Crime and Criminal Justice

LECTURE 11: CRIME AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE CRIME AS A SOCIAL PROBLEM? Individually and socially significant, so even though the rate has decreased over time it is still a social problem Media exposure to crimes (news and tv shows) WHAT IS CRIME? "behaviour that violates the criminal law and is punishable by fine, jail term, or other negative sanctions" 2 Elements the Crown Must Prove: o Mens Rea - some type of criminal intent o Actus Reus - action that the person takes (direct action or lack of action) Two Types of Crime: o Mala in Se ('evil in itself') morality laws, based on society's morality (murder) o Mala Prohibita ('evil because it is prohibited') action is evil not because the action is a crime (drug use, speeding, sex work) These laws are more easily changed (Weed) VIOLENT CRIME Occurs when a Victim is Harmed by or Threatened with Violence What Causes Violent Crime? o Personality traits? Research has shown more common characters include psychotic symptoms, low intelligence, BPD o Family upbringing? Troubled upbringing, socialized into violence life o Social/External factors? Structure that influences individual (urban vs. rural; city has more crime) Substance use Availability of firearms Cultural dynamic (America vs New Zealand) Homicide o 651 reported homicides in Canada in 2018 o Most in Ontario (266) o 140 victims were indigenous Sexual Assault o Definition: assault of a sexual nature that violates the sexual integrity of the victim o Supreme court of Canada held that the act of sexual assault does not depend solely on contact with any specific part of the human anatomy, but rather the act of the sexual nature that violates the sexual integrity of the individual o Reported rates have remained relatively stable for 15 years o Victims tend to be young, women, and know their assailant HATE CRIME Hate Crime Rates have been Increasing over the Last Four Years in Canada
LECTURE 11: CRIME AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE Majority of Offences are Property-Related and Motivated by Hate Towards Religious Groups Crime and Justice Statistics - Police-Reported Hate Crime in Canada 2017 WHITE COLLAR AND CORPORATE CRIME White Collar Crime : crime that is financially motivated, non-violent o Experts have estimated that the cost of white-collar crime around hundreds of billions of dollars White collar crime has a more significant impact on society than street crime but the consequences are not the same o Power dynamic at play Corporate Crime: socially injurious acts committed by companies to further their business interests o Case: Westray Disaster 26 miners were killed in Nova Scotia, owners were responsible THE PROBLEM WITH NUMBERS How we measure crime is not objectice MEASURES OF CRIME Uniform Crime Report Victimization Survey Self-Reporting MEASURES OF CRIME - UNIFORM CRIME REPORT (UCR) Implemented in 1962 in Canada Data Collected from Police Reports Problems with the UCR? o The Dark Figure - there is this elusive number that is unaccounted for A lot of victims fail to report to the police (too personal, can't trust police) Schools and educational institutions want to deal with things in house Political reasons, how crime is defined Strengths o In US it the longest running measure o Accurate idea for motor vehicle theft and murder MEASURES OF CRIME - VICTIMIZATION SURVEYS Helps to Overcome Limitations of the UCR Part of the General Social Survey (Canadian's Safety) Collects Data Every 5 Years Shown 3 times more victimization cases than UCR (helps the dark figure problem) Limitations? o Misses the homeless and children o Issues with recollection o Mystic crime experience by businesses
LECTURE 11: CRIME AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE o Issues with people accurately remembering and reporting their victimization MEASURES OF CRIME - SELF-REPORTED CRIME Tends to be Carried out by Independent Researchers Surveys, Interviews Can Go Beyond the Numbers SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES OF CRIME - FUNCTIONALISM Anomie and Strain Theory Durkheim's 'Anomie' = A State of Normlessness o Some type of social or personal upheaval that's happening that you don't quite know what the norms are, and it can create issues and create deviance and crime o State of instability that can lead to higher crime rates Merton's 'Anomie' = The Goals/Means Gap o As a major part of our culture, we are inundated with the idea that we must strive for the American dream o There is an over emphasis on goals and under emphasis on means o Five Modes of Adaptation (how we deal with this strain): Conformist - doesn't have to deal with strain b/c they figured it out, embraced the goals and have the means to get there Innovator - getting criminal behaviour (not always) b/c of the strain, embrace the goal but don't have access to legitimate means to attain these goals Ritualist - not criminal, btu deviant; these people go through the legitimate means but they kind of plateaued, don't keep striving to get more stuff Retreatist - more deviant than criminal, reject the goal and the means, in society but not of it, checked out whether it is intentional or not Rebel - can be criminal, people who rejected the goals and means but haven't checked out, want to replace with new goals and new means SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES OF CRIME - INTERACTIONISM Differential Association Theory (1930s) o Social learning process Crime was a function of the learning proves that could affect anyone Moving away from biological and phycological explanations of crime, it's not inherent (same way we learn to ride a bike) o We learn crime as in any other behaviour or action o We learn crime from the people we associate with /learned in interaction with others o Criminal perceives more benefits than consequences for their actions (learned) o The motives for criminal behaviour are not the same as conventional behaviour Labelling Theory o Crime is bad because we label it as bad o Crime and criminality are subjective o Not concerned with why someone commits a crime
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