Perspective in Criminology Research Exercise

Perspective in Criminology
Perspective in Criminology

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Perspective in Criminology

Alcohol-related violence and one punch killings 
Research question a) How can public debate and political action relating to these offences be seen as related to neo-liberal ideology? Discuss in relation to concepts of risk and responsibilisation. 

Please note that for this assignment you are required to cite at least 8 academic references. Note: Wikipedia and media articles are NOT academic references.

Marking Criteria Style & Presentation – Some Dos and Don’ts 
You need to relate your essay to the specific topic provided above 

You are expected to have basic knowledge about how to do academic research (both online and in the Library). If you would like help, or are unsure about how to research academic material

Wikipedia is not an academic source! 

Perspective in Criminology

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Make sure you follow the Harvard referencing style

Preparation is key to good writing. The more time you spend mapping out your assignment, the more likely it is that you will produce a coherent and convincing argument. Your essay should be 1.5 or double spaced. 

Your assignment should be sufficiently titled so as to indicate the question you have selected. 

Your reference list must be included at the end of your essay. Failure to include a reference list can result in an automatic failure and can constitute serious academic misconduct. 

Avoid overly long sentences. Simple is better. 

You need to read your essay prior to submission. If it doesn’t make sense to you, it won’t make sense to your marker either. 


Make sure all your references are fully and properly acknowledged (including page numbers for direct quotations).

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Criminal behavior, the Legal Consequences that Follow and the Causes of Crime

Criminal behavior
Criminal behavior

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Criminal behavior, the Legal Consequences that Follow and the Causes of Crime

In the criminal justice system, deterrence refers to the lawful act of taking peoples’ ability to commit a crime in order to prevent them from committing it. Rehabilitation is on the other hand aimed at ending an individual’s desire to commit a crime by curing him/her from the desire and habits that incline them to felony (Andrews & Bonta, 2010). In that sense, deterrence is seen as a consequence that involves the punishment of the offenders, while rehabilitation involves practices that changes their perspectives and personalities in such a way that their criminal tendencies are eliminated.

The main objective therefore rests on the development of effective measures that prevent crime from happening, as such, it is necessary to understand the reasons why people are inclined to committing crimes. There are many theories that have been advanced in order to understand, explain and find solutions to criminal activities, and as such, they form the basis on which criminal psychology and forensic science operates in the criminal justice system.

The main theories that have been developed to explain criminal activity are the Psychological, Biological and Sociological theories. Each one or a combination of all the theories is used to understand criminal behavior, and the information obtained is used to determine the best ways to control crime.

According to Psychologists, there are three theories or approaches that could be used to explain criminal tendencies and behavior. These are; the biological approaches; the psychological approaches; and the sociological approaches (Bartol & Bartol, 2014). The psychological approach is based on the assumption that an individual bears the responsibility of his or her actions, and as such, prevention of criminal activity is focused on specific persons through programs that educate, train, rehabilitate or change the social and psychological perspective of the individual. However, this is based on the premise that the past behavior of an individual can be used to predict their future behavior (Bartol & Bartol, 2014).

The biological approaches are based on the assumption that people commit crimes because of some problem in their biological make up that could be hereditary or caused by trauma. As a result, crime prevention through biological approaches is usually achieved through un-natural interference in an individual’s body through initiatives such as psychosurgery, stimulation of the nervous system, and the use of chemical therapy among many others (Bartol & Bartol, 2014).

On the other hand, the sociological approach looks at crime from a broader perspective. It focuses on societal aspects that influence the environment in which the criminal lives in, and as such, does not directly hold an individual as being entirely responsible for his actions, but rather having acted from the pressure exerted on them by the social environment (Bartol & Bartol, 2014). Consequently, the sociological approach focuses on positioning how political and economic factors in the environment contribute to the occurrence of crime in a particular society.

Deterrence vs Rehabilitation

Deterrence as an approach that is aimed at preventing criminal activities takes place prior to the occurrence of criminal activity. Therefore, deterrence works towards preventing a crime from occurring and if done effectively, there would be zero cases of crime, and this because deterrence makes the subjects fear committing crime or takes away their physical ability to commit crime (Stein & Levi 2015).

It is therefore easy to argue that deterrence is less costly when compared to rehabilitation since is it is effectively done, loses from crime would not be incurred, and that the state would have not prisons to run or criminals to secure and incapacitate. Rehabilitation as an approach that is aimed at preventing crime may be effective in that; it works towards taking away an individual’s desire to commit a crime.

The approach is therefore taken into consideration after an individual has committed a crime as a means of eliminating the desire to re-commit the crime in the future (Andrews & Bonta, 2010). Therefore, it can be argued that rehabilitation is more costly to the state when compared to deterrence since costs associated with the loss that result from criminal activity coupled with those of rehabilitating the criminal are shouldered by the state at the same time. In other words, deterrence may be seen as a preventive approach and rehabilitation as a curative one.

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Deterrence is effective in that it prevents anyone from committing a crime regardless of their inclination towards it, while on the other hand, rehabilitation only focuses on those who participate criminal activities with the intention of changing their behavior (Stein & Levi 2015). This implies that while deterrence is a sure way to preventing crime, rehabilitation depends on the individual’s willingness to avoid crime in the future.

In the criminal justice system, deterrence has proved to be more effective in preventing crime as compared to rehabilitation, which is mainly because most individuals who attend rehabilitation programs only do it to be given early release. The state would therefore find it more effective to adopt deterrence as a fundamental approach and maybe integrate rehabilitation programs in the system for those individuals who wish to benefit from the service (Stein & Levi 2015).

The fact that deterrence takes the individual’s physical ability to commit crime is satisfactory in as far as prevention of crime is concerned. However, the individual’s desire to commit crime may still be present, implying that the individual may revert to criminal activities whenever he or she is released (Stein & Levi 2015). In contracts to deterrence, rehabilitation would prevent the individual from desiring to commit a crime even when supervision is withdrawn. As such, it would be more effective to provide rehabilitation services to in mates so as to discourage them from reverting to crime when they are released from prison (Andrews & Bonta, 2010).


Andrews, D. A., & Bonta, J. (2010). Rehabilitating criminal justice policy and practice. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 16(1), 39.

Bartol, A. M., & Bartol, C. R. (2014). Criminal behavior: A psychological approach. Boston: Pearson, c2014. xxiii, 644 pages: illustrations; 24 cm.

Stein, J. G., & Levi, R. (2015). In Partnership with the Center on Law and Security at NYU School of Law and the NYU Abu Dhabi Institute: Navigating Deterrence: Law, Strategy,     & Security in the Twenty-First Century: The Social Psychology Of Denial: Deterring Terrorism. NYUJ Int’l L. & Pol., 47, 409-855.

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Teenage violence in School: Article Review

teenage violence
Teenage violence in School

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Teenage Violence

Forster, M., Grigsby, T. J., Unger, J. B., &Sussman, S. (2015). Associations between gun violence exposure, gang associations, and youth aggression: Implications for prevention and intervention programs. Journal of criminology2015.


Forster, Grigsby, Unger and Sussman (2015) conducted a study that investigated the link between gang association, exposure to neighborhood violence and social self control to incidences of aggression at school. The study collected data from minority youths from three Southeast Los Angeles schools. In the literature review, the authors show that aggression is a serious problem in schools. According to Forster et al (2015), over 600,000 teenagers reported assault related injuries annually, in addition, between 20 and 40 percent of school going students had experienced a bullying incident at school. The literature review also revealed that between 700,000 and 1,000,000 teenagers were members of gangs.

Past studies have shown that exposure and association to gangs, affiliation with delinquent peers, and family processes are indicators of violence perpetration and victimization. To investigate the link between the variables, the study sampled 77 female and 87 male 7th and 8th graders in three South Los Angeles middle schools. Questionnaires were used to collect data on substance abuse, demographics, social self-control, and family and peer gang association, neighborhood violence and self-reported aggression.

The study reported that teenagers with high levels of social self-control were less likely to be involved in past week aggressive episodes. Students with friends who were members of gangs reported 91 per cent higher incidents of aggressive episodes. For girls, aggression was 46 per cent higher if the family was affiliated to gangs. Exposure and fear of gun violence also increased the incidence of aggressive episodes by 26 per cent. According to the study, students were most likely to be involved in aggressive incidents if they were male, had friends associated with gangs, and had low levels of social self-control.

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Forster, Grigsby, Unger and Sussman (2015) is useful study as it explores an area of research where there exist little empirical evidence to link the variables. It is worthwhile to note that the research provides an insightful background on the teenage and school violence. The author then seeks to investigate the factors that lead to high rates of aggression among teenagers and school going students. Unfortunately, the research only sampled 164 students which is a small sample to facilitate the generalization of the results of the study to the general population.

In addition, the study was conducted in only three schools in the South Los Angeles area where gang violence and gun crime is common (Forster et al, 2015). It is obvious that teenage aggression in other areas may be driven by other factors apart from association with gangs and exposure to gun violence. However, the results than link social self-control to lower levels of self-reported aggression can be generalizable to other student populations.

Using self-reported measures is also a major weakness of the study as the students may fail to report honestly on most of the data collected. Observation would have been a better option for collecting the data on past week aggression as opposed to self-reported measures of aggression. Using observation, the researcher would have been able to see and record incidents of aggression rather than hear about them from the participants.

The study rightly concludes that school based interventions can be used to disrupt the development of aggressive behavior. School based programs can help indeed help in the development of social self-control which has an inverse relationship with the development of aggressive behavior.


Forster et al (2015) is a very useful study in research on teenage violence, and associated the associated study areas. The study provides valuable statistics on the state of teenage violence indicating that more than 600,000 school age children report aggression related injuries every year. The study helps to illustrate that teenage violence is a serious problem affecting many school going children and it is an area that warrants further research.

Most importantly, the research identifies some of the factors that are predictors of teenage violence perpetration or victimization. The study reveals that association with gangs and gang members is a contributing factor to aggressiveness among teenagers. Other impacts of gang association such as the tendency to use substances and other truant behaviors can also be investigated in future studies in the area.

The study also reports an inverse relationship between social self-control and incidents of teenage aggression. Further studies also need to be conducted to establish whether self-control can decrease aggression among teenagers who associate with gangs, and have been exposed to gun violence. The study also indicates that self-reported measures of aggression were limitations of the study, and thus another method of data collection like observation can be used for future studies. The study design also provides a research model that can be expanded for future research in the area of teenage truancy and violence.

The research sample for future research on the topic can be expanded to more schools from more heterogeneous school districts to ensure the results can be generalized. Therefore, Forster (2015) is an important research article that provides preliminary evidence linking association with gangs, social self control, and family association with gangs with teenage violence perpetuation. Most importantly, the study establishes several directions for future research in the area.


Forster, M., Grigsby, T. J., Unger, J. B., & Sussman, S. (2015). Associations between gun violence exposure, gang associations, and youth aggression: Implications for prevention and intervention programsJournal of criminology2015.

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Correctional facilities
Correctional facilities

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Correctional facilities like prisons and youth development centers in the California state, are tasked with the responsibility of rehabilitating, deterring, retribution and total incapacitation of individuals who act against social rules and norms (Brust & Ford, 2015). However, this task has often proven to be a challenge to those responsible in the management of these facilities, some of these challenges revolve around resource and budgetary constraints, and are manifested in the rampant cases of overcrowding in facilities, policies that are a threat to public safety, ineffective juvenile rehabilitation programs, and many ethical issues that regard the operation and management of corrections in the state of California (Ouss, 2015).

Due to these and other issues that will be discussed herein, issues of inefficiency and ineffectiveness of corrections are increasingly becoming a concern to many (Brust & Ford, 2015).

Issues in Correctional Facilities in the State of California

The onset of this decade has seen a rise in the number of challenges faced by the authorities of both state and county jails in the state of California, among which includes the prisons of Avenal, Corcoran and kings county jail. The high fluctuation in the number of inmates has for instance been a major issue in Avenal and Corcoran prisons, for example, Avenal prison is reported to have an approximated population of 3216 inmates, which as per the its holding capacity exceeds by around 10%.

This issue has resulted in overcrowding in the facility, and as such, the authorities have been finding difficulty in their efforts to accommodate inmates (Latessa & Smith, 2015). The prison is also reported to have had a case of a population influx that hit 8000, leading to shortage of bed and other accommodation facilities in the prison (Altschuler et al., 2016). Despite the premise that having a high population attracts more state funding, most of these facilities still suffer from poor allocation of these funds (Latessa & Smith, 2015).

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 A worst case scenario in the correctional facilities often occurs during the drought periods, which are marked with limited water supply, this adds on to resource constraints that compels the authorities to give early releases as an alternative (Brust & Ford, 2015). Cases of the early releases are often due to population increase, especially in county prisons, for instance, the criminal justice realignment program sees more inmates being driven from state to county jails, which is done to ease the high population influx by relocating less crime offenders (Ouss, 2015).

On the long run, this results to overcrowding in county jails. This situation is even worsened by the provisions of the Assembly bill 900, which tasks counties with the responsibility of running county prisons (Altschuler et al., 2016).

Early release programs are often adopted to complement the budgetary cuts effected by the state, this result of state and county authorities receiving less funds to run correctional facilities. These early releases have been reported to cause a rise in crime rates in California, as more and more non rehabilitated individuals are released into the streets (Altschuler et al., 2016).

The incapacitation of correction’s authorities has also been a precursor to the ineffective nature of rehabilitation programs, this is primarily because the authorities have a limited ability to provide incentives to prisoners, which is necessary in order to encourage them to subscribe to those programs. The rise in the cases of prison escape may also be attributed to this incapacitation (Brust & Ford, 2015).

Ethical issues in prisons are also a major concern in the running of corrections, for instance, cases of disease outbreak and abuse of prisoners have also been reported to plague the facilities. The outbreak of the valley fever in Pleasant valley and Avenal state prison is an example of the poor ethical consideration in the management of these facilities, the case of sexual abuse in Woodland Hills by authorities is another (Altschuler et al., 2016). The limited ability of the authorities to manage these facilities may also be seen in the high number of drug abuse cases, a good example is that of the 19 prisoners who died from a drug overdose (Brust & Ford, 2015).


Corrections in the state of California are plagued with many Issues and challenges that are becoming a great concern to the public, the ability of these facilities to meet their objectives is also under question (Brust & Ford, 2015). This has mainly been due to the emerging cases of resource constraint, poor ethical considerations, ineffective rehabilitation programs, policies that pose a threat to public safety among many others. It is hoped that a lasting solution will be found to restore the effectiveness and efficiency of the correctional facilities (Latessa & Smith, 2015).


Altschuler, D. M., Hussemann, J., Zweig, J., Bañuelos, I., Ross, C., & Liberman, A. (2016). The Sustainability of Juvenile Programs beyond Second Chance Act Funding. Retrieved from

Brust, A., & Ford, S. (2015). Speculating on Gold: A Narrative of Private Corrections in California. Writing. Retrieved from

Latessa, E. J., & Smith, P. (2015). Corrections in the Community. Routledge. Retrieved from

Ouss, A. (2015). Incentives Structures and Criminal Justice. Available at SSRN 2685952: or

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Crime and Punishment: The Death Penalty

Crime and Punishment
Crime and Punishment

The death penalty and other issues concerning crime and punishment

This paper focuses on the general aspect of crime and punishment in different jurisdictions as they vary with religious and social beliefs, as do the treatment of persons from the point of investigations, arrest, trial and finally committal. The rights of the prisoners have long been neglected as they are considered pariahs in the society. This paper is analytical of the plight of prisoners and the sentences they face in addition to exposing the human rights issues that are to be addressed in the plights of prisoners’ rights.

Crime and punishment in the law

Crime is defined as an act that infringes on the law and therefore punishable. This broad description covers the significant aspect of what crime entails although it is worth noting that some crimes are not against people per se. These actions or omissions result in the suffering of persons. As a general duty of the state and its agencies to guard and protect its citizens, any infringement of the same attracts certain penalties to the perpetrator. Such penalties are out in the criminal laws. These punishments are meant to ensure justice for the victims (Friedman and Percival, 2017). It is also for the maintenance of law and order.

The inclusion of social mechanics of the society has had a great impact on the development of this area of practice of crime and punishment. The involvement of human rights organisations and the community as well as the introduction of acceptance in the forms of punishment.


Creamer, C. D., & Simmons, B. A. (2015). Ratification, reporting, and rights: Quality of participation in the Convention against Torture. Human Rights Quarterly, 37(3), 579-608. Friedman, L. M., & Percival, R. V. (2017). The roots of justice: Crime and punishment in Alameda County, California, 1870-1910. UNC Press Books.

Garland, D. (2014). Peculiar Institution: America’s Death Penalty Today. In Die Sinnprovinz der Kriminalität (pp. 233-244). Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden.

Maruna, S., & Immarigeon, R. (Eds.). (2013). After crime and punishment. Routledge. Retrieved from

Mathias, M. D. (2013). The sacralization of the individual: Human rights and the abolition of the death penalty. American Journal of Sociology, 118(5), 1246-1283. (Annotated bibliography)

In the outcry for the respect of the sacrosanct value of life, the author looks at the various forces that have fought for the abolition of death sentence in most jurisdictions. He focuses on the trends, cultural and political that led to the achievement of this feat. The article further dissects the various challenges that have faced this fight such as religious beliefs and the embrace of the human rights cultures. It also looks at the various aspects of communal lives of the residents in the fight for the abolition of the death sentence as being paramount. 

Matthews, R., & Young, J. (Eds.). (2013). The new politics of crime and punishment. Routledge. Retrieved from <>.

Smith, C. E. (2016). Shaping Constitutional Law: The Example of Prisoners’ Rights. In The Supreme Court and the Development of Law (pp. 1-13). Palgrave Macmillan US.

World Health Organization. (2015). Sexual health, human rights, and the law. World Health Organization. Retrieved from

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