CJ 102 Unit 6 Worksheet

Student Name:

Answer the following questions:

1. Describe the similarities and differences between criminology and criminal justice.

Criminology explains the origin, extent and nature of crime. That is to say, they research who commits crime, why they do it, and what they do, in laymen’s terms. Researchers are concerned with the causes, and with society’s responses and reactions to the crimes committed . An example of this in action would be when an individual commits a burglary: A researcher will study that individual’s background, their genetic and psychological makeup, the surrounding locations of that individual, and the response to the crime by their community.

Criminal justice refers to the agencies of the criminal justice system: the police, the courts, and corrections. The researchers in this field study effective crime control, looking to design effective crime prevention and rehabilitation programs for criminal offenders . An example of this in action would be the burglar from the above scenario: The researcher studies the effects of how the criminal justice system may have influenced that individual to commit the crime, and the effects of the system on the individual while in the system in order to develop more effective programs to prevent crimes or to rehabilitate offenders .

Both fields of study requires an understanding of how criminal acts can have an impact on society, and how the criminal justice system works. Both fields of study require knowledge of how the legal system works at both the local and federal levels, the most common types of crimes, and how laws are developed and enforced .

2. Identify the three main ethical issues in criminology.

What to Study: The studies conducted are not meant to be affected by the funding behind the study. That is to say, the researcher is meant to be objective, in order to have clean results that are not tainted by political leanings towards issues and findings that will push along the political agenda, while ignoring other issues.

Whom to Study: This is the issue when criminological researchers focus on one portion of society, while generally ignoring the other classes of society. Researchers tend to focus on the lower classes of society, rather than the middle and upper classes, thus ignoring more “sophisticated” forms of crime, such as embezzlement and tax fraud, for example. There needs to be a wider scope of research, focusing on all classes who commit crimes, in order to get a clearer picture of possible crime causation and individuals who commit crimes.

How to Study: This area involves how the research is conducted, the methods used. The issues in this area are: Is the subject truly informed of what the study they are participating in being used for, and should the researcher inform authorities if the participant informs the researcher of a planned crime? The researcher needs to keep meticulous records, and also keep the records and information confidential.

3. Explain the social goals of contemporary criminal law.

Enforce social control- To put laws in place to discourage behaviors believed to threaten the well-being of society, or to threaten their authority.

Discourage revenge- The state takes the burden of enforcing ‘revenge’ on the offender, thus preventing ‘private justice’ and encouraging more criminal behaviors.

Express public opinion- Criminal law is meant to reflect public opinion on controversial issues, such as drugs and gun control.

Teach moral values- Application of criminal law is observed by individuals, especially children, and are taught moral values by said application of the laws between appropriate and prohibited behavior.

Deter criminal behavior- Applies social control by applying sanctions to prohibited behavior. This is designed to prevent crimes before they occur, or to punish the criminals when they perform a criminal act.

Applies “just desserts”- Because criminals violate the laws, and harm general society, they deserve the sanctions that they receive.

Creates equity- Because criminals profit from their crimes, they are made to redistribute their ill-gotten gains to society in order to negate their unfair advantage.

Maintain social order- The criminal justice system and criminal law work together to effectively maintain stability and social boundaries. Economic and social system is also supported and maintained by criminal law .

4. How does rational choice theory explain white and green collar crimes?

Rational choice theory is when the offender premeditates a crime, weighs the pros and cons of the act, and decides to take the risk, believing that the benefits of the crime outweigh the possible repercussions. This explains white and green collar crimes because the offender believe that the financial benefits far outweigh the possibility of being caught by authorities, due to the offender’s greed and desire for the outcome of the crime that they committed, such as embezzling money from a company.

5. What is the theory of social harm?

The social harm theory is that which defines crimes based on the harm caused to victims. Acts that cause harm to others are meant to be outlawed, while acts that are considered immoral, but harm no one, are not outlawed. The problem with this theory is that many things that can harm individuals, such as alcohol and tobacco, are not outlawed, while marijuana, which is purported to be relatively safe, is outlawed. According to the text, the social harm theory proposes that, if more people die every year from automobile accidents, lung cancer from tobacco, and alcohol related deaths, then marijuana should be made legal, as it is safer .