Criminology

 

 

Option 1:
Social process theories, such as differential association, social learning, social control/bonding, and life course perspectives are all used to inform various approaches to crime and delinquency.
Choose one of the two following domains to frame/focus your response to the questions below: youthful offending or prisoner reentry. The first focuses on the onset of and escalation of delinquency
and crime during adolescence and young adulthood. The second focuses on individuals that have been incarcerated for some time, their transitions back to the community and desistence from crime.
Part A. How would social process theories and life course perspectives explain youthful offending or recidivism? What approaches (policies, strategies or programs) would they point to as being
effective in reducing offending?
Keep in mind that you do not need to develop proposed reforms based on evaluation research of existing programs. You should use the theories identified to create a theory-informed approach. The
approach you develop should flow logically from causes the theory identifies. You also do not need to talk about all of the social processes theories, but you should incorporate some aspects of
life course perspectives into your response.
Part B. Feminist criminology has led to a number of significant contributions to the study of crime and delinquency. Among the contributions is a greater understanding of the nature, causes and
appropriate responses to female delinquency and offending.
Informed by the contributions of feminist criminology, what gender-specific pathways would explain youthful offending or recidivism among women and girls? How would understanding these pathways be
used to inform (or reform) your proposed approaches (policies, strategies or programs) above?
Option 2:
A sheriff in charge of a county jail proposes to expand a “Scared Straight”-like program. Under the program, juvenile offenders would be required to participate in a day-long visit to an adult
correctional facility. A select group of inmates (sentenced for serious crimes) will then attempt to “send a message” to the youth about the hardships of prison life through intense confrontations
and intimidation tactics.
Before answering the questions below, watch the following short videos from “Beyond Scared Straight” to get a sense of the nature of this kind of approach.
1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpJ_tpxyPCI
2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIZpLL33Kys
3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wverKkCCcgA
4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JTFUUvJFTo

 

Part A. To some extent (and no matter how misguided), the logic of Scared Straight follows some interpretation of social learning, differential association and specific deterrence. The program is
designed to “teach kids a lesson” with the threat of harsh punishment and the “badness” of their behaviors. Yet, the program does not achieve these ends according to most evaluation studies.
What arguments would labeling, reintegrative shaming and procedural justice theorist put forth to critique the proposed Scared Straight-like approach? What alternatives would they offer to in its
place?
Keep in mind that you do not need to assess the proposal using the empirical evidence from evaluation studies. There is no need to use outside evidence in this paper. Instead, assess it using the
lenses of labeling, reintegrative shaming and procedural justice for this part of the memo.
Part B. Video #4 above focuses on the Scared Straight-like program being used with a teenage girl. We can presume that she is in the program due to involvement in the juvenile justice system.
From a normative perspective this is a terrible interaction (no deserves to be treated this way) and from an empirical perspective very likely to be counter-productive.
Feminist criminology has led to a number of significant contributions to the study of crime and delinquency. Among the contributions is a greater understanding of the nature, causes and
appropriate responses to female delinquency and offending.
Informed by feminist criminology, continue your critique of the Scared Straight-like approach used in the video. What would our contemporary understanding of gender-specific pathways to offending
among women and girls say about the approach? What changes to policy or programming would this understanding recommend it its place?

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