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Brief History of Criminology . 1. Criminology 2. Brief History of Criminology 3. Quiz # 1 . Social Science. Not too long ago, criminology separated from its mother discipline, sociology

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Brief History of Criminology

1. Criminology

2. Brief History of Criminology

3. Quiz # 1

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Social Science

  • Not too long ago, criminology separated from its mother discipline, sociology

  • It has since developed habits and methods of thinking about crime and criminal behavior that are uniquely its own

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Criminology is …

  • The scientific approach to studying criminal behavior

  • Interdisciplinary discipline: political science, psychology, economics, natural sciences, and biology

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Edwin Sutherland and Donald Gressey

  • Scope of criminology includes:

  • Processes of making laws

  • Processes of breaking laws

  • Processes of reacting toward the breaking the laws

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The main question



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Brief History of Criminology

  • Demonic Perspective (Middle Ages, 1200-1600)

  • Classical School (the late 1700s and the early 1800s )

  • Neo-classical school (emerged between 1880 and 1920 and is still with us today)

  • Positivism (the mid 1800s and early 1900s)

  • Sociological Criminology (mid 1800s till now)

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Demonic Perspective

  • It is not surprising that any discussion of the existence of evil behavior in the world would begin with religious explanations

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Demonic Perspective

  • Temptation Model

  • Possession Model

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Temptation Model

  • Mat 26:41 (NIV) "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

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Temptation Model

  • People are weak

  • …temptations to sin are impossible to avoid. (Matt. 18:7)

  • No matter how tempting the devil's offers might be, the individual always retains the ability to refuse to sin

  • "good force" offers rewards and frequently promises spiritual aid to help the beleaguered individual resist the devil's temptations

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Temptation Model

  • This model has a deterrent


  • The threat of hellfire or other eternal punishment for those who chose to do evil

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Temptation Model-how to treat criminals? Other Punishment

  • Public humiliation and banishment were frequently used by religious societies as ways of controlling their deviant populations

  • For serious deviants, capital punishment wouldbe a final solution

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Possession Model

  • Once possessed by an evil spirit the person is no longer responsible for his/her actions

  • The devil now has taken control of the individual's mind and body resulting in evil behavior

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Possession Model-how to treat criminals?

  • One way of "curing" the individual is through exorcism-a religious ritual aimed at jettisoning the unclean spirit from the body

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Exorcism today

  • Mario Garcia ended up in jail on charges of puncturing his mother-in-law's esophagus with a pair of crucifixes

  • Prior prior to the incident, the mother-in-law display of erratic behavior. The hospital had suggested psychiatric treatment for her

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Exorcism today

  • Garcia had the woman lie down on a bed, while the woman's son, her husband, Garcia's wife, and three young children contributed prayers for support Garcia shoved not one but two 8-inch steel crucifixes into his mother-in-law's mouth

  • The crosses went deep enough down her throat to pierce her esophagus

  • Police who were called to the scene found the woman bleeding profusely from the mouth on Garcia's front porch, with Garcia shouting, "The devil is inside her!"

  • Garcia was arrested for assault with a dangerous weapon and taken under psychiatric observation.

  • Police are in agreement with Garcia's family that he did not act with intent to harm “I've seen suspects who thought they had psychic powers, but never one that had a family who believed it, too.”

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Is There a Place for a Demonic Perspective in Contemporary Criminology?

  • Surprisingly religious models are adhered to by many

  • Criminal justice officials in the U.S. have paid satanism little mind until the mid-1980s

  • This was the case in the 1980s and 1990s as a satanic panic swept the US

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Satanists Criminology?

  • At that point the country was swept by an epidemic of allegations that murders, sexual or ritual abuse of children, and ritual sacrifice of animals were commonplace activities among satanists

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The origin of classical school Criminology?

  • Started in Europe (the late 1700s and the early 1800s)

  • Criminal justice needed to be updated

  • Throughout Europe the use of torture to secure confessions and force self-incriminating testimony had been widespread

  • Classical school was against tortures

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Physical Torture Criminology?

  • Infliction of bodily pain to extort evidence or confession

  • Torture employed devices such as the rack (to stretch the victim's joints to breaking point), the thumbscrew, the boot (which crushed the foot), heavy weights that crushed the whole body, the iron maiden (cage shaped like a human being with interior spikes to spear the occupant)

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Classical School Criminology?

  • The Classical School was not interested in studying criminals, but rather law-making and legal processing

  • Crime, they believed, was activity engaged in out of total free will and that individuals weighed the consequences of their actions. Punishment is made in order to deter people from committing crime and it should be greater than the pleasure of criminal gains.

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Classical School Criminology?

  • The Classical "School" of Criminology is a broad label for a group of thinkers of crime and punishment in the 18th and early 19th centuries

  • Two famous writers during this classical period were Cesare Beccaria (1738-1794) and Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)

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Cesare Beccaria ( Criminology?1738-1794)

  • People should be presumed innocent until proven guilty (no torture)

  • The law should be codified (written) with punishments prescribed in advance

  • Punishment should be limited (less harsher) to only that necessary to deter people from ever committing it again (no capital punishment)

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Cesare Beccaria ( Criminology?1738-1794)

  • Punishment should be severe, certain, and swift

  • Severity is the least important, certainty the next in importance, and celerity, or swiftness, is about as equal in importance as certainty)

  • The criminal justice system should be organized around crime prevention

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Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) Criminology?

  • Believed that individuals weigh the probabilities of present and future pleasures against those of present and future pain

  • People act as human calculators, they put all factors into a sort of mathematical

    equation to decide whether or not

    to commit an illegal act

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Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) Criminology?

  • Punishment should be just a bit in excess of the pleasures derived from an act and not any higher than that

  • Since punishment creates unhappiness it can be justified if it prevents greater

    evil than it produces

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Does punishment deter? Criminology?

  • What do you think?

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The Neo-classical School Criminology?

  • A form of revisionism

  • Neo-classical criminologists recognized that the free will approach had a number of shortcomings

  • Leading proponents were Gabriel Tarde (1843-1904) and his student Raymond Saleilles (1898)

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The Neo-classical School Criminology?

  • Some behaviors are very irrational

  • Self-defense or mistake of fact

  • So, not all persons were completely responsible for their own actions

  • Positive treatment toward "mental illness" type explanations

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Categorization of Motives Criminology?

  • Understanding homicide

  • The accurate determination of motive in any crime is highly subjective

  • Social scientists have used several approaches to categorize motives

  • One strategy is to distinguish b/w instrumental and expressive motivation

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Instrumental Motivation Criminology?

  • Violent acts with instrumental motivations are directed at some valued goal beyond the act itself (Menendez brothers may have killed their parents for the instrumental goal of protecting themselves or collecting the insurance payment)

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Instrumental Motivation Criminology?

  • Eric and Lyle Menendez were convicted of first-degree murder for the brutal shotgun slaying of their parents in Beverly Hills. Their defense was based on the “abuse excuse”

  • The apparent motives ranged from the brothers’ fear of their father’s abuse to their desire to collect $11 million in insurance

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Expressive Motivation Criminology?

  • Expressive actions are those motivated exclusively by rage, anger, frustration, or more generally, the heat of passion (self-defense, accidental homicides)

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UCR Supplementary Homicide Reports classification of motives

  • Arguments (53%)

  • Participation in other felony crimes, especially robbery and drug offenses (32%)

  • Youth gang activity (8%)

  • Brawls under the influence of drugs or alcohol (4%)

  • Miscellaneous situations such as killings by babysitters, gangland slaying, and sniper attacks (1%)

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The Victim-Offender Relationship

  • Three types of relationships are often identified:

  • Familial (especially spouses and siblings)(22%)

  • Acquaintances (including friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, neighbors, and coworkers)(57%)

  • Strangers (21%)

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Positivist School in Criminology

  • The demand for facts, for scientific proof (determinism)

  • There are body and mind differences between people

  • Punishment should fit the individual criminal, not the crime (indeterminate sentencing, disparate sentencing, parole)

  • Criminals can be treated, rehabilitated, or corrected (if not, then they are incurable and should be put to death)

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Fundamental assumptions

  • The basic determinants of human behavior are genetically based

  • Observed gender and racial differences in rates and types of criminality may be at least partially the result of biological differences b/w the sexes and racially distinct groups

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Positivist School in Criminology

  • Most people believe the leading figure of positivist criminology (often called the father of criminology) was Lombroso (1835-1909). 

  • On Criminal Man, was first put together in 1861, and made the following points:

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The Underlying Logic


Inability to

Learn and

Follow legal


Mental and







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Sociological Theories of Crime

  • Search for factors outside the individual - socialization, subcultural membership, social class

  • Explains crime by reference to the institutional structure of society