CRIMINAL PSYCHOLOGY DEFINITIONS CRIME • • Societies define crime as the breach of one or more rules or laws for which some governing authority or force may ultimately prescribe a punishment. What constitutes a crime tends to alter according to historical, cultural and power dimensions – it is time and culture bound • Can you think of anything that was seen as a crime but is no more AND of any acts which are seen as criminal in one culture but not in another? • Attempted suicide was regarded as a criminal offence until 1961. • Homosexual acts between consenting adults was regarded as an offence until 1967. • Incest was NOT regarded as a crime until 1908. • More recently – smoking in public places. • The act of female circumcision is seen in some cultures e.g. Egypt and Sudan, as acceptable, whilst in Britain it has been prohibited under existing child protection legislation. In contrast, male circumcision has never been against the law and still occurs today on religious or health grounds. In both cases however, genital mutilation occurs without the consent of the individuals concerned. • Criminal behaviour is also designated according to age and intention – thus the same behaviour can be seen as criminal in one case and not in another. The age of criminal responsibility varies from country to country: in Scotland it is 8, in England and Wales it is 10, in France it is 13 and in Sweden it is 15. • Individuals are deemed to have committed a criminal act only if they can be shown to have had the intention of doing so. Those suffering from some forms of psychiatric illness are considered incapable of this aspect of criminal behaviour. CRIMINOLOGICAL PSYCHOLOGY • What is a criminological psychologist? • What do they do? • What type of clients do criminological psychologists work with? • TV programmes lead to a distorted view of the criminological psychologist as some kind of modern day Sherlock Holmes, helping the police to solve crimes and mysteries. In reality this is not exactly the case....... • Psychologists are involved in rehabilitating offenders, providing expert advice in court cases, assessing both offenders and victims, preventing crime and much more. • In the 1960’s criminological psychology as a specific branch of psychology emerged. • In criminological psychology, research findings and theories from areas of pure psychology are applied to the questions raised by real life legal and criminal problems. • How can the pure psychological approaches that you studied last year be applied to criminological psychology? From the specification • Describe and evaluate two explanations of criminal/antisocial behaviour from different approaches. One explanation must be that of social learning theory (the Learning Approach) including the possible role of the media in modelling antisocial behaviour • Cognitive psychology – reconstructive memory and how witnesses recall events • Social psychology – conformity and how juries reach verdicts • Learning psychology – treating offenders using behavioural techniques/learned criminal behaviour • Biological psychology – do genetics play a role in criminality • Psychodynamic psychology – whether the choice of victim is influenced by an earlier episode in an offender’s life ANTI SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR • Anti-social behaviour is virtually any intimidating or threatening activity that scares you or damages your quality of life. • • • • • • • • • • Examples include: rowdy, noisy behaviour 'yobbish' behaviour vandalism, graffiti and fly-posting dealing or buying drugs on the street fly-tipping rubbish aggressive begging street drinking setting off fireworks late at night Anti-social behaviour doesn't just make life unpleasant. It holds back the regeneration of disadvantaged areas and creates an environment where more serious crime can take hold. ASB – the Home Office • Anti-social behaviour has a wide legal definition – to paraphrase the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, it is behaviour which causes or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to one or more people who are not in the same household as the perpetrator. Among the forms it can take are: • graffiti – which can on its own make even the tidiest urban spaces look squalid • abusive and intimidating language, too often directed at minorities • excessive noise, particularly late at night • fouling the street with litter • drunken behaviour in the streets, and the mess it creates • dealing drugs, with all the problems to which it gives rise. • All these are issues which concern everyone in the community. They cannot be written off as generational issues – they impact on the quality of life of young and old alike. And they require a response which puts partnership into action ASBO’s – Anti Social Behaviour Orders • Anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) are court orders which forbid specific threatening or intimidating actions. • An ASBO can ban a person from: • threatening, intimidating or disruptive actions • spending time with a particular group of friends • visiting certain areas • ASBOs are in effect for a minimum of two years, and can be longer. They are designed to protect specific victims, neighbours, or even whole communities from behaviour that has frightened or intimidated them, or damaged their quality of life. • These are civil orders - not criminal penalties – so they won’t appear on a suspect's criminal record. However, if that person breaches an ASBO, they have committed a criminal offence, which is punishable by a fine or up to five years in prison. RECAP • Ensure that you have clear definitions for CRIME, RECIDIVISM and ANTI SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR. • Be able to USE and DISCUSS each term. • Be familiar with examples/case studies to illustrate the above terms.