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Criminology term paper

"Classical theory did not seek to explain why people commit crime but was a strategy for administering justice according to rational principles (Garland, 1985). It was based on assumptions about how people living in the emerging historical period of seventeenth-century Europe, called the "Classical period" or "Enlightenment era," began to reject the traditional idea that people were fixed social types with vastly different rights and privileges. Classical thinkers replaced this bedrock of the feudal caste system with the then-radical notion that people are individuals having equal rights. Prior to the Enlightenment era, during a period of absolute monarchies, justice was arbitrary, barbarous, and harsh. Rulers used torture to coerce confessions, and corporal punishments such as whipping and flogging were common. The death penalty had also been expanded to apply to numerous offenses, including petty theft, deception, and poaching. Utilitarian philosophers recognized the gross injustices of the system and saw much of the problem as resulting from the enormity of church and state power. Their solution was legal and judicial reform, which was consistent with emerging ideas about human rights and individual freedom. They sought philosophical justification for reform in the changing conception of humans as freethinking individuals."

"Japan is the only heavily industrial nation in which the large city, Tokyo, has a lower homicide rate than the national average. Why is Tokyo, alone of the major cities in heavily industrial nations, characterized by a homicide rate below the national average? With these exceptions, then, the comparative evidence in table is in rough agreement with cross-sectional evidence for the U.S."in both cases, large cities have homicide rates higher than their national averages. It is also interesting that, although all the cities in the table 1 are large cities, there is obviously great variation among the homicide rates of these cities"just as there is great variation among the rates of the nations themselves. This variance indicates that absolute city size does not correspond in any direct way to the absolute magnitude of a city's homicide rate, cities of 500,000 people do not necessarily have a homicide rate of, say, 17 per 100,000 people. This suggests the intriguing possibility that large cities have homicide rates which are unusually high only in terms of the overall homicides rates of their societies. An international city therefore can have a homicide rate which is remarkably low when compared to other large cities worldwide but which is still a high rate for this specific society."

"The prima facie time-series evidence--that crime rates have increased since 1960 in the United States while the economy was generally growing--indicates that simple explanations about the relationship between the economy and crime will not be adequate. The picture from cross-sectional evidence poses similar challenges: while it is true that crime rates are higher in poorer communities, and incarceration and arrest rates are higher for people with lower earnings potential, it is also true that most people who commit crime also work in the legal sector and most people with low earnings are not involved in the criminal justice system. Much of the existing research has been of a very general nature. But in order to use economics to "solve" the crime problem, we need very particular knowledge about how people respond to incentives. Ultimately, this requires a great deal of differentiation among crime types and among different populations (e.g., by age). Furthermore, it is necessary to understand the connection between the economy and crime at three levels: economy-wide, for communities, and for individuals."

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