Social Work 126
Theories of Criminal Behavior
Fall 2010
Sunday 8:00 to 5:00
Riverside Hall 1002
Professor D. J. Sekany
Office: Mariposa Hall 2049
Office hours: by appt.
e-mail: [email protected]
Course Description
This class is an advanced study, writing intensive course. You must have passed the Writing
Placement for Juniors (WPJ) or the equivalent, to be enrolled.
Theories of criminal behavior analyzes various theories in terms of their logic,
historical origins, and policy implications. It focuses on developing a critical
framework. The course requires active student participation and a great deal of
writing. The course addresses the following issues: (1) THE SCOPE AND
DEFINITION OF CRIME: before investigating the merits of various theories of
crime, we must first understand how crime is defined and prosecuted, as well as
its extent in different forms throughout the society. We will examine the
interrelationship of class, race, and gender with the definition and scope of crime.
(2) THEORIES OF CRIME: we will review the development of major theories of
crime in the 20th and 21st centuries, paying special attention to values and
ideology, which motivate and organize these theories. (3) TOWARDS A THEORY
OF CRIME: based on our critique of theories of crime we will begin to construct
the elements of a plausible theory of crime; included in this will be an examination
of specific types of criminal behavior. (4) IMPLICATIONS FOR POLICY:
throughout the class, we will address the policy and program implications of
various theories of crime.
Learning Objectives
Understanding how and why certain types of behavior are defined as
Understanding the historical perspective of how the different theoretical
explanations of criminal behavior have changed over time and their impact
on changing populations.
Understanding the criteria, definitions and data utilized in developing
theories of criminal behavior.
Understanding the theoretical explanations of specific criminal behaviors.
Measurement of Learning Objectives
Learning Objective A will be addressed and measured by lectures and research assignments
#1, #2 and #3.
Learning Objective B will be addressed and measured by lectures and research assignments
#2, #3 and #4.
Learning Objective C will be addressed and measured by lectures and research assignments
#2, #4 and #5.
Learning Objective D will be addressed and measured by lectures and research assignments
#2, #3, #4 and #5.
Course Expectation
At the end of the semester, students are expected to be able to critically examine
and discuss theoretical explanations for criminal behavior.
Course Requirements
1. As an advanced study, writing intensive course you will write at least a minimum of 8000
words throughout the semester. To meet this requirement there will be three essay
assignments. All are take-home assignments and must be typed (double-spaced). All
assignments must use the APA format for footnotes and bibliography. You may not submit
any assignment by e-mail without my express permission.
(Always keep a copy of your papers.)
Active participation in class discussions not only enhances your learning
experience but also will help your grade.
Three essay exams will cover materials from class lectures, guest
speakers, discussions, readings, videos, and supplemental materials.
The final will be an essay exam to be written outside of class and brought to
school during finals week.
Students with a learning disability, who require assistance, will need to
contact the Office of Services to Students with Disabilities for coordination
of academic accommodations. It is located in Lassen Hall, Room 1008 and
their phone number is 916-278-6955 or 916-278-7239(TDD). Please let
me know of any special needs you may have as soon as possible.
Assignment #1: 200 points (research essay)
(See course syllabus for details of assignment)
Assignment #2: 100 points
Assignment #3: 100 points
Assignment #4: 100 points
Total number of points in class = 500.
A, A- = 500 to 450 B+, B, B- = 449 to 400 C+, C, C- = 399 to 350
D+, D, D- = 349 to 300 F = below 300
Plagiarism is the use of ideas or works belonging to another without providing
acknowledgement of that person’s contribution. Regardless of the means of
appropriation, incorporating another’s work into your own requires adequate identification
and acknowledgement. If it is determined that you have plagiarized, it can result in your
suspension or expulsion from the University. Also, a grade of F may be expected by
students who have plagiarized.
Grading System
Grading is based on the assumption that a paper deserves a C grade (on the
basis of 100 points that is approximately 70 points). For example, an A paper
(approximately 90 points) will clearly communicate your understanding of the
topic under discussion; it will be well organized and will fully develop the ideas
discussed in class or in the book. It will be written in a clear and concise fashion with little
ambiguity. It will also make clear references to the sources and show
that the writer has thought carefully about the topic. There will be no grammatical,
spelling or syntax errors.
A B paper (approximately 80 points) will contain some but not all of the strengths
of the A paper. It is also a well-written paper, but the examples will be less
specific, clear, or appropriate than those in the A essay. There will be very few
grammatical, spelling or syntax errors.
A C paper like the A and B essays will be organized around the assigned topic
and will directly discuss the topic. It will be organized but in a less clear and
concise manner. Transitions will be weak or there will be repetitiveness or a
poorer use of examples. The essay will communicate the basic information, but
not in a clear, effective or persuasive fashion. There may be frequent grammatical,
spelling or syntax errors.
A D paper (approximately 60 points) is too general; it lacks a direct or specific
focus on the topic. It is poorly organized and does not provide documentation and
support for the topic. It is a poorly constructed essay that makes it very difficult to
follow the information and argument that is being presented. It may have
numerous grammatical, spelling or syntax errors.
An F paper (approximately 50 points) fails to even minimally discuss the assigned
topic. It may have numerous grammatical, spelling or syntax error
Text Books
Akers, Ronald L, Sellers, Christine S. (2009). Criminological Theories:
Introduction and Evaluation (Fifth Edition). Roxbury Publishing Company
Reid, Sue Titus (2009). Crime and Criminology. (Twelfth Edition) Brown and
Suggested Supplemental Readings
Ellis, Lee (1989). Theories of Rape: Inquiries into the Causes of Sexual
Aggression. Hemisphere.
Doweiko, Harold (2000). Concepts of Chemical Dependency. Brooks/Cole
Rosoff, S.; Pontell, H.; and Tillman, R. (1998). Profit Without Honor. Prentice Hall
Wallace, Harvey (2002) Family Violence. Allyn and Bacon
Supplemental Materials
Supplemental materials will be accessed through the Locus site (on the Sacramento State Library
webpage).These are mandatory readings and can be used as sources.
Since this class only meets for a limited number of days it is imperative that you be prepared for each class
session. This means you must have done ALL the assigned readings BEFORE each class and submit the
required items for the research paper (Assignment #1) on time.
Research Paper (Assignment #1)
See Last Page of Syllabus - for due dates
9/12 - Introduction; Defining crime; Crime and punishment.
Reid -Chapters 1, 2, 14, 15
Akers - Chapter 1
9/12 - Theories of crime: Biological theories.
Reid— Chapters 3&4
Akers— Chapters 2&3
Locus site readings on biological theories.
9/12 - Psychological theories: Sociological theories.
Reid - Chapters 4 & 5
Akers - Chapters 3 & 4
Locus site readings on psychological and sociological theories.
10/10 - Sociological theories; Control theories; Labeling theories.
Reid - Chapter 6
Akers - Chapters 5 & 6
Locus site readings on control and labeling theories.
10/10 - Conflict theories.
Akers - Chapters 7 & 8
Locus site readings on conflict theories.
10/10 - Research bibliography due; Marxist theories; Feminist theories.
Akers - Chapters 9, 10 & 11
Reid - Chapter 5
Locus site readings on feminist theories.
10/31 - Assignment #3 due; Domestic violence.
Reid — Chapter 7
Locus site readings on domestic violence.
10/31 – Domestic Violence.
Reid - Chapter 7
10/31 – Sexual Assaults.
Reid - Chapter 7
Locus site readings on sexual assaults.
10/31 - Sexual assaults;
Reid - Chapter 7
11/21 – Violent crimes.
Reid -Chapter 7
Locus site readings on violent crimes.
11/21 – Violent crimes.
Reid - Chapter 7
11/21 – Drug offenses.
Reid – Chapter 10
Locus site readings on drugs.
12/12 – Drug offenses.
Reid – Chapter 10
12/12 - White collar offenses.
Reid- Chapters 8 & 9
Locus site readings on white collar crime.
The purpose of this assignment is to refine your research and writing skills.
You will be graded on content and format including grammar, sentence structure, spelling and syntax.
Select a particular crime that you are interested in studying and researching.
The subject must be approved by the professor.
Your research paper must discuss the following issues:
1. How extensive is this crime?:
2. Who are the primary victims and the primary perpetrators?:
3. What types of punishments are imposed?:
4. Which theories of criminal behavior analyze or explain
this specific crime?
Your paper must be a minimum of (10) typed pages (excluding the cover page
and the bibliography).
9/12/2010 Turn in a brief description of your research subject.
10/10/2010 Turn in a typed bibliography with a minimum of ten (10) references
that you will be using to write your paper. Use the APA Manual (see the
Reference section of the Library) for proper citation format. The
bibliography must include at least four different articles from academic
journals. The articles must have been published after 1995. Other
references may be books. The books must have been published after 1990.
Internet sources are permitted. If you are unsure if your references are
appropriate, please see me before the due date or you will lose points on
this assignment. If you do not turn in a bibliography this day you will lose
25 points from the final grade for the research paper.
10/10/2010 A typed outline of your research paper is due. If you do not turn in
an outline this day you will lose 25 points from the final grade for the
research paper.
10/31/2010 A typed draft of your paper is due. If you do not turn in a draft
this day you will lose 25 points from the final grade for the research paper.
11/21/2010 Your research paper is due.
IMPORTANT REMINDER: When you are writing your research paper you
must use the APA citation format. Your paper will graded on form as well as
its content.

course outline - California State University, Sacramento