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  1. 1. 1 Forensic Psychology A Level Psychology Checklists: Paper 3 Section D: Forensic Psychology From the specification Forensic psychology •• Problems in defining crime. Ways of measuring crime, including official statistics, victim surveys and offender surveys. •• Offender profiling: the top-down approach, including organised and disorganised types of offender; the bottom-up approach, including investigative Psychology; geographical profiling. •• Biological explanations of offending behaviour: an historical approach (atavistic form); genetics and neural explanations. •• Psychological explanations of offending behaviour: Eysenck’s theory of the criminal personality; cognitive explanations; level of moral reasoning and cognitivedistortions, including hostile attribution bias and minimalisation; differential association theory; psychodynamic explanations. •• Dealing with offending behaviour: the aims of custodial sentencing and the psychological effects of custodial sentencing. Recidivism. Behaviour modification in custody. Anger management and restorative justice programmes.
  2. 2. 2 CAN DO CHECK LIST I need to do this I can do this Defining crime 1. Describe problems in defining crime 2. Discuss ways of measuring crime including official statistics, victim surveys and offender surveys. Offender profiling 3. Discuss the top-down approach to offender profiling including organised and disorganised types of offenders. (Canter) 4. Discuss the bottom-up approach to offender profiling including investigative psychology and geographical profiling. (Canter and Heritage, Canter) Biological explanations 5. Discuss the historical approach (atavistic form) to explaining offending behaviour. (Lombroso, Goring) 6. Discuss genetic and neural explanations of offending behaviour. (Lange, Tiihonen, Raine, Mednik) Psychological explanations 7. Discuss Eysenck’s theory of the criminal personality. (Eysenck, Bartol) 8. Discuss cognitive explanations of offending behaviour including levels of moral reasoning and cognitive distortions (hostile attribution bias, mineralisation). (Kohlberg Dodge, Palmer and Hollin) 9. Discuss differential association theory for offending behaviour. (Sutherland) 10. Discuss psychodynamic explanations for offending behaviour (Bowlby, Blackburn) Dealingwith offendingbehaviour 11. Discuss the aims and psychological effects of custodial sentencing including recidivism. (Bartol) 12. Discuss the use of behaviour modification in custody. (Bassett and Blanchard, Blackburn) 13. Discuss the use of anger management to deal with offending behaviour. (Novaco, Keen) 14. Discuss the use of restorative justice programmes. (Braithwaite, Shapland)
  3. 3. 3 Key concepts: Forensic psychology Defining and measuring crime Crime Official statistics Victim survey Offender survey Psychological explanations The criminal personality Level of moral reasoning Cognitive distortions Hostile attribution bias Minimalisation (or minimisation) Differential association theory Psychodynamic explanations Offender profiling The top-down approach Organised offender Disorganised offender The bottom-up approach Investigative psychology Geographical profiling Dealing with offending behaviour Custodial sentencing Recidivism Behaviour modification Anger management Restorative justice Biologicalexplanations Atavistic form Genetics Neural explanations
  4. 4. 4 Defining Crime Legalistic definition: an act which breaks the laws of society. This is a straightforward definition but crime is in realitymore difficultto define because of a number of factors: Sort card activity: CRIME NOT A CRIME Why was it difficult to complete this task?
  5. 5. 5 C A S H Culture: what is a crime in one culture is not in another. Particular difficulties arise when a person who has their origins in cultural background live in a different culture, but prefer to retain their own cultural ideas of what is right or wrong. E.g. in some cultures forced marriage is acceptable yet UK law dictates that this is wrong. Age: if a person is below the age of criminal responsibility (10 years in England) then a law which is broken by that person cannot be considered to be a crime. E.g. if a 3 year old child walks out of a shop without paying for some sweets then this is not a crime. This is because they are not at a level where they can understand the difference between right and wrong. Specific circumstances: crime should involve conscious rule-breaking. If a person commits an act which technically breaks the law but this act is performed with no mens rea (criminal intention, guilty mind) then it cannot be defined as a crime. If the person could not have prevented themselves from acting in violation of the law (e.g. mental illness) then it is difficult to determine the act as a crime. Historical context: the definition of crime changes to reflect society’s changing norms and values. For example, until the 1960s any male homosexual behaviour Give examples of acts that are a crime in one culture but not another. Give examples of acts that where a crime and are no longer, and are now a crime but didn’t used to be.
  6. 6. 6 was considered to be a criminal act, punishable by imprisonment. The law was changed in 1967 however, the age of consent was set at 21 years. As society’s acceptance of homosexuality changed, the age of consent was lowered to 18 in 1979. In 2000, this was deemed to be discriminatory and was lowered to 16 years, in line with the heterosexual age of consent. WAYS OF MEASURING CRIME OFFICIAL STATISTICS EVALUATION the crimes reported to the police and recorded in the official figures that allow the government to formulate prevention strategies and police initiatives. These are published by the Home Office as a “snapshot” of the number of crimes committed across the country. P: E: E: Farrington and Dowds (1985): police in Nottinghamshire were more likely than other areas to record thefts of under £10. This is a clear weakness of Official Statistics because ….. L: VICTIM SURVEYS EVALUATION the public’s experience of crime over a particular period. 50,000 households are randomly chosen to report on the crimes that they have been a victim of in the past year and this is compiled in the Crime Survey for England and Wales P: E: “Telescoping” may happen when a person remembers an event as happening in the past year when it didn’t and this may distort the figures. E: However, the British Crime Survey reported a 3% increase in crimes as victims are more likely to report on crime unrecorded by police (the same year the official statistics reported a 2% decrease!) L OFFENDER SURVEYS EVALUATION individuals self-report on the types of crimes that they have committed. These people are likely to be offenders based on certain risk factors such as previous convictions, age range and socio-economic background. The Offender Crime and Justice Survey was the first national self-report of this kind; it aimed to identify P: Offender surveys provide insight into how many people are involved in particular crimes. Confidentiality is assured when offenders self-report. However, reliability may not always be reached since E: E: L: P: E: Certain types of crime may be over-represented such as burglary or theft. Middle class crimes such as fraud and corporate crime are unlikely to be represented.
  7. 7. 7 trends in offending and the relationship between perpetrators and victims. E: This is because L: Offender profiling Is: A method of working out the characteristics of an offender by examining the characteristics of the crime and the crime scene. The top-down approach: the FBI approach • The phrase top-down refers to an approach, which starts with the big picture and then fills in the details. The Top Down of FBI approach relies on previous experiences of crimes. • In the 1970’s the FBIs behavioural Science Unit gathered data from 36 sexually motivated serial killers, including Charles Manson & Ted Bundy to develop this approach to Offender Profiling. • In 1980 Hazelwood and Douglas published their account of the ‘lust murderer’, they advanced a theory that lust murderers are mainly catergorised by two types: - Organised and disorganised. This is an example of a top-down typology. • An organised offender leads an ordered life and kills after some sort of critical life event. Their actions are premeditated and planned, they are likely to bring weapons and restraints to the scene. They are likely to be of average to high intelligence and employed. • A disorganised offender is more likely to have committed the crime in a moment of passion. There will be no evidence of premeditation and they are more likely to leave evidence such as blood, semen, murder weapon etc. behind. This type of offender is thought to be less socially competent and more likely to be unemployed. • There are four main stages in constructing an FBI profile: data assimilation, crime scene classification, crime reconstruction, profile generation. Briefly explain the difference between the two methods:
  8. 8. 8 Sort the characteristics and behaviours into your predictions for organised and disorganised offenders Colour code: Disorganised Organised
  9. 9. 9 Predict how the crimes in the images took place and whether the killer was organised or disorganised. Justify your predictions
  10. 10. 10 The following exercise is taken from Howitt (2002) and is based on a case originally reported by Ressler et al (1988). Given the evidence provided below, your task is to draw up a profile of the offender.  A nude female's body was found at 3.00pm on the roof of an apartment block where she lived.  She had left home for work at 6.30 in the morning.  She was 26 years of age, 90 lbs in weight, her spine was deformed and she was not dating men.  Both of her nipples had been removed and placed upon her body.  Her face was severely beaten.  She had been throttled with the strap of her bag.  A blunt instrument had caused many facial injuries.  Virtually all items used came from the victim’s bag.  The phrase "You can't stop me" was written in ink on the inner thigh and "Fuck you" on the torso.  The pendant she usually wore was missing.  The victim’s underwear had been taken down and pulled over her face.  Her stockings were tied around her ankles and wrists but very loosely.  A pen and an umbrella were inserted into her vagina.  A comb was stuck in her pubic hair.  There was no semen in the victim’s vagina. The offender had ejaculated over her body from a standing position.  There were bite marks on her thighs and various bruises/lacerations all over.
  11. 11. 11  Faeces from the murderer were very close by. They were covered with the victim’s clothes.  There was no evidence of similar crimes being carried out in the area. From the above evidence construct a profile of the murderer. Try to be systematic in the way you analyse and use the evidence. Use the four stages in FBI profiling. The Bottom-up approach. Examples of bottom-up approaches 1. Investigative psychology • The bottom-up approach is the British approach to profiling, most closely associated with David Canter. • It is where a profile of the offender (the likely characteristics, routine behaviour and social background) is generated by making inferences from systematic analysis of evidence at the crime scene using knowledge of psychological theories and statistical analysis. Therefore, the profile is ‘data-driven’ and emerges as the investigator engages in deeper and more rigorous scrutiny of the offence. Profile?
  12. 12. 12 This is a form of bottom-up profiling developed by Canter that matches details from the crime with statistical analysis of typical offender behaviour patterns based on psychological theory. Crime scene evidence is analysed on the basis of psychological theory and evidence. The main features of this approach are:  Interpersonal coherence – the way an offender behaves at the scene, including their interactions with the victim may reflect their behaviour in more everyday situations as people are consistent in their behaviour. E.g. some rapists seek maximum control and humiliate their victims whilst others are more apologetic. This may tell the police something about how they relate to women more generally.  Significance of time and place – these may give indications about where the offender lives.  Forensic awareness – this focuses on individuals who may have been the subject of police interrogation before; their behaviour may denote how mindful they are of ‘covering their tracks.’ E.g. if they have cleaned up the crime scene this might suggest that they have committed a crime before and been through the criminal justice system. Statistical procedures are then applied. A statistical ‘database’ in which patterns of behaviour that are likely to occur or co-occur across crime scenes acts as a baseline for comparison. Specific details from the crime scene are matched against the database to reveal important details about the offender, their personal history, family background etc. This may also determine whether a series of offences are likely to have been committed by the same person. From the statistical analysis based on psychological theory, hypotheses of the probable characteristics of the offender are generated. Therefore, it is a data-driven/evidence-based approach. Applying investigative psychology The murder victims 1. Alison Day, killed on 29th December 1985. She was going to where her boyfriend worked. She was attacked near Hackney Wick railway station. Her hands were tied and there was evidence that she was strangled. She was knocked unconscious before the attack. She was found 17 days after the attack in a canal that ran beside the station. Her pockets were filled with stones. 2. Maartje Tamboezer was attacked and murdered on 17th April 1986. She had been riding her bike to a sweet shop in Surrey. She was knocked off her bike and dragged to the side of the road. A length of fishing wire was found tied between two bushes near her body, which could have been used to knock her from her bike. She had been tied and strangled. Her hands were tied behind her back. The attacker attempted to burn her body. 3. Anne Lock was attacked and killed on 18th May 1986. She had finished her working day at Weekend Television in London. Her attacker approached her after she left the train station, as she was unlocking her bike. Her hands were tied behind her back and she was suffocated. The facts of the case  26 sex attacks between 1982 and 1986.  Three murders between 1985 and 1986.  All the offences were committed against young women.
  13. 13. 13  All the offences were committed in and around London, near railway stations.  There was a pause in crimes between October 1982 and January 1984. Witness reports  The female victims were approached near railway stations.  The man attempted to talk to the women before attacking them.  They were then forced to a side street, track or alley where the public could not see them.  Most of the women reported that the man used a knife and their hands were restrained with a rope or tie or an article of clothing worn by the victim.  The attacker still talked to the women throughout the attack in an attempt to form a relationship.  After the attack the man cleaned the victim to try to remove any physical evidence. 2. Geographical profiling This is a form of bottom-up profiling first described by Rossomo (1997) which involves the study of spatial behaviour in relation to crime and offenders. It is based on the principle of spatial consistency – that an offender’s operational base and possible future offences are revealed by the geographical location of their previous crimes. Therefore, the location of linked crimes, local crime statistics, local transport and the geographical spread of similar crimes are used to make inferences about the likely home or operational base, workplace and social hangouts of the offender. This is known as crime mapping. The assumption is that serial killers will restrict their ‘work’ to areas they are familiar with, and so understanding the spatial pattern of their behaviour provides investigators with a ‘centre of gravity’ which is likely to include the offender’s base (often in the centre of the spatial pattern). Marauders andCommuters Circle theory proposes two models of offender behaviour. People operate within a limited spatial mind set that creates imagined boundaries in which crimes are likely to be committed (usually forming a circle). The Marauder: the offender operates in close proximity to their home base. The Commuters: the offender is likely to have travelled a distance away from their usual residence. Profile?
  14. 14. 14 Applying the bottom-up approach All 7 victims were attacked outdoors, while walking alone, near their residence during the hours of darkness. There are observable similarities in that the victims are white females 15-21 years of age, ranging from 5’1” and 95 pounds to 5’3” and 135 pounds. Six out of seven living in the Scarborough (USA) area and three of those living in extremely close proximity to one another. The six victims in Scarborough were all approachedfrom behind. Upon contact he forces them face down into the ground and demands they keep their eyes closed to ensure they do not see him. The victim in Mississauga was approached in a slightly different manner. After following her for a distance on foot, he approached her under the guise of asking directions. This approach allowed the victim to see his face, but was short in duration as the offender did not finish his first sentence before physically assaulting her and forcing her face down to the ground. He gained control over all the victims by the immediate application of injurious physical force. He maintained control of the victims through the use of physical force and verbal threats of bodily harm and or death, all of which were often accomplished whilebrandishing a knife in a threatening and intimidating manner. Comprehension questions:
  15. 15. 15 In his interactions with the victims there are several noteworthy behaviours. He tries to script their verbal behaviour “Tell me you hate your boyfriend and you love me.” “Tell me you love me, tell me it feels good”, “Tell me you are a stupid bitch” and much worse. He is extremely aggressive physically and verbally. With the 6th victim he broke her collarbone and rubbed dirt on her hair and face. While he was accosting the victim and attempting to gain control over her, a car pulls out of a driveway a few inches away and drives by them. He does not panic, but forces the victim into some bushes near a house and continues to assault her. He keeps items of clothing. He asked the seventh victim, “should I kill you?”, thereby making her beg for her life. Profile?
  16. 16. 16 Evaluating the bottom-up approach - point Example/evidence Explanation and link to the question The bottom-up approach is arguably more objective and scientific than the top-down approach. David Canter’s profile of the Railway Killer led to police interest in the method. Copson (1995) surveyed 48 UK police forces using investigative psychology and found that over 75% of the police officers questioned said that the profilers’ advice had been useful. However, only 3% said that the advice had helped to identify the offender. This suggests that the method may not be that useful in actually catching offenders, but that the slight benefit it affords makes it worthwhile. There is research support for the bottom-up approach. Lundrigan and Canter (2001) collated information from 120 murder cases involving serial killers in the USA. Statistical analysis revealed spatial consistency in the behaviour of killers. The location of each body disposal site was in a different direction from the previous, creating a ‘centre of gravity’; the offender’s base was inevitably in the centre of the pattern. This effect was more noticeable for marauders. This suggests that the bottom-up approach is more systematic than the top-down approach, and supports its utility in all aspects of the judicial process. There is evidence to support geographical profiling. In 1992, Rachel Nickell was stabbed 47 times and sexually assaulted on Wimbledon Common. The investigation targeted Colin Stagg and the police instigated a ‘honey trap.’ When the case came to court, it was thrown out as the only link between Stagg and Nickell was the profile and the undercover operation. In 2008, Robert Napper was convicted of Nickell’s murder. He was initially ruled out of the enquiry because he was several inches taller than the profile. Kocsis et al. (2002) found that chemistry students produced a more accurate profile on a solved murder case than experienced senior detectives. In contrast, the top-down approach is best suited to crimes that reveal important details about the suspect such as rape, arson and cult killings, as well as crimes that involve practices such as sadistic torture, dissection of the body or acting out fantasies. More common offences such as burglary and destruction of property, or even murder or assault whilst in the course of committing these) do not lend themselves to profiling because the resulting crime reveals very little about the offender. This suggests that the bottom- up approach has wider applications as it can be applied to a great range of crimes. The bottom-up approach can be applied to a wide range of offences. Statistical analysis and the principle of spatial consistency can be used to investigate crimes such as burglary and theft as well as more serious crimes such as murder and rape. As such, it is questionable as to how much more it offers than the traditional method of police placing pins on a map to see where a group of crimes were committed. There have been significant failures of the bottom-up approach. It is more grounded in psychological theory and evidence, and less driven by speculation and hunches. Investigators are able to manipulate geographical, biographical and psychological data quickly to produce insights and results that aid investigations. The field of investigative psychology has expanded to include suspect interviewing and examination of the material presented in court. Taken overall, this suggests that what profiling can’t reliably do is identify an offender. It can assist the police in narrowing down the field of possibilities, but the big danger lies in sticking too closely to any one profile. Geographical profiling has its issues It cannot distinguish between multiple offenders in the same area, and also the method is limited to spatial behaviour (not any personality characteristics). This supports Canter’s claim that spatial information is a key factor in determining the base of an offender and therefore the utility of the bottom-up approach.
  17. 17. 17 Biological explanations ofoffending behaviour 1. Applying the atavistic form 1. Which atavistic characteristics can you identify in each offender? 2. How does this support or challenge Lombroso’s explanation? 3. Identify as many of the famous offenders as you can and explain their crimes. 4. How do you think Lombroso developed the ideas about atavistic characteristics?
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  19. 19. 19 Evaluating atavistic form +/- supporting evidence What this tells us about atavistic form Several critics have drawn attention to the distinct racial undertones within Lombroso’s work. Many of the features identified by Lombroso as atavistic and criminal, such as curly hair and dark skin, are most likely to be found among people of African descent. Similarly, his description of the atavistic as uncivilised, primitive and savage would lend support to the eugenic philosophies at the time that those of African descent are genetically unfit to breed. Whether Lombroso intended this to be the case or not is a matter of debate; though there is little doubt that the theory gave scientific credence to racist policies at the time which continues to overshadow criminology. In 1893, Lombroso set out his ideas about female criminality. He believed that women were less evolved than men. They were naturally jealous and insensitive to pain, but they were also passive, low in intelligence and had a maternal instinct – all of which neutralised their negative traits and meant they were less likely to become criminals. Those women who did become criminals had masculine characteristics that were beneficial in a man but in a woman created a ‘monster.’ These are outlandish androcentric ideas about women which were even more inexcusable because Lombroso never studied women directly. This is reflective of typical 19th century views about women. It suggests that the theory of atavistic form misrepresented the behaviour of women and failed to challenge negative stereotypes about women. Consequently, the theory lacks temporal validity as such ideas are not supported in modern society. Goring (1913) compared 3000 criminals and 3000 non-criminals and concluded that there was no evidence that are offenders are a distinct group with unusual facial and cranial characteristics, but many criminals did tend to have lower intelligence. The finding about intelligence offers some limited support for Lombroso’s argument that criminals are a ‘sub-species’, but the results as a whole question the key element of his theory that criminals are different in terms of their appearance. Lombroso is credited as shifting the emphasis in crime research away from moralistic discourse (where offenders were judged as being wicked and weak-minded) towards a more scientific and credible realm (that of evolutionary influences and genetics). Additionally, in trying to describe how different types of people are likely to commit different types of crime, his theory heralded the beginning of offender profiling. Therefore, Lombroso and his theory made a major contribution to the science of criminology. By emphasising the importance of research evidence, Lombroso was influential in the development of criminology as a scientific discipline, giving it greater credibility and status. Lombroso did not compare his criminal sample with a control group. If Lombroso had done this, his significant differences may have disappeared. He also failed to take into account other important variables which may have confounded the results e.g. history of psychological disorders. Therefore, the theory is based on flimsy evidence that lacks objectivity. Consequently, the research may not have been a solid foundation for theory construction, implying that the atavistic form theory may be flawed. Even if there are criminals who do have some of the atavistic elements in their facial features, this does not necessarily mean this is the cause of their offending. Facial and cranial differences may be influenced by other factors, such as poverty or poor diet, rather than being an indication of delayed evolutionary development. This suggests that from the research, we cannot determine cause and effect and so cannot strongly support the internal validity of the atavistic form theory. Lombroso himself eventually even took a less extreme stance; he acknowledged that criminals could be made as well as born due to a range of environmental factors. This further undermines the validity of the atavistic form theory as it doesn’t seem to be a complete explanation of offending behaviour.
  20. 20. 20 Preparation for the lesson on genetic and neural explanations of offending behaviour Prepare for the lesson on genetic and neural explanations of offending behaviour: 1. Watch this TED talk: 2. From the video: 1. Which area of the brain seems to be damaged in psychopathic offenders? 2. Which gene is thought to be linked to crime? 3. How is it thought to be linked to crime? 4. What is the ‘recipe for disaster’? Biological explanations of offending behaviour: genetic and neural explanations  Genetic explanations suggest that offenders inherit a gene, or combination of genes, that predisposes them to commit crime. ‘Criminal’ genes are transmitted from parent to child. The activity of two particular genes (MAOA and CDH13) have been implicated in offending behaviour.  Neural explanations suggest that offenders commit crime because of dysfunctions of the brain and nervous system. This includes the activity of brain structures and neurotransmitters. 1. What result would they expect if offending behaviour is genetic? 2. What are the problems with twin studies?
  21. 21. 21 1. What evidence is there to support that genes are involved in causing offending behaviour? 2. What evidence is there to support that genes are not the only factors involved in causing offending behaviour? 3. What other factors might be involved in causing offending behaviour?
  22. 22. 22 How does the prefrontal cortex impact on criminal behaviour? How does the amygdala impact on criminal behaviour? What are the ethical implications of this research? Prepare for the lesson on Eysenck’s theory: 1. Complete the Eysenck personality questionnaire: extroversionintroversion/ 2. Go back to the original page after you’ve got your score and see if you agree with the type of personality that you have been assigned. Bring your results to class (take a photo, print it or write it out). 3. How do you think this links to criminality? 4. Definitions of: extraversion, neuroticism, psychoticism. Adrian Raine: The Anatomy of Violence
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  24. 24. 24 Evaluating genetic and neural explanations of offending behaviour +/- supporting ev Explanation and link to the question Early twin studies such as Lange’s research were poorlycontrolled and judgements related to zygosity (i.e. whether the twins were MZ or DZ) were based on appearance rather than DNA testing.Furthermore,MZ twins often share a more similar environmentthan DZtwins as they are typically treated more similarlyby adults and peers.This acts as a confounding variable. Therefore, from the research,it is not possible to separate the effects of genes and the environmentand so the research cannotstronglysupportthe genetic explanation of offending behaviour.The fact that concordance rates are never 100% suggests that whilstgenetics mayplay an importantrole in offending behaviour,it cannot be considered the sole causal factor as non-genetic environmental factors mustalso playa significantrole. Criminalityis complex,and explanations thatreduce offending behaviour to a genetic or neural level may be inappropriate and overly simplistic. Whilstcrime does appear to run in families,so do emotional instability, mental illness,social deprivation and poverty. This makes itdifficult to disentangle the effects of genes and neural influences from other possible factors. Additionally, whilstthere is often a difference in concordance rates between MZ and DZ twins,MZ twins do not show 100% concordance. This suggests thatthe genetic explanations particularlyare guilty of biological reductionism as the fact that concordance rates are never 100% suggests thatwhilst genetics mayplay an importantrole in offending behaviour,it cannotbe considered the sole causal factor as non-genetic environmental factors mustalso playa significantrole. The notion of a criminal gene presents an ethical dilemma.Our legal system is based on the premise thatcriminals have personal and moral responsibilityfor their crimes.Only in extreme cases,such as a diagnosis of mental illness,can someone claim theywere not acting of their own free will.The Mobley case raised questions as to whether the individual’s genetic make-up could be used as a defence in criminal cases. This biological determinism presents an ethical dilemma because bytaking the stance that the offender has no responsibilityfor their actions could cause significant psychological harm to their victims and have implications for treating offender behaviour. Cruciallyhowever, the judge and jury in Mobley’s case were not convinced by the claim, which supports thatlegally,free will is considered importantin offending behaviour.The evidence of MZ twins not showing 100% concordance further supports this suggestion. This therefore undermines the utility of biological explanations in legal contexts. Although, the law does ask the question aboutwhether the cause of behaviour is outside a person’s control.At the very least,it may be harder for some people to avoid criminal violence due to both their biology and environment,so a deterministview cannot be totally ruled out. One issue with neural explanations is whether abnormalities in regions of the brain or levels of neurotransmitters are the cause of offending behaviour,the resultof it or justan intervening variable.Research only highlights a correlation between activity of the prefrontal cortex and criminality.Therefore, offending behaviour may reduce the activity of the prefrontal cortex. Therefore, the research cannotprovide strong supportfor the internal validity of the neural explanations as cause and effectcannotbe determined. Neural explanations could lead to potential methods oftreatment.For example,if low serotonin caused increased aggressiveness in criminals, people in prison could be given diets than enhance serotonin levels and hopefullydecrease their aggression. This supports the external validity of the neural explanations as theyhave the potentially for utility in reducing offending behaviour. Most of the genetic and neural research relates to the association between these factors and violent or aggressive crimes.However,offending behaviour also includes theft,fraud, drug use and bigamy– all non-violent crimes. Biological explanations mayjustaccountfor certain types of crimes such as those involving violence and psychopathy and so not be entirely externally valid.
  25. 25. 25 Psychological explanations of offending behaviour: Eysenck’s theory of the criminal personality Eysenck’s proposed that offending behaviour is caused by having a criminal personality (psychological). He suggested that personality could be represented along two dimensions: introversion/extraversion and neuroticism/stability. He later added a third: psychoticism/normality. These dimensions combine to form a variety of personality characteristics or traits. Eysenck suggested that the criminal personality type is the neurotic-extravert i.e. they score highly on measures of neuroticism (unstable and overly anxious and nervous) and extraversion (sensation-seeking and outgoing). Additionally, offenders will score highly on measures of psychoticism – cold and unfeeling and prone to aggression. This is measured using the Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI). A later scale was introduced to measure psychoticism. Eysenck argued that the link between the criminal personality type and offending behaviour could be explained in terms of physiological arousal. The criminal personality type is biological in origin (i.e. has an innate, biological basis) and comes about through the type of nervous system we inherit i.e. the type of nervous system that predisposes us to offend is inherited:  Extraverts have a chronically under-aroused nervous system, meaning they constantly seek excitement, stimulation and are likely to engage in risk-taking and dangerous behaviours, which may explain some offending behaviour.  Neurotic individuals have more reactive sympathetic nervous systems (i.e. greater responses to threat). They are unstable and so react easily and get upset quickly. They may therefore overreact to situations of threat, explaining some offending behaviour.  Psychotics can easily be linked to offending behaviour as they are aggressive and lack empathy. Eysenck also suggested that innate, biological determined personality is linked to offending behaviour via socialisation. The process of socialisation is one in which children are taught to become more able to delay gratification and become more socially oriented through conditioning – they are punished for anti-social behaviours and so even thinking about them creates anxiety. Eysenck viewed offending behaviour as developmentally immature, in that it is selfish and concerned with immediate gratification. He suggested that people with high extraversion and neuroticism had nervous systems that made them difficult to condition. Therefore, they do not easily learn to respond to antisocial impulses with anxiety. Consequently, they would be more likely to act in antisocial, and potentially criminal, ways.
  26. 26. 26  Sort the characteristics into neuroticism, extraversion and psychoticism using a colour code.  Define neuroticism, extraversion and psychoticism.  What is personality? Which personality traits do you think offenders are likely to have? Justify your decisions.  Why might your results be inaccurate? Apply it! The Joker Charles Manson Identify where on the dimensions of psychoticism, extraversion and neuroticism the Joker and Charles Manson would be. Justify your decisions with examples. Based on your decisions and Eysenck’s theory, why did they become offenders?
  27. 27. 27 Predict the physiological arousal link between the criminal personality type and offending behaviour: Extroverts: Neurotics: Psychotics: The role of socialisation: video notes: 1. What do you think socialisation is? 2. How do you think socialisation is linked to everything else we’ve learned exactly? 3. Imagine that the children ate the marshmallows and then their parents told them off. According to behaviourism, what should happen?
  28. 28. 28 4. Using your knowledge of the nervous systems of people with the criminal personality, how and why might this be different for people with the criminal personality (think about extraversion)? Apply it: Research evidence:
  29. 29. 29 Evaluating Eysenck’s theory of the criminal personality Strength or weakness? Supporting or undermining evidence? Real-world application? What this tells us about Eysenck’s theory Eysenck and Eysenck (1977) compared 2070 male prisoners’ scores on the EPI with 2422 male controls. On measures of psychoticism, extraversion and neuroticism (across age groups), prisoners recorded higher scores than controls. This supports the predictions of the theory that criminals have higher scores on measures of the criminal personality, suggesting that the theory has some validity. Farrington et al. (1982) reviewed several studies and found that offenders tended to score high on psychoticism measures, but not for extraversion or neuroticism. They also found little evidence of consistent evidence in EEG measures (used to measure cortical arousal) between extraverts and introverts. This casts doubt on the physiological basis of Eysenck’s theory and also implies that extraversion and neuroticism may not be typical characteristics of many criminals and therefore the theory may not be externally valid. The idea that all offending behaviour can be explained by a single personality type has been heavily criticised. For example, Digman’s (1990) Five Factor Model of personality suggests that alongside extraversion and neuroticism, there are additional dimensions of openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness. From this perspective, multiple combinations are available and therefore a high extraversion and neuroticism score does not mean offending is inevitable. Bartol and Holanchock (1979) studied Hispanic and African- American offenders in a maximum security prison in New York and divided these into six groups based on their criminal history and the nature of their offences. It was found that all six groups were less extravert than a non-criminal control group. The researchers suggested that this was because their sample was a very different cultural group than that investigated by Eysenck. This questions the generalisability of the criminal personality theory. The theory assumes that personality is consistent (i.e. the person is the same all of the time). However, a number of psychologists support a situational perspective, suggesting that people may be consistent in similar situations (e.g. calm at home) but not across situations (e.g. calm at home but neurotic at work). Supporting this, Mischel and Peake (1982) asked family, friends and strangers to rate 63 students in a variety of situations and found almost no correlation between traits displayed. This means that the notion of a criminal personality is flaws as people don’t simply have ‘one’ personality. The score or label given to any person depends on the answers they provide on a personality questionnaire such as the EPI. The traits may apply to them, but their answers may not reflect reality. For example, when asked ‘are you lively?’, most people may answer ‘sometimes’ but have to choose between ‘yes’ and ‘no’ and so may choose the most socially desirable answer and so their answers are not entirely truthful. However, this is countered by the use of lie scales such as ‘are all of your habits good and desirable?’ People who answer ‘yes’ to many of these questions are deemed ‘dishonest’ and answering in a socially desirable way and so their data is discarded. This suggests that personality questionnaires may validly measure personality and so be useful in the measurement of the criminal personality, but that results should be treated with caution as it may be possible to answer in socially desirable and therefore dishonest ways without being detected by the lie scales.
  30. 30. 30 Preparation for the lesson on cognitive explanations of offending behaviour Prepare for the lesson on the cognitive explanations of offending behaviour: 1. Watch this video on the Columbine High School shooting - 2. Using each of the explanations that we have covered so far (atavistic form, genetic and neural explanations and Eysenck’s theory), explain why Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold became offenders. Include examples from the video where possible to support your ideas. 3. What other factors may have contributed to their offending behaviour? How? 4. Which explanation do you think is the best explanation of their behaviour? Justify your decision.
  31. 31. 31 Psychological explanations of offending behaviour: cognitive explanations Cognitive distortions: Cognitive distortions are faulty, biased and irrational ways of thinking that mean we perceive ourselves, other people and/or the world in a way that does not match reality and is usually negative. Therefore, a person’s perception of events is wrong, but they think it is accurate. In the context of offending behaviour, such distortions allow an offender to deny (to reduce negative emotions) or rationalise (justify) their criminal behaviour. Which is showing the angry expression? There are two examples of cognitive distortions which are particularly relevant to crime: ◦ Hostile attribution bias ◦ Minimalisation (or minimisation) How do you think this could be a cognitive distortion of offenders? How might this be used to rationalise (justify/explain) their offending behaviour?
  32. 32. 32 Hostile attribution bias Hostile attribution bias is the tendency to misinterpret or misread other people’s actions, words and/or expressions as aggressive, provocative and/or threatening when in reality they are not. Offenders may misread non-aggressive cues, e.g. being ‘looked at’, which may trigger a disproportionate and often violent response (e.g. assault). This allows offenders to rationalise their offending behaviour by blaming other factors for it e.g. blaming the victim. Minimalisation Minimalisation is the attempt to downplay the seriousness (or trivialising the importance) of one’s own offence to explain the consequences as less significant or damaging than they really are. This helps the individual to accept the consequences of their own offences and reduce the negative emotions such as guilt associated with their crimes. For example, when planning a crime, a burglar might think that stealing a few things from a wealthy family ‘won’t really affect their lives’, or that they are ‘supporting their family’ or ‘doing a job’. Application: When questioned by police, Max claimed he punched the man in the bar because “he looked at me funny.” In court, defending his actions – Max told the judge that the man he punched “wasn’t even hurt that bad” and “what was I supposed to do? I was just taking care of business.” Using your knowledge of cognitive distortions, explain Max’s offending behaviour (4 marks) The Heinz Dilemma How is Robin showing examples of cognitive distortions? How might he use them to rationalise or deny his offending behaviour? Create potential examples of this type of cognitive distortion for other crimes
  33. 33. 33 As the interviewee, read the Heinz dilemma. Then answer the interviewer’s questions. In Europe, a woman was near death from a rare type of cancer. There was one drug that the doctors thought might save her. It was a form of radium that a druggist in the same town had recently discovered. The drug was expensive to make but the druggist was charging 10 times what the drug cost him to make. He paid $400 for the radium and charged $4000 for a small dose of it. The sick woman’s husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money, but he could only get together about $2000 which is half of what it cost. He told the druggist that his wife was dying and asked him to sell it cheaper or let him pay later. But the druggist said ‘No. I discovered the drug and I’m going to make money from it.’ Heinz got desperate and broke into the man’s store to steal the drug for his wife. The Heinz Dilemma As the interviewer, instruct your interviewee to read the Heinz dilemma. Then read the following: ‘I am now going to ask you a series of questions. Please answer honestly; your results will remain confidential.’ Make sure you record your interviewee’s responses 1. Should Heinz steal the drug? 2. Why or why not? 3. (if the interviewee favours stealing): If Heinz doesn’t love his wife, should he steal the drug for her? 4. Does it make a difference whether or not he loves his wife? 5. Why or why not? 6. Suppose the person dying is not his wife but a stranger. Should Heinz steal the drug for the stranger? 7. Why or why not?
  34. 34. 34 Kohlberg’s theory of moral reasoning Moral reasoning refers to how an individual draws on their own value system to determine whether an action is right or wrong. Kohlberg suggested that people’s decisions and judgements on issues of right or wrong can be summarised in a stage theory of moral development – the higher the stage, the more sophisticated the moral reasoning, which results in a more logically consistent and morally mature form of understanding. People progress through he stages as a consequence of biological maturity and by having opportunities to discuss and develop their thinking (e.g. perspective taking). The theory was developed by interviewing boys and men about the reasons for moral decisions. The theory has three levels, and there are two stages within each stage. Level Stage Definition Criminal offenders are more likely to be classified at the pre-conventional level whereas non-criminals are more likely to have progressed to the conventional level and beyond. The pre-conventional level is characterised by a need to avoid punishment (punishment orientation) and gain rewards (reward orientation), and is associated with less mature, child-like reasoning. Individuals at this level may commit crime if they can get away with it (avoid punishment) or gain rewards in the form of money, respect etc. because they believe that breaking the law is justified if the rewards outweigh the costs or if punishment can be avoided.
  35. 35. 35 Exam style questions 1. Outline one cognitive distortion shown by offenders who attempt to justify their crime. (2 marks) 2. Explain how levels of moral reasoning can be used to explain offending behaviour (4 marks) 3. Plan: Describe and evaluate cognitive explanations for offending (16 marks) 4. Challenge: how would your gold plan be different for: Discuss cognitive explanations of offending. Refer to at least one other explanation of offending in your answer (16 marks) Outline cognitive explanations of offending (6 marks)
  36. 36. 36 Evaluating cognitive explanationspoint Evidence/example Explanation and link to the question There is research evidence to support Kohlberg’s theory of moral development. Palmer and Hollin (1998) compared moral reasoning between 210 female non-offenders, 122 male non-offenders and 126 convicted offenders using 11 moral dilemma-related questions. The delinquent group showed less mature moral reasoning than the non-delinquent group. This is consistent with the predictions of minimalisation by enabling the offenders to accept the consequences of their behaviour and reduce negative emotions such as guilt, supporting the theory. Understanding the nature of cognitive distortions is beneficial in the treatment of offending behaviour. They are essentially ‘after the fact’ theories, and although they may be useful when predicting reoffending, they tend not to give us much insight into why the offender committed the crime in the first place. This supports that cognitive explanations have important real-world applications and therefore external validity. If by changing offenders’ thoughts it can help to reduce reoffending risk, it implies that cognitive distortions may have played a role in their offending initially. The cognitive explanations are more descriptions of the criminal mind. Schonenberg and Justye (2014) presented 55 violent offenders with images of emotionally ambiguous expressions. When compared with matched control ‘normal’ participants, the violent offenders were significantly more likely to perceive the images as angry and hostile. This suggests that such misinterpretations of non-verbal cues may at least partly explain aggressive-impulsive behaviour in susceptible individuals and so supports the validity of cognitive distortions as an explanation of offending. There is research evidence to support hostile attribution bias. The dominant approach in rehabilitating sex offenders is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) which encourages offenders to ‘face up’ to what they have done and establish a less distorted view of their actions. Studies suggest that reduced incidence of denial and minimalisation in therapy is highly correlated with a reduced risk of reoffending, and this is a key feature of anger management. This is consistent with Kohlberg’s predictions about offenders being classified at the pre-conventional level of moral reasoning, supporting his theory. It has been suggested that this may be due to a lack of role playing opportunities in childhood, and therefore such opportunities should be provided. There is research evidence to support minimalisation. When Kohlberg studied women, he found that they were less morally developed than men. His beta bias meant that he ended up exaggerating the differences between men and women (alpha bias). This suggests that the theories may not be entirely internally valid as cause and effect cannot be established. Kohlberg’s theory was only based on samples of men and boys and yet assumed to apply to all people (beta bias). Barbaree (1991) found that among 26 incarcerated rapists, 54% denied having committed an offence at all, and a further 40% minimised the harm they had caused to the victim. Similarly, Pollock and Hashmall (1991) reported that 35% of a sample of child molesters argued that the crime they had committed was non- sexual (they were ‘being affectionate’) and 36% stated that the victim had consented. Gilligan’s (1982) research found that men favoured a justice orientation whilst women favoured a caring orientation. Neither is ‘better’, they are just different. As such, Kohlberg’s theory cannot be considered an externally valid theory of offending behaviour as it may not apply to women in the same way as men.
  37. 37. 37 Preparation for the lesson on differential association theory Prepare for the lesson on differential association theory. You need:  The definition of: differential association theory (you need to go beyond the key terms list for this).  Identify whether this theory takes the nature or nurture side of the nature-nurture debate.  Differential association theory is based on the idea that pro-criminal attitudes and offending behaviour are learned. Using your knowledge of behaviourism and social learning theory, explain how pro-criminal attitudes and offending behaviour may be learned.
  38. 38. 38 Differential Association Theory Video notes: Information gathering task notes:
  39. 39. 39 Applying differential association theory Growing up Gary was generally considered to be a good boy. He came from a stable background with supportive parents and always performed well at school. Since turning 15, Gary has started to hang out with a new group of friends. Locally the group has a reputation for being the “wrong crowd.” Despite being told to stay away from these lads by his parents and former friends, Gary continues to hang out with them. He spends the vast majority of his time with them listening to their views on how the police are pointless and that laws are made to be broken. Last week he was arrested for trying to steal a car - his first offence. Using your knowledge of differential association theory, explain why Gary may have offended (6 marks)
  40. 40. 40 Evaluating differential association theory Strength or weakness? Supporting or undermining evidence? Real-world application? What this tells us about differential association theory Differential association theory can account for crime within all sectors of society. Some types of crime, such as burglary might be clustered within certain inner-city, working-class communities, others are more prevalent amongst more affluent groups in society. Sutherland was particularly interested in ‘white-collar’ or corporate crime and how this may be a feature of middle-class social groups who share deviant norms and values. This supports the external validity of the theory as it account for differences in crime within different sections of society and why crime may differ across cultures. Differential association theory draws attention to the fact that dysfunctional social circumstances and environments may be more to blame for criminality than dysfunctional people, as was advocated by atavistic form. The theory marked an important shift from ‘blaming’ individual factors to pointing to social factors. This approach is more desirable because it offers a more realistic solution to the problem of crime (because learning environments can be changed) instead of eugenics. Osborne and West (1979) found that where there is a father with a criminal conviction, 40% of sons had committed a crime by the age of 18, compared to 13% of sons of non-criminal fathers. Akers et al. (1979) surveyed 2500 adolescents in the US and found that the most important influences on drink and drug behaviour was from peers. Differential association, differential reinforcement and imitation combined to account for 68% of the variance in marijuana use and 55% of alcohol use. These studies are consistent with the predictions of differential association theory that offending behaviour is learned through associations and interactions with others who have less favourable attitudes towards crime. The data from the supportive evidence is correlational. It may be that offenders seek out other offenders rather than being influenced by them. Additionally, Osborne and West’s results could just as easily be explained by genetics as differential association. This means that from the research we can’t strongly support the internal validity of differential association theory as cause and effect cannot be determined. There is a danger within differential association theory of stereotyping individuals who come from impoverished, crime-ridden backgrounds as ‘unavoidably criminal.’ The theory tends to suggest that exposure to pro- criminal values is sufficient to produce offending in those who are exposed. This is an example of environmental determinism as it ignores the fact that people may choose not to offend despite such influences. Therefore, crime must be considered on an individual, case-by-case basis to avoid such stereotyping.
  41. 41. 41 Preparation for the lesson on psychodynamic explanations of offending behaviour Prepare for the lesson on psychodynamic explanations of offending behaviour. You need to:  Revise the tripartite structure of the personality, the psychosexual stages of development and the assumptions of the psychodynamic approach  Revise maternal deprivation theory from attachment, including Bowlby’s 44 thieves study.  There will be a no-notes quiz at the beginning of the lesson, so make sure you have revised!  Challenge: how do you think these theories relate to crime?
  42. 42. 42 Psychodynamic explanations of crime Whilst Freud didn’t address offending behaviour himself, other researchers have attempted to some of his key concepts to offending. Psychodynamic explanations are a group of theories influenced by the work of Freud which share the belief that unconscious conflicts (innate drives), rooted in early childhood and determined by interactions with parents drive future offending behaviour. Two psychodynamic explanations of crime are:  The inadequate superego  Maternal deprivation theory The inadequate superego The superego is formed at the end of the phallic stage of psychosexual development when children resolve the Oedipus/Electra complex. Children internalise the superego of the same-sex parent. It works on the morality principle and exerts its influence by punishing the ego through guilt for wrongdoing, whilst rewarding it with pride for moral behaviour. Blackburn (1993) argued that if the superego is somehow deficient or inadequate then offending behaviour is inevitable because the id is given ‘free rein’ and isn’t properly controlled. Three types of inadequate superego have been proposed: weak/underdeveloped superego, the deviant superego and the over-harsh/overdeveloped superego Using the names of each one and what you know about the psychodynamic approach, predict how each type of inadequate superego may be related to offending behaviour.
  43. 43. 43 The weak/underdeveloped superego  If the same-sex parent is absent during the phallic stage, the child cannot internalise a fully-formed superego as there is no opportunity for identification. I.e. the superego is weak.  This would make offending behaviour more likely because they have little control over anti-social behaviour and is likely to act in ways that gratify their instinctual id impulses. The deviant superego  If the superego that the child internalises has immoral or deviant values (e.g. a child with a criminal parent), this would lead to offending behaviour because the child may not associate wrongdoing with guilt. The over-harsh/overdeveloped superego  A child may internalise the superego of a very strict same-sex parent.  Therefore, they develop an excessively harsh superego.  This means that the individual is crippled by guilt and anxiety most of the time because any time the person acts on their id impulses, they would feel bad.  This may (unconsciously) drive the individual to offend with a wish to be caught in order to satisfy the superego’s overwhelming need for punishment and reduce their feelings of guilt. What have you learnt so far?  Gary’s parents are extremely strict, yet he is always in trouble with the local police.  Barry has never met his Dad; he left Barry’s mother before he was born.  Harry lives with his Dad, but Harry’s dad makes his ‘living’ as a burglar. Identify the type of inadequate superego in each case. Explain why each person became an offender using the types of inadequate superego.
  44. 44. 44 Maternal deprivation theory recap  Bowlby (1944) argued that the ability to form meaningful adult relationships in adulthood was dependent upon the child forming a warm, continuous relationship with a mother-figure.  This relationship was seen as having special importance to the child’s well-being and emotional development (monotropy).  If maternal deprivation (long-term separation or loss of emotional care from the mother or mother-substitute) occurs during the critical period (around 2 ½ years), then the child will experience a number of damaging and irreversible long-term consequences later in life.  One of these is the development of the affectionless psychopathy personality type, which is characterised by a lack of guilt, empathy or strong emotion for others and responsibility. Such individuals are likely to offend and cannot develop close relationships with others as they lack the necessary early experience to do so 44 Thieves study: 1. What did Bowlby do and find in this study? 2. How does the study support maternal deprivation theory? 3. How is maternal deprivation theory a psychodynamic explanation of offending behaviour? 4. Bowlby’s results are correlational. Why is this a problem when supporting the theory? Give examples to support your idea.
  45. 45. 45 1 = Procedure: They used a sample of 44 criminal teenagers who were accused of stealing. The participants were interviewed for signs of affectionless psychopathy: characterised as a lack of affection, lack of guilt about their actions and lack of empathy for their victims. Their families were also interviewed to establish if there was prolonged early separation (deprivation) from their mothers. A control group of 44 non-criminal teenagers, with emotional problems were all assessed to see how often maternal deprivation occurred to the children who were not thieves. Results: 14 out of the 44 thieves were affectionless psychopaths and 17 out of the 44 had maternal separation. Of the 14 that were affectionless, 12 also had experienced prolonged separation (deprivation) in the first two years of life. In the control group 2 out of the 44 had maternal separation but 0 out of the 44 were categorised as affectionless psychopaths. 2 = suggests that the effects of maternal deprivation had caused affectionless and delinquent behaviour among the juvenile thieves, supporting the predictions of maternal deprivation theory 3 = because it follows the Freudian principle that the roots of (criminal) behaviour are formed in childhood. 4= no cause and effect. Could be genetics or differential association that caused the offending. Or could be character of the child (e.g. difficult child more likely to be put in care) or how family discord may have caused both. Maternal deprivation is only one possibility but it may not be the only problem or the most decisive. Therefore, from the research, we can’t strongly support the internal validity of maternal deprivation theory as cause and effect cannot be determined.
  46. 46. 46 Evaluating psychodynamic explanations - point Evidence/example Explanation and link to the question According to Freud, women should be more prone to criminal behaviour than men, but this isn’t the case. All that is demonstrated is an association between separation and emotional problems (affectionless psychopathy). There may be other variables that caused affectionless psychopathy. For example, it may be genetic or a result of differential association. Discord in the family home may have caused both of the variables as the child may have been taken from the home for their safety, and the discord may have caused them to become affectionless. These suggestions contradict the predictions of Blackburn’s types of inadequate superego, implying that the explanation as a whole may not be completely valid. There is a lot of evidence to undermine the inadequate superego explanation. There is little evidence that children raised without a same-sex parent are less law-abiding or fail to develop a conscience as adults. Additionally, if children are raised by deviant parents and go on to be criminals themselves, this could be due to genetics or socialisation rather than the formation of a deviant superego. Furthermore, the idea that criminal behaviour reflects an unconscious desire for punishment seems implausible as many criminals go to extreme lengths to avoid punishment. Freud’s views represent an alpha bias – exaggerating the differences between men and women, and devaluing women. Therefore, his psychodynamic explanation cannot be considered to be entirely externally valid as it may not apply to half of the population due to this bias. Psychodynamic explanations suffer from a lack of falsifiability. Freud proposed that women should develop a weaker superego than men because they don’t identify as strongly with their same-sex parent as boys do. This is partly due to the fact that resolution of the Electra complex is less satisfactory and partly because Freud believed that there was little reason for anyone to identify with a woman because of her lower status. However, statistics of the male to female ratio of inmates in prison doesn’t support this. Additionally, research has found hardly any evidence of gender differences in morality in children, and where there was, girls tended to be more moral than boys. Therefore, psychodynamic explanations are pseudoscientific rather than scientific, and may contribute little to our understanding of crime and how to prevent it. Counterargument suggestion: Bowlby’s 44 thieves study. Bowbly’s 44 thieves study was correlational. The many unconscious concepts mean that the explanations are not open to empirical testing. In the absence of supporting evidence, arguments such as the inadequate superego can only be judged on their face value rather than their scientific worth. Consequently, maternal deprivation is only one of the possible reasons for offending behaviour. It may not be the only one or the most decisive. Therefore from the research, we cannot strongly support the internal validity of maternal deprivation theory as cause and effect cannot be determined.
  47. 47. 47 Applying the psychodynamic explanations of offending behaviour. Jim spent the first 5 years of his life in a children’s home as his alcoholic parents were judged as not fit to take care of him. Jim is now 15 and has very few close friends. His most recent school report described him as ‘lacking empathy’ and his progress grades are among the lowest in his class. Jim has been in trouble with the police for vandalising a bus shelter and stealing from the local shop. Using your knowledge of psychodynamic explanations of offending behaviour, explain Jim’s behaviour (8 marks)
  48. 48. 48 Dealing with offending behaviour: Custodial sentencing Aims  Deterrence – the unpleasant prison experience is designed to put off the individual (individual deterrence), and society at large (general deterrence), from engaging in offending behaviour. Individual deterrence is based on punishment from operant conditioning and general deterrence is based on vicarious punishment from SLT.  Incapacitation – the offender is taken out of society to prevent them from reoffending in order to protect the public, especially from those who may not be capable of controlling their behaviour.  Retribution – society is enacting revenge for the crime by making the offender suffer, and this should be proportionate to the seriousness of the crime. The victim/family ten feel a sense of justice being done.  Rehabilitation – the offender can be reformed and made into a better person through some form of education (skills or training) or therapy. They should leave prison better adjusted and ready to take their place back in society. Apply it: A prosecuting lawyer’s closing statement: “I think you’ll agree, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, that the defendant, who is a notorious serial burglar who stands accused of yet another crime, should be sent to prison for a very long time. As we have seen, he has caused immense suffering to families over the years – now it’s his turn to pay with the loss of his liberty. At least then the public will be safe and he might eventually mend his ways. It might also send a message to others that crimes of this nature do not pay.” 1. Identify the aims of custodial sentencing in the lawyer’s statement. 2. Describe each aim of custodial sentencing. 3. Create a full application answer to the question by describing each aim and then explaining it in the scenario. 4. Challenge: do you think these aims are met through custodial sentencing? Justify your decisions.
  49. 49. 49 Psychological effects  Stress and depression (including self-harm and suicide) – depression in prisons can be explained in terms of hopelessness. When initially entering prison, offenders may feel hopeless about the future and lacking in control. Depression may be expressed in the form of self-harm. Suicide rates are considerably higher in prison than in the general population and is an outcome of depression. The stress of the prison experience also increases the risk of psychological disturbance following release.  Institutionalisation  Prisonisation – this refers to the way in which prisoners are socialised into adopting an ‘inmate code.’ Behaviour that may be considered unacceptable in the outside world may be encouraged and rewarded within the prison. Prison acts as school for crime and reinforces a criminal lifestyle and criminal norms. This leads to high recidivism rates with approximately 70% of young offenders re-offending within 2 years  Overcrowding and lack of privacy – prisons are often overcrowded resulting in a lack of privacy which has a negative effect on the psychological state of prisoners. A study with rats showed that overcrowding led to increased aggression, hypersexuality, stress and increased physical illness.  Deindividuation – prisoners may experience a loss of individual identity (deindividuation) which is associated with increased aggression and treating people in inhuman ways.  Effects on the family – children with a parent in prison are deeply affected financially and psychologically. Additionally, parents in prison may feel guilt and separation anxiety.  Labelling – being labelled as an ex-convict leads to a loss of social contacts and reduced employability. These affect recidivism rates.
  50. 50. 50  Positive effects - resulting from opportunities, treatment, rehabilitation, remorse etc. Is custodial sentencing effective?
  51. 51. 51 Evaluating custodial sentencing +/- How this affects custodial sentencing In the last 20 years, suicide rates among offenders tend to approximately 15 times higher than those in the general population. Most at risk are young single men in the first 24 hours of confinement. A recent study by the Prison Reform Trust (2014) found that 25% of women and 15% of men in prison reported symptoms indicative of psychosis. It would seem that the oppressive prison regime may trigger psychological disorders in those who are vulnerable. This suggests that custodial sentencing is not effective in rehabilitating the individual, particularly those who are psychologically vulnerable. However, it can’t be assumed that all offenders will react in the same way. Different prisons have different regimes so there are likely to be wide variations in experience. Additionally, the length of sentence, reason for imprisonment and previous experience of prison may affect how the offender reacts. Therefore, it is difficult to make general conclusions about the effectiveness of custodial sentences for every prisoner in every prison. The high rates of recidivism suggest that for at least 50% of the prison population, punishment (and rehabilitation) doesn’t work. Punishment is most effective when it occurs immediately, which doesn’t happen in the case of a custodial sentence. An offender may see the sentence as punishment for being caught rather than for the offence itself. Therefore, what they learn is to avoid being caught. We would also expect the severity of the punishment to act as a deterrent, but US statistics show that murder rates are not lower in states with the death penalty. This suggests that the threat of punishment in the form of custodial sentencing is not effective and so custodial sentencing does not achieve what it is what designed to. Prison may increase the likelihood of reoffending rather than decrease it. Differential association theory suggests that offenders would associate with people who have pro-criminal attitudes and may learn particular techniques for committing crime in prison. Latessa and Lowenkamp (2006) concluded that placing low-risk offenders (in terms of recidivism) with high-risk offenders makes it more likely that low-risk offenders will reoffend. This may undermine attempts to rehabilitate prisoners, suggesting that custodial sentencing may not be effective as a result. Many prisoners access education and training whilst in prison, increasing the possibility that they will find employment upon release. Treatment programmes such as anger management schemes and social skills training may give offenders insight into their behaviour, reducing the likelihood of recidivism. This suggests that prison may be a worthwhile experience, assuming that offenders are able to access these programmes as it may help to rehabilitate them and reduce recidivism rates. However, many prisons lack the resources to provide these programmes, and even when they can, evidence to support the long-term benefits of such schemes is not conclusive. Therefore, it may be premature to suggest that custodial sentencing is effective in rehabilitating offenders. The cost of prison care and the problems associated with it means alternatives might be preferred. Evidence suggests that cautions are more effective deterrents than arrests and that offenders sentenced to community rehabilitation were less likely to reoffend. A further advantage of this is that some of the problems that occur in prison (e.g. prisonisation, deindividuation, suicide, lack of employment and effects on the family) can be avoided by non-custodial sentences. The aims of custodial sentencing can also be achieved without a prison sentence. For example, retribution can be achieved through restorative justice which offers the added potential of changes attitudes towards re-offending. This suggests that as prison does little to deter or rehabilitate offenders, alternatives may be preferable. However, alternatives may be seen as insufficient by the victim/family and public at large who believe that punishment through custodial sentencing is effective and necessary for incapacitation and retribution.
  52. 52. 52  Prepare for the lesson on behaviour modification in custody. You need:  Definitions of: behaviour modification, token economy, operant conditioning, selective reinforcement, punishment, primary reinforcer, secondary reinforcer.  Describe how behaviour modification deals with offender behaviour using as many of these key terms as you can.
  53. 53. 53 Behaviour modification Behaviour modification programmes are applications of the behaviourist approach to treatment. They are designed with the aim of reinforcing obedient behaviour in offenders in the hope that the behaviour will continue, whilst punishing disobedience in the hope that this will become extinct. Therefore, they are based on the principles of operant conditioning. The programmes allow effective management and monitoring of offenders during their sentence, as well as reduce the likelihood of recidivism. Behaviour modification in prison is possible through the use of a token economy system that is based on the principle of operant conditioning. It can be managed and coordinated by prison staff within the prison and can be implemented prison-wide or on selected individuals. Tokens are given immediately each time offenders perform a desirable behaviour such as following prison rules, keeping their cells orderly and avoiding conflict. Although these tokens have no value in themselves (secondary reinforcers – they derive their value from their association with a reward), they can be swapped later for more tangible rewards (primary reinforcers). For example, phone calls to a loved one, time in the gym, extra cigarettes or food. Therefore, such rewards encourage the desirable behaviour to be repeated because they have become associated with rewards and privileges. This allows effective management and monitoring of offenders during their sentence, as well as reducing the likelihood of recidivism. Tokens and the associated privileges can be removed for negative behaviour; this is a form of punishment. Each of the behaviours and rewards would be made clear to the prisoners before the programme is implemented. Behaviours are changed in increments (shaping), so that desirable behaviours (e.g. avoiding conflict) are broken down into small steps (e.g. working positively in a group, walking away when provoked etc.) which can be reinforced a step at a time. All those who come into contact with offenders must follow this same regime of selective reinforcement. Video notes:
  54. 54. 54 Group task: Apply it: With reference to the case study provided:  Identify the behaviours you want to change, positive behaviours you want to encourage and negative behaviours you want to discourage.  Describe how you could break down these behaviour into smaller increments that get more complex to shape behaviour modification.  Explain how this could all be put together to create an effective behaviour modification programme using the key terms on the key terms list. Justify why these steps will help using your knowledge of the principles of operant conditioning.  Challenge: which type of offenders do you think this programme might be particularly effective for? Which type of offenders might this not be effective for? Justify your decisions. You are going to share your work with the other groups. Use the space below to make notes.
  55. 55. 55 A Potential answer:  Token economy is a form of behavioural therapy used in the management of offenders. It is used to shape and manage behaviour so that offenders are easier to manage during their sentence and to reduce the likelihood of recidivism.  It involves desirable behaviours being encouraged through selective reinforcement. In Norm’s case, he may be given tokens as secondary reinforcers immediately when he eats meals without throwing food and obeys guard’s orders.  These tokens can then be exchanged for more tangible rewards (primary reinforcers) such as privileges of phone calls to a loved one, time in the gym, extra cigarettes or food.  This encourages the desirable behaviours to be repeated because they have become associated with rewards and privileges and so should make Norm’s behaviour easier to manage and may reduce the likelihood of him reoffending.  If Norm throws food at dinner or disobeys orders, tokens and the associated privileges can be removed (punishment).  All of this would be made clear to Norm before the programme is implemented.  Norm’s behaviours can be changed in increments (shaped), so that desirable behaviours (e.g. not inciting others) are broken down into small steps (e.g. eating food sensibly) that get more complex which can be reinforced a step at a time.
  56. 56. 56 Evaluating behaviour modification in custody (token economy) Strength or weakness? What this tells us about behaviour modification in custody Hobbs and Holt (1976) observed a token economy in use at a state training school for adolescent delinquents aged 12- 15. 125 delinquent males were observed living in four cottages (one was a control group who didn’t receive tokens). Baseline data, before tokens, was collected for all groups. They found that mean percentages for social behaviours by an average of 27%. The control group showed no increase in the same time period. This suggests that behaviour modification is effective in managing offending behaviour whilst the offenders are in prison. The appeal of behaviour modification is that it is easy to administer. There is no need for specialist professionals as there would be for other forms of treatment such as anger management. They can be implemented by virtually anyone in any institution. They are also cost-effective and easy to follow once workable methods of reinforcement have been established. This suggests that behaviour modification may be more easily accessible than other methods of dealing with offending behaviour and so may be more likely to be effective as a result. However, this is dependent on the use of a consistent approach from prison staff as evidence suggests that benefits are lost after staff applied the techniques inconsistently. Behaviour modification is regarded as manipulative and dehumanising by several critics. Participation in the scheme is obligatory for all offenders rather than optional. Additionally, some prisoners are not able to earn tokens because they can’t control their behaviour and so are denied basic privileges or even necessities. Although ultimately the offender can decide whether to comply with the scheme or break the rules, critics have suggested that a programme which may involve the withdrawal of privileges is ethically questionable. Any positive changes in behaviour that may occur whilst the offender is in prison may quickly be lost when they are released. Cohen and Fitzpatrick (1971) found that offenders who took part in a token economy programme were less likely to reoffend than a control group two years later, but after three years, rates of recidivism were back to reflecting national statistics. This may be because law-abiding behaviour is not always reinforced on the outside, or the rewards the offender receives from breaking the law, such as group status, may be more powerful. Additionally, it only encourages superficial learning which offenders can play along with in order to access rewards but may produce little change in their overall character. This suggests that whilst behaviour modification might be effective in the short- term, it doesn’t appear to be effective in the long-term. Other treatments such as anger management may be preferable as the offenders are much more active in reflecting on the cause of their offending and they are given greater responsibility for their rehabilitation. This may lead to greater long-term impact on recidivism rates. Some people respond better to the programme than others. Programmes with young delinquents have been reasonably successful, but there has been less success with violent offenders and those in maximum security psychiatric hospitals. This suggests that behaviour modification may only be effective in dealing with some offending behaviour.
  57. 57. 57 Prepare for the lesson on anger management as a way of dealing with offending behaviour. You need: ◦ Definitions of anger management, cognitive behavioural therapy. ◦ Describe the three steps of anger management: cognitive preparation, skills acquisition and application practice. ◦ Explain how anger management is a cognitive behavioural therapy for offending behaviour. Challenge: where can anger management be implemented? In this way, how is it potentially superior to behaviour modification
  58. 58. 58 Anger Management: Novaco suggests that cognitive factors trigger the emotional arousal (anger) which generally precedes aggressive acts. For example, the offender may think that someone looking at them is an act of confrontation. Becoming angry is reinforced because the individual feels control in the situation when they become angry. Therefore, anger management is a type of cognitive behavioural therapy which aims to enable offenders to recognise anger triggers and develop techniques to bring about conflict-resolution without the need for violence. Therefore, they change and manage how they respond to anger. Anger management can be used as part of the custodial sentence and outside of prison (e.g. as part of the probation period). It’s conducted in small groups that last around 10 sessions. It’s based on the stress inoculation approach which aims to provide a kind of vaccination against future ‘infections.’ The Stages of Anger Management Calm People Should Avoid Angry People 1. Cognitive preparation – the offender learns to recognise anger and their triggers for anger. The therapist can also carefully challenge irrational interpretations of events that trigger anger. 2. Skill acquisition – techniques and skills are learned to deal with the anger-provoking situations more rationally and effectively (i.e. controlling/reducing the anger response) e.g. positive self-talk, assertiveness training in how to communicate more effectively, relaxation methods (e.g. deep breathing exercises) and/or meditation. 3. Application practice – the offender applies their new skills in the role play of situations that have escalated anger and acts of violence in the past. Successful negotiation is met by positive reinforcement from the therapist. Later, offenders can try out their skills in real-world settings. This should enable them to manage their anger in present and future situations, and consequently facilitate rehabilitation and reduce the likelihood of reoffending.
  59. 59. 59 Apply it: Brad is a regular in the local magistrates’ court. He frequently gets into fights when he goes our to town for the evening and has a bit of a reputation in bars and clubs around town as a ‘hard man.’ After he is arrested for fighting yet again, the local magistrate finally decides that Brad has ‘anger issues’ and suggests he seeks anger management treatment. Brad thinks that the people in bars and clubs look at him weirdly and laugh at him, so they have it coming. 1. Name and define the three stages of anger management. 2. Give examples of how each stage of anger management could be applied to Brad. 3. Why is anger management likely to have longer-term effects on recidivism rates than behaviour modification?
  60. 60. 60 4. Challenge: in what ways might anger management be inferior to behaviour modification? Apply it: Terry is serving a six month sentence for a violent assault. Terry repeatedly punched a man who had caused him to spill a drink after bumping into him at the bar of a busy pub. Known to his friends as ‘Mad Terry’, he has served time for similar incidents in the past. Terry has also hit his wife on two occasions – his explanation is that when she ‘nags’ him, he ‘sees red’. Terry has agreed to undertake a course of anger management during his prison sentence. 1. Identify Terry’s triggers for anger and use these (and Novaco’s ideas) to explain why he might continue to respond aggressively in different situations. 2. Describe the stages of anger management. 3. At each stage, give examples of how the stage would work in Terry’s particular case.
  61. 61. 61 Challenge: structure your answer as an 8 mark application answer: describe anger management and explain how it would be used to deal with Terry’s offending behaviour.
  62. 62. 62 Evaluating anger management - point Evidence/example Explanation and link to the question There is research evidence to support the effectiveness of anger management as a way of dealing with offending behaviour. Ireland (2004) found significant improvements in an experimental group who had 12 one-hour anger management sessions when reassessed 8 weeks after baseline measures and no changes in the control group over that time period. Consequently, whether an offender can even access this treatment is something of a postcode lottery which may limit its overall effectiveness. This is in stark contrast to behaviour modification in which there is no need for specialist professionals as there would be for other forms of treatment such as anger management. They can be implemented by virtually anyone in any institution. This suggests that behaviour modification may be more easily accessible than anger management and so may be more likely to be effective as a result. Anger management works on a number of different levels. Blackburn (1993) pointed out that whilst anger management may have a noticeable effect on the conduct of offenders in the short-term, there is very little evidence that it reduces recidivism in the long-term. This may be because the application stage of treatment relies heavily on role play which may not reflect all of the possible triggers in a real-life situation. Even though anger management can be delivered outside of the prison setting, it may count for little as a result of this and so may not be successful in dealing with offending behaviour in the long-term. Anger management may be more successful than behaviour modification. Rather than focusing on superficial surface behaviour, it attempts to address the thought processes that underlie offending behaviour. Experience of anger management may give offenders new insights into the cause of their criminality, enabling them to self-discover new ways of managing themselves outside of the prison environment. This suggests that anger management programmes are successful in reducing anger in offenders in the short- term and so are a potentially effective way of dealing with offending behaviour. Anger management may not be effective in the long- term. They are expensive to run because they require highly trained specialists who are used to dealing with violent offenders. Many prisons don’t have the resources to fund such programmes. Additionally, its success relies on the commitment of those who participate, and this may be a problem in offenders who are uncooperative and apathetic. Therefore, it is logical assume that anger management is more likely than behaviour modification to lead to permanent behavioural change and lower rates of recidivism. Anger management is more expensive and requires more commitment than other methods of dealing with offending behaviour. It includes cognitive preparation in order to identify the precursors to anger in stage one. A behaviourist perspective is applied in stage two when developing techniques of self- management. A social approach is adopted in stage three when offenders are required to demonstrate what they have learned during role play. This multidisciplinary approach acknowledges that offending is a complex social and psychological activity, and so may be more likely to be effective in reducing recidivism by addressing all of these different elements.
  63. 63. 63 Preparation for the lesson on restorative justice as a way of dealing with offending behaviour Prepare for the lesson on restorative justice as a way of dealing with offending behaviour:  Definition of: restorative justice.  Explain how restorative justice is different to custodial sentencing in its emphasis.  Describe the process of restorative justice (what actually happens) and the aims of restorative justice (what it’s trying to achieve).
  64. 64. 64 Restorative Justice: This is a system for dealing with offending behaviour which focuses on the rehabilitation of offenders through reconciliation with the victims. This switches the emphasis from the needs of the state (to enforce the law and punish) to the needs of the victim in coming to terms with the crime and moving on. Both the offender and victim are encouraged to be active participants in the process, which can take place face-to-face or using alternative methods e.g. via letter. The focus is on positive outcomes for survivors and offenders, and on acceptance of responsibility and positive change for offenders. There is less emphasis on punishment. It involves a supervised meeting between the two parties and is attended by a trained mediator. The victim is given the opportunity to confront the offender and explain how the incident affected them. The offender is able to see the consequences of their actions, including the emotional distressed caused. This an important part of the rehabilitation process. The offender may make some financial restitution to the victim, reflecting the physical or psychological harm done, or may repair the damage themselves. It can be an alternative to custodial sentencing, an ‘add-on’ to community service or an incentive which may lead to the reduction of an existing sentence.  Restorative justice addresses two key aims of custodial sentencing: ◦ Rehabilitation of offenders – as the victim has the opportunity to explain the impact of the crime, the offender understands the effects on the victim. Therefore, they learn to take the perspective of others, which reduces the likelihood of reoffending, especially as the offender is encouraged to take responsibility for their crime. ◦ Retribution – the offender ‘suffers’ by showing feelings of guilt or compensating the survivor. They may also show understanding of the effects of their actions. The victim’s explanation offers the offender the chance of developing empathy, which reduces the likelihood of reoffending.
  65. 65. 65  It also reduces the victim’s sense of victimisation because they are no longer powerless and have a voice. They may also develop a greater understanding of the offender by listening to their account, which reduces their sense of being harmed.
  66. 66. 66 Evaluating restorative justice Strength or weakness? What this tells us about restorative justice The UK Restorative Justice Council (2015) report 85% satisfaction from victims in face-to-face meetings with their offender(s). Avon and Somerset police reported 92.5% victim satisfaction with restorative justice for victims of violent crime. Supporting evidence This supports that victims who have participated in restorative justice feel it was beneficial. This is a particular advantage of restorative justice compared to the other ways of dealing with offending behaviour because it is the only method that truly aims to support the victims as well as rehabilitate offenders. Sherman and Shang (2007) reviewed 20 studies of face-to-face restorative justice in the UK, USA and Australia. All studies showed reduced reoffending and none were linked to higher reoffending. In one of the studies, reoffending was 11%, compared to 37% for a matched control group. The UK Restorative Justice Council (2015) report an overall figure of 14% reduction in offending rates. Supporting evidence This supports that restorative justice helps to reduce reoffending and therefore reduce crime rates, suggesting it is an effective way of dealing with offending behaviour. From the victim’s perspective, one of the major ethical concerns is what happens if they feel worse afterwards? Women’s Aid have called for a legislative ban on the use of restorative justice in domestic violence cases because of the power imbalance in the relationship between the abuser and the abused. From the offender’s perspective, making people face up to their wrongdoing can lead to abuses of power. For example, the victim or their families may gang up on an offender, especially where the offender is a child. They may try to shame the offender, which is not the intention of the process. Weakness Restorative justice programmes need to be carefully balanced and mediated to ensure benefit to both the victim and offender, as currently the high dropout rates from one or the other ‘losing their nerve’ may mean that it’s not currently the best long-term solution. It may only be appropriate for certain types of offence rather than every crime. The success of restorative justice programmes relies on the extent to which an offender feels remorse for their actions. There is a danger that some offenders may ‘sign up’ for the scheme to avoid prison, or for the promise of a reduced sentence, rather than a genuine willingness to want to make amends with the victim. Weakness This means that restorative justice programmes may not lead to positive outcomes when participants do not agree to take part for the best of intentions, which may limit the overall effectiveness of the programmes. Retribution, rehabilitation and deterrence can all be achieved as part of restorative justice. The process of facing the victim is seen as a punishment (although preferable to incarceration), and may be enough to act as a deterrent. Strength By avoiding custodial sentencing and yet still achieving the aims of it, the negative psychological effects of custodial sentencing can be avoided. Whilst restorative justice is expensive as it requires a trained specialist mediator, estimates from the Restorative Justice Council claim that reduced reoffending means that £8 is saved for every £1 spent on the restorative process. This suggests that restorative justice is also a cost-effective way of dealing with offending behaviour. Despite restorative justice seeming to reduce rates of recidivism and how it may prove cheaper than running and staffing overcrowded prisons, alternatives to custodial sentencing tend not to gather much public support. They are often regarded as soft options because the deterrent and retribution are less explicitly obvious and the aim of incapacitation is not met. Weakness These sentiments tend to be echoed by politicians who are keen to convince the electorate that they are ‘tough on crime.’ Therefore, despite its seeming effectiveness, restorative justice may never be tolerated by the public on a widespread scale, limiting its overall impact on recidivism rates.
  67. 67. 67 1. Explain what is meant by restorative justice (3 marks) 2. Outline one study in which the effectiveness of restorative justice was investigated (3 marks) 3. Outline how restorative justice has been used to deal with offending behaviour (6 marks) 4. Critics of the prison system argue that building more prisons is pointless because prison does not make offenders better people. Briefly outline one alternative to custodial sentencing and discuss why it might be a better way of dealing with offenders than sending them to prison (5 marks). 5. Plan: discuss restorative justice as a way of dealing with offending behaviour (16 marks) 6. Challenge: plan: Experts have different views about how to deal with recidivism. Some believe that custodial sentencing is the best way of reducing re-offending; others think that prison may not be the solution and that there are better alternatives. There is also much debate about whether treatment programmes reduce re-offending. Discuss ways of dealing with the problem of recidivism. Refer to the views outlined above in your answer. (16 marks)
  68. 68. 68