What are the Basics of Critical Criminology?

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While criminology is the scientific study of the interactions that inherently occur between criminals and the public or the criminal elements and society, critical criminology is slightly different.  This concept of criminology has a solid foundation in the belief that a singular crime is considered to be criminal due to the historical and social beliefs at the time.  For example, one famous illustration of this is that homosexuality was considered to be illegal for individuals in the United Kingdom.  This type of interaction between individuals was declared legal for men over 21, but this was not until 1967. Since there is nothing within the act that changed over the years, the only thing that changed was the judicial government at the time and what they believed was morally right or wrong.  Overall, there is nothing deemed inherently wrong about the act itself.  One of the main questions that individuals interested in critical criminology need to ask themselves whether or not an act is a crime because it is wrong or whether it is merely a crime because someone with the elected power decided to make it so.

Within critical criminology, there are a number of theories that have been formed.  Conflict theories were never very popular within the United States, in part due to the fact that during the late 1970’s, when critical criminology was more popular, there were many criminology departments that were closed due to political reasons.  Other critical criminologists were concerned that conflict theories did not properly address the different issues that faced society.  Critics of conflict theories that exist in criminology maintain that these individuals ignored some important differences in the level of criminal activities between socialist and capitalist societies.  Japan and Switzerland are two countries that are socialist in nature, but they have extremely low rates of crime in their countries, as compared to capitalist societies like the United States of America.

In feminist theories, individuals attempt to give another dimension to criminology, in the form of gender.  The supporters of these theories are for the most part trying to bring a new form of awareness to the way crime is viewed.  Instead of focusing on criminals who are male performing crimes against other males, it is argued that criminologists need to investigate more how the female affects this preconceived approach to crime.  Many parties concerned with this type of critical approach to criminology also try to educate other female criminologists.  This is important to this group of individuals because too many times, female criminologists will adopt the male perspective and perpetuate the same cycle of applying male concepts on females in the world of crime.

While there are other theories that are applicable in the field of criminology, such as postmodern and peacemaking theories, the conflict and feminist theories are the most prevalent ones within the world of criminology at large.  By looking at the way that different theories can be applied to criminology and the different areas that fall under the term, individuals are able to learn more about the society in which they live.  Another point that can be explored would be how the criminal relates to the society in which the crime is committed.

The “Basics of Criminality” was funded by a grant from LoveWorks.


Experiencing the Parallels between Victimology and Criminology

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All too often, society is inclined to allow criminals to receive leniency for their crimes as a result of the environment in which a person may have existed.  Even if the criminal was not influenced by their environment to commit the crime, the criminal is liable to adopt the persona of the victim in order to gain sympathy.  This is often successful because when more well-off individuals are in the presence of those that are considered to be less fortunate, they may feel guilt.  In many cases, this guilt is not necessary.  However, if an individual begins to express their opinion that by adopting the role of a victim the criminal is dodging the responsibility of the crime, they will likely be criticized greatly for their thoughts.

Victimology, even if it is sincere, is often a way in which individuals justify a crime to themselves and to others.  For example, one of the most commonly held beliefs within the United States of America is that of the great American dream, in which everyone is happy, living in a nice house and the parents have stable occupations making a comfortable living for their families.  This does not at all reflect the reality of inner city slums and poor rural areas.  By clinging to the belief that no matter what, even without trying in some cases, individuals deserve to experience the American dream, they may be inclined to take what they feel they deserve rather than try to work for it.  Some people will rationalize that they have no means to work for this dream, and they had no choice but to act out in the way that they did.  However, this blaming of society does not change the reality of the situations.  By allowing one person to get away with a crime because of a victim mentality would be a slap in the face to the people that do work to succeed.

Herein lays the most important parallel between victimology and Criminology.  While it is simple to blame society for one’s troubles, this does not begin to solve the problem.  Individuals from all sides need to think about how the society may impact the role of the criminal and to take steps in order to change things.  This way, when an individual tries to adopt a victim mentality, we can state as a society that there were other options.  By outlining the different options in such a setting, even more people can be exposed to the ways in which society is working to stabilize equality between different categories of individuals and work to reduce crime as a product of environment or surroundings.  Criminology works to examine how society and the criminal interact, and this needs to be looked at under extreme scrutiny in order to find the causes of problems and work towards successful solutions.

There are also instances in which those who are perceived to be in a seat of power will become corrupt.  It is important to look at this too.  Individuals may attempt to adopt a victim role in this scene as well in order to appeal to the sympathetic public.  Aside from sociopaths, individuals have moral standards that will tell them what is wrong and what is right.  For anyone to adopt the role of the victim in order to gain sympathy is a ploy against the considerate nature of others.  When it comes to crime, the people that should be playing the role of the victim are those who were victimized during the act of the crime.  For individuals that live, they are many times much stronger than people may have believed them to be, and it is nauseating that the criminal will then try to adopt a role that the person they violated will not even take on in the court room.


Exploring the Basics of Postmodern Criminology

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One of the most current theories to be designed within the science of criminology would be those that adhere to the postmodern perspective.  When it comes to postmodern criminology, one of the most basic beliefs and superstitions is that not only is crime the result of the social interactions in an area, which is the foundation of most conflict theories in criminology, but also that the social context will play a part on the outcome of a situation as well.  This extends on the conflict theories that were created, which suggest that the criminal is responsible for his or her own actions, and that the deviant behavior of the individual is what caused them to go against the social norms that have been established by the ruling government.  By expanding upon theories that have already been created, it is possible for individuals to evolve the beliefs more and hopefully get closer to the truth of identifying how a criminal is created and what effects this has on individuals and the society at large.

Postmodern criminology supporters will look at a crime or criminal action and will go on to ask a very important question.  Was the crime a result of the environment that exists in the society where the crime was committed?  By identifying whether or not the culture was responsible for the crime or not, it is possible to learn more concretely how different instances in an individual’s life will affect them.  In some cases, individuals are forced to go against the normal responses to particular situations.  There are many times in which an individual may have to kill another person, and while this type of violence is rarely enjoyed, it can be a last resort for certain people.  A good example of this having occurred would be to look at an instance in which a policeman had to shoot a suspect in order to save the lives of many innocent people in the immediate area.  The individual policeman cannot be said to be inherently criminal or deviant, because if the shooting is justified than he had no other reaction.  Even if another reaction could have occurred, it may not have been as successful, beneficial or helpful to the individuals that were also involved in the situation.  In making the decision to stop the shooter in the illustrated situation, the policeman stepped beyond the ordinarily imposed social norms that would define murder.  Instead, he is more likely to be seen as providing a service to the individuals that were being threatened in the situation.

By building and rebuilding social contexts and responses, as a whole we can work together to create a better society.  Within a better society, there will be less criminal elements to distract the public.  This is because the responses that we develop will be more likely to benefit others in addition to ourselves in an honest form.  When the society is more stable and healthy the criminal element will not be as prevalent, which is one of the important building blocks of postmodern criminology theories.


Exploring the Many Available Jobs in Criminology

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With a criminology degree, there are a number of career paths available for the individual.  Individuals that have just graduated are likely to get involved in these particular careers.  These are some of the more flexible career fields when it comes to individuals who are educated by whom may not have the experience that some other employment offices may desire.  In addition, these jobs are interesting and allow the individual to learn and explore aspects that they were not able to while in school.  The hands on experience will help the graduate in many ways later on in their careers as well as at the time of their employment.  One of these exciting careers is in the field of crime intelligence analysis.  This is a very interesting field for individuals that are looking to have experience when it comes to deciphering the foundation of crimes.

Some other creative careers when it comes to criminology employment opportunities would go on to include consumer advocates, who work with laws and regulations that would either benefit or protect the average consumer from the manufacturers or corporations, environment protection analysts, who help to formulate different regulations when it comes to the environment and the protection that it can receive from the public and community members at large, and a regional crime prevention coordinator, who would be in charge of coming up with different methods in which to protect the residents in a region of the state.  This is a position that would also help to come up with ways in which the community crime prevention members would be organized and structured in order to provide a more effective and efficient crime task force within the region.  As a result, this career is very important when it comes to preventing crime within the region by understanding some of the underlying pressures and structures of the criminal element within the society or culture.

One of the most obvious career opportunities that exists for individuals that graduate with a criminology degree would be that of those who go on to become police officers.  This can extend into other fields of the police department including detectives and criminal psychologists on the payroll of the police department.  In this area, many people are able to come together in order to look at how society and crime interacts on an intimate level.

The crimes that take place are not looked at and analyzed in order to come up with ways to prevent the crime in the area, rather the police force is able to catch the criminals and hopefully take them out of the society in which they were raised or committing the crimes.  In some cases, the police officers are able to work and interact with the regional crime coordinator, in order to create a more solidified union of crime prevention within the region, city or town.  There are some other cases in which the police officers will interact with community correction officers, either because they are employed in jails where the criminals are required to serve their time or as parole or probation officers who are able to readjust the criminal to the society in which they live or to make sure that they are not violating any rules or restrictions that have been placed on them.


Who is Qualified to Receive a Criminology Online Degree

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On the Internet, there are a number of schools that will offer courses and educational material as a basis for individuals to receive various online degrees.  One of the many degrees that can be attained by individuals wishing to study on the internet would include Criminology.  There are a number of different career paths that are open to individuals with a Criminology degree.  Because of this, it is a very popular and eagerly sought degree by individuals that would like to go back to school in order to earn a degree, but who may feel that they do not have the time or financial means to dedicate to a full time pursuit of the degree.  Convenience and efficiency are offered to the individual would-be student and they are able to graduate after meeting the requirements of their chosen online schooling establishment.  There are some criteria that individuals will need to meet before they are able to receive a valid degree in Criminology from an online institution.

First of all, individuals will only qualify if they are prepared to do the work that is mandated by the school.  It is still important for the student to be willing and able to learn about the different studies and courses that will be taught.  Without committing to this responsibility, an individual will not be able to meet the standards that are set for them and they will likely lose the money that they have invested in the venture.  When a person is prepared for the dedication that they need to have in order to graduate with a Criminology online degree, they will be able to attend the school and succeed in the courses that they will be required to take in order to graduate.  In many cases, this will also include the ability to purchase the necessary course work packets, books and journals.  Just like in typical and traditional classroom settings, reading and response work will need to be completed in order to make sure that the individual understands and comprehends the course work that is being taught.  One of the supplements of classroom time is work outside the classroom.  Traditionally, this will include the reading or certain texts or articles, which will sometimes need to be purchased by the individual students.

Those who qualify to receive a Criminology online degree will also need to be financially able to afford the courses.  For students that are not able to individually pay for their education, there are often different financial aid offices at schools, even online.  By utilizing the help of the financial aid department, a student can typically work out a payment plan with the school.  This allows the school to make the money that they need to have from the students in order to pay the salaries of professors and other educational needs, and the student is able to begin their journey to graduation.  A Criminology degree that is received online is respectable, but it is the amount of time that the individual puts into the learning process that will determine how much they will personally get out of the experience.


A Look at Recent Paradigms in Criminology

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In the Oxford Handbook of Criminology, there is a chapter in the book that was written by Jock Young.  This chapter is entitled “Recent Paradigms in Criminology”.  This piece of work is used by many people in order to take a critical look at criminology and the ways in which crime is affected by society and other influences.  There is a particular influence that is placed on the society in which a crime takes place.  In some areas the structure and organization which supports crime and the criminals, while in other areas there is more of an emphasis that is placed on the disorganization of society as a major factor in the perpetuation of crime in the area.  In order to limit crime, it is important that individuals within a society put forth the effort to understand what it is that causes crime and the release of the criminal element into the culture or society.

Jock Young’s chapter is a very important piece of the Oxford Handbook of Criminology.  In many ways the entire books is an fundamental theory compellation for the United Kingdom, but Young’s chapter of recent paradigms in criminology helps readers and academics understand the new ways in which crime has changed or evolved over time.  In addition, there are a number of ways in which differences in society and culture have shaped the ways in which individuals view the criminal elements in their society and the types of crimes that may take place within the region.

Many things may help to bring forth a deviant behavior from a particular individual, but many people are interested in learning how these elements may incite one person to commit a crime, while another person may experience those same elements and have no inclination to act out with deviant behavior against the society in which they are located.

In addition, it can be very helpful and effective for individuals to look at different individualizing factors.  Some of these factors include the gender of a person, their age and their social class.  These things may not initially seem to have an effect on criminology and the crimes that take place in an area, but the science of criminology has roots that incorporate these differences in important ways.  Some people believe that there are a number of instances in which the gender of a person is ignored when it comes to crimes and criminology.

There are a number of instances in which the male perspective in applied to all accounts of crime, regardless of whether or not the crime was committed by a male or a female criminal.  Because of this, it is important for us to step back and look at the aspects to consider in order to accurately formulate theories in the field of criminology that are better and more complete.  Jock Young is able to show many different ways in which this can be done by looking at new paradigms in Criminology that can be used by individuals who are interested in developing new theories and ideas.

Weather also has effects on crime scenes and evidence gathering.  Forensic scientists are worried that climate change will make criminal investigations more difficult.


What is the Definition of Criminology?

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When thinking about what criminology is, an individual needs to first consider what aspects and fields are affected by the criminal element.  Some of these fields will also either perpetuate or deter crime, depending on how they are used.  Anthropology, sociology, law, research positions and others all tie into criminology.  Criminology could then be defined as how any of these many multitudes of society’s development and creation are able to affect how individuals interact, specifically when it comes to the degenerate element.  Using science to approach the evolution of crime within an area or timeframe allows individuals to learn how an environment may respond to and otherwise affect crime.  Certain things can be analyzed in order to come to a conclusion about crime and the criminal element within a particular area, such as any hereditary elements that may have had a factor or psychological issues that would have instigated the crime.  In addition, many criminologists are also interested in studying how the punishment of criminals affects the likelihood of the same crimes being performed.

When people’s actions or movements deviate from the normal status of things in a way which is excessively harmful or dangerous to themselves or others, criminologists may become involved in the situation.  By studying both crime and the law, an academic person can come up with possible motivations for an individual’s actions.  These theoretical explanations are often helpful when profiling a person who has yet to be caught by the police, as well as when statistics are needed in order to illustrate a trend or issue for a community.  However, it is not just crimes that are studied and analyzed by the criminologist.  In addition, they also look at the criminal justice system on a whole in order to make sure that it is functioning in a sufficient manner that benefits the lives of citizens.

The definition of criminology is broad in order to encompass all of the different fields that fall under the term.  However, by being more specific in the type of criminology that is being investigated, an individual is able to focus more on the individuals cornerstones of the different types of criminology that exist.  For example, psychological criminology was a part of criminology for a long time but did not begin to be looked at on its own until the 20th century.  This field looks at the abnormalities and mental diseases that may feed criminal behaviors.  It is specialized in the way that proponents of this type of criminology believe that the personality of the individual is the breeding ground for the levels and types of crime that the individual will be capable of committing.  Emotions and behavior patterns are often able to remain relatively stable and predictable regardless of what type of environment the individual is placed into, which helps academics to formulate the idea that this is what defines a person.  Criminologists are able to look at crime and other related fields from different perspectives in order to analyze the cause and effect relationship of the crime, the individual and the environment in which they are immersed.


Exploring the History of Criminology

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To many people interested in the roots and origin of Criminology, Lombroso is considered to be the father of the science, meaning that he explored it and examined it from many angles in order to expose it.  It was first used by a law professor in Italy, Raffaele Garofalo, who actually used the Italian term for the word, criminologia.  A French anthropologist also used the term around the same time as Garofalo, who referred to the term as criminology.  There are some who believe that it is possible that the study of bumps on an individual’s skull, referred to as Phrenology, is a better mark of representation when it comes to the scientific origins of the term.  Lombroso is considered to be the father of criminology because of the many advances that he attempted to make in the field.  If not for him, criminology might not be as developed as it is today.

Over time, many different theories were composed as to what caused criminal behavior.  These theories have their roots in biology, psychology, and society, to name a few.  Over time, by using these foundations for new theories, different schools of thought began to emerge.  Through these different schools of thought, the theoretical science of the criminal element could be rationalized.  Individuals often debate in order to attempt to define the reason for crime, so that it may then be eliminated by solving the problem of what causes crime.  By identifying and responding to the motivator for crime and deviant behavior, more effective measures of social control could be put into action.  Currently, we are able to take care of the symptoms of crime.  For example, we have police officers who catch criminals.  When found guilty by a panel of their own peers, the criminal will go to jail.  That takes the criminal out of society.  However, there are new criminals emerging every day.  We have learned to treat the symptoms, the individual criminals, but we have not yet been able to determine the instigating factor in these developments.

Throughout the history of criminology, this is the main goal of the science.  Since it is a theoretical science, all of the theories that correspond to the topic cannot immediately be proven as accurate or inaccurate, merely theoretical.  However, the continuous effort of individuals to idealize the workings of the individual and society have been transformed and re-defined since the beginning use of the term.  If the history of criminology shows us anything, it is that the human nature to establish right from wrong and the differences between individuals distinguishing the difference is virtually a timeless theme, at least since its birth.  By continuously researching and documenting the variables and changes within society and crime, people who are interested in criminology can line up the theories with the established facts.  After this is done, it is possible to sit down and analyze the coinciding factors in order to determine the best course of action when it comes to evolving society so as to limit crime and intolerance as much as possible.


How to Use Criminology and Forensic Science to Solve Crimes

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There are a number of ways in which an individual is able to couple criminology and the practices of forensic science in order to catch a criminal.  In some cases, the individual is profiled through criminology and matched up to the forensic evidence left at the scene of the crime.  However, there are a number of other ways in which the two genres are used together in order to bring about justice within the penal system.  Criminology is the study of how science and environment affects the criminal mind, as well as the interaction between individuals or communities and the criminal element.  Forensic science is the area of study in which individuals are able to transform one small piece of information into something of substance.  In many cases, forensic scientists are able to use pieces of forensic evidence and what they learn from this piece in order to effectively illustrate either a link between and individual and the crime or an alibi for the individual wrongly accused of a crime.

A few major career focus areas for forensic scientists exist.  Criminology areas of expertise range as well, although they are all trained by learning similar material in school.  Forensic science fields are especially diverse and offer unique benefits within each one.  Together, the members of the forensic science and criminology teams are able to work together in order to piece together their separate information to come up with one solution near completion, based on the facts they have all gathered.  For example, a police officer working as a criminology expert may be able to psychologically profile a suspect, but they would require the help of a forensic scientist in order to match carpet fibers from the crime scene to carpet fibers in the suspect’s home or vehicle.  By linking together all the separate notions that each individual is able to learn, a complete or near complete timeline of the suspect and crime can be composed.  With enough evidence, this can be taken before a court and the trial will begin against the alleged suspect.

Some of the categories that exist for individuals involved in forensic work include medical examiners that inspect corpses, crime laboratory analysts that are able to look at the chemical and biological makeup of pieces of evidence, crime scene examiners, and those that assist in a technical or academic capacity.  Through the combination of these different branches, coupled with the work of criminologists, crimes can be pieced together in a more logical and straightforward way, in order to illustrate to juries and judges the events of the crime and suspected individual.  This is especially important because in serious cases the jury has to be in agreement that there is no reasonable doubt on the part of the individual defendant’s role in the crime.  In other cases, the defense will use the forensic evidence in order to clear their defendant of the charge or charges against them.  By using virtually irrefutable evidence of a scientific nature, the jury and the judge are able to clearly see how crimes are or are not linked to the suspect.


Career in Criminology – Is it for you?

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Criminology may sound, initially, like a very concentrated field; however, the truth is that there are a number of different elements that play into the genre of criminology.  As a result, there are a number of different careers that an individual will be able to consider when they investigate the life and options of one who works in the field of criminology.  For all the many job opportunities and career paths that exist for those who are interested in the field, the field can be slightly difficult to break into for a person.  This is due in part to the fact that the inquiring person needs to be well-rounded when it comes to education, but also because the person does typically need a good amount of schooling in order to be considered as a qualified candidate for these types of jobs.

One of the most obvious careers that will typically pop into the minds of people who are thinking about crimes would be the profession of a police officer.  This is a very well respected field and does not require as much training and schooling as some other fields might.  Applicants will need to be tested in a number of ways prior to being offered a position, and in some more urban and populated areas there is a more desperate need for qualified police officers.  As a result, there is slightly more competition than there may be in a small town that is looking to hire police officers.

A drug policy advisor needs to do many things depending on their field of concentration.  Some of these advisors need to be able to look at trends and crimes over a period of time, and then weigh this information against the rest of the information that the individual has needed to research.  In some cases, this can include the number of deaths as a result of the drug and the number of violent crimes that have taken place in an area involving the drug as an instigator in the crime.  By looking at this information, and also at how much annually is spent on the drug for different demographics, a drug policy adviser can make some suggestions regarding the medication or drug.  Sometimes there are no negative repercussions as a result of the drug, but in other cases policies need to be put in place in order to place restrictions for the good of the public and the welfare of citizens.

Other productive careers also include crime intelligence analysts, advocates on behalf of the consumer, private crime prevention leaders, and individuals that are working corrections.  These many careers require different and specific levels of schooling before the individual candidate can be seen as qualified for the job.  Cost of education varies depending on where an individual attends school in order to receive their education and how long they are required to their university.

Careers in Criminology are not just open within the United States for individuals, but are actually located in different areas around the world.  Different laws are established by different governments, so not all individuals qualified to work in the field of Criminology within the United States could do so in other areas of the world.  Still, individuals that are qualified in different areas can broaden their search options and range by looking at careers outside their geographic location.