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Alien Conspiracy Theory
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Theory blames outsiders and outside influence for the prevalence of organized crime in U.S. society.
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Alien Conspiracy Theory
Theory blames outsiders and outside influence for the prevalence of organized crime in U.S. society.
Anomie Theory
A societal state marked by normlessness, in which disintegration and chaos have replaced social cohesion. Aberrant behavior can be viewed as a symptom of the dissociation between "culturally defined aspirations and socially structured means. Emphasis on the accumulation of wealth as a symbol of success leads to a disregard for considerations on how the wealth was achieved.
Born criminal
According to Lombroso, a person born with features resembling an earlier, more primitive form of human life, destined to become a criminal.
Classical School of Criminology
Cesare Beccaria/Jeremey Bentham). It perceived people as free agents who are able to make rational choices in virtually all aspects of their lives. This school views organized crime members as possessing free will and as being able to make rational decisions regarding their involvement in crime and wrongdoing. (Policies stemming from this approach dictate dealing harshly and quickly with offenders in an effort to deter them from making such choices again.)
Conflict model:
A model of crime in which the criminal justice system is seen as being used by the ruling class to control the lower class. Criminological investigation of the conflicts within society is emphasized.
As a social system. Conceptual dimension of this school of thought suggest that much could be learned by examining local community functions. Defines community as "that combination of social units and systems which perform the major social functions having locality relevance".
Five Factors Community Function
Production ,distribution, consumption, Socialization, Social control, Social participation, Mutual support
Consensus model
A model of criminal lawmaking that assumes that members of society agree on what is right and wrong and that law is the codification of agreed-upon social values.
Containment theory
A theory positing that every person possesses a containing external structure and a protective internal structure, both of which provide defense, protection, or insulation against delinquency.
Cultural deviance theories
Assume that slum dweller violate the law because they belong to a unique subculture that exists in lower class areas. The subculture's values and norms conflict with those of the upper class on which criminal law is based.
Cultural transmission
Cultural transmission of criminal behavior, due to generation of ecological conditions, as been recognized by several studies of gangs. Suggest that patterns of criminal apprenticeship relative to Chicago youth gangs suggest that patterns of criminal apprenticeship relative to Chicago youth gangs occurred in the community.
Culture conflict theory:
Essentially a clash between the social mores of the middle class and the conduct norms of other groups.
The theory of punishment which envisages that potential offenders will refrain from committing crimes out of fear of punishment (sometimes called general prevention).
Differential association-reinforcement
A theory of criminality based on the incorporation of psychological learning theory and differential association with social learning theory. Criminal behavior, the theory claims, is learned through associations and is contained or discontinued as a result of positive or negative reinforcements.
Differential association
Product of socialization in which criminals are guided by many of the same principles that guide law abiding people. A study shows that sources of behavioral motivation for criminals are much the same as those for conformists (e.g., a desire for money and success) The difference is, of course, that criminals pursue their goals through unlawful acts.
Sutherland's' principles of Differential Association
Criminal behavior is learned, the fundamental basis of learning criminal behavior is learned in intimate personal groups (e.g., gangs), criminal behavior is acquired through interaction with other persons in a process of communication, the learning process includes the techniques of committing the crime and specific rationalizations and attitudes for criminal activity, general attitudes regarding the respect (or lack of respect) for laws are reflected in attitudes toward criminal behavior, a person becomes delinquent or criminal because of an excess of definitions favorable to violation of law over definitions unfavorable to violation of the law, Differential association can vary in duration, frequency, and intensity, the processes for learning criminal behavior parallel those of any other learning process, criminal behavior is an expression of general needs and values (as with non criminal behavior) but is not explained by these needs and values.
Differential opportunity
Many lower-class male adolescents experience a sense of desperation surrounding the belief that their position in the economic structure is relatively fixed and mutable. (Creates a perfect environment for crime based opportunities)
According to David Matza, states of limbo in which youths move in and out of delinquency and in which their lifestyles can embrace both conventional and deviant values.
Enterprise theory
Explains that organized crime exists because the legitimate marketplace leaves unserved or unsatisfied many people who are potential customers. The theory explains that economic enterprises involve both legitimate business and some types of criminal activity.
Ethnic succession
Develops as one group replaces another group on the queer ladder of crime, while the earlier group moves on to respectability along with legitimate social status and livelihood. (Jews replaced the Irish, Italians replaced the Jews, and blacks, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and Columbians are now replacing the Italians.
Foundation of Life Course Criminology
Belief that criminal behavior is linked to "low self control" a personality trait that is formed before a child reaches the age of ten and can be attributed to poor parenting. Someone with low self control is generally thrill seeking, and likely to solve problems with violence rather than his/her intellect. Thinks that once self control has been established it will persist that is, childhood behavioral problems are not "solved" by positive developments later in life, such as healthy relationships or a good job.
Continuity Theory of Crime
Once negative behavior patterns have been established they cannot be changed.
General deterrence theory
holds that crime can be thwarted by the threat of punishment. (If people fear that they will be arrested they will choose not to commit the criminal act. (Capital Punishment is an example of deterring people from committing serious crimes)
General strain theory
A criminological theory positing that criminal behavior can result from strain caused by failure to achieve positively valued goals, stress caused by the removal of positively valued stimuli from the individual, or strain caused by the presentation of negative stimuli.
Labeling theory
A theory that explains deviance in terms of the process by which a person acquires a negative identity, such as "addict" or "ex-con," and is forced to suffer the consequences of outcast status.
Life Course Criminology
Believe that lying, stealing. Bullying and other conduct problems that occur in childhood are the strongest predictors of future criminal behavior and have been seriously undervalued in the examination of why crimes occur.
Marxist criminology
Organized crime probably serves an effective social welfare function for many segments of some communities. These intricate and interconnected patterns within the community's basic social functions best explain the persistence and durability of organized crime in America.
Patron-client relationship
Emerging from social participation in a community. Individuals involved in organized crime and its operations in this web of social participation are not, in many cases, directly part of an organization.
Rational choice theory
First emerged in mid 18th century. Also known as risk assessment, suggest that people who commit crimes do so after considering the risks of detection and punishment for the crimes as well as the rewards (financial, etc.) of completing the act successfully is too risky or not worth the benefits.
Radical criminology
A criminological perspective that studies the relationships between economic disparity and crime, avers that crime is the result of a struggle between owners of capital and workers for the distribution of power and resources, and posits that crime will disappear only when capitalism is abolished.
Relative deprivation
This ecological approach suggest that the inequality between communities where the poor and rich live in close proximity to one another creates a general feeling of anger, hostility, and social injustice on the part of inner-city inhabitants.
Risk assessment:
Suggest those who commit crimes do so after considering the risk of detection and punishment for the crimes as well as the rewards. (Personal, financial), etc.
The socialization function is helpful in explaining why organized crime is not regarded as an inherent evil in all communities. Argues that crime, especially organized crime offers avenues for social mobility, especially in communities where legitimate paths are either blocked or difficult to achieve.
Social Process Theory
considers criminal behavior to be the predictable result of a person's interaction with his or her environment.
Social control theory
An explanation of criminal behavior that focuses on control mechanisms, techniques, and strategies for regulating human behavior, leading to conformity or obedience to society's rules, and which posits that deviance results when social controls are weakened or break down, so that individuals are not motivated to conform to them.
Social disorganization theory
A theory of criminality in which the breakdown of effective social bonds, primary-group associations, and social controls in neighborhoods and communities is held to result in development of high-crime areas.
Social learning theory
A theory of criminality that maintains that delinquent behavior is learned through the same psychological processes as non-delinquent behavior, e.g., through reinforcement.
Strain theory
A criminological theory positing that a gap between culturally approved goals and legitimate means of achieving them causes frustration which leads to criminal behavior.
Socioeconomic stratification
This relegates some people to environments in which they experience a sense of strain. Suggests that factors in deprivation, limited access to legitimate alternatives and exposure to innovative success models. (e.g., pimps, gamblers, or drug dealers) create a susceptibility to criminal behavior.
Sociopathic personality
The sociopaths thought to be a dangerous, aggressive person who shows little remorse for his or her actions, who is not deterred by punishments, and who does not learn from past mistakes. Sociopaths often appear to have a pleasant personality and above average level of intelligence.
Special deterrence theory
Holds that penalties for criminal acts should be sufficiently severe that convicted criminals will never repeat their acts. For example, if a person arrested on a first time marijuana possession charge is sentenced to 60 days in boot camp designed for first time offenders to deter them from making that decision again.
A subdivision within the dominant culture that has its own norms, beliefs, and values.
Subculture of violence
A subculture with values that demand the overt use of violence in certain social situations.
Trait Theory
Cesar Lombroso (Father of Criminology) believed criminals were savage throwbacks with certain physical characteristics such as sharp teeth and large jaws. The trait theory also suggests that certain biological or psychological traits in individuals could incline them toward criminal behavior given a certain set of circumstances.

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