Criminal Justice-coas | Theories of Crime and Deviance
P200 | 1443 | Schlegel


Few subjects capture attention and arouse curiosity more than crime.  Movie
themes revolve around  it, the media feeds upon it, and politicians declare
war on it.  While crime trends have remained relatively stable over the past
twenty years, certain forms of crime, involving certain subgroups, have
fluctuated significantly in recent times.  The goal of this course is to
better understand crime trends and the nature and causes of criminal
activity.  The focus of this course is on the offender, and the factors,
circumstances or conditions that influence involvement in law violating
behavior.  We begin with a discussion of what we mean by crime and social
control.  We then move on to talk about the nature and extent of crime,
paying particularly close attention to the way we measure crime and the
impact that measurement problems have on our systems of social control.
(For example, most of our measures of crime do not include white collar
crimes, yet these offenses involve greater financial and physical harms that
do many so-called common crimes).  We will then examine the major theories
that attempt to explain criminal behavior.  We will begin with
constitutional theories, which suggest that criminal behavior is the product
of the biological and psychological constitution of the individual.  This
will be followed by sociological theories -- those that account for criminal
behavior by examining the social environment of both individuals and groups.
In the process, we will look at such factors as the community, the family,
peers, schools, economic structures, etc., to better understand the role
they play in shaping conduct norms.  Finally, we will examine the role of
opportunity structures for crime that facilitate or impede law breaking
behavior.

Readings:	To be announced.

Requirements:	One essay exam (rewrites possible)
				One multiple choice exam
				One final exam (multiple choice)

Class Meeting:	Two 50-minute lectures and one 50-minute discussion section
each week (MW, 12:20-1:10P, WH 100)

Course Will Satisfy:	CJUS core requirement
Course Will Satisfy:	Social/Historical Studies (Social Inquiry
distribution requirement)

Instructor:	Professor Kip Schlegel, Criminal Justice Department