Chapter 3 Notes
Chapter 3 Notes CJ 240
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This 11 page Class Notes was uploaded by Michela Spicer on Sunday September 18, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to CJ 240 at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa taught by Joshua Wakeham in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 5 views. For similar materials see Juvenile Delinquency in Criminal Justice at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa.
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Date Created: 09/18/16
Individual Views of Delinquency: Choice Theories Looking Ahead Theories of delinquency oSystematic, rigorous explanations of delinquent, criminal behavior oDifferent assumptions about Human nature (motivation, cognition, etc.) Causes of criminal behavior (choices, traits, situations, etc.) oDifferent theories suggest different kinds of interventions and policies Individual Theories Next 3 classes examine individual level explanations of delinquent behavior Two major schools of thought oChoice theory oTrait theory Biological Psychological Choice Theory Choice theory: people choose to engage in criminal activities oIndividuals have free will o Crime is simply the result of someone exercising their free will to rationally pursue their self-interests An Old Idea 1764: Italian philosopher and economist Cesare Beccaria publishes On Crimes and Punishment Classical criminology oKey assumptions Free will Hedonistic principle o Criminal activity: weigh benefits of crime against the costs of punishment o Intervention/policy: punishments must be sufficiently severe, swift, and certain to control crime Updates to an Old Idea Today: Rational Choice Theory oBroader social scientific theory of human behavior o Patterns in human behavior are the result of individuals pursuing their preferences and self-interests in a largely rational manner Crime is simply a rational choice for some individuals Choices, choices… Beliefs, preferences, constraints shape choices Some influences on delinquent decision-making oPersonal problems oFinancial needs/rewards oParental controls/supervision oControl, retribution, deterrence, reputation oCreating scripts Routine Activity Theory Lawrence Cohen and Marcus Felson: Volume and distribution of predatory crime (violent crimes or theft) reflect the routine interaction of three variables oCapable Guardians Police officers Homeowners Security systems Neighbors Parents oSuitable Targets Unlocked homes Expensive cars Easily transportable goods Cell phones, iPad, laptop oMotivated Offenders Teenage boys Unemployed Drug addict gang member From Theory to Practice If delinquent/criminal behavior is the result of rational choices, then how do we prevent delinquency/crime? oIncrease the costs of crime (ex: punishment) o Increase the constraints on the choice to commit crime (ex: make crime more difficult) Four resulting strategies of crime prevention oGeneral deterrence Choices to commit crime is structured by the threat of punishment If delinquent believes they’ll get away with it CRIME! If delinquent believes They’ll be apprehended They’ll be severely punished NO CRIME! KEY: do general deterrence strategies work? Evidence mixed results Positive: Low-rate vs high-rate offenders Greater police presence vs harsher sanctions Informal sanctions/shaming Why doesn’t general deterrence strategies work with adolescents? Teens are NOT RATIONAL! Punishments not a deterrent for highest risk offenders Actual experience of CJS undermines threat Adaptation to deterrence strategies oSpecific deterrence Specific: targets those already apprehended Same logic: increases punishment to deter future misbehavior Does it work? No- prior arrest, conviction best predictors of future arrest conviction Why not? oIncapacitation Basic logic: if they are locked up, they can’t commit more crime Strict incapacitation policies are not necessarily worth it “Schools of crime” Incarcerated criminals are replaced by the demands of criminal enterprise Incarceration occurs too late in crime lifecycle Expensive Contributes to community disruption oSituational crime prevention Preventing crime by focusing on the key situational elements of crime Making crime more difficult to perform Reducing the reward Increasing the risks Target-hardening techniques Make it harder to commit the crime Increasing risk of getting caught Lighting, alarms, CCTV, etc. Diffusion of benefits: sometimes targeting one crime lowers other crimes as well Reducing rewards Locked phones, marking property Big Picture Does choice theory have value in explaining juvenile delinquency? oWhat are its limits? What can’t it explain? Should these theories inform our policies? Biological Explanations Early Biological Theory Cesare Lombroso’s Positive School of Criminology (1878) o Criminals were born and could be distinguished by particular physical features, or atavisms “Positive” positivism or empirical study of criminals Extending on Lombroso Inheritability- is criminal behavior passed on genetically? oLombroso’s theory unclear on idea, but certainly suggested the idea oDugdale’s study of the Juke family (1888) oGoddard’s study of Kallikak’s two lines of progeny (1912) Biologically Determined Criminality? Problem: if crime is biologically determined, how do we prevent crime? Ideas about inheritability of criminal behavior contribute directly to eugenics movement In the US, forced sterilization of the “feebleminded” and other criminal types was quite common o1927, SJC: Buck vs Bell forced sterilization okay oNever overturned Somatotype Research William Sheldon (1949): developed typology of human form- somatotypes oMesomorph associated with aggression, criminal behavior Glueck’s research (1950) offers some support- but with caveat: its not just body type oKEY: social selection at play? Beyond the Early thological Theories By mid-20 century, biological explanations fall out of favor. Why? oUnscientific- more reflective of prejudicial ideologies th Mid 20 to today: biological biosocial oNot nature vs nurture oHow do nature and nurture interact? Contemporary Biosocial Explanations Two prevailing models oVulnerability model: direct link between traits and crime o Differential susceptibility model: people are predisposed, but environmental influences matter Three major areas of research oBiochemical factors Key components of these explanations The body’s biochemistry has a direct influence over an individual’s behavior The individual’s environment has a direct influence over the individual’s biochemistry Environment directly affects individuals’ biochemistry via two routes Harmful chemicals exposure causes brain damage and behavioral problems Deprivation not getting enough of the good things (vitamins, nutrients) causes behavioral problems oNeurological Dysfunction Minimal brain dysfunctions connected to aggression Inherited Injury In utero Environment oGenetic Influence Smoking and Drinking Smoking during pregnancy increased chance of psychopathology Secondhand smoke increased chance of conduct disorder Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Dangers of teenage drinking Environmental Contaminants Several harmful chemicals associated with behavioral problems and delinquency oPCBs oPesticides (chlorpyrifos) oSolvents, plastics oLead Diet and Delinquency Malnourishment associated with behavioral problems oFood insecurity oVitamin deficiencies Potential harms of artificial additives Problems with Omega-6 Fatty Acids oVs. benefits of Omega-3 Neuroscience and Criminality Growing body of research- connecting behavior and cognition to specific parts of the brain Functional magnetic resonance imaging studies o Looking for structural and functional differences between criminal and normal brains o Are there differences? Yes The Teenage Brain Teen brains function differently than adult brains Are some teenage brains more prone to misbehavior than others? oEarly research suggests: YES The Delinquent Brain Amygdala- part of brain responsible for fear, aggression oLower volumes associated with aggression, violence oFunctioning among psychopathic appears reduced Anterior Cingulate Cortex- part of the brain responsible for behavioral inhibition oLower activity associated with impulsivity, criminality oCriminals with lower ACC activity more likely to reoffend Learning Disabilities Many learning disabilities biological roots Research: positive correlation between learning disabilities and delinquency Two possible connections oDirect link between LD and delinquency- susceptibility rationale oIndirect link between LD and delinquency- school failure rationale Problem oNot all LD-individuals become delinquent oNot all delinquents have LD What kind of interventions or policies does this suggest? ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Neurological roots? Environmental factors? Genetic Influences Behavioral genetics oIdentify particular genes that might influence behavior o Method: is a particular gene more common in the criminal population? Parent-child similarities oCriminal parents more likely to have delinquent children oNature (genes) or nurture (upbringing)? Sibling similarities o One delinquent sibling increases the likelihood of other siblings being delinquent Particularly for same-sex siblings o Warm sibling relationships- stronger behavioral similarities, including delinquency Twin studies o Identical (monozygotic) vs fraternal (dizygotic) shared genes vs shared environment o MZ- more behavioral similarities, including delinquency, aggression, psychopathy From theory to practice KEY: what kind of policies do behavioral genetics suggest? KEY: can we legitimately think of genes as potential risk factors for criminal behavior? Psychological Explanations Individual Level Explanations Choice theory individual freely chooses to engage in crime “Kinds of people” explanations there is something in the individual that drives them to criminal behavior oBiology oPsychology Psychological Theories Psychological approaches focus on oPsychodynamics (Past/unconscious mind) oBehavior oCognition/Developmental oPersonality oIntelligence The Pyschodynamic Approach Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic/dynamic approach Freudian approach: experience in early life shape the unconscious mind, driving behavior Id- impulsive, driven by pleasure oSex and aggression Superego- social rules, mores Ego- rational part of the mind that tries to balance between the two Disturbances in the unconscious problematic behavior in adolescence or adulthood KEY: a person cannot necessarily speak to the motives of their problematic behavior Psycho Dynamic and Delinquency Alchom (1935): exposure to stressful social environment does not automatically lead to delinquent/criminal behavior o Not all kids from poor neighborhoods, broken homes become delinquents Latent delinquency: inadequate socialization leads to impulsivity, lack of empathy, lack of guilt Delinquents id dominated Berkshire Farm Juvenile treatment center in Canaan, NY (1886-present) “More than 95% of our boys come to us with a record of overt delinquency in varying degrees. Delinquency is the result of emotional disturbance and inner conflict due to many causes. Chief amongst these causes we find to be: oLack of parental understanding oLack of sound habit building oFrustration growing over inadequate schooling oParental rejection o Lack of proper community resources for preventing anti- social behavior o Adverse environmental situations…” Influence of Psychodynamic Approach Freud’s theory- unscientific Broader psychodynamic approach still influential oPast experiences lasting impact on the mind, behavior oRole of unconscious oTalk therapy Attachment Theory Basic idea: how a parent responds to an infant’s needs forms the emotional foundation for the child’s future relationships Attachment problems lack of trust, respect oSecure Parental style: aligned with the child, in tune with child’s emotions Resulting adult characteristics: able to create meaningful relationships; empathetic; able to set appropriate boundaries oAvoidant Parental style: unavailable or rejecting Resulting adult characteristics: avoids closeness or emotional connection; distant; critical; rigid; intolerant oAmbivalent Parental style: inconsistent and sometimes intrusive parent communication Resulting adult characteristics: anxious and insecure; explosive; abusive; untrusting even while craving security Mental Disorders and Delinquency Psychodynamic approach: delinquent behavior is the result of unconscious disturbance/conflict Disorders related to delinquency oPsychosis (schizophrenia) oMood disorders (alexithymia) oDisruptive Behavior Disorder Oppositional Defiant Disorder Conduct Disorder Behavioral Theory All behavior is learned or conditioned by ones environment oPositive reinforcement oPunishment Behaviorism and Delinquency Social learning theory: delinquent/criminal behavior is learned oDelinquent behavior is not appropriately punished oDelinquent behavior is rewarded (criminal family) oGood behavior is punished (good pose) Cognitive Psychology How people think about or interpret their surrounding determines their behavior Two key areas oDevelopmental psychology oInformation processing Cognitive development oPiaget: stages of cognitive development oKohlberg: stages of moral reasoning Delinquents often “stuck” at early stages in moral development Information processing oKEY: environment shapes how people process information People develop scripts to deal with daily problems Distorted thought processes- rationalization, minimization of harm, exaggerated sense of victimization, etc- are very common among chronic juvenile offenders Cognitive-Behavioral Approach Combines insights of cognitive psychology and behavioral approach Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) focuses on helping delinquents change patterns of thinking and action Significant amount of empirical evidence that CBT is effective in short and long term Personality and Delinquency Personality: a set of stable traits- attitudes, values, predispositions- that people exhibit in most situations Is there a delinquent or criminal personality? Are certain personality types more predisposed to crime? Early research: Glueck and Glueck (1950) no clear personality pattern in 1000 delinquents studied Recent research: there may be some traits associated with delinquency o Less agreeable; less conscientious; hostility; self- centeredness; spitefulness; lack of empathy Situational factors seem to play a larger role in negative feelings, reactions by delinquents and criminals Anti-Social Personality Personality lacking warmth, empathy; exhibits inappropriate behavior; unable to learn from mistakes Delinquency and anti-social personality? o Strong association with delinquency and psychopathic deviance subscale o Problem: many adolescents who exhibit psychopathic tendencies outgrow them Intelligence and Delinquency Early 20 century: criminal behavior is the result of low intelligence o Stanford-Binet Intelligence Test o Empirical testing giving test to those in institutions o Early research: as many as 50% of delinquents “feebleminded” (IQ < 75) Later 20 century: IQ test controversy o Low IQ and delinquency connection confirmed o Issues of race and class based differences Emerging critique: IQ as a fixed characteristic is problematic, IQ changes o Better nutrition, schooling, environment increase in IQ o Sociology not biology Limits of IQ The “bright delinquent” problem (Tennant and Gath 1975) Self-control vs intelligence o Stanford Marshmallow experiment (Walter Mischel) o James Heckman’s GED research KEY QUESTION: is delinquency largely a low self-control problem?
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