community (pressure from public to suppress their harsh tactics because this sends out a message to the whole population that you are trying to control and regulate all people’s behaviors so it makes things worse) 3. indirect drug offenses (people who are arrested for violent crimes but are also druggies?) 4. major crack down in 1980s on crack 5. when you enforce laws/create laws the crime will become stable (new crack laws) Why are we so willing to lock up our citizens? 1. Getting tougher in prison which causes more incarceration 2. Excuses for crime -“too soft on crime” -“blame it on the kids” people under age of 25, disproportionate numbers of youth in crime -known sources of crime: levels of poverty and inequality, material disadvantage, prison system (big socialization camps, learn from each other, get mad because of guards and prison controllers, this all just adds to the crime problem), certain categories of drugs -


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