Finish Overview of Criminology Crime and the Media
Finish Overview of Criminology Crime and the Media Empirical Evidence is the KEY Theories attempt to demonstrate cause-effect Criteria for causation in social science using a poverty crime example Time ordering: poverty happens before crime Correlation: poverty is related to crime Relationship is not spurious: the two are not related because of a third factor such as low selfcontrol
Methods for generating evidence Experiment Key is randomly assigned groups Only factor that effects outcome is group difference at start of experiment Limit = artificial nature Experimental Design Methods for generating evidence II Non-experimental Survey research
Cross sectional Longitudinal Limit = how to rule out spuriousness Upside = ask whatever you want Ideology in Criminology Walter Miller Ideology is the permanent hidden agenda of Criminal Justice What is Ideology?
American Political Ideology Liberal/Progressive Ideology Conservative Ideology Radical Ideology Dominant Ideologies in U.S. CONSERVATIES Value order/stability, respect for authority People get what they deserve Crime caused by poor
choice (Free will) LIBERALS Value equal opportunities and individual rights Success/failure depends on outside forces and where you start Crime is caused by outside influences Implications of Ideology for Crime and Justice
Conservatives tend to fit with Classical School Neo-Classical = deterrence, incapacitation James Q. Wilsons policy analysis Liberal/Progressive fit with positive school Favor decriminalizing some acts Root causes of crime only fixed by social change Rehabilitation may be possible Elliott Currie = ample evidence that government can address social ills and prevent crime Radical = Marxist/conflict theory
Ideology as hidden agenda Many policies and programs are driven more by ideology than empirical evidence Intensive supervision probation (conservatives) Restorative justice (liberals) The Martinson Report (MR) The Martinson Report was review of studies on rehabilitation published in the early 1970s Concluded that not much is working Used by politicians as the reason for abandoning rehab
Social Context of the 1960s Hippies, Watergate, Attica, Viet Nam, Kent State Conservatives? SKY IS FALLING Liberals? Cannot trust the government Reality = liberals and conservatives were both ready to pull the plug on rehabilitation The Limits of Empirical Evidence Criminologists tend to be cautions with conclusions
All studies are flawed in some way Politicians and public tend to over generalize from a single study This can lead to bad policy RAND Felony Probation study Domestic Violence Experiments Good theory makes good policy In a purely objective, scientific world, programs and policies would flow from empirically supported theories of crime
Unfortunately, people often shoot from hip Policy without Theory The panacea problem: scared straight, intensive probation, boot camps, warm and fuzzy circle Some hope in evidence-based movement Multisystemic Therapy (MST) Targets for change = parental supervision, delinquent friends, reducing rewards for deviance Crime and the Media Public opinion
Class survey results Criminology vs. Other Science How many crime related T.V. shows can you name off the top of your head? Crime and the CJS on T.V. news or newspapers? Crime and the CJS in movies and fiction books? How does this compare to biology, psychology, or physics? Who Cares? People get information about most things
from the internet, TV, newspaper, and movies BUTwith regard to crime, the question becomes, How accurately does the media reflect crime, criminals, and the criminal justice system? Back stage behavior Sources of Media Biasor Reasons for Skepticism Newspapers/T.V./internet news Crime in general captures audiences Violent crime, especially stranger violence
If it bleeds it leads Politicians Get tough on crime = political payoff Entertainment Need for excitement belies accurate portrayal of criminals and criminal justice system Think COPS Types of Distortion Creation of crime waves
Attention to violent crime What about white collar crime? Creating/Spreading Crime Myths Halloween psychopaths The Serial Killer Epidemic Satanic Daycare Class Survey: Over Past 20 Years, Crime Has 80 70
75 64 60 50 40 30 26 20 10
0 16 9 8 Violent Property Increase
Stable Decrease What percent of homicide caused by serial killers? Column1 60 50 40 Column1
30 20 10 0 0-5% 6-10% 11-25% 26-50%
What percent of those found guilty had a trial (not plea)? Column1 45 40 35 30 Column1 25 20
15 10 5 0 0-10% 11-20% 21-30% 31-40%
Children poisoned by strangers with Halloween candy in past 20 years? Column1 45 40 35 30 Column1 25 20
15 10 5 0 none 0-100 100-500 500+
Children abducted by stranger in typical year in U.S. Series 1 35 30 25 20 Series 1 15
10 5 0 0-100 100-300 300-600 more than 600
Media and Crime: Summary Tendency to distort reality: Political rhetoric If it bleeds it leads (other types of crime?) Overemphasis on crime (crime waves) An effective criminal justice system Why is any of this important Dorthy and W.I. Thomas (1928), if people believe it, it is real in its consequences. Fear of Crime
Why is fear of crime important? How fearful are Americans? Are some Americans more fearful than others? Structural Factors (size of town/city) Individual Factors (age, race, gender) Class Survey, % Afraid of Victimization by Gender 100 90 80
70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 % Afraid
Male Female Attitudes Towards Punishment When polling questions are broad/general, it appears that Americans are punitive and punishment oriented: Do you support the death penalty for convicted murderers? (75% yes) In general, do you think the courts in this country deal too harshly or not harshly enough with criminals? (80% not harsh enough). (Our Class = 50% not harsh enough)
Consistency across race, class, other factors BUT: Adding complexity to the questions affects answers More Complex Questions Class Survey Responses Do you support the Death Penalty? 64% If given the option of life without parole? 54%
Survey of Ohio residents about 3 Strikes legislation 90% of Ohio residents supported 3 Strikes in general Only 17% choose life in prison as a punishment when given specific cases What about Rehabilitation or Prevention? Again, public attitudes are complex Does the public want their pound of flesh? YES, believe in retribution and deterrence Does the public also want rehabilitation? YES, especially for drug/property offenses
Is the public willing to use tax dollars for prevention? YES
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