Explanations of deviance
 Psychological
 Sociological
Biological explanations
A real but small effect in causing crime.
 Caesar Lombroso
 Genetically
destined to become criminals
XYY Chromosome theory
Medicalization of deviance
Treating deviant behavior by medical
 Depo-provera for rape
 Methadone for heroin
 Redefining
 Theft
as “compulsive disorder”
 Drinking as “alcoholism”
 Promiscuity as a “sexual addiction”
Psychological explanations
General concepts
Personality patterns
 Individual traits
 Majority of crimes are committed by
people with normal personalities
Sociological explanations
Strain theory
 Differential association
 Differential opportunity
 Labeling theory
Strain theory
Robert Merton
 Conformist
 Innovator (Al Capone)
 Ritualist
 Retreatist
 Rebellion
Differential association
Edwin H. Sutherland
 Crime is learned in association with others
 Deviance is linked to the amount of
contact a person has with others who
encourage or discourage that behavior.
Differential opportunity
Cloward & Ohlin
 Reduce crime by reducing criminal
(illegitimate) opportunity
Labeling theory
Deviance and conformity result not only
from what people do, but how others
respond to those actions.
 Reinforcement
 Labeling
 Retrospective
Interpreting someone’s past as consistent with
present deviance.
Types of crime (overview)
Street crime
 White-collar crime
 Victimless crime
Street crime
Crimes against persons
 Crimes against property
White-collar crime
Crimes committed by people of high social
standing as part of their occupation
 Little reaction from others
 Cases heard in civil court (rather than
criminal court)
 This is changing with the WorldCom and
Enron problems.
Victimless crime
 Drugs
 Gambling
Judicial system
Plea bargaining
Most criminal cases in the courts are
resolved by plea bargaining.
 In exchange for a guilty plea, you get:
 Reduced
 Reduced sentence
 Concurrent sentences
Reasons why societies punish
 The
oldest reason
 “An eye for an eye”
 The
threat of punishment to discourage crime
 Removal from society
Criminal recidivism
Subsequent offenses by people convicted
of crimes