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Criminology Theories

This document provides an overview of several criminological theories that attempt to explain the causes of crime: 1. Classical theory views human behavior as motivated by hedonism, weighing pleasure against pain. It influenced Cesare Beccaria's view that the purpose of punishment is deterrence. 2. Functionalist theories see crime as inevitable and even necessary for society. Emile Durkheim argued crime strengthens social solidarity, while Merton's strain theory cites a disjunction between cultural goals and legitimate means of achievement as a cause of crime. 3. Marxist theories view crime as a response to inequality and economic deprivation under capitalism. Laws are made to protect the ruling class and law enforcement is biased in their favor

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Criminology
Theories - An assumption (or set of assumptions) that attempt to explain why or how
things are related to each other.
Criminological theory - The explanation of criminal behavior, as well as the behavior of
police, attorneys, prosecutors, judges, correctional personnel, victims, and other actors
in the criminal justice system.
The causes of crime have been the subject of much speculation, theorizing, research,
and debate. Theories about the cause of crime are based on religion, philosophy,
politics, economic, and social forces.
Classical Theory
One of the earliest secular approaches to explaining the causes of crime was the
classical theory.
Classical theory - A product of the Enlightenment, based on the assumption that people
exercise free will and are thus completely responsible for their actions. In classical
theory, human behavior, including criminal behavior, is motivated by a hedonistic
rationality, in which actors weigh the potential pleasure of an action against the possible
pain associated with it.
In 1764, criminologist Cesare Beccaria wrote ' An
Essay on Crimes and Punishments', which set forth classical criminological theory. He
argued that the only justified rationale for laws and punishments was the principle of
utility.
Utility - The principle that a policy should "the greatest happiness shared by the greatest
number".
Beccaria believed the basis of society, as well as the origin of punishments and the right
to punish, is the social construct.
The only legitimate purpose of punishment is special deterrence and general
deterrence.
social contract - An imaginary agreement to sacrifice the minimum amount of liberty to
prevent anarchy and chaos.
special deterrence - The prevention of individuals from comitting crime again by
punishing them.
general deterrence - The prevention of people in general or society at large from
engaging in crime by punishing specific individuals and making examples of them.
Functionalist Crime Theories
Emile Durkheim
“Crime is an integral part of all healthy societies.”
He argued that crime is inevitable, normal and necessary (functional) aspect of social
life.
Crime is inevitable because not everyone in society is going to be equally committed to the
collective (shared) sentiments (values and morals). This is because we are all exposed to
different influences & circumstances.
Durkheim - ‘Society of Saints’
With no crimes at all the society would see little deviance acts as a very bad thing.
Durkheim - Deviance is necessary
Durkheim argued that deviance helped society to evolve “Yesterday’s deviance must become
today’s normality.”
Some deviance is necessary….
Low crime & deviance = no change
High crime & deviance = disorganisation & chaos
Durkheim - Solidarity
“Punishment serves to heal the wounds done to the collective sentiments.” It creates
SOLIDARITY (togetherness)
Criticisms
Dodgy Research:
No actual study carried out - “armchair criminology”
Not all crime is functional:
Victim support groups would find it very difficult to say that violent crime against the
person was a way of strengthening “collective sentiments”.
Does not look at what the causes of crime might be just that it is functional, healthy,
universal and inevitable.
Merton
Functionalist who argued that there are five responses to the value consensus – we can
either love it, abuse it, neglect it, reject it or radically change it. Unlike Durkheim, Merton
offers a reason for why people commit crime.
Merton states that deviance occurs when individuals find that they cannot achieve the
success goals of society in the normal way. There is “strain” between the goals and
people’s abilities to achieve them
Merton Strain Theory - summary
Because members of society are in different positions of the social structure, not
everyone conforms with the value consensus: some heartily embrace it (because they
can), while others reject it.
In Western societies there are cultural goals that we’re all socialised to want like big
cars, big houses, splendid holidays etc…
5 ways to achieve success goals:
1. Conformity:
Accepting both the goals and the institutionalised means of achieving them. This was
the most common response.
Institutionalised means of achieving those goals are chiefly education and career.
2. Innovation:
Accept the goals but reject the institutionalised means. This involves finding other, more
innovative deviant ways to achieve success goals.
Stuart Howatson, 31, of Bewdley
He conned his wife, family and friends into believing he was a Scotland Yard officer.
Over several years, Howatson detailed his "career" to friends. While on holiday in Spain,
he convinced a friend that he could buy their property for £720,000 without a mortgage.
He was later arrested for pretending to
be a Formula 1 boss and buying computers worth over a £1million.
3. Ritualism:
Rejecting the goals but going along with the institutionalised means (work and school).
This deviant behaviour results from being strongly socialized to conform to expected
behaviours.
4. Retreatism
Rejecting both the goals and the means, this group often descends into alcoholism &/or
drug abuse.
5. Rebellion

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Criminology Theories

  • 1. Criminology Theories - An assumption (or set of assumptions) that attempt to explain why or how things are related to each other. Criminological theory - The explanation of criminal behavior, as well as the behavior of police, attorneys, prosecutors, judges, correctional personnel, victims, and other actors in the criminal justice system. The causes of crime have been the subject of much speculation, theorizing, research, and debate. Theories about the cause of crime are based on religion, philosophy, politics, economic, and social forces. Classical Theory One of the earliest secular approaches to explaining the causes of crime was the classical theory. Classical theory - A product of the Enlightenment, based on the assumption that people exercise free will and are thus completely responsible for their actions. In classical theory, human behavior, including criminal behavior, is motivated by a hedonistic rationality, in which actors weigh the potential pleasure of an action against the possible pain associated with it. In 1764, criminologist Cesare Beccaria wrote ' An Essay on Crimes and Punishments', which set forth classical criminological theory. He argued that the only justified rationale for laws and punishments was the principle of utility. Utility - The principle that a policy should "the greatest happiness shared by the greatest number".
  • 2. Beccaria believed the basis of society, as well as the origin of punishments and the right to punish, is the social construct. The only legitimate purpose of punishment is special deterrence and general deterrence. social contract - An imaginary agreement to sacrifice the minimum amount of liberty to prevent anarchy and chaos. special deterrence - The prevention of individuals from comitting crime again by punishing them. general deterrence - The prevention of people in general or society at large from engaging in crime by punishing specific individuals and making examples of them. Functionalist Crime Theories Emile Durkheim “Crime is an integral part of all healthy societies.” He argued that crime is inevitable, normal and necessary (functional) aspect of social life.
  • 3. Crime is inevitable because not everyone in society is going to be equally committed to the collective (shared) sentiments (values and morals). This is because we are all exposed to different influences & circumstances. Durkheim - ‘Society of Saints’ With no crimes at all the society would see little deviance acts as a very bad thing. Durkheim - Deviance is necessary Durkheim argued that deviance helped society to evolve “Yesterday’s deviance must become today’s normality.” Some deviance is necessary…. Low crime & deviance = no change High crime & deviance = disorganisation & chaos Durkheim - Solidarity “Punishment serves to heal the wounds done to the collective sentiments.” It creates SOLIDARITY (togetherness) Criticisms Dodgy Research: No actual study carried out - “armchair criminology” Not all crime is functional: Victim support groups would find it very difficult to say that violent crime against the person was a way of strengthening “collective sentiments”. Does not look at what the causes of crime might be just that it is functional, healthy,
  • 4. universal and inevitable. Merton Functionalist who argued that there are five responses to the value consensus – we can either love it, abuse it, neglect it, reject it or radically change it. Unlike Durkheim, Merton offers a reason for why people commit crime. Merton states that deviance occurs when individuals find that they cannot achieve the success goals of society in the normal way. There is “strain” between the goals and people’s abilities to achieve them Merton Strain Theory - summary Because members of society are in different positions of the social structure, not everyone conforms with the value consensus: some heartily embrace it (because they
  • 5. can), while others reject it. In Western societies there are cultural goals that we’re all socialised to want like big cars, big houses, splendid holidays etc… 5 ways to achieve success goals: 1. Conformity: Accepting both the goals and the institutionalised means of achieving them. This was the most common response. Institutionalised means of achieving those goals are chiefly education and career. 2. Innovation: Accept the goals but reject the institutionalised means. This involves finding other, more innovative deviant ways to achieve success goals. Stuart Howatson, 31, of Bewdley He conned his wife, family and friends into believing he was a Scotland Yard officer. Over several years, Howatson detailed his "career" to friends. While on holiday in Spain, he convinced a friend that he could buy their property for £720,000 without a mortgage. He was later arrested for pretending to be a Formula 1 boss and buying computers worth over a £1million. 3. Ritualism: Rejecting the goals but going along with the institutionalised means (work and school).
  • 6. This deviant behaviour results from being strongly socialized to conform to expected behaviours. 4. Retreatism Rejecting both the goals and the means, this group often descends into alcoholism &/or drug abuse. 5. Rebellion
  • 7. Is a response that seeks to replace the cultural goals and institutionalised means with new ones that meet the norms and values of their particular group or culture. Criticisms Merton neglects the bigger questions of power - ‘who makes the laws in society’ and assumes that there is one overarching value consensus in a country as massive as America. It also over-predicts and exaggerates working class crime while underestimating middle class crime. Marxist Theories of Criminality How do the Marxists explain crime? Marxists believe that society is best understood by examining the process whereby the majority of the population are exploited by the owners and controllers of commerce and industry. The way we structure our society is based upon the idea of capitalism and the class structure Those in favour of Capitalism believe it is: • An economic system that allows private ownership of property and the freedom to pursue individual wealth. • Capitalism is moral and practical as it leaves the individual free to think rationally and act productively to sustain one’s life and experience happiness on earth. • It allows for economic growth and prosperity
  • 8. Marx, however, saw Capitalism as a system that allows the ruling class (bourgeoisie) to exploit the poor working class (proletariat) by forcing them to sell their labour allowing the rich owners of the factors of production to make more profit. Therefore Marxists argue most crime is a logical response to inequality and economic deprivation or poverty. The key rules of the Marxist criminology approach include: 1. The basis of criminal law 2. The dominant hegemony of the ruling class 3. Law enforcement 4. Individual motivation 5 Crime and control 1. The basis of the criminal law All laws are essentially for the benefit of the ruling class, and reflect their interests. Criminal law therefore operates to protect the rich and powerful. 2. Law creation and the dominant hegemony In capitalist societies, the ruling class impose their values (values which are beneficial to themselves) upon the mass of the population. They do this through a number of agencies such as the education system, religion and the mass media. (This concept of ruling class values being imposed upon the population is commonly known as hegemony.) It is the dominant set of values that are the basis from which laws arise in a democracy. However, according to Marxists, the set of values is actually ‘forced’ on the people. Thus
  • 9. what they believe they are agreeing to as a result of their own beliefs are, in reality in the interests of the ruling class. 3. Law enforcement Despite the fact that the law making process reflects the interests of the ruling class, many of these laws could provide benefits for the majority of the population if they were applied fairly. However, even the interpretation and enforcement of the law is biased in favour of the ruling class, so that the police and the criminal justice system will arrest and punish the working class, but tend not to enforce the law against the ruling class. 4. Individual motivation Marxist theory provides an explanation for the individual motivation underlying crime. Bonger argued that capitalism is based upon competition, selfishness and greed and this formed peoples’ attitudes to life. Therefore crime was a perfectly normal outcome of values which stressed looking after oneself at the expense of others. But Bonger also said that in many cases, poor people were driven to crime by their desperate conditions. 5. Crime and control Marxists believe that the ruling class in a capitalist system constantly seek to divert the attention of the population away from the ‘real’ problem the true causes of their situation the capitalist society. Institutions such as the media, religion and the education system reinforce and acts as justifications that the capitalist system is the ‘natural’ and ‘best’ economic system. Crime plays a significant part in supporting the ideology of capitalism, as it diverts attention away from the exploitative nature of capitalism and focuses attention instead on the evil and frightening nature of certain criminal groups in society, from whom we are only protected by the police. This justifies heavy policing of working class areas, stops and searches by the police of young people and the arrests of any sections of the population who oppose capitalism. An example of the traditional Marxist approach William Chambliss’ study of British vagrancy laws provides an illustration of the ways in which laws may be directly related to the interests of the ruling class. Just after the Black Death Plague in 1349 that killed more than one third of the country’s population, a law was introduced that required every able-bodied man to accept work at a low, fixed wage. This stopped those who had survived from moving from village to village,
  • 10. demanding higher pay. The new law was strictly enforced and produced a supply of low- paid labour to help the workforce shortage. In 1530, a law was introduced that punished anyone with out a job ‘on the road’, assuming they were highway robbers preying on the traffic of goods along major highways. In both cases, the law was introduced and imposed in such a way as to benefit the ruling class – whilst apparently being about stopping ‘vagrants’ from travelling around England. Criticisms of the traditional Marxist approach 1. The victims of crime are simply ignored and the harm done by offenders is not taken into account. ) 2. The explanation for law creation and enforcement tends to be one dimensional, in that all laws are seen as the outcome of the interests of the ruling class – no allowance is made for the complexity of influences on law making behaviour. Crime and control: a Marxist perspective Box (1983) agrees with the more right-wing Marxist writers in that it is release from social control, which propels people into committing crime. He states that the capitalist society controls and exploits workers for its own ends / to benefit the ruling class and when people are released in some way from this control, then they are much more likely to commit crime as they see the unfairness of the system. Box argues that the there are five elements, which can weaken the bonds of capitalist society and propel individuals into committing crime. 1. Secrecy If people are able to get away with a crime then they are more likely to attempt to commit crime. According to Box, this is one key factor which helps explain why white- collar crime such as fraud, takes place. The majority of white-collar crime simply goes undiscovered. 2. Skills Most people are simply unable to commit serious crime. Minor offending and anti-social behaviour is generally on the spur of the moment. Serious crime however requires
  • 11. planning and knowledge, plus the skill to carry it out. 3. Supply Even knowledge and skill are not enough by themselves. The potential offender must also be able to obtain the equipment and support to be able to carry out most serious crimes. For example, a burglar needs a ‘fence’ to sell his stolen goods to. 4. Symbolic support All offenders must have some justification for their activities. 5. Social support Directly coupled with the idea of symbolic support is the need for others who share similar values to support and confirm the values which justify crime. (Social support is another way of describing a subculture) For Marxists, social control operates for the benefit of the ruling class and once this is weakened, it is possible that people will turn to crime to express their disillusionment with capitalism. Critical criminologists still take this position and argue that criminals are engaging in a form of political act in their crimes and that if they were made more aware of the circumstances which propelled them into crime, they may well act in a more politically conventional way. https://misssrobinson.wordpress.com/tag/marxist-criminology/ Right and Left realism Realist approaches try to take a more practical view of crime and deviance, offering suggestions for what might be done to reduce crime and to make communities feel safer. According to crime statistics, the likely victims of crime are, perhaps surprisingly, more likely to be poor and disadvantaged rather than the rich. The majority of crime occurs in inner-city areas and in large social housing developments – where there is real concern about the amount of crime – a concern previously missed by sociologists. 1. Right realism: derived from right-wing theories of James Q. Wilson and emphasises. 2. Left realism: derived from the writings of Lea, Young and Matthews.
  • 12. Right realism This originated in the USA with the writings of James Q. Wilson in ‘Broken Windows’ (1982). He argued that crime flourishes in situations where social control breaks down. In any community, a proportion of the population are likely to engage in ‘incivilities’ i.e. dropping litter, vandalism, rowdy behaviour etc. In most communities this is prevented from going further by the comments and actions of other members of the local community. However, if the incivilities go unchecked, then the entire social order of the area breaks down and gradually there is a move towards more frequent and serious crime. Wilson uses the example of abandoned buildings, asking whether anyone had ever seen just one window broken? The answer is that once one window was broken, then they all were. Once crime is allowed to happen, it flourishes. Wilson was influenced by Etzioni (1993) and his theory of communitarianism which stresses the fact that only local communities by their own efforts and by local face-to face relationships can solve social problems. Wilson drew the conclusion that the police should have a crucial role to play in restoring the balance of incivilities and helping to recreate community. Most police officers engage in law-enforcement, ensuring that the law is not broken and apprehending offenders if they have committed an offence. He argued that they did relatively little to reconstruct communities and prevent crime (after all only 3% of offences result in successful prosecutions) police should be concentrating on order maintenance, using the law to ensure that the smaller incivilities – groups of rowdy youths, drug use etc. – are all crushed. This would help to create a different view of what was acceptable behaviour, and would make public areas feel safe again for the majority of people. For right realists crime is the product of 3 factors: • Individual biological differences • Inadequate socialisation • Rational choice to offend They reject the structural or economic factors put forward by other theorists and focus
  • 13. on these three causes: Biological differences: Some people are predisposed to commit crime because they have certain personality traits such as aggressiveness, extraversion, risk taking and low intelligence. Socialisation and the underclass: Murray argues that crime levels are increasing because there is a growing underclass who fail to socialise their children properly. Murray believes the underclass in the USA and the UK is growing because of welfare dependency. The welfare state is too generous according to Murray which has allowed people to become reliant on it, which has led to the decline of marriage, and the growth of single parent families because women and children can live on benefits. Boys do not learn discipline because fathers are absent, and do not have proper role models so they turn to other often delinquent role models in gangs and on the street. Rational choice to offend: Rational choice theory assumes individuals have free will, and Clarke argues that the decision to commit crime is based on a rational choice. If the perceived rewards of committing a crime outweigh the costs, or the rewards of crime outweigh not committing crime then individuals will be more likely to offend.
  • 14. Left realism Derived from the writings of Runciman (1966) who argued that political revolutions only occurred when the poor became aware of the sheer scale of the differences between themselves and the rich. Without this knowledge they generally accepted their powerless and poverty. Therefore, it is not poverty which leads to revolution, but awareness of their relative poverty. Therefore, Lea and Young (1984) pointed out that poverty or unemployment do not directly cause crime, as despite high unemployment experienced in the economic depression in Britain in the late 1920s to 30s, crime rates were considerably lower than they were in the boom years of the 1980s. According to Lea and Young, the expectations of 1930s youth were much lower than those of contemporary young people, who feel resentful at what they could actually earn compared with their aspirations. Marginalisation This refers to the situation where certain groups in the population are more likely than others to suffer economic, social and political deprivation – young people living in inner cities and social housing estates are likely to suffer from high levels of deprivation than those from more affluent areas. In terms of political deprivation, this refers to the way there is no way for them to influence decision-makers, and thus they feel powerless.
  • 15. Left Realists criticise other theories that they think do not take crime seriously. They argue that: • Marxists focus too much on corporate crime. • Neo-Marxists ignore working class victims • Labelling theorists focus on labelling and social construction and ignore the real victims – working class people. Left Realists believe that there has been a real increase in crime, and that statistics are largely accurate (in opposition to labelling theorists) – as the findings of victim surveys reveal. Left Realists argue that disadvantaged groups have a greater fear of crime, are more likely to be victims of crime and are less likely to report offences than other groups. The causes of crime according to Left Realists: Left realists believe that there are a number of causes of crime – these causes tie in with the ideas of various other theorists from Marxists to Functionalist subcultural theories: Relative deprivation: For Lea and Young crime occurs because of deprivation. They use the concept of relative deprivation to explain crime. This is how deprived a person feels in relation to other members of the same society. This can lead to crime because people feel resentful that others have more than they do. British society is better off than it has ever been, but crime rates are higher – Lea and Young argue that people are more aware of what they are missing because of the media. Lea and Young argue that this is increased by individualism – a concern with self above all. How would this cause crime? This is leading to the breakdown of families and communities (‘I’m alright Jack’ mentality). This weakens informal social control which allows anti-social behaviour to occur.
  • 16. Subcultures as a cause of crime: This takes some of its ideas from Merton’s strain theory– especially reactions to the failure to achieve societies goals. A subculture can emerge as a group response to relative deprivation. For Left Realists criminal subcultures still subscribe to the mainstream norms and values of society – such as materialism and consumerism – Young (2000) argues that street crime is caused by the gap between the goals and the means of achieving them. Labelling (INTERACTIONISM) Instead of looking at why some social groups commit more crime, labelling theory asks  why some people committing some actions come to be defined as deviant, while others do not. Labelling theory is also interested in the effects of labelling on individuals. Labelling theorists note that most people commit crimes at some time in  their lives but not everyone becomes defined as a deviant or a criminal. So how does this process of defining a person as deviant work? Labelling theorists take a different approach to structural theories such as functionalism and Marxism, and instead of looking at the causes of criminal behaviour they are more interested in why some behaviour gets labelled as criminal or deviant. Instead of taking statistics on crime at face value they are more likely to look at them as social constructs rather than fact. Interactionist theorists are interested in how certain crimes come to be defined or labelled as deviant or criminal. Instead of taking statistics on crime at face value they are more likely to look at them as social constructs rather than fact. Interactionist theorists are interested in how certain crimes come to be defined or labelled as deviant or criminal. Society’s reaction to the act is what is interesting. Becker argues: ‘Social groups create deviance by creating the rules whose infraction constitutes deviance..’ A deviant is someone to whom the label has been successfully applied.
  • 17. Society creates the rules, so deviance is not a distinctive form of behaviour, but behaviour that is seen to break the rules. Acts labelled as deviant tend to be committed by certain types of people. For example the police tend to target specific groups. The effects of labelling Labelling theorists are interested in the effects of deviance on those that are labelled. One of the effects of labelling is that the deviance becomes worse. Primary and secondary deviance: Lemert distinguishes between primary and secondary deviance. Primary deviance is deviance that has not been labelled by society these acts are not part of a deviant way of life, and they do not have any effect on an individual’s self- concept. Secondary deviance refers to acts that have been publically labelled. Once labelled other people may see the person in terms of that label, and the label becomes the master status of the labelled person or controlling identity. For example a label as paedophile or thief would override a man’s status as a father, co-worker etc. Lemert refers to further deviance that results from the label as secondary deviance. The person accepts the label and it becomes a self – fulfilling prophecy. The deviant has their status reinforced as an outsider. A deviant career may occur as the master status stops a criminal finding work, thus leading them to offend again through association with a deviant subculture that rewards deviant behaviour and confirms the deviant identity. Jock Young showed how this happened amongst hippie communities in Notting Hill in the 1960s where smoking marijuana was a peripheral activity. Once the police started targeting them and focusing on the drugs, the drugs themselves became more central to their identity, and created a deviant subculture which had not really previously existed. Deviance amplification:
  • 18. This is a term used by labelling theorists to describe what happens when attempts to control deviance cause it to escalate. This leads to greater attempts to control it and so the offending appears to increase. Stan Cohen’s famous study into the conflict between mods and rockers in Clacton in 1964 illustrates deviancy amplification. In Folk Devils and Moral Panics Cohen shows how media attention and exaggeration led to a moral panic about the behaviour of a few anti-social youths on the beach on a bank holiday weekend. This lead to young people identifying more strongly with one group or the other, visiting seaside towns on subsequent bank holidays which attracted more police attention, so more arrests were made, and a deviancy amplification spiral occurred. Goffman: Spoiled identities Negative physical and mental characteristics and statuses are known as stigmas or as Goffman referred to as ‘spoiled identities’. Stigmatisation is clearest when looking at prisons. Losses whilst someone is in prison can change that person’s moral career. The following index of suspiciousness emerges: * Young people generally, but especially in cars (and even more so if in groups in cars)!!! * People in badly maintained cars, especially if they have tatty, screwed up licence. * People of untidy, dirty appearance – especially those with dirty shoes (even manual
  • 19. workers, if honest, he says, are clean and tidy) * People who are unduly nervous or confident in police presence (unless they are doctors, who are usually naturally confident) * People whose appearance is very different in some way – e.g. their clothes are not as smart as their car. * People in unusual family circumstances * Political radicals and intellectuals, especially if they spout extremist babble these people are also particularly likely to make unjust accusations against the police. NORMAL PEOPLE Normal unsuspicious people are those outside the above categories, especially if they are of smart conventional appearance (which command natural authority and respect) and even more so if they smoke a pipe!!!!!! These points add up to a fairly clear-cut picture: respectable, unsuspicious people conform to extremely conventional middle-aged, middle-class/respectable working class modes of appearance, lifestyle and political belief. Anything else is suspicious, and the further it deviates from that model, the more suspicious it becomes. Individualistic theories They cover: Learning theories which focus on the role of rewards, punishments and role models Psychological theories which emphasis the individual personality characteristics that are related to criminality Psychodynamic theory which looks at the role of childhood trauma and unconscious forces in determining criminality Learning theories
  • 20. The Effects of Deprivation Bowlby’s Maternal Deprivation Study: Aim To test the maternal deprivation hypothesis, that is, to see whether frequent early separations were associated with a risk of behavioural disorders: in particular, a disorder termed ‘affectionless psychopathy’, Bowlby used this term to describe individuals that have no sense of shame or guilt; they lack a social conscience. Is it possible that such individuals were more likely to have a disrupted early childhood! Procedures * The participants in this study were 88 children ranging in age from 5 to 16 who had been referred to the child guidance clinic where Bowlby worked. * Forty-four of the children had been referred to the clinic because of stealing (the ‘thieves’. Bowlby identified 16 of these thieves as affectionless psychopaths (described above). * The remaining 44 children in the study had not committed any crimes; they were emotionally maladjusted, but did not display antisocial behaviour. None of this control group were diagnosed as affectionless psychopaths. * Bowlby interviewed the children and their families and was able to build up a record of their early life experiences. Findings * Bowlby found that a large number (86 per cent) of those thieves diagnosed as affectionless psychopaths had experienced “early and prolonged separations from their mothers”. * Only 17 per cent of other thieves (the ones who weren’t classed as affectionless psychopaths) had experienced such separation. * Even fewer (4 per cent) of the control group (‘non-thieves’) had experienced frequent early separations.
  • 21. Conclusions * These findings suggest a link between early separations and later social and emotional maladjustment. * In its most severe form, maternal deprivation appears to lead to affectionless psychopathy. In its less severe form it leads to antisocial behaviour (theft). * These findings support the maternal deprivation hypothesis.. Behaviourist Psychology Behaviourism, also known as behavioural psychology, is a theory of learning based upon the idea that all behaviours are learnt. In contrast to the biological explanations, behaviourism suggests that criminality is not something that is innate, rather it is learnt through interactions with the environment. An important part of learning is the consequences for a behaviour. Operant conditioning A learning process in which the likehood of a specific behavior is increased or decreased through positive or negative reinforcement each time the behavior is exhibited, so that the subject comes to associate the pleasure or displeasure of the reinforcement with the behavior.
  • 22. Operant conditioning is based on the consequences of behaviour. There are three important consequences. 1. Positive reinforcement involves receiving something good for an action which reinforces or encourages the behaviour to be repeated. 2. Negative reinforcement involves the removal of something bad when certain behaviour is produced when certain behaviour is reproduced which again reinforces that behaviour is to be repeated. 3. Punishment involves a negative event following an action which makes you less likely to repeat the action again. This is not the same as negative reinforcement. Social Learning Theory Behaviourism suggested that learning takes place directly. E.g. a person would have to experience the consequences of an action themselves in order to learn the behaviour. Social learning theory believed that learning could also take place indirectly through observation and imitation of role models. Albert Bandura investigated social learning using the famous Bobo Doll study. In a later study, Bandura showed the importance of vicarious reinforcement. This occurs when you learn behaviour by seeing another person being rewarded or punished. Bandura showed children films of a person being rewarded or punished for behaving aggressively. The children who saw the person being rewarded were much more likely to imitate the behaviour than those who saw the person punished. Psychodynamic theories
  • 23. All psychodynamic explanations originate from the work of Sigmund Freud (1856-1939). Although Freud did not address the issue of criminal behaviour himself, other researchers have attempted to apply some of his key concepts to criminality. Freud drew attention to the importance of memories or traumatic experiences that occurred during childhood which became stored in the unconscious part of the psyche which influenced an individual’s conscious thoughts and behaviour and resulted in a range of personality disorders which could result in criminal activity. Freud believed that we can understand human behavior best by examining early childhood experiences. Freud had a theory of consciousness and a theory of personality, both of which can be related to crime. Freud’s theory of consciousness suggested that only a small percentage of experiences form our conscious which are actively aware of. 1. The conscious mind includes everything that we are aware of. This is the aspect of our  mental processing that we can think and talk about rationally. 2. The preconscious mind is the part of the mind that represents ordinary memory.  While we are not consciously aware of this information at any given time, we can retrieve it and pull it into consciousness when needed. 3. The unconscious mind is a reservoir of feelings, thoughts, urges, and memories that  outside of our conscious awareness. Most of the contents of the unconscious are
  • 24. unacceptable or unpleasant, such as feelings of pain, anxiety, or conflict. According to Freud, the unconscious continues to influence our behaviour and experience, even though we are unaware of these underlying influences. Freud therefore explained criminal behaviour as being a product of our unconcious desires. They may also be the result of repressed memories which may manifest themselves in outbursts of criminal behaviour. Freud’s Theory of Personality 1. Id: This is the unconscious and instinctual psychic energy that we are born with. The id is completely selfish, immediate gratification of needs without reference to reality or moral considerations. Freud related it with pleasure principle in that it constantly tries to gratify these instincts through sex and other forms of pleasurable activity, but this may also lead to aggression and violence. 2. Ego: The ego works on the reality principle and is the mediator (or referee) between the other two parts of the personality. It develops around the age of two and its role is to reduce conflict between the demands of the id and superego. It does this through defense mechanisms such as displacement in which feelings are transferred from the true source of a distressing emotion onto someone else. 3. Super ego: The superego forms around the age of five. It is our internalized sense of right and wrong and is based on the morality principle. The superego develops when a child identifies with their same-sex parent and they take on their parent’s morals. The superego is responsible for our feelings of guilt and shame. Criminal behaviour results from an imbalance between the three parts of the personality.
  • 25. Ronald Blackburn (1993) argued that if the superego was somehow deficient then criminal behaviour is inevitable as the id is not controlled. Three types of inadequate superego have been proposed: Weak superego – if the same-sex parent is absent during the age when the superego is formed the child has no one with whom to identify. The superego and the associated morality does not develop fully. This would make immoral or criminal behaviour more likely. The deviant superego – if the child’s parent is a criminal and lacks a high level of morality, they will internalise this when they identify with them at age five. This will make them more likely to engage in criminal behaviour as they are not likely to associate wrongdoing with guilt (neither does their father). An over-harsh superego – if a child is severely punished they may be overwhelmed with guilt. This may (unconsciously) drive the individual to perform criminal acts in order to satisfy the superego’s need for punishment. The child’s personality is imbalanced towards guilt and shame. Eysenck’s theory of the criminal personality Eysenck proposed that behaviour could be represented along two dimensions: introversion/extraversion (E) and neuroticism/stability (N). The two dimensions combine to form a variety of personality characteristics. Eysenck later added a third dimension – psychoticism.
  • 26. Extraversion: toughmindedness; impulsiveness; tendency to be outgoing; desire for novelty; performance enhanced by excitement; preference for vocations involving contact with other people; tolerance for pain. Introversion: tendermindedness; introspectiveness; seriousness; performance interfered with by excitement; easily aroused but restrained, inhibited; preference for solitary vocations; sensitivity to pain. Neuroticism: Below-average emotional control, will-power, and capacity to exert self; slowness in thought and action; suggestibility; lack of persistence; tendency to repress unpleasant facts; lack of sociability; below-average sensory acuity but high level of activation. Psychoticism: Poor concentration, poor memory; insensitivity; lack of caring for others; cruelty; disregard for danger and convention; occasionally originality and/or creativity; liking for unusual things; considered peculiar by others. They create four basic temperaments recognized by ancient Greeks: * Melancholic (introverted + unstable): sad, gloomy * Choleric (extroverted + unstable): hot-tempered, irritable * Phlegmatic (introverted + stable): sluggish, calm * Sanguine (extroverted + stable): cheerful, hopeful Family and crime theories Family Studies These studies look at the similarity in behaviour between members of the same family. Francis Galton, a famous Victorian scientist, had looked at how intelligence or genius ran in families concluding that this was hereditary. Researching crime in the same way Osborne and West (1982) compared the sons of criminal and non-criminal fathers. They found that 13% of the sons of non-criminal fathers had a criminal conviction whilst 40% of those with criminal fathers had a conviction. Twin Studies
  • 27. Monozygotic twins * Known as "identical" twins * All of their genes are the same Dizygotic twins * Known as "non-identical" or "fraternal" twins * Half their genes are the same Christiansen (1977) Studied 3586 pairs of twins in Denmark. * He found that if an identical twin was a criminal, 52% of the time, their twin was also criminal. * With non-identical twins, this was only true in 22% of cases. The link was for theft, but not violent crime. Dalgard and Kringlen (1976) Dalgard and Kringlen (1976) found similar results in a Norwegian study with 15% for DZ twins and 26% concordance for MZ twins. These results do support the importance of genes but must also be treated with caution. Concordance rates are not particularly high and so do also emphasize the importance of the environment.
  • 28. Adoption studies Adoption studies provide us with strong evidence to show that crime could be due to a biological reason. Adoption studies look at relatives, siblings and twins that have been adopted at a young age. In adoption studies researchers compare the similarity of behaviour between adoptees and biological offspring. If the child is more similar to their adoptive parent then it suggests that environment is more important. Conversely if they are more similar to their biological parent it suggests that genes are more important. This means that they share the same genes BUT not the same environment as their parents, siblings or grandparents. Allows us to separate nature from nurture. Crowe (1972) found that if an adoptees biological mother had had a conviction they had a 50% chance of having had a conviction. If the adoptees biological mother did not have a conviction they had only a 5% chance of having received a conviction. Mednick (1984) studies court convictions of 14,427 adopted children. The criminal records of biological and adoptive parents were then investigated. He compared their criminal records with those of their adopted and biological parents. * Results: adopted children with criminal records for theft also had biological fathers with criminal convictions. * This was even true where siblings had been separated and raised in different adoptive homes. MAIN RESULT They found that where neither the adoptive nor biological father had a conviction the adoptee had a 10% chance of receiving a conviction. If the adopted father had a conviction this rose only slightly to 11%. If the biological father had a conviction this rose to 21%. If both the biological and adopted father had a conviction this rose to 36%. This suggests that both genes and environment are important but that genes may be more important. Neurophysiological (brain damage)
  • 29. Raine – Brain Damage Raine 1994 used PET scans to study the living brains of impulsive killers. Damage was found in pre-frontal cortex, which controls impulsive behaviour. Phineas Gage is an example. To investigate this Raine (1997) used P.E.T. scans of violent offenders. He used 41 American prisoners and matched them with 41 ‘normal’ people. 6 of the prisoners were schizophrenic and 23 had suffered head injuries. The schizophrenics were matched with schizophrenic people from the general population. Results showed that violent offenders had less activity in their frontal and parietal lobes. The front lobe is responsible for self-control whilst the parietal lobe handles verbal ability and learning. Violent offenders also had more activity in their occipital lobe, responsible for visual information. Violent offenders also had comparatively less activity in their Corpus Collosum. Violent offenders also had less balanced brains – their amygdala and hippocampus showed more activity on the right than left. Raine concluded that brain structure influences behaviour and therefore these
  • 30. differences support a neurological element to criminal behaviour. Specifically, they suggested that violent criminals may have: * Malfunctioning amygdala: Violence is linked to unusual emotional responses possibly a lack of fear * Faulty hippocampus: Crime is the result of the inability to learn from mistakes * Low activity in corpus callosum: Problems with spotting long-term consequences of behaviour * Low activity in pre-frontal cortex: Deals with rational thought and moral judgement. Neurochemical The brain’s chemistry can be influenced by diet, for example, food additives, pollution or hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar levels associated with forms of diabetes). Dawn Stanton attacked her husband with a knife when hypoglycaemic. Some studies show low levels of serotonin are linked with higher aggression. Control by diet is possible as foods like chocolate and chicken can help raise serotonin levels. Individuals who take large amounts of steroids can become extremely violent (known as "roid rage"). Steroids, usually taken to increase muscle growth, also increase testosterone levels. Horace Williams, a body builder, beat a man to death after taking two thousand times the recommended dosage of steroids. Kohlberg’s moral development Kohlberg believed that individuals could only progress through these stages one stage at a time. That is, they could not "jump" stages. They could not, for example, move from an orientation of selfishness to the law and order stage without passing through the good boy/girl stage. They could only come to a comprehension of a moral rationale one stage above their own. Thus, according to Kohlberg, it was important to present them with moral dilemmas for discussion which would help them to see the reasonableness of a "higher stage" morality and encourage their development in that direction. The last comment refers to Kohlberg's moral discussion approach. He saw this as one of the ways in which moral development can be promoted through formal education. Note that Kohlberg believed, as did Piaget, that most moral development occurs through social interaction. The discussion approach is based on the insight that individuals develop as a result of cognitive conflicts at their current stage.
  • 32. John Watson proposed that the process of classical conditioning (based on Pavlov’s observations) was able to explain all aspects of human psychology. Everything from speech to emotional responses were simply patterns of stimulus and response. Watson denied completely the existence of the mind or consciousness. Watson believed that all individual differences in behavior were due to different experiences of learning.