Criminal Justice-COAS | Theories of Crime and Deviance
P200 | 0198 | Verma
Crime has always aroused fascination and morbid attention.
The media, movies and even books feed upon it and the horror of
blood spilled is perhaps matched only by the foreboding curiosity
towards the offender. The question of what is crime, who is a
criminal and how to control criminal behavior has major relevance to
our society. The objective of this course is to understand crime
trends and the nature and causes of criminal behavior. In this
course we will focus upon the definition of crime and its
relationship with law. We will examine the factors and situations
that influence individuals or groups to get involved in law
violating behavior. We will begin by exploring the phenomena of
crime and study the problems involved in the measurement of crime.
We will search the past to understand the roots of our present day
criminal justice system and the basis of our criminal laws.
Thereafter, we will examine the biogenetic, psychiatric and
psychological explanations of criminal and deviant behavior and give
special attention to the hypothesized links between criminality and
genetics, physiology, mental disorders, personality and moral
development. We will next survey those accounts for criminal
behavior that examine the sociological perspectives of both
individuals and groups. These will include anomie, strain, control,
sub-cultural, ecological, group conflict, functionalist and critical
theories. Finally, we will examine some of the specific types of
criminal behavior and investigate how opportunity shapes and
facilitates criminal incidents in our present society. We will look
at some of the environmental factors that could impede such harmful
1. Vold, George B.; Bernard, Thomas J. and Snipes, Jeffrey B.
Theoretical Criminology. (4th Ed.), New York and London: Oxford
Reference will be made to a set of readings on some special topics
Mid-Term Examination (multiple choice) 25%.
Class Participation 10%
Take home essays 3 10% each
Final Examination (multiple choice & short answers) 35%
Class meeting: 8:55-10:10, D, SE 140
Instructor: Professor Arvind Verma, criminal justice department