CJC 102 Week 5 Notes
CJC 102 Week 5 Notes CJC 102
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Ben O'Brien on Saturday February 20, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to CJC 102 at Ball State University taught by Dr. Intravia in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 19 views. For similar materials see Introduction to criminology in Criminal Justice at Ball State University.
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Date Created: 02/20/16
Situational Choice Theory Variation of rational choice theory Argues that the decision to engage in crime is shaped by the situational constraints and opportunities Situations vary according to time, location, personal circumstances who is present, and what is going on Crime is an interaction between two factors: o Motivation – temptation, bad influences, idleness, or provocation o Opportunity – financial rewards, knowledge of criminal techniques, and personal experiences Routine Activities Theory Variation of rational choice theory Cohen and Felson (1979) o Crime is understood in terms of the routine activities of every day life such was what we do, where we go, and who we interact with o Argues that victim and offender lifestyles contribute to both the amount and type of crime within society o Three characteristics must be present for crime to occur A motivated offender One who plans to commit a crime A suitable target Potential victim Lack of capable guardian o Found changes in daily activities led to higher crime More people worked outside of the home Increases likelihood of exposure to would-be criminals in public places such as parking garages or bus stops Also reduces the guardianship of one’s home and personal goods Number of portable goods that are easier to steal increased Electronics became lighter (e.g. televisions, phones) Deterrence Theory “Rebirth” of the Classical School of thought in 1970s Response to the apparent failure of rehabilitation o National surveys failed to show what methods worked regarding rehabilitation of offenders o Became more logical to frighten criminals with severe punishments Retained the Classical School concept of punishment to deter crime The modern notion of deterrence is consistent with Beccaria and Bentham o “Deterrence refers to any instance in which an individual contemplates a criminal act because he or she perceives some ricks of legal punishment.” Informal deterrence o Negative reactions from others when they find out about the arrest/conviction of the offender E.g. loss of jobs or friendships, divorce, social stigma General deterrence o Crime control policy o Members of the public are deterred from committing crime when they fear the penalties Specific deterrence o Offenders already punished will be deterred from repeating criminality due to fearing punishment o Goal of sentencing is to prevent a particular offender from engaging in repeat criminality Criticisms of Classical/Rational Choice Theory o Shaped the course of criminological theory for hundreds of years o Criticisms of classical theory Individuals do not always weight the costs/benefits of their actions People do not always agree on what constitutes pleasure and pain o Oversimplifies the complexity of human interaction with the social environment – some crimes do not appear to be rational Example: Burglary vs. Violence Burglary tends to be very rational – individuals plot the time of day, ease of entrance, type of goods involved. Violence is more difficult to explain – some individuals are more volatile than others and don’t always have a rational reason behind why they do what they do o Fails to account for the following A wide variety of variables affecting an individual’s decision to engage in crime Such as differences in biological and psychological factors The impact of socialization, poverty, and social structure on crime Socially disorganized neighborhoods vs. organized neighborhoods Certain characteristics that may influence reasoning Impulsiveness, drugs, alcohol Policy Implications o Crime-prevention policies and procedures that rely on the classical/rational choice perspective o Situational Crime Prevention Includes policies designed to make crime a more difficult and costly alternative Reduce crime in high-risk neighborhoods by altering the physical and social environment where crime is prevalent Key Elements o Increase the effort needed to commit the crime Unbreakable glass Motion-sensor lights Door/steering wheel locks Pictures on credit cards o Increase the perceived risk of committing the crime Lights in neighborhoods Increased presence of neighborhood watch More police on patrol o Reduce the potential rewards of the crime Banks have dye packets in money GPS-tracking systems on vehicles o Reduce situations that provoke anger and aggression o Remove rationalizing excuses for committing crime – set clear examples Signs that say “We prosecute shoplifters” or “this business is under surveillance” o Deterrence Strategies General deterrence Used to reduce crime and deviance by setting standards that apply to everyone Key Strategies Determine sentencing – fixed sentence for committing an offense Random traffic stops – deter drunk driving Specific deterrence Intended to teach criminals a lesson Key strategies Mandatory minimum sentences – fixed jail terms for specific offenses Truth in sentencing guidelines – offenders serve more than 80 percent of their sentence in prison before they can be released Incapacitation strategies Sentencing philosophy aimed to prevent (rather than deter) future offending Incapacitation effect – increase number/percentage of population in jail/prison and reduce the crime rate
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