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Unformatted text preview: Sociology of the Criminal Justice System 1/20/11 Chapter 2: Causes of Crime Criminology The scientific study of crime and the causes of criminal behavior Criminologists A spet in the field of crime and the causes of criminal behavior Criminologists attempt to discover o Correlations relationships between variables in which they vary together o Causation a relationship where one variable causes a change in another Theory An explanation of a happening or circumstance that is based on observation, experimentation and reasoning A Hypothesis A possible explanation for an observed occurrence that can be tested by further investigation Hypotheses are tested using the scientific method Choice Theory Choice theories maintain that people choose to commit crime Cost/benefit analysis Began in classical criminology crime is a result of our rational decision making process Cesare Beccaria (Classical) believed that because we make these decisions, crime follows these truths: o All decisions, including the decision to commit a crime, are the result of rational choice o Fear of punishment acts as a deterrent on the choice to commit crime o The more swift and certain punishment is, the more effective it will be as a deterrent (controlling crime) Jeremy Benthams Theory of Utilitarianism states that punishment should have four goals: o (1) To prevent all crime o (2) When it cannot prevent all crime, to assure that a criminal will commit a lesser crime to avoid harsher punishment (to avoid violent crimes) o (3) To give the offender the incentive not to harm others in the pursuit of crime o (4)To prevent crime at the least possible cost to society o Punishment should result in the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people Positivism o Criminal behavior is determined by biological, psychological, and social forces beyond the control of the individual o Cesare Lombroso is the Father of Criminology Criminality determined at birth Thought that criminals could be identified by outward appearance Criminals have no free choice in offending Modern Choice Theory o James Q. Wilsons rational choice theory Person weighs costs and benefits o Jack Katzs seduction of crime theory Rewards of the rush of crime are the seduction of crime o Three assumptions of rational choice theory (1) Humans are rational beings...
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This note was uploaded on 04/10/2011 for the course SOCL 3371 taught by Professor Raymandberranco during the Spring '09 term at LSU.
- Spring '09