notes - DETERRENCE OR RATIONAL CHOICE THEORY Classical...

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DETERRENCE OR RATIONAL CHOICE THEORY Classical Criminology Pre- modern understanding of criminality Demonic perspective Crime resulted from supernatural forces Crime conceived as a sin Theological understanding of its cures Corporal punishments and wrongdoers o Burning alive o Exorcisms to purge out evil spirits o Branding o Ostracism/banishment The legal environment Arbitrary and capricious justice Sentences often depended on one’s social status Corruption was a problem Judges had wide discretion in applying as much law as could suit their interest As essay on Crimes and Punishments (1764) Ce sore Beccaria o Revolutionary document informed the US constitution o Banned by the Vatican First scientific approach to crime – fruit of enlightenment Ideas are at the foundation of nearly all modern criminal justice Philosophy of Classical Theory Thomas Hobbes and the Social Contract Man is assumed to be a rational actor, utility maximize – Jeremy o Maximizes benefit, minimizes cost Classical theory defined In order to deter crime penalties must be made known and applied with: o Swiftness – speedy trial (not tried years after the crime) o Severity – imposed with just enough costs to out weigh the benefits of crime, weak element o Certainty – most important element Aimed at general and specific determent Classical Theory in our legal institutions Mens rea and actus o Cant punish someone for not understanding what was wrongly done (e.g., children, mentally ill) o Atus reus – you had to have done it Right to a speedy trial Law is to be applied equally
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Punishment designed to fit the crime, not the criminal Liberty, Equality, & Fraternity – the Enlightenment period Becceria o Claims that if people know the law, they wont commit it, - rational choice How we should punish, based on action Severity, in access Certainty, if you break a law you will be punished Deterrence decay, after being shown negative stimuli, one is less likely to commit the crime again General Questions about risk cannot predict what people will actually do when they find themselves in specific situations that offer them opportunities to commit crime Opportunity + Bordem = excitement Riches of victimization are associated with differences in lifestyle and leisure Efficacy Glaser and Ziester: Death penalty does not deter homicide it is unlikely that longer prison sentences do States that have the most severe penalties have the highest crimes. Beyond Classical Brutalization Effect Classical theory assumes that criminal and non criminal are alike The birth of science and positivism challenged this notion Forces beyond one’s control led to criminality Insistence on finding characteristics unique to criminality Emphasis on objective measurement BIOLOGICAL INFLUENCES ON CRIMINALITY Advancing Beyond Classical Criminology
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