Crime and Criminology

January 8, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Psychology, Forensic Psychology
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Crime and Criminology

1. What is crime? 2. Durkheim on crime 3. What is deviance?

Course Website 

Crime can be defined…  Form of normal behavior  Violation of behavioral norms  Form of deviant behavior  Legally defined behavior  Violation of human rights  Social harm/injury  Form of inequality

Definition of crime  If we believe that crime is human

conduct in violation of the criminal law, we can easily identify criminal behavior from non-criminal

Carol Carr  The woman, Carol Carr, 64, killed her sons,

Michael R. Scott, 42, and Andy B. Scott, 41, in a nursing home  Both men were in the advanced stages of Huntington's disease and were bedridden and unable to communicate.  The disease, a degenerative nerve disorder that causes involuntary body movement, dementia and death, killed their father, Ms. Carr's first husband.

Carol Carr  ''What she did was illegal, but also what she

did was moral: she stopped the suffering of these children,'' her lawyer, Lee Sexton, said.

Unusual behaviors?  Keeping poop in show boxes

Emile Durkheim (1895)  Made three specific claims about the nature

of crime: 1. Crime is normal 2. Crime is inevitable 3. Crime is useful

Crime is normal  As normal as birth and marriage  Crimes occur in all societies  They are closely tied to the facts of collective

life  Crime rates tend to increase as societies evolve from lower to higher phases

Kitty Genovese of Kew Gardens, New York  In 1964, a 29-year-old Kitty cried out for help

from her neighbors when an assailant stabbed her twice in the back.  News reports afterwards suggested that 38 neighbors heard or saw some of what happened that night.  Everyone feels that someone else will do something or that someone is better equipped to respond

Crime is normal  Crime is functional for society  By punishing criminals, society reaffirms it

own values  If crimes were not committed, then the values of society would become blurred  If there is no punishment, then there would be no way of reestablishing the values that the crime offends

Crime is inevitable  No society can ever be entirely    

rid of crime Imagine a community of saints in a perfect and exemplary monastery Faults that appear venial to the ordinary person will arouse the same scandal as does normal crime Absolute conformity to rules is impossible Each member in society faces variation in background, education, heredity, social influences

Crime is useful  

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Crime is indispensable to the normal evolution of law and morality Crime often is a symptom of individual originality and a preparation for changes in society Rosa Parks (was a criminal) is a hero now Her simple act of protest galvanized America's civil rights revolution

Three perspectives on crime  The Consensus View of Crime  The Conflict View of Crime  The Interactionist View of Crime

The Consensus View of Crime  Consensus = agreement  Crimes are behaviors believed to be

repugnant (repulsive) to all elements of society  Substantive criminal law – written code that defines crimes and their punishments  This code reflects the values, beliefs, and opinions of society’s mainstream  Concept of ideal legal system

Legalistic definition  Crime is human conduct in violation of the

criminal laws of state, the federal government, or a local jurisdiction that has the power to make such laws  Some activities are not crimes even though they are immoral (watching pornography, torturing animals, creating poor working conditions)  No law= No crime

Domestic Violence  Twenty-five years ago, police, prosecutors,

and judges did not view domestic abuse (rape and battering) as real crime but rather as private matter where the woman to blame  No law = no crime

Nike Up to fifty percent of workers

cannot drink water or go to the toilet when they want A quarter of workers receive less than the legal minimum wage, even though Nike makes huge profits “Abusive treatment", physical and verbal, is exercised in more than a quarter of its south Asian plants

Poor working conditions - Crime?  For many years, human rights groups have

attacked Nike for the low pay and terrible working conditions, and for the use of child labour  Over half of its employees in Asia work more than sixty hours a week and have no day off

Conflict View of Crime  Powerful groups of people label selected

undesirable forms of behavior as illegal  Powerful individuals use their power to establish laws and sanctions against less powerful persons and groups  Official statistics indicate that crime rates in inner-city, high-poverty areas are higher than those in suburban areas  Self-reports of prison inmates show that prisoners are members of the lower class

Conflict View of Crime  Crime of inequality includes a lot of behaviors

that are omitted by legalistic definition  Crime is a political concept used to protect powerful people  Crimes of power (price fixing, economic crimes, unsafe working conditions, nuclear waste products, war-making, domestic violence, etc)

'‘Eco-mafia''  The developing South (particularly African

countries like Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea, Algeria and Mozambique) has become the dump for hundreds of thousands of tonnes of radioactive waste from the world's rich countries  A colossal business which is linked to money laundering and gunrunning

Nuclear waste drums found by Greenpeace  IIlegal dumps - among the largest in the world

- in Somalia, where workers handle the radioactive waste without any kind of safeguard or protective gear - not even gloves  The workers do not know what they are handling, and if one of them dies, the family is persuaded to keep quiet with a small bit of cash

Interactionist View of Crime  This view takes a smaller scale view of society and

social order and analyses small or medium scale social interactions  The main idea behind the interactionist approach to deviance is that the definition of what is deviant is socially negotiated  We will discuss the fact that definition of crime differs from one culture to another and also across time  It also differs according to where you are and with whom at any given moment.

Example  Imagine that a young male of 18 is walking

home late one night through the city streets singing at the top of his lungs and weaving about in the road  The police are called and the young man is taken to the police station  When he gets there he explains that earlier that day he has been accepted for a place at Cambridge University and he had been out with his friends to celebrate

Example  He has no previous police record. His father

is the local GP (General Practitioner)  The police call his father who arrives looking rather embarrassed. He apologizes to the police and they have a little joke together about young men and ‘boys will be boys’  The young man is sent home with a mild warning and the suggestion that he won't feel very well in the morning.

Another Scenario  A young male of 18 is walking home late one night through the  

 

city streets singing at the top of his lungs The police are called and the young man is taken to the police station When he gets there he explains that earlier that day he has been out with his friends to celebrate birthday He has no previous police record When asked for his address and telephone number the police realize that he lives in a notorious housing estate that has a high rate of criminal activity. The police call his father who arrives looking not very embarrassed. He apologizes to the police but they are unimpressed The boy is charged with breach of the peace

Howard Becker (1966)  “It is not act itself, but the reactions to the act,

that make something deviant”  People in different social groups/societies react differently to the same behavior  Moreover, within the same society at a given time the perception of deviance varies by class, gender, race, and age

Deviance is commonplace  We are all deviant from time to time  Each of us violates common social norms in

certain situations  Being late for class is categorized as deviant act  Dressing too casually for a formal wedding

Relativity of crime  Space  Time  Social context

Adultery is crime Saudi Arabia, the

United Arab Emirates, the Sudan, and some of the northern states of Nigeria practice a very strict form of Sharia law Sharia law requires that married or divorced persons found guilty of Zina (adultery) be executed by stoning

Sati tradition  Within the Indian culture there is a custom in

which a woman burns herself either on the funeral pyre of her deceased husband or by herself with a momento after his death  Proof of her loyalty to husband

Prostitution  Prostitution legalized in Netherlands from October 1,

   

2000 Prostitutes have the right to hygienic working conditions and security in the workplace They must pay taxes Can have social insurance, be paid sick leave, and receive a pension if they work for a brothel or own a company According to estimates published by the de Graaf Foundation, some 25,000 people work as prostitutes in the Netherlands.

Prostitutions in the USA  A federal law against prostitution concentrate

on the prohibition of crossing state or international boundaries for the purpose of engaging in sex for pay  In selected counties in Nevada prostitution is not criminalized

Social Context of crime  Crime is socially constructed (Burger, 1968)  An criminal act can be the same but the

interpretation of it can be different

The vocabulary of Homicide  Murder is the name for legally unjustified, intentional

homicide (legal and moral meanings)  Execution is the name for justified homicide (when terrorists kill their enemies)  Journalist Ambrose Bierce: “Homicide is the slaying of one human being by another. There are four kinds of homicide: felonious, excusable, justifiable, and praiseworthy, but it makes no great difference slain whether he fell by one kind or another-the classification is for the purposes of the lawyers”.

Vocabulary of homicide  Debate about abortion  Those who oppose call it murder  Those who favor legal access to abortion

speak of “terminating pregnancy” or “removing tissue”  Different moralities-different vocabularies  Crime is socially constructed?

What is deviance?  Deviance involves the violation of group

norms which may or may not be formalized into law  Some examples: criminals, alcoholics, people with tattoos, compulsive gamblers, and the mentally ill

Deviance  Deviation from norm is not always negative:  A member of an exclusive club who speaks

out against its traditional policy of excluding women, or poor people  Police officer who speaks against corruption within the department

Deviance  Deviant behavior is human activity that is

statistically different from the average  Deviance and crime are concepts that do not always easily mesh  Some forms of deviance are not violations of the criminal law and the reverse is true as well

Relationship between crime and deviance




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