Coursework in Introduction to Criminology Answers to 2010 Midterm Exam

Socialization is the process by which a grouping of individuals brings an individual to become a contributing member of the group through certain processes and structures unique to the group. These processes and structures are geared towards bringing the individual to play a role in the group. In literal terms the role can be anything from being the lookout in a criminal gang to fatherhood in the greater context of society (Kerckhoff, 1972, p. 4).

Social Process theory is a perspective that views life as the growth of an innate primal impulse that has enlargement of itself as its core tendency. In sociology it views society as the complex dance of various forms of life all stemming from this immediate and primal need for enlargement and growth. In persons, the view of growth is more evident in the physical growth of a human being but when social interactions come in to play social process theory chooses to also recognize impersonal forms of life such as ideas, myths and cultural tendencies as going through the same process of enlargement and growth even though they lack human conscience. It further advances the thought that all these are engaged in a complex growth constantly interacting with each other to discover ever more functional ways of coexistence (Cooley, 1966).

Social learning theory proposes that in a social context human beings learn through observation, imitation and modeling all gleaned from other actors in the social context. Learning in this case is thus consisting of a number of means all contributing to learning. Behavioral change in social learning theory is not considered mandatory to reinforce learning. Social learning recognizes that individuals can actually learn from observation only and need not change behaviors in order to do so (Abbott).

Social disorganization theory is a view that originates crime from the existence of disorganizing forces in a society that result in certain groups of individuals being outside of the cooperating influences that society offers in groupings such as family, church and school. It attributes the presence of crime to the existence of areas in society, mostly geographic, where disorganization has occurred possibly due to economic forces and disinvestment.

Strain theory is a theory on crime that views criminal activity as the actions of individuals who share the desires of lifes trappings without any viable means for their attainment resulting in their descent in to criminal activity to satisfy what in their view society has failed to provide in means of advancement (Yilmaz, 2003).

Strain is a term used in sociology when strain theory is referred to show the pressures that individuals face in their ultimate fulfillment of desires that society exalts in cases where no moral and legal means exist for doing so.

Cultural transmission is the means through which beliefs, norms and values are transferred in social interactions between generations
ADHD is an acronym for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder which is a genetically transmitted psychological condition that is exhibited from childhood and involves hyperactivity behaviors in children that is accompanied with conduct disorders as well.

Neurotransmitters are molecules that can talk to one another and communicate in a sequence of events that ultimately results in biological function of the brain (as cited in Webster, 2001).

Psychodynamics is the theory that views the human mind as consisting of the id, the superego and the ego. It was first presented by Sigmund Freud (Ahles, 2004)

Behavior modeling is a term that refers to learning by copying often used in reference to the manner in which children learn from their parents.

Discouragement is an emotional state of mind that is characterized by feelings of despair usually caused by the failure to attain a desired outcome or goal.

Displacement is the process by which feelings are repressed by an individual into the subconscious instead of being expressed usually because of fear of perceived powers only for the feelings to come to the surface directed at another object or person (Jung, 1916).

General deterrence is a term use to refer to the discouraging elements that a punishment holds in the view of a potential offender that may result in the offender opting to avoid the crime. It refers to the avoidance of crime by individuals solely based on the gravity and certainty of punishment that the crime attracts (Siegel  Welsh, 2008)

Specific deterrence is a theory that proposes that convicted offenders will be deterred from future offences once they go through a severe punishment. The severity of the punishment experience would form a deterrent to future compliance with crime (Siegel  Welsh, 2008).

Passive precipitation is a theory in victim precipitation theory that suggests that a person can unknowingly expose themselves to criminal attack due to some personal characteristic that they may posses (Siegel, 2008).

Lifestyle theory is a theory that proposes the risk of criminal attack to be heightened by an individuals lifestyle (Siegel, 2008).

Suitable targets are easily transportable high value goods that offenders find attractive motivations for committing theft crime (Siegel  Welsh, 2008)

Victim Witness Assistance Program is an initiative of the federal government to alleviate the effects of crime in the lives of victims and their loved ones. These programs are found in many states across the U.S.

Uniform crime reports (UCRs) are documents in which official data on criminal activities is gathered. The report gathers data on the characteristics of offenders such as age sex etc. (Siegel  Welsh, 2008)
Part II crimes are categories of crimes that are considered less serious in the eyes of law than Part I crimes. Part II offences are injurious to our esteem and sense of self they occur to our mental and emotional sides and have a more lasting effect (Close, 2004)

National Crime Victimization Survey is a survey that measure victimization and the incidence of crime plus other characteristics of crime in the United States of America (Groves et. al, 2009)

Racial Threat Theory is a theory that focuses on modern racism and the amount of control the criminal justice system exerts on the black community. According to the theory the increase of blacks in an area corresponds to an increased threat to whites and justifies an increased police presence (Siegel  Welsh, 2008)

Criminology is the scientific comprehension of crime and the individuals that commit them (Carrabine, 2004).

Classical Criminology is a theory that states individuals go through a costs and benefits analysis weighing the punishment of a crime against its gains before committing crime (Siegel  Welsh, 2008)
Developmental theory attributes the propensity of committing crime to the growth of an individual such that if the growth is turbulent and transitions from one stage to the next are difficult an individual would commit crime (Siegel  Welsh, 2008)

Social structure theories in crime focus on the socio economic conditions that criminals inhabit during childhood and young adult hood and attribute crime to these states of living (Siegel, 2008)

Pro-crime forces and crime
Crime is only defined within law. The concept that crime is learned borrows from the modeling of behavior by children as they grow. In the case put forward the first criminal would have to have learned the criminal conduct from another group or society different from the one he found himself in. In his own light his conduct is moral and legal. To him no crime is being committed. Crime being defined within laws of conduct in earlier days would have varied since different cultures had different values and thus acceptable codes of conduct.

My own personal reaction to pro-crime forces was thus informed by my upbringing and conditioning. The values that I own as my identity determined my reaction. Only a marrying of my values with those of criminal conduct can result in my compliance with crime. These pro-crime forces therefore did not change my conduct simply because my values were not aligned with their rationale.

Transitional areas
Transitional neighborhoods are non existent in my town since there are very weak disorganization forces to precipitate high resident turnover. The presence of many diverse cultures in an area is non existent resulting in the strength of socializing forces of family, school, church and society. Turnover of residents thus does nothing to the crime rate

TV violence and Children
In looking at the evidence presented linking violence in TV shows and aggressive behavior even crime, there remains no conclusive evidence relating the two. Crime rates have not shown any effect from the pervasive presence of violent TV shows across the U.S. The watching of violent TV shows by children should however be regulated by guardians since there is no entertainment potential and benefit for young children to gain (Siegel, 2008).

Capital Punishment and deterrence of murder
The perceived benefits of broadcasting capital punishment as a deterrent to murder are not sufficient to warrant this method of deterrence. Deterrence may only work in crimes that lack passion. Since murder is usually a crime of passion then no form of rational intervention can affect deterrence. Empirical evidence to support the deterrent effects of capital punishment is also hard to come by (Siegel, 2008) It is thus impossible to deter homicides through this method.

School environments and crime incidence
The suggestion that school environments are dangerous is flawed. The danger being implied relates to crime incidence. Incidence of crime is more geographically linked to socio economic conditions than institutions per say. Schools in low income areas are thus more dangerous but this is not because of the nature of the institution but more due to the ecological condition of the neighborhood (Siegel, 2008).
Social and Environmental Factors influencing crime rates
Social factors influencing crime would be
Familial interactions
Peer grouping influences
Environmental factor are
Low income living conditions
Disrupted cultural influences
Deterrents to crime

Incapacitation which involves putting people behind bars is another form of social control where interaction is limited to only fellow offenders in the context of a prison facility. Situational crime prevention is also another form of social control where increased police presence and signs of force are used to deter crime. Social perception and the stigma related to criminal activity is another deterrent that controls my conduct in relation to crime (Siegel  Welsh, 2008).


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