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Prezi 2: Criminological Theory

Segment 7

Chris Romo

on 7 May 2013

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Transcript of Prezi 2: Criminological Theory

Theories Classical Theory "Let the punishment fit the crime"

Based on Bentham's Utilitarian Calculus: People choose to act, or not to act, after weighing costs and benefits.

Key figure: Cesare Beccaria. Argued that people are egotistical and self-centered; must be motivated by fear of punishment.

Promoted what is now known as marginal deterrence.

Though at the heart of courts, policing, and corrections, this theory fell out of favor with criminologists after biopsychosocial factors started being analysed Rational Choice Theory Modern successor of Classical Theory

Holds that human behavior is willful and determined

Personal and situational factors are considered when crime
is being deliberated; if risks outweigh possible benefits, no
crime will be committed.

Holds concepts of general and specific deterrence as practical applications of precepts

Key Figure: Andrew von Hirsch. Claimed that
punishment should fit crime, and
sentencing should not be
"catered." Crime results
from decision
to commit
crime Crime results from a scientifically observable element within the person Biological Positivism Physical features of offenders defined their criminality.

Best known biopositivists were phrenologists, who believed skull shape/size had a direct link with brain capability to promote or deter crime within the individual.

Later biopositivists took to analyzing abnormalities in the human mind, and their link with criminality.

With the advent of Freud, this led to the
establishment of the psychological
basis of behaviour. Psychological
Theories of
Determinism Criminal
Anthropology Inheritance School Promoted by Goddard, Dugdale,
and Estabrook

Traced generations of crime-prone families

Convinced criminal tendencies were based on

Concluded that socially inferior traits
can be inherited Somatotype School Developed by William Sheldon

Criminals with distinct physiques made them
susceptible to types of antisocial behaviour:

Mesomorphs: Athletic most likely to become criminals
Endomorphs: Lazy, likely to engage in nonstrenuous crime
Ectomorphs: Lanky, unlikely to become criminals
Xenomorphs: Alien, likely to kill you but in space no one can hear you scream

Sheldon admitted pure types were rare and most
people had elements of the main three Biosocial theory Reflects the assumed link between
physical and mental traits, the social
environment, and behaviour. Sociobiology Developed by Edmund O. Wilson

Stresses that biological and genetic conditions affect
how social behaviours are learned and perceived.

These perceptions are linked to existing environmental structures.

Gene is the ultimate unit of life that controls human destiny.

People are controlled by the innate need to have their genetic material survive and dominate others

Aid of others explained by reciprocal altruism Trait Theory
Each offender is considered unique

Several explanations for crime within the individual,
because there are many differences among offenders.

Legal definitions of crime are not focused on, as they represent artificial legal concepts based on arbitrary boundaries.

Focus of Trait Theory lies in basic human behaviour and drives

Recognize environmental factors in addition to personal traits

In short, genes can predispose, but environment will
trigger the act Biochemical Conditions Can be genetically predetermined
or introduced through diet and
environment, before and/or after birth

Major biochem factors linked to criminality: Smoking
Chemical/Mineral Exposure
Sugar intake
Hormonal Influences
Environmental Contaminants Neurophysiological Conditions Neurological and physical abnormalities
are acquired as early as fetal stage and
control behaviour throughout lifespan

Significant link proven between impaired
functioning and aggressive behaviour Minimal Brain Dysfunction
Learning Disabilites
Tumors, Lesions, Injury, Disease
Brain Chemistry Genetics Theorists in this camp are interested in the
role genetics plats in shaping human behaviour

Is propensity to commit crime an inherited trait passed
down within generations?

Relationship between inherited traits and crime might be
direct or indirect.

Sibling, Twin, and Adoption studies have
yielded strong results. Evolutionary Theory Human traits that produce violence and
aggression are from process of human evolution.

Based on competitive nature of passing on genes,
leading to intergenerational passing down of aggressive

Linked to violence and gender studies as well Arousal Theory Some people need high degrees of
environmental input to feel comfortable

"Sensation seekers" seek out stimulating activities,
may include aggressive, violent behaviour patterns

Factors that determine person's level of arousal: Brain chemistry and structure
Heart rate
Autonomic nervous system Psychological trait theory Long history, dating back to late 1800s

Focuses on associations among intelligence,
personality, learning, and criminal behaviour Psychodynamic Theory Development of unconscious personality early
in childhood influences behaviour for the rest
of the person's life. Criminals have weak egos, and
damaged personalities.

Strengths of theory: it explains onset of crime and why
crime and drug abuse cut across class lines.

Research focuses on mental disorders, personality
development, and unconscious motivations
and drives. Cognitive Theory Individual reasoning processes influence
behaviour. Reasoning is influenced by the way
people perceive their environment.

Strengths of theory: shows why criminal behaviour patterns change over time as people mature, and
develop their reasoning powers. It may explain the
aging-out process.

Research focuses on perception and cognition. Behavioural Theory People commit crime when they model their
behaviour after others they see being rewarded
for similar acts. Behaviour is reinforced by rewards,
and extinguished by punishment.

Strengths of theory: Explains role of significant others in crime process, shows how the media can influence crime and violence.

Research focuses on media and violence, and effects of
child abuse Crime
results from
social factors Social Structure Theories Social and economic forces operating in deteriorated lower-class areas are key determinant of criminal behaviour patterns

Challenge theorists who claim that crime is an expression of some personal trait or individual choice

Argue that people living in equivalent social enviornments tend to behave in a similar predictable fashion. Social Disorganization Theory Focuses on the conditions in the environment:

Deteriorated neighborhoods

Inadequate social control

Law-violating gangs and groups

Conflicting social values Strain Theory Focuses on conflict between goals and means:

Unequal distribution of wealth and power


Alternative methods of achievement Cultural Deviance Theory Combination of Social Disorg. and Strain Theories:

Subcultures develop as a result of disorganization
and stress

Subcultural values in opposition to conventional
values Concentric Zones Theory Crime is a product of transitional neighborhoods that manifest social disorganization and value conflict.

Strengths of Theory: Identifies why crime rates are highest in slum areas. Points out the factors that produce crime. Suggests programs to help reduce crime.

Research focuses on poverty, disorganization, gangs, neighborhood change; community context of crime Social Ecology Theory Conflicts and problems of urban social life and
communities (including fear, unemployment, deterioration,
and siege mentality) influence crime rates.

Strengths of Theory: Accounts for urban crime rates and trends. Identifies community-level factors that produce high crime rates.

Research focuses on social control, fear, collective efficacy, and unemployment. Anomie Theory People who adopt the goals of society but lack the
means to attain them seek alternatives, such as crime.

Strengths of Theory: Points out how competition for success creates conflict and crime. Suggests that social conditions and not personality can account for crime.
Explains high lower-class crime rates.

Research focuses on frustration, anomie, effects of failure to achieve goals Institutional Anomie Theory The desire to accumulate wealth and material goods pervades all aspects of American life.

Strengths of Theory: Explains why crime rates are so high in American culture.

Research focuses on frustration, effects of materialism General Strain Theory Strain has a variety of sources. Strain causes crime in the absence of adequate coping mechanisms.

Strengths of Theory: Identifies the complexities of strain in modern society. Expands on anomie theory. Shows the influence of social events on behaviour over the life course. Explains middle-class crimes.

Research focuses on strain, inequality, negative affective states, influence of negative and positive stimuli. Focal Concern Theory Citizens who obey the street rules of lower-class life
(focal concerns) find themselves in conflict with the dominant culture.

Strengths of Theory: identifies the core values of lower-class culture and shows their association to crime

Research focuses on cultural norms and focal concerns Theory of Opportunity Blockage of conventional opportunities causes
lower-class youths to join criminal, conflict, or retreatist gangs.

Strengths of Theory: Shows that even illegal opportunities are structured in society. Indicates why people become involved in a particular type of criminal activity. Presents a way of preventing crime.

Research focuses on gangs, cultural norms, culture conflict, effects of blocked opportunity. Cohen's Theory of
Delinquent Gangs Status frustration of lower-class boys , created by their
failure to achieve middle-class success, causes them to join gangs.

Strengths of Theory: Shows how the conditions of lower-class life produce crime. Explains violence and destructive acts. Identifies conflict of lower class with middle class.

Research focuses on gangs, culture conflict, middle-class
measuring rods, reaction formation. Social Process Theory Social Learning Theories Differential Association Theory People learn to commit crime from exposure to
antisocial definitions Strengths of Theory: Explains onset of criminality. Explains the presence of crime in all elements of social structure. Explains why some people in high-crime areas refrain fro criminality. Can apply to adults and juveniles.

Research focuses on measuring definitions towards
crime, inflence of deviant peers and parents Differential Reinforcement Theory Criminal behaviour depends on the person's
experiences with rewards for convention behaviours
and punishment for deviant ones. Being rewarded for deviance leads to crime.

Strengths of Theory: Adds psychological learning theory principles to differential association. Links sociological and psychological principles.

Research focuses on the cause of criminal activity, how
the content of socialization conditions crime. Neutralization Theory Youths learn ways of neutralizing moral
restraints and periodically drift in and out of criminal behaviour patterns

Strengths of Theory: Explains why many delinquents do not become adult criminals. Explains why youthful law violators can participate in conventional behaviour.

Research focuses on identifying the neutralizations
people use to commit crime without jeopardizing their
cherished beliefs and values Social Control Theory As defined by Hirschil: A person's bond to society prevents him or her from violating social rules. If the bond weakens, the person is free to commit crime.

Strengths of Theory: Explains the onset of crime, can apply to both middle and lower class crime. Explains its theoretical constructs adequately so they can be measured. Has been empirically tested.

Research focuses on measuring the association between commitment, attachment, involvement,
belief, and crime Social Reaction Theory AKA Labeling Theory: People enter law-violating careers when they are labeled for their acts and organize their personalities around the labels.

Strengths of Theory: Explains the role of society in creating deviance. Explains why some juvenile offenders do not become adult criminals. Develops concepts of criminal careers.

Research focuses on determining whether self-concept is related to crime. Showing how the
differential application of labels produces
crime, measuring the effect of
stigma. Crime
results from
social conflict Social
Theory Critical
Criminology Instrumental Theory Conflict-Based Theory Left Realism Critical Feminism Power-Control Theory Postmodern
Theory Peacemaking Criminology Restorative Justice Law and Justice System serve the powerful
and rich and enable them to impose their morality and standards on entire society.

Poor are arrested and punished more often, despite similar crime rates as other classes.

Goal: Show how capitalist law preserves ruling-class power Structural Theory Relationship between capitalism and law is unidirectional, always working for the rich and against the poor, laws NOT purely instruments of the wealthy.

Law is designed to keep the system operating efficiently, and anyone who rocks the boat is targeted for sanction.

All, rich or poor, must play by the rules Criminals are not simply social misfits but people who have come up short in the struggle for success and are seeking alternative means of achieving wealth, status, or survival.

Focuses on the mis/use of power, ability of
persons to control others, and shape
public opinion to meet their
personal interest. Crime is a function of relative deprivation, criminals prey on the poor.

Strengths of Theory: Represents a compromise between conflict and traditional criminology.

Research focuses on deterrence, protection. The capitalist system creates patriarchy, which
oppresses women
Strengths of Theory: Explains gender bias, violence against women, and repression.
Research focuses on gender inequality,
oppression, patriarchy Girls are more controlled than boys in
traditional male-dominated households. There is gender equity in contemporary egalitarian homes.

Strengths of Theory: Explains gender differences in the crime rate as a function of class and gender conflict.

Research focuses on Power and Control, gender
differences, and domesticity. Peace and humanism can reduce crime,
conflict resolution strategies can work.

Strengths of Theory: Offers a new approach to
crime control through mediation.

Research focuses on punishment,
nonviolence, mediation. Developmental Theories Christopher's Completely Connected Complex Composition of Core Criminological Concepts! Clearly the Climax of the Course Content!!!!! Latent Trait Theories As people develop, a master trait influences their behaviour, guiding and controlling behaviour choices. Trajectory Theories There is more than a single path to crime, there are different classes and types of criminals.

Strength of Theory: Explains the existence of different types and classes of criminals.

Research focuses on measuring different criminal paths. Common Elements Criminal careers are a passage. Involvement
in crime is not a constant but may increase or decrease in frequency, severity, and variety, depending on external factors ranging from opportunity to social control. Life Course Theories Factors that shape human behaviour change over the life course, influenced by human decisions Social Development Model Community level risk factors make some people susceptible to antisocial behaviours. Preexisting risk factors are either reinforced or neutralized by socialization.

To control the risk of antisocial behaviours, the child must maintain prosocial bonds.

Over the life course, involvement in either type of behaviour determines the quality of attachments.

Prosocial path inhibits deviance by strengthening bonds to prosocial others and activities.

Without proper level of bonding, adolescents can succumb to the influence of deviant others. Interactional Theory Onset of crime can be traced to a deterioration of the social
bond during adolescence, marked by weakened attachment to parents, commitment to school, and belief in conventional values.

The cause of crime and delinquency is bidirectional: weak bonds lead kids to develop friendships with deviant peers. Frequent delinquency involvement further weakens bonds and makes it difficult to reestablish conventional ones.

Delinquency-promoting factors tend to reinforce one another and sustain a chronic criminal career.

Criminality is a developmental process that takes on
different meaning as a person matures;
crime and social processes are interactional. General Theory
of Crime and Delinquency Crime and social relations are reciprocal:

Family relationships, work experiences, school performance,
and peer relations influence crime.

In turn, antisocial acts have a significant impact on the above.

Close ties to criminal peers weakens bonds to conventional society.

Crime is most likely to occur when the constraints against crime
are low and the motivations for crime are high.

The way an individual reacts to constraints and motivations
is shaped by five key elements of human development,
called life domains: Self: Irritability and/or low self control
Family: Poor parenting and no marriage or a bad one
School: Negative experiences and limited education
Peers: Delinquent Friends
Work: Unemployment or having a bad job Constant Inflexible
Influenced by psychological and biological traits and conditions Evolving Flexible
Influenced by human interaction, personal relationships, contact, and associations Life Course Persistent/
Adolescent Limited People begin their criminal activities at different points in their lives.

Strength of Theory: Explains why most adolescent misbehaviour is limited to youthful misadventures.

Research focuses on measuring the starting and stopping points of criminal activity. Types of Latent Trait Theories Integrated Cognitive
Antisocial Potential Theory People with Antisocial Potential are at risk to commit antisocial acts. AP can be viewed as both long-and short term phenomenon.

Strength of Theory: Identifies different types of criminal propensities and shows how they may influence behaviour in both the short and long term

Research focuses on identifying the components of long and short
term AP. Examples of Latent
Trait Theories Crime and criminality are separate concepts. People choose to commit crime when they lack self control. People lacking self control will seize criminal opportunities.

Strength of Theory: Integrates choice and social control concepts. Identifies the difference between crime and criminality.

Research focuses on measuring associations among impulsivity, low self control, and criminal behaviours. General Theory of Crime Individuals exposed to coercive
environments develop social-psychological
deficits that enhance their probability of engaging in criminal behaviour.

Strengths of Theory: Explains why a feeling of coercion is a master trait that determines behaviour.

Research focuses on measuring the sources of coercion. Differential
Coercion Theory
A person's control ratio influences his or her behaviour.

Strengths of theory: explains how the ability to control one's environment is a master trait.

Research focuses on measuring control balance and imbalance. Control Balance
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