Questions for Discussion

1 Does the classical theory of criminology still have relevance today?

If so, why? If not, why not?

2 What criminological theories make the most sense to you?

Important Terms

Classical theory: Basic theory of criminology which believes that people have free will and make rational decisions about committing crime.

Criminal personality: This theory suggests that criminal offenders perceive the world in a way that leads them to criminal behavior.

Criminological theory: Theory that attempts to explain why people commit crimes.

Intelligence: Data or information gathered related to criminal activities or problems.

Modus operand!: Criminal offenders method of operation, style, or patterns.

Positivists: The early positivists, such as Cesare Lombroso, considered biological attributes to be the real roots of crime.

Psychoanalysis: Set of psychological and psychotherapeutic theories which believe that an individual’s behavior is in part determined by early childhood experiences.

Routine activities theory: Theory of crime causation which explains that crime is dependent on the situation and circumstances.

Study Guide Questions

For questions 1—5, indicate whether the statement is true or false.

  • 1 Cesare Beccaria is known as the founder of classical criminology.
  • 2 The early positivists, such as Cesare Lombroso, who lived from 1836 to 1909, considered biological attributes to be the real roots of crime.
  • 3 In general, all psychological explanations look inside the human mind for the causes of criminal offending.
  • 4 More recently, psychologists have linked criminal behavior to a psychological condition called disruptive behavior disorder.
  • 5 Sociological explanations of crime look at criminal behaviors as emanating from environmental influences.
  • 6 There has been growing research in recent years to show that there is a link between

a Mental illness and criminal behavior

b Poor hygiene and criminal behavior

c Lack of motivation and criminal offending

d Sloth and criminal behavior

7 Edwin Sutherland suggested that delinquent behavior is a Inborn and not learned later in life

b Learned in much the same way that people learn other things

c All about exposure to the media

d Related to inadequate parenting

8 Travis Hirschi’s control theory emphasizes

a Learning and reinforcement

b That parents are the reason for all delinquency and crime

c Social bonds

d Children’s relationships to friends

9 In the theory proposed by Ronald Clarke and Derek Cornish, delinquents and adult criminal offenders are

a Impulsive people who don’t think

b Irrational individuals who never make conscious decisions

c People who never evaluate information

d Rational people who make calculated choices about what they are going to do

10 The standard model of law enforcement is a

a Reactive form of policing

b Form of policing that emphasizes fixing broken windows

c Style of policing related to the SARA approach

d Proactive form of policing


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