In The Mythology of Crime and Criminal Justice it discusses the consequences of reality programs have on the public. One particular show called America’s Most Wanted, was giving information about a fugitive named Don Moore who was wanted for having different sexual interactions with fifth-grade students. What happened was that a worker named Richard Maxwell was thought to be identified as Moore even though his description was not very close to the actual suspects. The police officers arrested him in his workplace in front of his other coworkers and went to the police station to fingerprint him and was found innocent and allowed back to work. He sued “the city whose police officers had compounded the process initiated by the reality programming”(Kappeler and Potter 16). What the court also had found was that the police officers never asked any questions or his consent to the fingerprinting. They “had no grounds for suspecting Maxwell” (Kappeler and Potter 17). This sort of mistake can lead to reputations being destroyed and can affect their future employment.
The official statistics are particularly useful in that they have been collected since 1857 and so provide us with an excellent historical overview of changing trends over time. They also give us a completely accurate view of the way that the criminal justice system processes offenders through arrests, trials and punishments. However, official statistics cannot be taken simply at their face value. They only show crimes which are reported to and recorded by official agencies such as the police. They account for only those crimes which are recognised as such by victims and those detected by the police. Sociologists have argued that there exists a ‘dark figure’ of unrecorded crime. This may be due to social agencies ignoring crimes committed by the ruling class such as white-collar and corporate crime and their views and stereotypes that they have against certain individuals, such as the working-class and ethnic minorities. Arguably, another reason why police recorded may be seem as inaccurate is due to the increased problem of reporting issues. There is evidence that a number of individuals choose not to report a crime on the basis that they have little faith in social agencies or that they feel that the crime may not be serious enough. Positivists favour the official statistics as they believe that they are functional for society, whereas interactionists and Marxists go against the police the statistics as they argue that they are bias. In this essay, I will discuss the
a. Imagine asking 100 strangers to describe a criminal. Predict whether those descriptions would be likely to focus on street criminals, or the variety of topics covered in this video.
As the nineties began, the general theory of crime became the most prominent criminological theory ever proposed; furthermore, it is empirically recognized as the primary determinant in deviant and criminal behaviors. Known also as the self-control theory, the general theory of crime can most simply be defined as the absence or lack of self-control that an individual possesses, which in turn may lead them to commit unusual and or unlawful deeds. Authored by educator Michael R. Gottfredson and sociologist Travis Hirschi, A General Theory of Crime (1990) essentially “dumbed down” every theory of crime into two words, self-control. The widely accepted book holds that low self-control is the main reason that a person initiates all crimes, ranging from murder and rape to burglary and embezzlement. Gottfredson and Hirschi also highlighted, in A General Theory of Crime (1990), that low self-control correlates with personal impulsivity. This impulsive attitude leads individuals to become insensitive to deviant behaviors such as smoking, drinking, illicit sex, and gambling (p. 90). The extreme simplicity, yet accuracy, of Gottfredson’s and Hirschi’s general theory of crime (self-control theory), make it the most empirically supported theory of criminal conduct, as well as deviant acts.
This essay will outline how crime theories are able to assist in recognizing the causes of criminal activity, as well as demonstrating two criminological theories to two particular crimes. Overviews of trends, dimensions and victim/offenders characteristics of both crime groups will be specified. The two particular crimes that will be demonstrated throughout this essay are; Violent Crime (focusing on Assault) being linked with social learning theory and White Collar crime (focusing on terrorism) being linked to General Strain theory. In criminology, determining the motive of why people commit crimes is crucial. Over the years, many theories have been developed and they continue to be studied as criminologists pursue the best answers in eventually diminishing certain types of crime including assaults and terrorism, which will be focused on.
Myths are stories giving an explanation of a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon. It is a popular viewpoint, embodying the ideals and institutions of a society or segment of society. Although myths are regarded as fictional representations, they often reveal underlying principles. Myths are often able to illustrate an enormous amount of information of social and cultural values. While myths seem to explain events, many times they teach integrating an event into an individual’s belief system. The phrase crime myths does not stray too far from these definitions (Kappeler and Potter, 2005). These types of myths are usually created non-scientifically through the telling of sensational stories. These crime myths often take on new meanings
Myths in the Criminal Justice system have plagued the public for years, and can be detrimental, even on a State level. In New York State, the myth that the state is more dangerous than it has ever been can lead to other myths being believed which can turn into poor policy such as the “get tough” approach. By comparing New York State data to data from Canada, the effectiveness of this myth can be debunked and disproven.
both the act, or actus rea, and the intent to commit the act, or mens rea.
Biological Theories have been related to crime for a long time. The Biological Theory talks about how one’s brain has an impact on committing crime or not. Dr. Jim Fallon, a neuroscientist from California talks about the biological influences in a brain. He believes that the combination of three major aspects can determine whether someone is psychopathic or not. Fallon states a combination of genes, damage to the person 's brain and the environment surrounding the individual will have the biggest impact on a person (Fallon, 2009). A real world example of the biological theory in full effect was the crimes of David Berkowitz, aka “Son of Sam. Berkowitz was accused and found guilty of killing over 6 people in New York City. After being convicted and locked up for a few years, studies had shown that Berkowitz had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Berkowitz also claimed that his neighbor’s dog, Sam had told him to do the killings as well (Biography). Comparing the Biological theory to my own life was pretty simple because there is a genetic factor that runs in my dad’s side and that is tempers. Tempers tend to flare fairly easy, and luckily so far there has no issues with the law, however like Fallon had said, with the right combination, anyone is possible to commit a crime at any time. I feel like in a biological theory, this would have a major impact on my life
The UCR utilizes the hierarchy rule that implies that when multiple crimes are linked to one offender within the same reporting year, only the most serious crime is counted. The UCR also uses another category termed clearance rate, this category highlights number of cases solved based on arrests, usually some cases where there are suspects but cannot be cleared for one reason or another when suspect flees the country, commits suicide, dies, or is convicted in another jurisdiction.
Many theories of crime are macro theories, which are used to explain crime based on a large group of people or society. While macro theories are the predominant type of theory used to explain crime, there are also a variety of “individual”, or micro, factors which are equally important. Two such individual factors s are maternal cigarette smoking (MCS) and cognitive ability, or Intelligence Quotient (IQ).
Every theory of crime has at least 2-3 meta-theoretical levels above it. The fundamental issues are usually addressed at the approach level, and are often called the assumptions, or starting points, of a theory, although the term "assumptions" more strictly refers to the background or domain boundaries one can draw generalizations about. Above the approach level is the Perspective level, the largest unit of agreement within a scientific community, and in fact, the names for the scientific disciplines. Perspectives are sometimes called paradigms or viewpoints, although some people use the term paradigm to refer to untestable ideologies such as: (1) rational choice; (2) pathogenesis; (3) labeling;
Many people have different theories as to why crime exists. Some believe crime happens because of the individual’s culture, education (or lack there of), or even their race. Others believe crime is associated with whom we surround ourselves with. There are three sociological theories that suggest why crime happens in society; they are social learning theory, social control theory, and social reaction (labeling) theory. These theories suggest it is our relationships and social interactions that influence our behavior.
There are many perceptions of what defines crime. The definitions appear to change throughout history and are still changing today (Henry, S. and Lanier, M. M., 2001 ,p.139). For example, in the past marital rape was not considered a crime as it was thought that women were believed to be “sexual property” of the male and, therefore it couldn’t be classed as rape (Brownmiller, 1975, cited by Bergen, R.K., 1996, p.3). However, in the United States in 1978 a man was convicted of rape on his wife (Russell, 1990, cited by Bergen, R.K., 1996, p.4). This shows how it is hard to define crime due to the changes in views over time. Different cultures also have different perceptions of what is, or is not considered to be a crime. For example,