Criminology

Criminology - Criminology Part 1: Concepts of Crime, Law,...

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Criminology 17/01/2008 22:08:00 Part 1: Concepts of Crime, Law, and Criminology  Chapter 1     : Crime and Criminology  Introduction predators, identity left, etc)  Criminology : an academic discipline that uses scientific methods to study the  nature, extent, cause, and control of criminal behavior  o Criminologists are objective o Criminology is an  interdisciplinary science  and  criminal justice  is a  degree that criminologists often hold A Brief History of Criminology During the Middle Ages (1200-1600) people who violated social  norms/religious practices were considered to be witches/possessed by  demons, and were punished using cruel torture  Classical Criminology o In mid-18 th  century, social philosophers began to argue for a more  rational approach to punishment  Wanted to eliminate cruel public executions that were meant to  scare people into obedience  o Moderate view can be traced to writings of Italian scholar,  Cesare  Beccaria  (1738-1794)   one of first to develop a systematic  understanding of why people committed crime  Believed in  utilitarianism : in their behavior choices, people  illegal acts outweigh the likely pains of punishment  Punishment must be perfectly sufficient to  counterbalance criminal gain (not too much, not too little) 
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In order for punishment to be effective it must be public,  prompt, necessary, the least possible in the given  circumstances, proportionate, and dictated by law  These ideas are referred to as  classical criminology  Basic elements: In every society, people have free will to choose  criminal or lawful solutions to meet their needs or  settle their probs  Criminal solutions may be more attractive than  lawful ones b/c they usually require less work for a  greater payoff A person’s choice of criminal solutions may be  controlled by his or her fear of punishment  The more severe, certain, and swift the  punishment, the better able it is to control criminal  behavior  “Let the punishment fit the crime”  Positivist Criminology  o Scientists wanted to apply the scientific method to study human  behavior o Auguste Comte (1798-1857): founder of sociology  Argued societies pass through stages that can be grouped on  the basis of how people try to understand the world in which  they live  People in primitive societies believe inanimate objects have life  and in later social stages people embrace a rational, scientific 
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This note was uploaded on 04/08/2008 for the course SOC 239 taught by Professor Becker during the Spring '08 term at Vanderbilt.

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Criminology - Criminology Part 1: Concepts of Crime, Law,...

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