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Topics: Criminology, Crime

Criminology is a 20-credit option taught using a mixture of lectures and seminar classes. There will be 25 lectures, mostly in the autumn term, followed by 5 seminar classes in the spring term, and lectures and seminar classes will follow the same structure. Lectures will provide an overview and explanation of an area to facilitate individual learning; seminar classes will consist of discussion of questions and issues raised in advance. Active participation in seminar classes is essential. This module aims to provide students with an overview of theories and explanations of crime, the nature of crime and offenders, and social and legal responses to crime, in order to encourage a critical appreciation of these important issues.


The lectures and seminar classes will be delivered by:

Paul Almond (Module Convenor) Room 1.22

Module Structure
There are five sections to the course, each of which will incorporate a number of lectures and a corresponding seminar class (in the second term). These five sections are as follows:

Section One (Lectures 1-6): What is Crime? Orientations, statistics, victims, politics and the media.

Section Two (Lectures 7-11): Theories of Crime Environmental, sociological, political and social theories.

Section Three (Lectures 12-15): Explanations of Offending Linked to biology, psychology, life course, addiction.

Section Four (Lectures 16-20): Offending Populations Gender, race, age, occupation, and crime.

Section Five (Lectures 21-25): Responses to Crime Policing, prisons, and alternative approaches to crime control.

Textbooks and Materials
Three main criminology texts are recommended as starting points for your studies:

Williams, K. (2012) ‘Textbook on Criminology’ (7th Ed.) Oxford: University Press Newburn, T. (2007) ‘Criminology’ Cullompton: Willan

Each of these books provide a sound introduction and plenty of information regarding much of the content of the course, however, only Newburn covers everything on the course. As the course progresses, you will find it increasingly necessary to broaden your readings in order to cover the topics and issues discussed, and it will be necessary for you to find and read more specialised materials. The University’s criminology holdings are relatively well-stocked with books and journals, however, these are not always located in the Law Library (they may be with texts on sociology, for example). Some important additional books and sources you should look to use during the course are listed below (all of which are available in the main library):

Additional Reading (all in the library)
Maguire, M, Morgan, R. and Reiner, R. (eds.) (2012) ‘The Oxford Handbook of Criminology’ (5th Ed.) Oxford: University Press
Hale, Hayward, Wahidin and Wincup (2005) ‘Criminology’ Oxford: University Press
Downes, D. and Rock, P. (2007) ‘Understanding Deviance: A Guide to the Sociology of Crime and Rule Breaking’ (5th Ed.) Oxford: University Press
Jones, S. (2006) ‘Criminology’ (3rd Ed.) Oxford: University Press
Bernard, T., Snipes, J., and A. Gerould (2010) ‘Vold’s Theoretical Criminology’ (6th Ed.) Oxford: University Press

Key Journals (all available via the Library)
British Journal of Criminology
The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice
The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology

The course will be assessed via a combination of coursework and examination. There will be one assessed essay of ten pages, which must be formatted in accordance with the rules laid out in the School Guide (Course Assessment). This coursework will be set at the start of the spring term and will account for 50% of the overall mark. Be aware that the essay title will be distributed before the Christmas break.

The remainder of the overall mark (50%) will be taken up by an unseen examination of 2 hrs duration, to be sat in the summer. The pass mark for the course is 40%.

Please note that the deadlines for coursework are absolute and can only be extended with the permission of the Head of School/Director of Learning and Teaching (i.e. you must have a really good excuse).

Part One: What is Crime?

Lecture One – Beginnings

Williams (2012) Chs.1 and 2
Newburn (2007) Ch.1
Morrison (2005) ‘What is Crime?’ in Hale et al. Ch.1
Garland and Sparks (2000) ‘Criminology, Social Theory, and the Challenge of our Times’ British Journal of Criminology v40(2) p189
Garland (2001) The Culture of Control, Oxford University Press
Simon (2007) Governing Through Crime, Oxford University Press

What is Criminology?

“Criminology is the body of knowledge regarding crime as a social phenomenon. It includes within its scope the processes of making laws, of breaking laws, and of reacting towards the breaking of laws…The objective of criminology is the development of a body of general and verified principles and of other types of knowledge regarding the process of law, crime and treatment.” (Sutherland and Cressey, 1960)

1: Criminology views crime as a social phenomenon

2: Criminology has a broad scope (Garland, 2002)

3: Criminology seeks general and verified principles

Garland and Sparks (2000) – ‘criminology’ incorporates three elements: 1. A scientific and modern academic discipline 2. Government policy and practice 3. Public opinions and political arguments

But the academic discipline has increasingly lost out to public opinions in terms of influence – why? Garland’s story of the development of a discipline; the shift away from penal modernism

What is Crime?

“Criminal liability is the strongest formal condemnation that society can inflict, and it may also result in a sentence which amounts to a severe deprivation of the ordinary liberties of the offender…It is the censure conveyed by criminal liability which marks out its special social significance, and it is the imposition of this official censure (and the ensuing liability to state punishment) which requires a clear social justification.” (Ashworth 2003 at p1)

Some suggested features of Criminal Law? 1. Punitive in nature/consequence 2. State function 3. Moral in character 4. Seriousness

How should we think about crime?

The riots of 2011 prompt us to ask – why do people commit crime? To understand is not to condone.

Two pieces of context:

‘Risk Society’ • Beck (1992) – we live in a time of ‘manufactured uncertainty’ • The role of the state is dictated by this understanding – it is expected to control and limit these risks, make efforts to mitigate their effect. • Also – the feeling of risk feeds into a ‘blame culture’, and intolerance of perceived crime risks. • Garland (2001) – this risk dynamic results in the construction of a ‘culture of control’ – emphasis on risk management and expressive crime control

Crime as Public Politics • Crime is a political issue and a ‘way of thinking’ that permeates government • Simon (2007) – ‘Governing through crime’ – the crime control agenda permeates all aspects of public and private life, giving government broad new powers. o “When a problem for 10 percent becomes a paradigm for all, it is the mark of the hold of crime over our contemporary political imagination” (p. 213)
Lectures Two and Three – The Extent of Crime

Williams (2008) Ch.4.
Newburn (2007) Ch.3
Hope (2005) ‘What do Crime Statistics tell us?’ in Hale et al, Ch.3.
Maguire (2012) ‘Criminal Statistics and the construction of crime’ in the Oxford Handbook of Criminology, Ch.8.
ONS (2012) ‘Crime in England and Wales: Quarterly First Release to March 2012’ (online at
Chaplin, Flatley, and Smith (2011) ‘Crime in England and Wales 2010-11’; online at Coleman & Moynihan (1996) ‘Understanding Crime Data: Haunted by the Dark Figure’ Open UP.

1: Official Crime Statistics

A numerical survey of the number of notifiable offences recorded by Police each year. ‘Recording’ occurs after offences have been reported and registered, during the investigation phase, and prior to any resolution of the offence.

Criteria for Recording of Offences 1. Evidence 2. Notifiable Offence 3. Counting rules
Kershaw et al (2001): 40% of crimes known to Police are not recorded.
The Statistics – from ONS (2012):
Crime Stats – The Big Picture 1870-2007 (Maguire 2007 p256)

Types of Offences Committed

This table provides some broad category breakdowns – see the table overleaf for more detail.

This pie-chart gives percentage breakdowns of recorded crime – note the relative proportions of property, violent and drug-related crime. Any surprises?
Year-to-Year Trends in the Crime Statistics

In the last 12 months there has been a decrease in almost all forms of crime, apart from a significant increase in ‘other theft’ – why?

Geographical Distributions of Crime (2009)

|Top 5 Police Force Areas |Number of Offences (per 1000 of |Violent Crimes (per 1000 of popn.)|Theft of/from cars (per 1000 of |
| |popn.) | |popn.) |
|Metropolitan |112 |23 |15 |
|Gr. Manchester |110 |18 |16 |
|Nottinghamshire |109 |18 |16 |
|West Yorkshire |100 |16 |14 |
|South Yorkshire |100 |16 |16 |
|Bottom 5 Police Force Areas | | | |
|Devon/Cornwall |62 |13 |6 |
|Cumbria |62 |14 |5 |
|Surrey |59 |12 |7 |
|Norfolk |58 |10 |5 |
|Dyfed/Powys |48 |11 |4 |
|Thames Valley |90 |19 |12 |

Why is Nottinghamshire so high in the list? Farrington and Dowds (1985): “…between two-thirds and three-quarters of the difference in crime rates…reflected differences in police reaction to crime, while the remaining one-third reflected differences in criminal behaviour…Nottinghamshire has never been the most criminal area in the country.”

Criticisms of Official Statistics

1. Construction • Only include some crimes • Broad categories • Definitions of offences change • Limited in scope • Is criminal conduct recorded as one offence or as many?

2. Recording • Police numbers and sophistication of recording systems has effect on rates • Differences in Police conduct can affect rates – see Nottinghamshire • ‘Cuffing’ • Police tactics produce changes in rates

3. Reporting
If people report fewer crimes, fewer crimes are recorded. Why might people not report crime? • • • • • • • •

Conclusions – The ‘Dark Figure’ of Crime

So what can we say about our historical overview of crime? A range of reasons for the apparent increase! Official crime statistics give a distorted view of crime, much crime is not reported and not recorded. How much crime is there? What other sorts of crime are there? Who is at risk?

2: Victim Surveys

Look at crime rates without concern over recording practice by asking the public directly – “what crimes, if any, have you been a victim of in the last year?” Attempt to find out the ‘real’ crime rates.

Sparks, Genn and Dodds (1977) ‘Surveying Victims’ – first major UK crime survey

British Crime Survey (BCS, since 1982), or Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW, since 2012) • now annual, 40,000 participants, questionnaires and interviews used. • Early findings (1982) – uncovered 4 times the official rate of crime.

CSEW 2012 found that there were 9.6m crimes in the UK during 2010-11 (up from 9.5m last year). Part of a general downward trend since 1995.
As the pie-chart shows, the majority (78%) of crime is property-related. See how much more vandalism shows up here than in the official stats – suggests that much is petty and never gets reported. [pic]

This table (from Chaplin et al. 2011) shows us the level of risk of victimhood we face – 23.4% chance of being a victim in the next year.

But how do these trends filter down into public perceptions? Crime is falling according to all measures, but what do people actually think?


Now, to our own mini-survey of crime – what findings have we got?

Strengths of the BCS • Avoids problems associated with formal recording • Collects much more data than the official statistics record • Victim oriented • Gives information about risks of victimisation

Weaknesses of the BCS • Limited scope – narrower than Official Stats • Based on victim definitions of crime • People might forget crimes/remember incorrectly • Who responds to crime surveys? • Are the BCS trends borne out by experience? • Focus on ‘average person’ – ignores real victims? (Left Realist critique)

Islington Crime Survey (Jones et al 1986): Another victim survey. 1 in 3 households in Islington found to contain victims of burglary, robbery, or sexual assault. BCS excludes the most ‘at risk’ victims of these crimes.

Victim surveys show more crime than Official Stats, but similar trends and picture of crime. But BCS is not the full picture – still a ‘dark figure’ to uncover.
The School of Law Crime Survey 2012

This survey questionnaire is intended to gather a snapshot of crime victimisation rates among the Criminology student population at the University of Reading for teaching purposes only. The data gathered will remain anonymous and will not be published or made available apart from in the class context. No individual responses will be picked up on in class, and no information will be retained within the Law School. Nobody is obliged to disclose any information they do not wish to, or to take part in the survey, however, it is requested that students do try to fill in the questionnaire as honestly and fully as they can. Thank you for your help.

Have YOU been the victim of a crime in the last twelve months? Yes No

If yes, please give details of the crimes you were victim of (up to a maximum of 6):
|Offence 1 |
|How would you define the offence? …………………………………………….. |
| |
|Please provide a very brief description of the incident (when and where, what happened, who was involved, the result/outcome): |
| |
| |
| |
|Please estimate (in monetary cost or physical injury etc.) the level of harm you incurred as a result of this crime: |
|……………………………………………………… |
|Offence 2 |
|How would you define the offence? …………………………………………….. |
| |
|Please provide a very brief description of the incident (when and where, what happened, who was involved, the result/outcome): |
| |
| |
| |
|Please estimate (in monetary cost or physical injury etc.) the level of harm you incurred as a result of this crime: |
|……………………………………………………… |
|Offence 3 |
|How would you define the offence? …………………………………………….. |
| |
|Please provide a very brief description of the incident (when and where, what happened, who was involved, the result/outcome): |
| |
| |
| |
|Please estimate (in monetary cost or physical injury etc.) the level of harm you incurred as a result of this crime: |
|……………………………………………………… |
|Offence 4 |
|How would you define the offence? …………………………………………….. |
| |
|Please provide a very brief description of the incident (when and where, what happened, who was involved, the result/outcome): |
| |
| |
| |
|Please estimate (in monetary cost or physical injury etc.) the level of harm you incurred as a result of this crime: |
|……………………………………………………… |
|Offence 5 |
|How would you define the offence? …………………………………………….. |
| |
|Please provide a very brief description of the incident (when and where, what happened, who was involved, the result/outcome): |
| |
| |
| |
|Please estimate (in monetary cost or physical injury etc.) the level of harm you incurred as a result of this crime: |
|……………………………………………………… |
|Offence 6 |
|How would you define the offence? …………………………………………….. |
| |
|Please provide a very brief description of the incident (when and where, what happened, who was involved, the result/outcome): |
| |
| |
| |
|Please estimate (in monetary cost or physical injury etc.) the level of harm you incurred as a result of this crime: |
|……………………………………………………… |

Thank you for filling in the survey. Please leave your completed questionnaire in the box at the front of the lecture room once the lecture ends. The results will be collated and presented back in the next lecture.


3: Self-Report Surveys

How best to find out what/how much crimes people commit? Ask them! • Farrington (1989) aka ‘The Cambridge Study’ – 96% committed a crime by age 32. • Graham and Bowling (1995) 57% of men and 37% of women had committed a crime.

Criticisms of Self-Report Surveys • Questionable validity – do respondents tell the truth? • Samples not representative of whole population • Limited scope – focus on few offences

4: Conclusions

Official statistics give a distorted view of crime, as much crime is not reported or recorded – surveys cannot give full picture. There is still a sizeable ‘dark figure’ of crime, it is estimated that of all crimes: 45% is reported 24% is recorded in official statistics 5.5% is resolved by the criminal system 2.2% results in a conviction
Lecture Four – Victims

Williams (2012) Ch.5
Williams, B. (2005) ‘Victims’ in Hale et al. Ch.24.
Hoyle (2012) ‘Victims, the criminal process, and restorative justice’ in the Oxford Handbook of Criminology, Ch.14
Newburn (2007) Ch.17
Hoyle, C. and Young, R. (2002) ‘New Visions of Crime Victims’ Oxford: Hart
ONS (2012) ‘Crime in England and Wales: Quarterly First Release to March 2012’ (online at
Chaplin, Flatley, and Smith (2011) ‘Crime in England and Wales 2010-11’; online at Home Office (2004) ‘Statistics on Race and the Criminal Justice System – 2004’ Available online at 1: The Role of Victims

Young (1992) ‘Rethinking Criminology: The Realist Debate’ – the concept of crime is a square with 4 interacting points:

Police Offender

Public Victim

Criminology has tended to focus on the top of the square, and neglect study of the bottom. Why? A) History of positivist criminology B) ‘Governmental Project’

Victim studies were given impetus by four main developments: 1. Critical criminology 2. Left Realism 3. Media Interest 4. The Risk Society – Beck (1992)
Result – victims given bigger role within criminal justice system.

2: Who are the victims of crime?

CSEW 2012 – 21% risk of being a victim of a crime. But BCS has also generated more detailed information about victims of crime.
The risk of property crime victimisation is linked to the nature of the home (security measures etc.). • How do these characteristics relate to the social characteristics of the victims who live there? • The emphasis on security ties in with the idea of a ‘risk society’.

The risk of violent crime victimisation relates to personal characteristics and lifestyle. • This clearly points to one particular demographic group, but it is not our stereotypical victim of crime (elderly, female etc.) Why might we find these patterns?

Repeat Victimisation
Crime most commonly affects a minority on numerous occasions. Who, and why? • The crimes suffered most commonly in repetition involve vandalism and violence. Why is this? • Shaw and Pease (2000) – ‘Victimisation predicts future victimisation’. • The people most commonly victims of crime are also most likely to be repeat victims.


3: Race and Victimisation

Ethnic minorities are presented as perpetrators of crime rather than victims: Hall et al (1978). • BCS shows that ethnic minorities and young males are most at risk of mugging! • Ethnic minorities are more at risk of crime in general – why? • Most crime is intra-racial (Roshier 1989).

Findings of Home Office (2004):
[pic]4: Domestic Violence and Victimisation

16% of BCS violence is ‘domestic’, 33% involves ‘acquaintances’. Women are particularly at risk. • Stanko (1988) ‘Hidden Violence Against Women’ – 25% of women suffer domestic violence. • Painter and Farrington (1991) – 24% of married women and 59% of separated/divorced women have been victims of domestic violence • Domestic violence is also closely linked to repeat victimisation – ongoing phenomenon.

5: Outcomes of Victimisation

• A: Fear of Crime – why do those who are most at risk seem to have least fear of crime? Are those who DO fear crime simply ‘irrational’? ▪ Brogden & Nijhar 2000: female fear of crime is highest re: violent crime. ▪ Hough 1995: fear is linked to environmental and physical cues.


• B: Public Perceptions of the Seriousness of Crime – experiences as victims reflected in ratings of crime seriousness. ▪ Stylianou 2003

• C: Public Confidence in the Police – BCS findings show 80% think criminal system respects rights of defendants, 44% felt it was effective in bringing people to justice.
Criminology Lecture Five – Crime and the Media

Williams (2012) at Ch.3
Newburn (2007) Ch.4
Greer (2005) ‘Crime and Media: Understanding the Connections’ in Hale et al. Ch.8.
Greer and Reiner (2012) ‘Mediated mayhem: Media, crime, criminal justice’, Oxford Handbook of Criminology at Ch.9
Jewkes, Y. (2004) ‘Media and Crime’ London: Sage
Soothill et al (2002) ‘Homicide and the Media: Identifying the Top Cases in the Times’ British Journal of Criminology v41 p401
Innes, M. (2004) ‘Signal Crimes and Signal Disorders: Notes on Crime as Communicative Action’ British Journal of Sociology v55(3) p355

1: Reporting of Crime
Key recent development – Police have become media-savvy: Schlesinger and Tumber (1994).

Galtung and Ruge (1973) – stories get covered if they are: • Unambiguous • Unexpected/unpredictable • Negative • Large-scale • Culturally meaningful • Involve high-profile/powerful individuals

Chibnall (1977) 8 features of good crime stories: • Immediacy • Dramatisation • Personalisation • Simplification • Titillation • Conventionalism • Structured access • Novelty

• Smith (1984) – violent crimes received 53% of crime coverage, theft and burglary got 4% of coverage. • Williams and Dickinson (1991) – 13% of newspaper stories about crime (The Sun = 30%, Guardian = 5%). 65% of crime reporting relates to violent crime. • Schlesinger et al (1995) – broadsheets, tabloids and TV report crime differently. • Reiner et al (2001) – Media portrayals of crime fulfil 2 new roles: 1) a form of political story 2) a form of moral evaluation

2: Theories of Crime and the Media
Young (1974) – three theories of the media’s role: 1. Liberal pluralist model – many views and reports ensure accountability 2. Radical/conflict models – media as propaganda for the powerful – media in struggle for ‘ideological hegemony’ 3. Postmodernist model – reporting shaped by complex power relationships

What does a brief survey of the newspapers tell us about crime reporting?

3: The Effect of Media Responses

• Psychology – studies such as Bandura (1963) show link between what we see and what we do • Gillespie and McLaughlin (2002) – media representations do not have a major effect on people’s perceptions – most people’s views are punitive • Schlesinger et al (1995) – there is a link between certain media and fear of victimisation • Hough (2002) – public risk perception based on media reports and out of line with actual crime risks/rates

Risk Assessments • Innes (2004) – ‘signal crimes’ – vivid indicators of law and order used by public to establish perceptions of risk. Crime that indicates ‘disorder’ is ‘early warning’ of risks. Media reports of serious crimes – public problems become personal problems.

4: ‘Folk Devils’ and Moral Panics • Cohen (1972) ‘Folk Devils and Moral Panics’ – disorder by ‘Mods’ and ‘Rockers’ amplified to become serious public order problem. • Hall et al (1978) ‘Policing the Crisis’ – sensationalised stories of mugging create a public threat • A ‘moral panic’? – the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 • Folk Devils – criminals as ‘different from normal people’. Current example – paedophiles. • Kitzinger (1999) – problems with this process 1. Media coverage misrepresents the nature of the issue and the risks involved 2. Offending individuals become harder for police to control when driven underground 3. Media responses lead directly to vigilante action against non-offenders (paediatricians) 4. Media pressures result in ad hoc development of policy regarding sexual offences. 5. Seeing paedophiles as ‘subhuman’ deflects from causes of offending (Adler 2001).
Lecture Six – Crime, Politics, and Populism

Downes and Morgan (2007) ‘Overtaking on the left?: The Politics of Law and Order in the ‘Big Society’’ in the Oxford Handbook of Criminology, Ch.7
Hale (2005) ‘The Politics of Law and Order’ in Hale et al. Ch.21
Newburn (2007) Ch.2
Roberts, Stalans, Indemaur & Hough (2002) ‘Penal Populism and Public Opinion’ Oxford UP Chs.3&4
Roberts and Hough (2005) Understanding Public Attitudes to Criminal Justice’ Open UP.
Garland, D. (2001) ‘The Culture of Control’ Oxford: University Press.
Garland and Sparks (2000) ‘Criminology, Social Theory, and the Challenge of our Times’ British Journal of Criminology v40(2) p189

1: Where does Crime stand as an issue in the UK?

• Crime as a matter of widespread public concern. See the findings of BCS 2007: • 65% of people perceive crime to be increasing • 13-17% express very high levels of concern over crime • 37% of people feel fear of crime has a major impact on their lives

• Roberts and Hough (2005): Interest in crime is high but levels of knowledge are low – most people know very little about it. • Hough (1996) – people prefer sentences almost identical to those actually given by Courts.

2: Crime as a Political Issue • 1950s/1960s: relatively little attention paid to crime; an area of political consensus • 1970s: crime as a political issue in face of spiralling crime rates – ‘law and order’ politics • 1980s: who’s ‘soft on crime’?; post-1987 crime challenge to ability to govern • 1990s: new consensus on penal toughness – ‘tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime’ • 2000s: Downes & Morgan (2007) - a penal ‘arms race’

3: The Outcomes – the Changing Face of Crime Policy

Roberts et al (2002): • Post-1987 economic downturn led to a massive increase in crime and pressure to be ‘tough’; • Media coverage, (Jamie Bulger) contributed to picture of crime as ‘out of control’; • Michael Howard: ‘Prison Works’; 50% increase in prison population in 4 years; • A willingness on the part of politicians to respond to perceived public concerns (stronger sentences, name and shame etc.)

4: Penal Populism

Roberts et al. 2002 p65: a ‘punishment policy developed primarily for it’s anticipated popularity’

High levels of concern + low levels of knowledge = policy designed to appeal to public

Includes: 1. Marginalisation of expert input/research/evidence; 2. Policy dictated by ‘what sells’ not ‘what works’; 3. Popularity as a measurement, not an outcome, of success; 4. Tough policies produced for a punitive public.

BUT: 1. The public are misinformed and lack information; 2. Public attitudes – what do they tell us?

Do you agree with the statement: “A life sentence should mean life, with no possibility of parole”? Yes No Unsure

3. Garland (2000): ‘culture of control’, the uncertainty and insecurity of a changing world leads to demands for control over risks; tough on crime as a means of reassurance/restating shared values. 4. Solutions: better measurement of opinions, more information for the public, require costings, place buffers between politicians and public. 5.
Roberts et al (2002) p72: [pic]

5: Evaluation: Penal Populism as a Problem? • Is this a threat, or just ‘democracy in action’? • Alternative explanations – conflict theory (penal populism as misinformation and state power) • How realistic are the suggestions for tackling this? • Key message – look beyond the mainstream opinions, think more deeply!

Part Two: Theories of Crime

Lecture Seven – The Sociology of Crime

Williams (2012) Ch.11
Newburn (2007) Ch. 9
Hayward and Morrison (2005) ‘Theoretical Criminology: A Starting Point’ in Hale et al. Ch.4
Downes and Rock (2007) Ch. 3
Rock, P. (2012) ‘Sociological Theories of Crime’ in the Oxford Handbook of Criminology, Ch.2
Bernard, T., Snipes, J. and A. Gerould (2010) ‘Vold’s Theoretical Criminology’ Oxford UP at ch. 5, 7
Girling, E., Loader, I., and Sparks, R. (2000), Crime and Social Change in Middle England: Questions of Order in an English Town. London: Routledge.
Putnam, R. (2000), Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, New York: Simon & Schuster.
Simon, J. (2010), ‘Consuming Obsessions: Housing, Homicide and Mass Incarceration since 1950’, University of Chicago Legal Forum p165 (via Hein Online).

1. Early Developments in the Sociology of Crime

Classicism: (Beccaria and Bentham) Crime as a cost-benefit model – understand the rationality

Positivism: (Lombroso, Quetelet and Guerry) Crime as a product of biology/psychology/social characteristics – understand the science

2. Environment and Crime

Early Efforts – Studies of the Poor

Engels (1845) ‘The Condition of the Working Classes in Britain’
Mayhew (1862) ‘London Labour and the London Poor’

The University of Chicago School of Sociology

The city is a living organism (‘human ecology’). Chicago’s growth and ethnic mix created a complex web of interactions. Looking at these interactions tells us how society has evolved over time, and why side-effects (such as crime) occur.

Shaw and Mackay (1931): Where in Chicago do juvenile offenders live? • Crime and social problems are greatest in the middle and decrease as you head outwards. • Zone of transition is where crime is most prevalent – correlates to unemployment and poverty. • Key idea – ‘social disorganisation’. A lack of integration causes breakdown of community; linked to three factors: poverty, residential mobility, racial heterogeneity.

Map of Chicago c.1925 – The ‘Zonal Hypothesis’ Adapted from Park and Burgess (1925) ‘The City’ Chicago University Press; and used by Shaw and Mackay (1931) ‘Social Factors in Juvenile Delinquency’ Chicago University Press

Evaluation of the Chicago School approach

1. Chicago School relied on official data (about crime and poverty) – not reliable! 2. Looked at street crime only. 3. Does the ‘concentric circle’ model of a city hold up? 4. Are the characters of neighbourhoods really unchanging over time? 5. Bottoms et al (1992) – Chicago approach looks at a symptom rather than the problem? 6. Criminal neighbourhoods are not ‘disordered’ - Whyte (1943) ‘Street Corner Society’. 7. Johnstone (1983) Does responsibility lie with the environment or with those who choose to offend? 8. Link between social disorganisation and crime is now well established (see BCS).

Contemporary Applications • - a system of geographical crime mapping of London by neighbourhood • Girling, Loader and Sparks (2000) – a detailed study of Crime in Macclesfield. The role of neighbourhood in shaping patterns and perceptions of crime. • Putnam (2000) – ‘Bowling Alone’: generational change and decline in civic engagement and social participation has led to breakdown of institutions and community. • Simon (2010) – a shift from urban renting to suburban home ownership (in USA) fuels fear of crime, creates opportunities, and concentrates offending in the urban core.

3. Poverty and Crime

Sainsbury (1955) – poverty is a more important cause of crime than environment. Why?

Unemployment? Seems to be a correlation – but how are the two related? • Petras and Davenport (1992) – high levels of unemployment harm communities and individuals, leads to crime via social exclusion. • Hagan (1993) – criminality leads to unemployment by removing people from legitimate society.

There does seem to be a link between the two but imprecise. Is it simply a ‘vicious circle’?

How might these sociological approaches have informed government policies regarding crime and the social environment? • Urban regeneration plans • Neighbourhood policing • Government ‘Social Exclusion Unit’ – aimed at reducing most severe effects of poverty. • The rise and rise of CCTV
Lecture Eight – Anomie, Strain, and Subcultures

Williams (2012) Ch.12
Newburn (2007) Ch. 8
Hayward and Morrison (2005) ‘Theoretical Criminology: A Starting Point’ in Hale et al. Ch.4
Downes and Rock (2007) Chs. 5 and 6
Bernard, T., Snipes, J. and A. Gerould (2010) ‘Vold’s Theoretical Criminology’ Oxford UP, ch. 6, 8
Merton, R. (1949/1968) ‘Social Theory and Social Structure’ New York: Free Press
Cloward, R. and Ohlin, L. (1960) ‘Delinquency and Opportunity’ London: Routledge
Matza, D. (1964) ‘Delinquency and Drift’ London: Wiley

1. Theories of Anomie

Anomie = 1) Having no regard for the accepted moral standards within society;

2) A state of ‘Normlessness’.

3) ‘…disillusionment…anger, and an irritated disgust with life’ (Lukes 1967)

Emile Durkheim – functionalist. Crime is a normal part of society. • In mechanical society, crime serves to maintain solidarity and reaffirm group identity. • In organic society, crime occurs when law and norms cannot govern interactions. • People’s desires are not kept in check, leading to lawlessness.

Criticisms of Durkheim • Questionable statistical basis • Makes suppositions about values and consensus within society

Robert Merton – why is crime in the USA concentrated amongst the poor? • Anomie exists at all times • The ‘American Dream’ – promotes wealth as social goal. • The non-fulfilment of this goal leads to crime. There are five responses to the anomie produced by the ‘American Dream’, some of which are criminal.

Merton – Criticisms • Goal consensus (‘American Dream’) – is this real? • Does not account for distributions of power and control. • Also questionable statistical basis. • Focus on street crime and property offences. • Where do these ‘rules of society’ come from?

‘Modes of Reaction’, adapted from Merton, R. (1949) ‘Social Theory and Social Structure’ New York: Free Press.


Pressure to Pursue Goals of Society

Goals Accepted Goals Rejected

Does Individual use Legitimate or Illegitimate Means?

Legitimate Illegitimate Legitimate Illegitimate

Conformity Innovation Ritualism Retreatism/Rebellion

2. Strain Theories

Agnew (1992) ‘General Strain Theory’ • Strain is not just a gap between what we want and what we can get – there are 3 sorts of strain: 1. Strain from failure to achieve goals (not just economic, also social) 2. Strain from loss of positive stimuli 3. Strain from negative stimuli (pain, punishment, shame)

• Strain causes crime when: 1) it is deliberate 2) the individual is impulsive 3) the individual has low levels of social control 4) the individual has experience of crime

Messner and Rosenfeld (1994) ‘Crime and the American Dream’ – why does the USA have more crime than any other developed nation? • American society encourages individuals to want a lot, but does not provide means for getting it. Failure to achieve = anomie/strain. • Culture of wealth, prioritisation of economy – leads to pressure to reach goals, results in crime AND in negative value socialisation. Money first, law-abiding roles second. • A new value system is needed – ‘There’s more to life than money!’

3. Crime and Subcultures

• Cloward and Ohlin (1960) ‘Delinquency and Opportunity’ – Differential Opportunity Theory. Means/Goal differential – when opportunities are blocked individuals become embittered. 3 types of gang: 1) Criminal – trainee criminals 2) Conflict – negative and violent gangs 3) Retreatist – drop-outs

• Matza and Sykes (1957); Matza (1964) – notion of Drift. Individuals drift into crime but are not committed to it as a moral choice. ‘Neutralise’ crime in five ways: 1) Deny responsibility 2) Deny harm 3) Victim deserved it 4) Condemn the condemners 5) Claim higher loyalties

4. Conclusions

Key recurring theme – a lack of harmony between values of individuals and society – so what is the solution? Change society and its values? Is crime an inevitable part of consumerist society?
Lecture Nine – Interactionist Theories (Learning and Labelling)

Williams (2012) Ch.14
Newburn (2007) Ch. 10 and 193-196
Downes and Rock (2007) Ch. 7
Bernard, T., Snipes, J. and A. Gerould (2010) ‘Vold’s Theoretical Criminology’ Oxford UP at Chs.9 and 11
Becker, H. (1963) ‘Outsiders: Studies in the Sociology of Deviance’ London: Macmillan

1. Learning Theories

• Operant Conditioning – Skinner (1938): people learn from the effects their actions produce. Jeffery (1965): crime is reinforced through the results of offending (punishment or reward) • Social Learning Theory – behaviour is reinforced through experience but also observation and interaction. Bandura (1961): children learn violence through exposure to violence.

Sutherland (1947) ‘Differential Association Theory’ • Crime is learned through interaction with others – learn techniques, motives, attitudes. • When negative definitions of law-abidingness outweigh positive ones – individual turns towards crime = this is a differential association (deviant learning structure) • Within society there is culture conflict over values – leads to differential social organisations.

Wolfgang and Ferracuti (1967) – looked at how learning occurs in subcultures = values passed on.

Akers (1973/1994) – differential association and operant learning both play a part in learning crime.

2. Interactionism – Labelling Theory

An approach that looks at the way in which crimes and criminals are defined – does not seek to explain causes of the behaviour, seeks to explain the way that behaviour is handled and dealt with.

• Mead (Chicago School) – definitions of self are based on reflections given by others. • Tannenbaum (1923): “The person becomes the thing he is described as being.” • Lemert (1967) ‘Human Deviance, Social Problems and Social Control’:

Why does this process occur? – a form of defence mechanism to reduce threat to self-esteem.

Primary Deviation – initial criminal behaviour (unimportant)

Leads to response – labelling of act (then individual) as deviant

Offender redefines self in line with negative definition

Secondary Deviation – ongoing pattern of crime is stabilised

• Becker (1963) ‘Outsiders’ – an act is only deviant if it is regarded and labelled as such:

“Social groups create deviance by making the rules whose infraction constitutes deviance, and by applying those rules to particular people and labelling them as outsiders.”

The label of deviant overrides others and becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, leads to increased interaction/identification with other criminals.

Criticisms of Labelling Theories • Akers (1967) – labelling is deterministic, implies that labels are forcibly applied • Why does primary deviance occur? When does primary become secondary? • Is labelling really a bad thing? The stigma of conviction deters crime.

Developments in Labelling Theory • Matza (1969) – labelling process has four stages, based on interaction between state and individual. • Matsueda (1992)/Heimer and Matsueda (1994) – labels applied by parents have significant effect on creation of criminal self-image.

Implications of Labelling Theory

• An underdog theory – tend to side with the labelled deviant. Is labelling really just a theory for “nuts, sluts, and perverts”? (Liazos 1972) • Can we test labelling theory? – there is evidence to support it – West and Farrington (1977). • Policy implications – limit the criminal law, handle first-time offenders more sensitively, look to reintegrate criminals, use labels carefully!

Criminology Lecture Ten – Conflict Theories and Left Realism

Williams (2012) Chs. 15 and 16
Newburn (2007) Chs. 12 & 13
Downes and Rock (2007) Ch. 10
Bernard, T., Snipes, J. and A. Gerould (2010) ‘Vold’s Theoretical Criminology’ Oxford UP, ch. 12, 13
Young, J. (1999) The Exclusive Society ,London: Sage.
Box, S. (1987) Recession, Crime and Punishment, London: Macmillan.
Young, J. and Matthews, R. (1992) Rethinking Criminology: The Realist Debate, London: Sage
Hall, S. et al. (1978) ‘Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State, and Law and Order’ London: Macmillan

1. Conflict Theories of Crime

Influenced by a Marxist approach – conflict is inherent within capitalist society, crime is a result.

• Vold (1958): powerful interest groups dictate the use of criminal system against less powerful. • Turk (1969): conflict occurs between authorities’ and individuals’ cultural and social norms. • Chambliss and Seidmann (1971) ‘Law, Order and Power’: 3 propositions: 1. Laws reflect most powerful interests 2. Judges’ decisions also reflect these interests 3. Enforcement practices favour powerful interests

“The single most important force behind criminal law creation is doubtless the economic interest and political power of those social classes which either (1) own or control the resources of society, or (2) occupy positions of authority in the state bureaucracies…the Marxian theory, [places] emphasis on the role of the ruling class in creating criminal laws.” Chambliss, W. (1975) ‘Theory and Society’ p162

“…this argument needs qualification. It does not maintain that all criminal laws directly express the interests of one particular group, such as the ruling class. Clearly some legislation reflects temporary victories of one interest or allied interest groups over others, and none of these may necessarily be identical or coincide with the interests of the ruling class.” Box (1983) ‘Power, Crime, and Mystification’ at p7

Applied Radicalism • Hall et al (1978) ‘Policing the Crisis’: concept of a ‘mugging epidemic’, centred on young black males, is a political construct to divert attention from real problems of society.

2. Left Realist Criminology

1980s development – focuses on the reality of crime for most people, and seeks practical solutions: 1. Crime is on the increase 2. Crime has adverse effects on people and communities 3. Something must be done! 4. Abstract theories of crime are useless unless they produce real solutions.

A reaction to the ‘out of touch and irrelevant’ radical criminology movement. Crime is on the increase, by more than the stats show, we must take crime seriously and look at the system as a whole.

Young (1992) ‘Rethinking Criminology: The Realist Debate’: crime as a product of multiple influences.

Police/Control Offender

Public Victim

• Public views of crime affect the focus of the law and enforcement agencies. • Control Agencies affect crime rates through their policing practices. • Victims: look at who is at risk and what their perceptions of crime are. • Offenders: what is the cause of criminal conduct? Relative deprivation – inequality and injustice of wealth distributions leads to acquisitive crime and to crimes borne of frustration.

Young (1999) – The Exclusive Society: the role played by changes in production and consumption in driving a shift to an exclusionary late-modern society; the creation of a class of ‘others’.

Evaluations of Left Realism

• Radicals call it a sell-out that doesn’t look at the underlying social problems. • Utilises and accepts conventional definitions of crime • Only really focuses on certain forms of crime • Community-centred policing – is this a realistic/viable option? • Builds on/incorporates a number of different theories – a modern reworking?
Lecture Eleven – Control and Right Realist Theories

Williams (2012) Ch.13 and 16
Newburn (2007) Ch. 11 and 13
Downes and Rock (2007) Ch. 9
Bernard, T., Snipes, J. and A. Gerould (2010) ‘Vold’s Theoretical Criminology’ Oxford UP at Ch. 10
Hirschi, T. (2004) ‘Causes of Delinquency’ London: Transaction
Wilson and Kelling (1982) ‘Broken Windows: The Police and Neighbourhood Safety’ The Atlantic Monthly, March, pp29-38.

1. Control Theories

Crime is a ‘normal’ part of human nature, being criminal is not a form of abnormality, so key question should be: “Why do most people NOT commit crime?”

Early Control Theories

• Toby (1957) – ‘stakes in conformity’. How much do you have to lose by breaking the law? • Reckless (1961) – there are forces that push us towards and pull us away from crime. Control as a balance.

Social Control Theory

Hirschi (1969) ‘Causes of Delinquency’: “Delinquency is not caused by beliefs that require delinquency but is rather made possible by the absence of effective beliefs that forbid delinquency.”

‘Social Bonding’ is key to offending – as bonds weaken, crime becomes more likely. 4 elements: 1. Attachment – to others (family etc.) 2. Commitment – to society 3. Involvement – in lawful activities 4. Belief – in morals of society

Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990) ‘A General Theory of Crime’

A development of Hirschi’s theory, attempt to explain all crime in terms of ‘self-control theory’. Low levels of self-control = likelihood of offending behaviour. Most crime characterised by:

1. short-term gains 2. disorganised and spontaneous 3. trivial and mundane 4. part of wider irresponsibility 5. link to behavioural problems

Low Self-control + Opportunity to offend = CRIME

Self-Control: “Since these traits can be identified prior to the age of responsibility for crime, since there is considerable tendency for these traits to come together in the same person, and since the traits tend to persist through life, it seems reasonable to consider them as comprising a stable construct useful in the explanation of crime.”

Akers (1991) – the theory is tautologous: “Low self-control individual = commit irresponsible acts = because of low self-control”

2. Right Realism

• A ‘new right’ approach – neo-conservative approach. • James Q Wilson – focus should be on small-scale changes rather than social upheaval. Crime is chosen. • Wilson and Herrnstein (1985) ‘Crime and Human Nature’: crime is a product of individual choice, affected by biology, socialisation, permissive society and welfare dependency. Can’t change criminals but can deter people before they become criminals – focus on first-time offenders. Also – ‘3-strikes’ policies. • ‘Broken Windows’ hypothesis – must maintain public order to prevent spread of crime. o Keizer et al (2008) ‘The Spreading of Disorder’, Science, 322: 1681. • Murray (1990): the role of ‘lower-class culture’.

Evaluations of Right Realism

• ‘Crass tabloid populism’ dressed up as criminology • Reliance on dubious empirical evidence and problematic official statistics • Advocates ‘cutting loose’ individuals and communities with crime problems – fair? • Zero-tolerance policing – a recipe for racist policing?

3. Rational Choice Theory

• Offenders act in order to maximise their profits and minimise their losses – so criminal motivation is a question of gain and loss. • Cornish and Clarke (2006) – view crime as the outcome of a series of complex, interacting choices (best viewed as a ‘series’ of choices); these choices are influenced by a series of personal factors/motivations. • So crime is a choice; this choice is rational. Crime is never ‘meaningless’ or senseless. • Solutions – situational crime prevention, target hardening, deterrence. • Criticisms – part of Garland’s ‘new criminologies of everyday life’; crime as ordinary, normal, unavoidable? Regressive and resigned – just a matter of adapting?
Part Three: Explanations of Offending
Lecture Twelve – Biology and Crime

Williams (2012) Chs. 6 and 7
Newburn (2007) Ch. 6
Peay, J. (2012) ‘Mentally disordered offenders, mental health, and crime’, Oxford Handbook of Criminology, ch. 15
Bernard, T., Snipes, J. and A. Gerould (2010) ‘Vold’s Theoretical Criminology’ Oxford UP at Ch. 3
Jefferey, C. (1979) ‘Biology and Crime’ London: Sage

1. Early Studies of Crime and Biology

• Lombroso (1876) ‘L’Uomo Delinquente’ – physical characteristics indicate ‘atavistic reaction’. • Goring (1913) ‘The English Criminal’ – convicts not much different from undergrads. • West (1982) – Cambridge Study.

2. Genetic Factors and Crime

A: Twin Studies Monozygotic twins (MZ) – identical, from same egg Dizygotic twins (DZ) – non-identical, from different eggs

• Christiansen (1968, 1974, 1977) – Studied records of 6000 sets of twins born in 20-year period – how many both had convictions? MZ – 35.8%, DZ – 12.3%. • Dalgaard and Kringlen (1976) – fFound concordance of 26% for MZ, 15% for DZ. BUT – more due to ‘mutual psychological closeness’. • Rowe and Rodgers (1989) ‘Ohio Twin Study’.

B: Adoption Studies

• Hutchings and Mednick (1977)/Mednick et al (1987) – 48% of boys convicted of crimes had a criminal biological father. • Walters (1992) – environmental factors more correlated with crime than biology. • Bohman (1995) – nurture outweighs nature quite significantly.

3. Biochemistry and Crime

A: Neurotransmitters
The chemicals through which electrical signals and impulses are passed in the brain. • Virkkunen and Linnoila (1993) – impulsive violent and antisocial behaviour are linked to a lack of serotonin; genetically determined but affected by environment, stress, drugs, diet.

B: Nutrition • Kaplan and Manuck (1990) linked low levels of serotonin to a low-cholesterol diet. • Curran and Renzetti (1994) – additives causing hyperactivity led to criminal behaviour

C: Hormones
I - PMT • Dalton (1961): 49% of women offended during 7 day period immediately prior to menstruation.
II – Testosterone • Olwens (1987) – studied young men with no criminal career, provoked aggression directly linked to testosterone levels. • Ellis and Coontz (1990) – testosterone levels peak in males between ages of 15-20, this is also when offending rates are concentrated – juvenile offending.
III - Adrenalin • Olwens (1987) – aggressive behaviour negatively related to adrenalin.

4. The Brain and Crime

A: CNS • Mednick et al (1981): EEG tests on offenders showed high levels of ‘slow brain-wave activity’

B: Brain Damage • Buikhuisen (1987) – offenders do worse in dysfunction tests. Frontal lobe problems linked to this – restricts ability to assess actions and learn from experience. • Farrington et al (1990) ‘The Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development’ – found that high rates of offending are linked to attention deficit and behavioural issues • Murray (1976) – somewhere between 22 and 90% of offenders have ‘learning difficulties’.

C: Mental handicap
Arrested or incomplete development of the mind – mental impairment • Robertson (1981) – tracked 300 mentally handicapped individuals released from hospitals – 12% subsequently convicted of sexual offences.

Lecture Thirteen – Psychology and Crime

Williams (2012) Chs. 8-9
Hayward (2005) ‘Psychology and Crime: Understanding the Interface’ in Hale et al. Ch.6
Newburn (2007) Ch. 7
Hollin, C. (2012) ‘Criminological Psychology’, Oxford Handbook of Criminology at Ch. 3
Bernard, T., Snipes, J. and A. Gerould (2010) ‘Vold’s Theoretical Criminology’ Oxford UP, ch. 4
Peay, J. (2012) ‘Mentally disordered offenders, mental health, and crime’, Oxford Handbook of Criminology, ch. 15
McGuire, J. (1995) ‘What Works: Reducing Reoffending’ New York: Wiley
Eysenck, H. (1964) ‘Crime and Personality’ Herts: Paladin
Juby, H. and Farrington, D. (2001) ‘Disentangling the Link between Disrupted Families and Delinquency’ British Journal of Criminology v41 p22.

1: Personality and Crime

Freud’s Theory: The personality has 3 elements – the id, ego, superego. • The Id – basic biological urges and desires – driven by internal INSTINCTS. • The Ego – controls that restrain the id by learning from experiences, using REASON. • The Superego – inner rules and values that child learns – incorporates the CONSCIENCE.
Bowlby (1946, 1951, 1953) – ‘maternal deprivation’. A close relationship with mother figure is needed for mental development, rejection/separation leads to delinquency.
Juby & Farrington (2001) – parental conflict linked to crime more than parental loss.

Eysenck’s Theory of Criminal Personality
‘Crime and Personality’ (1964) • Human personality incorporates two main continuums: extrovert-introvert (E scale) and stable-unstable/neurotic (N scale). There is also a P scale – level of psychotism.
• McGurk and McDougall (1981) Neurotic Extroverts only present among offending sample, Stable Introverts only present among non-offenders. • The P scale relates to psychotism, those who are uncaring and cruel, least able to interact with others. The most criminalistic of all are Neurotic Extroverts with high P scores.

Personality Testing

Waldo and Dinitz (1967) of 94 studies, 81% found differences between criminals and non-criminals. BUT – no personality traits consistently link to crime. • The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) – a personality test developed for use in diagnosis of adult psychiatric conditions. • Scales include: hypochondria, depression, psychopathic deviation, paranoia, neurosis, schizophrenia and introversion. Are there links between scores on these scales and crime? • Waldo and Dinitz (1967) – ‘psychopathic personality’ scale relates to people who are rebellious, disregarding of rules, aggressive, and selfish. Strongest link between high score on this scale and criminality. • Lundman (1993) – 3 of the MMPI scales are linked to offending. Psychopathic deviation, schizophrenia, and hypomania. People in 2 of these 3 categories – 35% are offenders.

2: Mental Illness and Crime

• Gunn et al (1991) – 37% of prisoners had some sort of mental disorder, 2% psychotic. • Birmingham et al (1996) – 26% of remand prisoners suffer from one or more forms of mental illness (exclusive of substance abuse). 4% are psychotic.

Schizophrenia • Lindqvist and Allbeck (1990) – schizophrenic offending rates the same as the general population. BUT – violent crime rates four times higher. • Taylor (1982) – most violent crime by schizophrenics is minor and aimed at self or family.

Depression • West (1965): 1/3 of murders committed by people who were depressed at the time. • Feldman (1993) found that depressives within mental institutions are not more dangerous or violent than the population as a whole.

3: Cognitive Psychology and Offending Behaviour

Interpersonal cognition = style and content of thought about ourselves and others

Moral Reasoning • Kohlberg (1978): as individual mature, they develop moral reasoning in a sequential and ordered way: 1. Pre-morality; 2. Conventional conformity; 3. Autonomous principles. Disruption to this process = underdeveloped moral reasoning skills

• McMurran and Maguire (2005) – focus on use of social problem-solving skills to:- i) understand situation; ii) envisage options for action; iii) evaluate/weigh up outcomes/success of each option; iv) decide on action and execute it.

Social Information Processing • Crick and Dodge (1996): six-stage process of information processing: 1. encoding social cues; 2. interpreting social cues; 3. clarification of goals; 4. response access/construction; 5. response decision; 6. behavioural enactment.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
CBT is a general treatment perspective that is used in many areas of psychology; it centres on ways of changing individuals’ reasoning/thought processes and teaching new ways of thinking. • McGuire (1995): ‘What Works’ – a battery of ‘best practice’ versions of CBT practice. • Hollin (2007) – there is evidence that CBT among offenders can reduce reoffending by up to 10% - modest but effective.

Lecture Fourteen – The Life-Course and Crime

McAra and McVie (2012) ‘Critical debates in developmental and life-course Criminology’ Oxford Handbook of Criminology, ch. 18
Farrington (2007) ‘Childhood Risk factors and risk-focused prevention’, Oxford Handbook of Criminology (previous edition), ch. 19.
Newburn (2007) Ch. 33, pp840-845.
Bernard, T., Snipes, J. and A. Gerould (2010) ‘Vold’s Theoretical Criminology’ Oxford UP, ch. 15
Farrington (1986) ‘Age and Crime’, Crime & Justice, 7: 189 (
Sampson and Laub (2005) A Life-Course View of the Development of Crime, ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 602: 12-45.
Wikström and Loeber (2000) ‘Do disadvantaged neighborhoods cause well-adjusted children to become adolescent delinquents?’, Criminology, 38/4: 1109.

1: The approach summarised

A model of criminological research which looks at offending as a component of an individual’s biography, life-span, or life-course. It tries to identify: 1. The ‘typical’ trajectory of a criminal career; 2. The risk factors that underpin offending behaviour; 3. The processes by which desistance occurs.
The approach used here draws upon some key disciplinary/conceptual frameworks: • Positivist; • Biological and psychological; • Developmental; • Modernist.

2: The criminal career trajectory

When does offending occur within the individual lifespan? • Glueck and Glueck (1950) – it peaks in adolescence, and predicts later behaviour too. • Farrington (1986) – this adolescent peak is broadly consistent with some variation across time, place, and group. Prevalence peaks in adolescence, not levels of offending.
• Sampson and Laub (2005) – offending as life-course relevant; the idea of ‘turning points’.

3: Risk factors associated with criminal development

A: individual factors


• Hirschi and Hindelang (1977) – intelligence works as an indicator of criminality. Average IQ of juvenile offenders is 92 (8pts below average). • Reichel and Magnusson (1988) – 30% of convicted from lowest 6% on intelligence scores. • West (1982) – the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development – average IQ of offenders is 95 (101 non-offenders). 39% of offenders had an IQ of below 90.
School attainment • Farrington and West (1993)/Perry preschool project (Schweinhart et al. 2004) found low attainment = chronic offending.
• See links to previous lecture; Lynam (1996) – children with hyperactivity-impulsivity-attention deficit (HIA) and behavioural problems are at greater risk of chronic offending
Social skills • The link to Crick and Dodge from the previous lecture…

Sampson and Laub (2005): combined risk factors do not imply different life-courses.
B: Family factors
Parental criminality • Cambridge Study – 63% of boys with convicted fathers also had a conviction.
Family size • Cambridge Study: 58% of boys from large families received convictions. • Brownfield and Sorenson (1994): is this due to the poverty, neglect, and family stress that large families bring?
• Poor supervision – see links to control theory/Gottfredson and Hirschi • McCord (1979) important factors are: ▪ harsh and physical punishment; ▪ inconsistent/erratic discipline; ▪ a lack of praise; ▪ cold and rejecting parents.
Child abuse • Widom (1989): abused children much more likely to have juvenile and adult convictions. • McCord: by 35, half of abused boys either convicted, alcoholic, mentally ill, or dead.
Disrupted families • McCord: 62% offending for boys from broken homes without maternal affection. • Juby and Farrington (2001): separation before age 10 predicted criminality, as did parental conflict.

C: External factors
• Sampson and Laub: effects are indirect but important as they influence family function and relationships.
• Wikström and Loeber (2000) – Pittsburg Youth Study – looked at effects of adolescent risk factors and neighbourhood area context together.

[pic] • The Peterborough Youth Study (Wikström) – looked at the relationship between: ▪ Propensity (self-control, morality) ▪ Lifestyle (choices, activities) ▪ Behaviour-settings (where lifestyles occur)
• As labelling theory suggests, offending leads to more offending.

4: Desistance and change • Moffitt (1997) distinguishes between the desistance capacity of two groups: ▪ Adolescence-limited offenders ▪ Life-course persistent offenders • Sampson and Laub (2005) – focus on ‘turning points’ in the life-course, like marriage? • Social bonding and engagement – Hirschi and the control theorists

The business/civic district – city centre, not many people live here.

‘Zone of Transition’ – slum dwellings and run-down industry. An area of high disorder and volatility. Crime breeding ground.

Zones 4 (affluent city) and 5 (suburbs) are wealthier and have much less crime

Zone 3 is the working-class district, where people move to from zone 2. Has different areas within it (Chinatown, Irish quarter)

Zone 5

Zone 4

Zone 3

Zone 2

The Loop





Neurotic Extroverts

Neurotic Introverts

Stable Extroverts

Stable Introverts

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    Critically discuss the contention that criminology is “the study of the causes of crime”. Nowadays, it is easy to find crime news in the newspaper. The number of crime increase year by year because of the complexity of society. Crime is a contest word. There are various definitions in different perspective such as Crime is the behavior prohibited by the criminal code in legal perspective (Walklate, 2011). Early criminologists aimed to develop more rational and efficient ways of dealing with crime…

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