Week 02, Introduction to Criminology

Assignments for Week 2:

1. Read Chapter 1, “Crime and Criminology,” in your textbook. We will have Quiz #1 on this chapter and on last week’s lecture in the first class session this week. All the quizzes are closed book and open notes.

2. Lecture: The Nature and Extent of Crime

3. Critical Thinking Questions for Group Discussion (Be specific, with examples to support your answers):

a. Some criminologists believe that the threat of punishment is sufficient to control crime. Does it control crime? Are there other forms of social control? Aside from the threat of legal punishments, what else controls your own behavior?

b. Would it be ethical for a criminologist to observe a teenage gang by “hanging” with them, drinking, and watching as they steal cars? Should he or she report that behavior to the police?

c. Can you identify behaviors that are deviant but not criminal? What about crimes that are illegal but not deviant?

d. Should the concept of mens rea or the “guilty mind” be eliminated from the criminal law and replaced with a strick liability standard? (If you do the crime, you do the time, regardless of what you were thinking at the time.)

e. If you could change the criminal law, what behaviors would you legalize? what would you criminalize? For example, would you want to legalize drug use? What might be the consequences of your actions? In other words, are there any hidden drawbacks or benefits?

© Karen Donahue 2017