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72 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
What is a theory?
Defined: “theory is a series of interrelated propositions which attempt to explain, predict, and ultimately control some class of events.
consist of proscriptions covering potentially serious violations of a group’s values.
time-honored customs.
The classical school preaches:
Rational thought & free will: People have control over their own lives and make choices about their behavior (ex. Crime is a personal choice)
mala in se:
acts that are said to be fundamentally wrong, regardless of the time or place (example: murder).
mala prohibita:
acts that are said to be wrong for the simple reason that they are prohibited.
Cesare Beccaria: 1738-1794
Formed “academy of fists”
-“dedicated to waging a relentless war against economic disorder, beaurocratic petty tyranny, religious narrow mindedness, and intellectual pedantry.”

Beccaria claimed that criminals should be punished based on the degree of injury they cause

Crime prevention was more important than revenge: The purpose of punishment should be based on deterrence, not retribution
Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)
According to Bentham, to reduce crime, the pain of crime commission must outweigh the pleasure to be derived from criminal activity

Humans are fundamentally rational & criminals will weigh in their minds the pain of punishment against pleasures they think will come from criminal acts

“Hedonistic Calculus”– Pain vs. Pleasure

Prison design: “Panopticon” (guards in the middle)
All things in life must have a function. That function should provide the greatest good for the greatest number of people.
Classical School has the following things:
1. Rationality: Human beings have free will, and the actions they take are the result of choice.
Punishment: Criminal punishment is a deterrent to unlawful behavior, and deterrence is the best justification for punishment

4. Human rights: Society is made possible by individuals cooperating

5. Due Process: Accused are innocent until proven guilty

2. Hedonism: Pleasure & pain, or reward & punishment, are the major determinants of choice
Neoclassical Criminology
By the end of 1800’s Classical Criminology was replaced with “Positivism” which relied on the Scientific Method to study crime

Rejected free will in favor of a scientific approach.
By 1970’s – Positivism lost steam because of lack of success in reforming criminals and was replaced with:
Neoclassical Criminology - back to the free choice
Differences between classical and neoclassical:
Classical treated all criminals the same

Classical took no account of individual differences

Neoclassical recognized age and mental condition may affect criminal behavior
Rational Choice Theory
Late 1970’s & early 1980’s

Mirrors many of the principles of Classical Criminology

Criminals make a conscious, rational, and at least partially informed choice to commit crime

Human behavior results from personal choice made after weighing both the costs & the benefits of available alternatives
1. Routine Activities Theory

2. Situational Choice Theory

(varities of rational choice theory)
3 factors:
Motivated offender
Suitable target
Absence of capable guardians

(1985) Crime is not only a matter of motivation, but also of opportunity

Suggests that the probability of
criminal activity can be reduced
by changing the environment

Examples: public surveillance, improved lighting, controlling alcohol sales at sporting events (ex. “basketball brawl”)
Deterrence theory
Used by convincing potential delinquents that they will be punished for committing delinquent acts, punishing severely to prevent future acts, and/or making it difficult to commit crimes that the potential gain is not worth the risk.
Deterrence theory 2
The more severe, swift, and certain the punishment, the greater the deterence effect will be.
Situational Crime Prevention
Rather than deter or punish, reduce opportunities:
Increase the effort to commit delinquent acts
Target hardening (Glass, DWI, Club)
Increase the risks of illegal activity
More lighting, security sys, CCTV, watch programs
Reduce the rewards attached to these acts
Detachable face, marking property
Increasing the shame
Public Humiliation, Newspaper
institutional arrangements -
Social Structure
Social Disorganization Theory
They noted how rates of crime rose among people who had been so displaced, & they hypothesized that the cause was the social disorganization which resulted from immigrants’ inability to successfully transplant guiding norms & values from their home cultures into the new one.
Some of the earliest to study American communities were W.I. Thomas & Florian Znaniecki.
Wrote The Polish Peasant in Europe & America

They described the problems Polish immigrants faced in the early 1900’s when they left their homeland & moved to American cities.
Who headed the Chicago School
Headed by Robert Park & Ernest Burgess from the University of Chicago.

Received widespread recognition.

In 1920’s & 1930’s they developed what became known as social ecology, or the ecological school of criminology.

Influenced by the work of biologists on the interaction of organisms with their environments, concealed itself with how the structure of society adapts to the quality of natural resources & to the existence of other human groups.
Park & Burgess viewed cities in terms of how many concentric zones?
Park & Burgees concentric zone 1 is
Known as “The Loop”

Mostly made up of retail businesses
Parl & Burgees Concentric Zone 2 is
Surrounded the city center

Home to recent immigrant groups & characterized by deteriorated housing, factories, & abandoned buildings
Park & Burgees concentric Zone III is?
Contained mostly working class tenements
Park & Burgees concentric Zone 4?
Mostly occupied by middle class citizens with single family homes
Park & Burgees concentric Zone 5?
Known as the commuter zone

The suburbs
Clifford Shaw & Henry McKay
Applied concentric zone model to study juvenile delinquency

Shaw & McKay found that rates of offending remained relatively constant over time within the zone of transition as they had predicted.

Shaw & McKay saw Social Disorganization as the inability of local communities to solve common problem, & they believed that the degree of disruption in a community was largely predicted upon the extent of residential mobility & racial homogeneity present in the community.
Strain Theory
Depicts delinquency as a form of adaptive, problem-solving behavior, usually committed in response to problems involving frustrating and undesirable social environments.
Emile Durkheim (France)
Anomie Developed by Durkheim

In response to suicides taking place in France during Industrialization

Anomie defined as “normlessness”

In his book, Suicide, anomie was used to explain how a breakdown of predictable social conditions lead to feelings of personal loss or dissolution.
Robert Merton (U.S.)
Anomie came to mean a disjunction between socially approved means to success & legitimate goals

Merton maintained that legitimate goals, involving such things as wealth, status, & personal happiness are generally portrayed as desirable for all.

means are not equally available to all members of society.
Merton believed people will adapt to strain in 5 ways.
1. Conformity
2. Innovation
3. Ritualism
4. Retreatism
5. Rebellion
Accepts the goals and means of society

Lawyers, Doctors, etc.
Accepts the goals but not the means of society

Drug Sellers, Prostitutes, etc.
Does not accept goals of society

Does accept means of society

Do not break the law, but do not care about social achievement
Rejects the goals of society

Rejects the means of society

Dropouts, drug abusers, homeless, etc.
Replace the goals of society
Replace the means of society

Political radicals, revolutionaries, etc.
General Strain Theory (GST) was developed by:
Robert Agnew
General Strain Theory (GST) suggests:
GST suggests that delinquent behavior is a coping mechanism that enables adolescents to deal w/ the socio emotional problems generated by negative social relations.
Culture Conflict Theory is based on:
Based on the writings of Thomas Sellin and his 1938 book Culture Conflict and Crime
Culture Conflict Theory suggets:
Suggests that the root cause of criminality can be found in a clash of values between differentially socialized groups over what is acceptable or proper behavior.
Sellin describes two types of Culture Conflict.

Primary Conflict
Secondary Conflict
Primary Conflict - Arises when a fundamental clash of cultures occurs.

Secondary Conflict: Arises when smaller cultures within the primary one clashed
So it is that middle class values, upon which most criminal laws are based, may find fault w/ inner-city or lower class norms, resulting in the social phenomenon we call crime.
Trait Theory
Focus on biological and psychological
Evolution of trait theory
Lombroso ->
interest in role of physical characteristics
Cesare Lombroso
Medical Doctor; studied Anthropometrics
Anthro: Humans
Pometrics: Measurements
Criminal Atavism: Physical anomalies that make them similar to our primitive ancestors
Born Criminal -
Behavior was inherited.
You were born criminal because you inherited a gene that was primitive to man.
This “throwback” gene was labeled “Stigmata”
Born in a negative environment
Environmentally induced criminal
Criminally Insane
Their insanity caused the crime
Reason for crime was their mental disease
Criminals by Passion
Commit crimes because of noble traits and ideas

e.g., killing spouse
Occasional Criminal
Find self in a situation you can’t avoid

Offered no solutions
Biological -

Hereditary Theory
Dugdale: Criminal Behavior was caused by parents

Ada Juke : Criminal (genetic)
Parents were cause
Studied Martin Kallikak
Martin and Prostitute had children
Martin and wife had children

Offspring of prostitute was fraught with criminal activity
Gene Pool was reason

Study doesn’t recognize socialization; life circumstances
Went in prisons like Lombroso and studied physical characteristics of convicts.

“your body type will influence your behavior”
soft & round
athletic, muscular- most likely to be criminal.
thin & fragile
Balanced :
average built
Traits related to delinquency
Learning disabilities
Hyperactivity/impulsivity/attention deficit
Poor problem-solving skills
Reduced ability to learn from punishment
Immature moral reasoning or amoral beliefs
Low verbal IQ
Biosocial theory
Focuses on the correlation between biological makeup, environmental conditions, and antisocial behaviors
Biosocial Theory
Majority of research in this area focuses on 3 factors: biochemical, neurological dysfunction, and genetic influences
Assaults are most prevalent during
evening & early hours of the night.
Hormonal levels
Antisocial behavior seems to peak in the teenage years when hormonal activity is at its greatest level
Minimal brain dysfunction (MBD)
Neurological deficits such as damage to the hemispheres of the brain
Impairment in brain functioning can occur:
During pregnancy
Birth complications
Inherited abnormalities
Brutal beatings
Form of brain dysfunction most often linked to delinquency
Estimates range from 3 – 12%
Arousal theory
“thrill seekers”
Adolescents may engage in illegal activity for the thrill
Some require little stimulation (too much = anxiety)
Others become “sensation seekers” that find stimulating behavior that may include aggressive behavior
Genetic Influences
Parental Deviance
If criminal tendencies are inherited, then the children of criminal parents should be more likely to become law violators than the offspring of conventional parents
Psychodynamic Theory
The human personality is controlled by unconscious mental processes developed early in childhood
Nature Theory
Intelligence is inherited and is a function of genetic makeup
Nurture Theory
Intelligence is determined by environmental stimulation and socialization
Social learning
Crime as learned response. How?
Observation in family
Mass media
Environmental experiences