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In the 20th century, the field of criminal justice arose as an effort to improve the effectiveness of law enforcement in light of expanding due process and other rights for criminal defendants, as Encyclopedia Britannica explains. The study of criminal justice expanded in the 1980s and 1990s in the form of qualitative descriptive analyses of the operations of specific criminal justice agencies.



Criminology (from Latin crimen, "accusation", and Ancient Greek -λογία, -logia, from λόγος logos meaning: "word, reason") is the interdisciplinary study of crime and deviant behaviour.[citation needed] Criminology is a multidisciplinary field in both the behavioural and social sciences, which draws primarily upon the research of sociologists, political scientists, economists, psychologists, philosophers, psychiatrists, social workers, biologists, social anthropologists, as well as scholars of law.

The interests of criminologists include the study of nature of crime and criminals, origins of criminal law, etiology of crime, social reaction to crime, and the functioning of law enforcement agencies and the penal institutions. It can be broadly said that criminology directs its inquiries along three lines: first, it investigates the nature of criminal law and its administration and conditions under which it develops; second, it analyzes the causation of crime and the personality of criminals; and third, it studies the control of crime and the rehabilitation of offenders. Thus, criminology includes within its scope the activities of legislative bodies, law-enforcement agencies, judicial institutions, correctional institutions and educational, private and public social agencies.

Biosocial criminology is an interdisciplinary field that aims to explain crime and antisocial behavior by exploring both biological factors and environmental factors. While contemporary criminology has been dominated by sociological theories, biosocial criminology also recognizes the potential contributions of fields such as genetics, neuropsychology, and evolutionary psychology.[58] Various theoretical frameworks such as evolutionary neuroandrogenic theory have sought to explain trends in criminality through the lens of evolutionary biology. Specifically, they seek to explain why criminality is so much higher in men than in women and why young men are most likely to exhibit criminal behavior.[59] See also: genetics of aggression.

State crime is a distinct field of crimes that is studied by Marxist criminology, which considers these crimes to be some of the most costly to society in terms of overall harm/injury. In a Marxist framework, genocides, environmental degradation, and war are not crimes that occur out of contempt for one's fellow man, but are crimes of power. They continue systems of control and hegemony which allow state crime and state-corporate crime, along with state-corporate non-profit criminals, to continue governing people.[65]

Convict criminology is a school of thought in the realm of criminology. Convict criminologists have been directly affected by the criminal justice system, oftentimes having spent years inside the prison system. Researchers in the field of convict criminology such as John Irwin and Stephan Richards argue that traditional criminology can better be understood by those who lived in the walls of a prison.[66] Martin Leyva argues that "prisonization" oftentimes begins before prison, in the home, community, and schools.[67]

According to Rod Earle, Convict Criminology started in the United States after the major expansion of prisons in the 1970s, and the U.S. still remains the main focus for those who study convict criminology.[68]

The value of pursuing criminology from a queer theorist perspective is contested; some believe that it is not worth researching and not relevant to the field as a whole, and as a result is a subject that lacks a wide berth of research available. On the other hand, it could be argued that this subject is highly valuable in highlighting how LGBT individuals are affected by the criminal justice system. This research also has the opportunity to "queer" the curriculum of criminology in educational institutions by shifting the focus from controlling and monitoring LGBT communities to liberating and protecting them.[69]

Cultural criminology views crime and its control within the context of culture.[70][71] Ferrell believes criminologists can examine the actions of criminals, control agents, media producers, and others to construct the meaning of crime.[71] He discusses these actions as a means to show the dominant role of culture.[71] Kane adds that cultural criminology has three tropes; village, city street, and media, in which males can be geographically influenced by society's views on what is broadcast and accepted as right or wrong.[72] The village is where one engages in available social activities. Linking the history of an individual to a location can help determine social dynamics.[72] The city street involves positioning oneself in the cultural area. This is full of those affected by poverty, poor health and crime, and large buildings that impact the city but not neighborhoods.[72] Mass media gives an all-around account of the environment and the possible other subcultures that could exist beyond a specific geographical area.[72]

It was later that Naegler and Salman introduced feminist theory to cultural criminology and discussed masculinity and femininity, sexual attraction and sexuality, and intersectional themes.[73] Naegler and Salman believed that Ferrell's mold was limited and that they could add to the understanding of cultural criminology by studying women and those who do not fit Ferrell's mold.[73] Hayward would later add that not only feminist theory, but green theory as well, played a role in the cultural criminology theory through the lens of adrenaline, the soft city, the transgressive subject, and the attentive gaze.[70] The adrenaline lens deals with rational choice and what causes a person to have their own terms of availability, opportunity, and low levels of social control.[70] The soft city lens deals with reality outside of the city and the imaginary sense of reality: the world where transgression occurs, where rigidity is slanted, and where rules are bent.[70] The transgressive subject refers to a person who is attracted to rule-breaking and is attempting to be themselves in a world where everyone is against them.[70] The attentive gaze is when someone, mainly an ethnographer, is immersed into the culture and interested in lifestyle(s) and the symbolic, aesthetic, and visual aspects. When examined, they are left with the knowledge that they are not all the same, but come to a settlement of living together in the same space.[70] Through it all, sociological perspective on cultural criminology theory attempts to understand how the environment an individual is in determines their criminal behavior.[71]

Relative deprivation was originally utilized in the field of sociology by Samuel A. Stouffer, who was a pioneer of this theory. Stouffer revealed that soldiers fighting in World War II measured their personal success by the experience in their units rather than by the standards set by the military.[75] Relative deprivation can be made up of societal, political, economic, or personal factors which create a sense of injustice. It is not based on absolute poverty, a condition where one cannot meet a necessary level to maintain basic living standards. Rather, relative deprivation enforces the idea that even if a person is financially stable, he or she can still feel relatively deprived. The perception of being relatively deprived can result in criminal behavior and/or morally problematic decisions.[76] Relative deprivation theory has increasingly been used to partially explain crime as rising living standards can result in rising crime levels. In criminology, the theory of relative deprivation explains that people who feel jealous and discontent of others might turn to crime to acquire the things that they can not afford.

Rural criminology is the study of crime trends outside of metropolitan and suburban areas. Rural criminologists have used social disorganization and routine activity theories. The FBI Uniform Crime Report shows that rural communities have significantly different crime trends as opposed to metropolitan and suburban areas. The crime in rural communities consists predominantly of narcotic related crimes such as the production, use, and trafficking of narcotics. Social disorganization theory is used to examine the trends involving narcotics.[77] Social disorganization leads to narcotic use in rural areas because of low educational opportunities and high unemployment rates. Routine activity theory is used to examine all low-level street crimes such as theft.[78] Much of the crime in rural areas is explained through routine activity theory because there is often a lack of capable guardians in rural areas.[citation needed]

Criminology is the sociology-based study of crime and the criminal justice system. Through the criminology and criminal justice studies major, students learn about the dimensions of the crime problem, explanations of the prevalence of various types of crime, and the various agencies and programs designed to prevent and control crime and delinquency. These agencies and programs include the police, courts, probation and parole systems, and correctional institutions. Attention also is given to such issues as youth and crime, women and crime, and the place of control agencies in the larger societal context.

As a social science/liberal arts field, criminology provides majors with a variety of techniques for examining and responding to important questions about the causes and consequences of crime and the workings of the criminal justice system.

Criminology majors must complete a minimum of 24 additional credit hours of course work in criminology and sociology, including a minimum of 12 hours of 4000- or 5000-level criminology courses. Students are also required to complete either a research, education abroad, service-learning or internship experience. Students should consult with a sociology and criminology undergraduate advisor to develop a plan of study that is appropriate for meeting their academic and career interests and goals. 041b061a72


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