Dr. Raymond A. Eve
Office: 442 UH
Hours: TuTh 4-5pm,
and by appt.
817-272-2661 (Main Soci. Office #)
Fall Semester, 2010
MWF 11:00 – 12:00
Room UH 014
Probably no subject (with the possible exception of sexual behavior) receives more emotionally charged treatment by civic and religious organizations, and radio-television-motion picture and printing press industries, and "the public" (or "publics"), than "criminal behavior" including its causes, its meaning, and how it should be dealt with and by whom. However, these emotional responses to the subject of crime and delinquency can be shown (and will be shown in this course) to have in many respects created crime and criminals (i.e., "over-criminalization") and (b) by correctional policies, practices, and institutions (prisons, for example which often vastly increase the probability that a "client" will commit further crimes.
If we are truly interested in reducing crime, treating criminals in a morally responsible fashion, actually "rehabilitating" offenders who are apprehended and allowing both criminals and those individuals who compose the non-criminal public to develop their full legitimate human potentials (in so far as this development is prevented by criminal behavior), we can no longer afford the luxury of a highly emotional response to crime. What is needed is a calm, rational, scientific approach to the study of crime and delinquency. Even within these limits there are several ways we can study crime and delinquency; we can adopt not only a sociological viewpoint, but also a psychological viewpoint (as in law schools), a city-management point of view, and so on. In this course, we will, of course, be primarily concerned with a sociological perspective rather than with the other various possibilities, and during the course we will try to discover just what is distinctive about a sociological approach that separates it from other possible approaches.
WHAT IS DISTINCTIVE ABOUT A SOCIOLOGICAL APPROACH TO CRIME AND DELINQUENCY?
As pointed out above, there are several scientific approaches to the study of crime and delinquency and the sociological perspective is only one of these. How then do we recognize the sociological aspects of crime and delinquency? First of all, sociology is primarily concerned with how groups or categories or aggregates as a whole or even total societies are involved in crime and delinquency rather than how individuals and individual mental states are involved (this latter being the psychological approach). Thus, sociology asks questions such as what categories of people, or groups, or societies are most likely to commit the various types of crimes? Are there different crime rates for (a) different types of societies?, (b) social classes within a given society?, (c) different regions within a nation?, (d) different areas within a city?, and (e) are there different crime rates for males and females as a whole? Also, we want to ask not only are there different crime rates for comparisons similar to those above, but also we want to ask if different types of crime are committed by the groups being compared above. For example, do Southerners in the U.S. tend to commit crimes in different patterns and at different rates than Northerners?
Sociological inquiry might also ask "What group or groups 'create' the law?" Do these laws serve the interest of everyone in the society, or do they sever primarily the interests of certain segments of society?
We might also wish to ask questions about the responses of categories of people within a society or of different societies to criminal or delinquent acts. How can they respond with courts of law, prisons, rehabilitative programs,...what else? What purposes do these responses have for different societies? for different categories within these societies?
WHY STUDY CRIME AND DELINQUENCY FROM A SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE?
One primary reason is so that we can obtain an accurate picture of the distribution and cost of crime. While most of us have what we might call an "emotional" picture of crime, how closely does this emotional picture correspond to reality? We must answer this question before we can design responses to crime (including police programs, judicial techniques, and punishment and/or rehabilitative programs) which will have beneficial effects. If our perceptions of crime and delinquency are not accurate, any program we design as a response to these problems, will, of course, not "fit" reality and, hence, will be largely or completely ineffective. This is an inefficiency which we can ill afford both morally and economically. Morally, we may punish certain segments of society seriously out of proportion to the true seriousness of their crimes - while letting other segments off lightly for much more serious crimes (one example which we will discuss in class is the issues of "white-collar crime"). Or we may, if we are not careful, end up punishing people simply for "being different" rather than for any clear-cut infraction of the law where an easily identifiable victim can be found (for example, many would question the wisdom of passing laws against marijuana use, homosexuality, prostitution, etc. -- these are so-called "victimless crimes" which we will discuss under the topic of "overcriminalization" or the possible tendency to pass too many laws). In summary, there are serious moral consequences for not obtaining a scientific, rational understanding of the cause, distribution, and consequences of crime and delinquency.
There are also serious economic consequences for an inaccurate picture of crime and delinquency. It is safe to say that the economic costs of crime and delinquency are enormous when we consider the fact that the scope of such cost covers petty theft, auto theft, organized crime -- including narcotics sale, gambling, prostitution, and white-collar crime -- including false advertising, price-fixing, product fraud, cost "overruns" on government projects, etc. Secondly, there are many thousands of Americans in prisons, and prison is probably the most expensive "treatment" possible for an offender, running about -7 to 12 thousand dollars per year per prisoner, and for this money we usually get back an individual better prepared both in terms of knowledge and motivation to commit further crimes. Finally, economically, sociology would question the wisdom of trying to rehabilitate prisoners on a one-to-one basis either before (early identification and prevention) or after committing a crime (basically a psychological or psychotherapy approach to crime). Instead, sociologists would suggest that aggregate or group approaches concerning prevention and responses to crime would be much more economical. Rather than deal with offenders or potential offenders on a one- to-one basis, sociologists might try approaches such as raising the income of crime-ridden areas, improving education and job opportunities in these areas, and improving health care in these areas. Or they might try to restructure the social relationships between people or categories of people in high crime areas (for example, hiring potential delinquents to work in community service programs, trying group mental health programs, opening progressive day-care centers for children in crime-ridden areas, helping minority groups to start their own businesses and so forth).
By studying crime and delinquency from a sociological perspective, we may be able to begin to move towards a society free of crime and criminals. But before we do this, be sure you think you know the answer to the question, "Are there any undesirable effects which would be created by the elimination of all crime and criminals?" Think deeply before you try to answer this question. What would be the impact of eliminating the need for many police, detectives, and social work agencies? What would the effect on banks and insurance companies be like? Where would innovation, both technical and in terms of new adaptive life-styles come from? We will seek an answer to these questions in the course, but you should be aware at the outset that crime is big business for both criminals and the legitimate occupational sphere, and its complete elimination might have major disruptive effects.
Sociology 1311 - Introduction to Sociology
3. COURSE DESCRIPTION
This course will have as its goals inquiry into the following questions: (1) what are the social and political processes through which certain behaviors and persons (and not others) come to be considered "criminal" or "delinquent?" (2) what are the social sources of different degrees of involvement in crime, and (3) what are the formal and informal societal or social reactors to crime and delinquency (e.g., prisons, juvenile corrections programs), and how successful have these various responses been in eliminating offenses? What other alternatives are possible and/or desirable?
In addition to the above goals, we will also try to establish certain basic skills of methods and interpretation in each student, e.g., simply analysis of data and statistics related to criminal activity, ability to read and interpret tables of data, ability to avoid making errors in inferences concerning the sources of crime, and so forth.
Attendance deductions will not be made in the course. However, students who attend regularly and otherwise reveal sincere motivation will receive more sympathy in course evaluation than students who attend rarely.
5. GRADING PRACTICES
Your grade will be based on two non-comprehensive objective exams during the term and on an objective non-comprehensive final examination. In this case, each exam counts one-third of your course grade.
Optionally, you may choose to count a term project, see below, as 25 percent of your total grade.
IMPORTANT: Reasons for excusal from the exams or quizzes must be very
serious! Please contact your Professor ahead of time if possible if you
know you are going to miss an exam.
IMPORTANT: Students arriving at an exam more than 10 minutes late will be
required to take a makeup exam at a future date.
Schedule for course events: (exam dates below are tentative and subject to revision -- but any such revision will be visible hear some days before an actual exam).
August, 26th - first day of regularly scheduled class
September 1st, - last day of late registration
Percent of total grade
October 1st = Exam 1 33.3%
November 5th = Exam 2 33.3%
December 1s5 = Due date for optional term paper (25%)
(see explanation below)
December 10 = last day to drop a course
December 10th = last day of class
December 15th = Final Exam @ 11 - 1:30 33.3%
In some cases, a student may do a term paper to count as one-fourth of the course grade. This is usually only arranged when the student either has a strong interest in a special topic, or when the student has a demonstrated problems with multiple-choice style assessment. If you believe one of these situations applies to you, please contact your Professor as soon as possible.
7. LATE ASSIGNMENTS OR EXAMS
Important!!! Any assignments or exams that are turned in late will have their scores reduced by 5% each day they are late unless the student has a valid, verifiable excuse of a serious nature.
Your textbook is an e-text:
Criminology: Causes, Patterns and Control of Crime, 1st edtion.
Authors: Raymond Eve, Caryl Segal, and Kelli Stevens. National Social Science Press, 2008.
This text is offered completely online, or as very plain paper version. However, the text continually is updated in the online version, so you are encouraged to reply on the e-version. The publisher is the National Social Science Press. You will need to obtain a cd-rom from the UTA bookstore in order to have a password to access the text content.
9. Disability Policy
If a student requires special arrangements for a disability, the student should inform the professor at the earliest time possible.
10. Honesty Policy
Students are required to conform to the University’s policy regarding academic honesty.
11. Dropping the Course
The Professor will not automatically drop students from the course. It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of deadlines and University policies in this regard, and to take whatever action necessary if they wish to drop the course.
12. Student Success Programs
The University of Texas at Arlington supports a variety of student success programs to help you connect with the University and achieve academic success. They include learning assistance, developmental education, advising and mentoring, admission and transition, and federally funded programs. Students requiring assistance academically, personally, or socially should contact the Office of Student Success Programs at 817-272-6107 for more information and appropriate referrals.
All Text Packages Contain: Digital Text on CD, Free Printed Student Text, and
Password Protected Website.
1. The Student Process:
A. Students purchase the digital text on CD at the bookstore.
B. Within the cover of the CD is a serial number. They then go to the NSS Press
website at http://www.nsspress.com and with that serial number they use the
automated system to set up their own login and password to enter the text site
online. It is important that students pick their instructor when they register
C. At the text site online they find the continually updated text with updated
videos and links and also find supplementary materials such as power point
D. It is very important that students register the CD because the text online is
continually updated and current, especially with the newest videos.
E. There is a search engine that takes the place of a printed index at the text
website that is very useful for students. They can search for any items within
the text with this search engine.
F. Within the cover of the CD is information on how to order the free printed
text that is sent via priority mail with tracking information.
G. Students email firstname.lastname@example.org, use the serial number within the cover
of the CD, and give their full, correct, mailing address. With the priority mail
system students receive their free printed text within a few days.
H. If students are using a Mac computer they need to read the Mac instructions
carefully at the home page of the NSS Press website.
I. The interactive texts play best by using Internet Explorer as the browser rather than Firefox or other browsers.