Examining The Concept Of Crime And Its Dimensions Criminology Essay

Tappan ( 1947: ) defined offense as ” an knowing act or skip in misdemeanor of condemnable jurisprudence, committed without defence or justification, and penalized by the province ” and vehemently advocated the impression that the legal definition of offense is representative of what society consensually defines offense as. However, as both Greer and Hagan ( 2001 ) and Morrison ( 2009 ) emphasised, whilst what is deemed a offense will be based on the shared social perceptual experiences in many cases, finally Acts of the Apostless are legislated as condemnable by those in authorization and hence dissension between what is lawfully deemed a offense and what is perceived as a offense by members of the society to which the jurisprudence applies will necessarily be. Furthermore, Henry and Lanier ( 1998 ) besides highlighted that if the construct of offense is based strictly on the legal definition so actions such as racism, sexism, and other denials of human rights every bit good as other aberrant and anti-social behavior may neglect to be recognised, since these have frequently been excluded from what constitutes offense in the definition proposed by jurisprudence. As such, Hagan ( 1977 ) posited that offense should be regarded as a subcategory of all harmful Acts of the Apostless, irrespective of whether they are proscribed by jurisprudence, therefore underscoring that the legal definition of offense alone is excessively narrow. Similarly, some theoreticians ( Burgress 1950 ; Durkheim 1933 ; Roshier 1989 ) have attempted to spread out the legal definition further still to include a cosmopolitan sense of morality and argue that actions should be defined as offense when moral indignation ensues from a breach of societal norms. This perspective therefore considers the reactions of society, although as Blackburn ( 1993 ) emphasised, non all condemnable Acts of the Apostless violate moral codifications, such as supposed victimless offenses including the gaming, drug maltreatment and harlotry. Hence this definition may still non embrace the offense phenomenon to the full.

Whilst a good starting point in footings of specifying offense, obviously, the legal definition entirely is excessively narrow since it lacks acknowledgment for the societal nature of offense, societal injury and morality and is finally determined by those in power instead than a general consensus. As Lindgren ( 2005 ) emphasised, societal constructionists, instead, argue that what is defined as offense in jurisprudence is historically, temporally and culturally comparative and as Sumner ( 2003 ) argued, we, as a society, have an impact on what is defined as offense, foremost by the societal conditions that enable or promote the behavior that causes injury and secondly by our reactions to that behavior and our corporate disapproval and disapprobation of such behaviors, which finally lead them to going defined as condemnable, but which are capable to alter over clip as our social attitudes change. The impression that the definition of offense is capable to alter with altering social attitudes, was supported by Feldman ( 1993 ) who suggested that whilst the nucleus of condemnable jurisprudence is consistent across societies, the “ boundary lines move ” . So whilst, as Lemert ( 1972 ) found in a transverse cultural comparing, slaying, colza and larceny are universally condemned offenses whatever the prevalent legal system and clip context, the definition of many other Acts of the Apostless as condemnable depends to a great extent of which societies are examined and when. For illustration, in 1533 English jurisprudence identified homosexualism as punishable by hanging, and until the Sexual Offences Act 1967 was passed, homosexualism remained illegal within the UK. The prohibition of intoxicant between 1920 and 1933 in America is another illustration of offense being context and clip dependant. Notably in both instances, homosexualism and the ingestion of intoxicant are still illegal in assorted other civilizations. This definition of offense therefore histories for the societal nature of offense, and explains how social attitudes influence what becomes lawfully defined as offense, how definitions of offense are clip and context dependant, and is able to recognize that non all actions are lawfully classified as condemnable but nevertheless constitute behavior worthy of the definition harmonizing to social beliefs.

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In an initial effort to incorporate the aforesaid constituents of offense into one conceptual theoretical account, Hagan ( 1977 ) postulated that aberrance and offense are kindred and autumn under “ regulation breakage ” which constitutes anything from minor aberrance from recognized criterions of behaviors such as public inebriation to extremely violative Acts of the Apostless affecting serious injury such as terrorist act or slaying. He emphasised that offense is a divergence from a societal norm proscribed by condemnable jurisprudence, therefore recognizing the societal constructionists ‘ thought of relativity of offense via norm misdemeanor, the legal tradition of jurisprudence misdemeanor, every bit good as social consensus and societal injury. Hagan ( 1977 ) demonstrated his effort to incorporate the assorted definitions of offense within a model named the “ Pyramid of Crime ” which is illustrated below, and reflected the definitions within three steps of earnestness each runing from low/weak to high/strong, viz. social consensus sing the offense, the badness of the legal response, including mulcts, imprisonment, the decease punishment and so on, and the degree of injury inflicted, reasoning that some offenses such as drug usage, chancing and harlotry are victimless offenses, therefore bring forthing less societal than single injury.

Beginning: Henry and Lanier ( 1998 )

In response to Hagan ‘s ( 1977 ) pyramid of offense, Henry and Lanier ( 1998 ) decided to redesign the ocular presentation of the pyramid into a prism, to spread out on some elements of the offense phenomenon, viz. dimensions of societal understanding, likely societal response, single and societal injury and the extent of exploitation into a more incorporate attack. The complex ocular representation of the definition of offense high spots the complexness of specifying offense. Their theoretical account is illustrated below, with the upper pyramid stand foring the extremely seeable offenses, typically those of the structurally powerless, which are committed in public including assault, slaying, alien colza, and incendiarism, and the lower, upside-down pyramid stand foring comparatively unseeable offenses, including a assortment of offenses of the powerful, such as offenses by authorities functionaries, corporations, administrations, offense that people commit through their businesss such as fraud and peculation, and even some offenses such as domestic force, sexism and hate offenses. These offenses are typically perpetrated in private scenes such as the workplace, places and involve misdemeanors of sure relationships.

The mode in which the prism is formed has several deductions for the manner offense is examined. First, the place of offenses in the prism varies over clip. As vocal dominant groups and mass-mediated civilization focal point on different issues so the public consciousness of what counts as offense is formed and reformed. In such a formation Acts of the Apostless are recognised as more or less seeable, more or less serious and more or less harmful, for illustration the place of domestic force and sexual torment have changed, both late have begun to travel from the lower to the upper half of the prism. Second, the upper half of the prism contains preponderantly conventional offenses whereas the lower half contains white collar offenses. It is arguable that those perpetrating most of the conventional/street offenses are comparatively powerless in society whereas those perpetrating most of the white collar offenses hold structural places of power. Due to this, white collar offenses are located at the underside of the prism as they are really harmful, but frequently obscured as they harm their victims indirectly and diffusely. Often the victims are non cognizant of who the wrongdoer or even if they have been victimised.

By developing Hagan ‘s ( 1977 ) analysis, Henry and Lanier ( 1998 ) have produced an incorporate attack to specifying offense, which consider the major constituent dimensions of what counts as offense. The prism is able to capture the contingent and altering nature of offense, turn uping its constituent characteristics into a model that allows criminologists to see their combined and synergistic effects, but is by no agencies definitive. The prism allows one to see how specific offenses are related to one another and to wider societal forces that intersect with those offenses at certain minutes in clip, rendering some Acts of the Apostless instead than others serious offenses.


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