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PSYCHOLOGY AND

CRIMINAL BEHAVIOUR
Concepts and Definitions

Defining the Subject


Matter

Crime
Delinquency
Deviance

Although often lay people feel they can easily


identify crime and criminals, deviants and
deviance, there are in fact unclear
boundaries bordering legality and illegality,
normality and deviance (Holdaway 1988:8).

Variability of Deviance
and Crime

Definitions of deviance and crime


are historically and culturally
variable

They are socially defined and


constructed
They are not inherent in actions or
the characteristics of individuals

Deviance

Deviance: the recognized violation of


cultural norms.
Crime: the violation of norms a society
formally enacts into criminal law.
Deviance: range of acts of
nonconformity, from variations in hair
styles to murder.

Deviance

Non conformity to a given norm, or set of norms, which are


accepted by a significant number of people

Norms:

Prescriptive (Sanctioned or authorized by long-standing custom or


usage).

Proscriptive (prohibition)

Sources of norms

Social consensus

Social conflict

Folkways and mores (group habits that are common to a society


or culture and the accepted traditional customs and usages of a
particular social group).

John Hagans 3
Dimensions
1.
2.
3.

Evaluation of social harm


Severity of social response
Agreement about the norm

Types of Deviance and


Crime
Conflict crime: growing a long beard in early
17th century Russia

re
ag
em

arm
les
s

hy

lati
vel
yh

at
ap
n,
io
us

Re

Social diversion: dyeing your hair purple in the


U.S.A. today

nf
Co
Mil

Evaluation of
Social Harm

Social deviation: wearing long hair in John


Lies high school

t
en

ere
Sev

Ver
yh
a rm

gh
Hi

fu l

Consensus crime: wearing samurai hair style


in medieval Japan

Agreement
about the norm

Severity of
Social Response

Source: Hagan (1994).

Social Control

Deviant people are subject to


social control: how members of a
society try to influence each
other's behavior.

Informal Social Control: mild, raised


eyebrows, gossip, ostracism
Formal Social Control: breaking laws

Crime and delinquence

Crime - defined by Criminal Law.


A Juvenile delinquent is a young
person (in Lithuania, under the age of
14) who has engaged in criminal
behaviour.

Seriousness of Deviance
and Crime
1.
2.

3.

4.

Social diversions: mild acts of deviance


Social deviations: more serious, institutional
sanctions and large portion of pop. agree they
are bad
Conflict Crimes: state defines as illegal, but
the definition is controversial in the wider
society
Consensus Crimes: widely recognized to be
bad in themselves

definitions:

The legal definition: The criminal is the person


who breaks the law.
The role definition: The criminal is the individual
who sustains a pattern of delinquency over a
long period of time and whose life and identity
are organised around a pattern of deviant
behaviour (commitment to deviant role and
lifestyle)
The societal response definition:According to this
definition in order for an act and/or an actor to be
defined as deviant or criminal, an audience must
perceive and judge the behaviour in question

Classification

Crime and the criminals who engage in it make


up a rich bundle of activities and persons
Theoretically meaningful taxonomies of crime
forms and offender types
Two different lines of classification activity:

Crime centered attempt to identify distinct forms


of crime, along with correlates
Criminal centered distinct patterns or types into
which real life offenders can be sorted

Our interest lies with the latter

Chaiken and Chaiken,


1982

Behavioural versatility rather than specialization in


particular crimes is most common among repeat
offenders
Attempt to distinguish classes of criminal acts or
criminal actors
Typing may entail negative and stigmatising
labelling
Denies individual uniqueness
Focus on commonalities serve good value
communication; decision making; prediction
Classes are identified by a few prototypical features
shared by most but not all offenders

CRIME CENTERED
CLASSIFICATION

McKinney (1966) based on: criminal career of the offender,


group support of criminal behaviour, correspondence between
criminal behaviour and legitimate behaviour patterns and
societal reactions
Violent personal crime murder, assault and forcible rape
Occasional property crime auto theft, shop lifting, check
forgery and vandalism
Occupational crime from workplace
Political crime
Public order drunkenness, vagrancy, disorderly conduct,
prostitution, traffic violations, drug addiction
Conventional crime robbery, burglary and gang theft
Organized crime organised prostitution, organized gambling,
control of narcotics
Professional crime confidence games, forgery, counterfeiting

Farr and Gibbons


Classification (1992)
7 crime categories
Property harms

Property predatory crime- burglary, robbery, auto theft

Property fraudulent crime embezzlement, forgery, fraud and


bribery
Personal harm

Interpersonal violence general homicide and assault

Interpersonal violence sexual rape, sexual abuse and other


crimes of sexual violence
Harms against the social order or social values

Transactional offences involving a willing exchange of goods or


services, such as prostitution, gambling and drug sales

Order disruption escape, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct

Folk mundane crime violations of technical rules

Distinguish between criminal activities carried on by formal or complex


organizations, by offender networks and by individuals acting alone

Classification of Crime

The Criminal Code distinguishes between crimes


and contraventions, the former being of a more
serious nature.
Crimes include willful homicide, bodily harm, theft,
receiving stolen property, misappropriation, assault
and resistance against police officers, bribery, abuse
of power, rape, prostitution, indecent assault,
defilement of minors, forgery, fraud, perjury and
many others.
Contraventions include disturbance of public
peace, swearing, unlawful betting, various traffic
offenses, dumping of garbage, failure to pay
maintenance, drunkenness, vagrancy, minor assault,
and threatening.

CRIMINAL CENTERED
CLASSIFICATION:

1.
2.
3.

The development of offender typologies


When we sort offenders into behavioural
types, we invent conceptual schemes that
allow us to see common threads or
characteristics that identify groups of similar
offenders
Classifications are needed for three main
purposes
management decisions in the penal system
to facilitate treatment decisions
theoretical understanding

Gibbons role-career
typology
distinguishes criminal roles according to the
1.
offence behaviour,
2.
its interactional setting alone, organised
criminal network, subculture
3.
The self concept of the offender
4.
role related attitudes e.g. towards
conventional life, work, police, social
control agencies, gents of socialisation
5.
Role career development in terms of
criminality

PSYCHOLOGICAL
CLASSIFIACTIONS

A: theoretically derived
Stage theories inspired by social
psychological theories on social
perspective taking
Development in terms of increasing
involvement with people and social
institutions
Progressively more differentiated
perceptions of the world, the self and
others

Interpersonal maturity level


(Warren, 1983) Palmer (1974)

7 stages of integration
Fixation at a particular level determines
relative consistency in goals and
expectations and a working philosophy of
life
Those progressing beyond the 1-4 level
are assumed to be less likely to be in
conflict with society and most criminals
fall in 1-2, 1-3, 1-4 levels

classifications
B. Empirical classifications:
Eg MMPI based classifications
C. Psychiatric classification
Eg - paraphilias
- personality disorders

Criticism of typologies

Loose fit between typologies and the real


world
Studies of inmates E.g. Garabedian (1964):
social types exist but there is less regularity in
inmate behaviour than is implied by typologies
McKenna (1962) many real life offenders
cannot be assigned to the categories of role
career schemes with much precision

What is criminal
psychology?

To study the psychological factor of the criminal.


Mainly based on study on the motivation of crime,
thus to examine the character, environment of the
criminal and the process of the criminal behavior.
Using psychological method to explain crime itself
and then bring evidence of a crime to light in
order to help investigation, justice, and
correction.; a psychology in order to hold back
crimes.