Offender Management: Criminology, Victimology & Procedural Justice Assignment

Evolution of criminology, victimization, and procedural justice, and their impact on the justice system and public perception.

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Offender Management

Week 1: Criminology - offenders

Learnings from the module

In this session, we learnt about the history of criminology and how the basic theories of Classicism and Positivism came to be applied into modern criminology practices. Classical criminology is based on the assumption that crime is committed by free will through rationally thinking and impulses of the person committing the crime (Jennings and Beaudry?Cyr, 2014). Classical criminology emerged in the Pre-Enlightenment Era, where criminals were believed to derive pleasure through committing acts of crime and therefore were subject to almost barbaric forms of punishment that included death penalties and banishment. One of the critical thinkers of that time, Jeremy Benthan, however, was critical of the punishment methods.

In the late 19th century, there was the emergence of scientific criminology which came to be known as Positivism theory, which believed in the assumption that human behavior is influenced by biological and physiological factors. It concluded that criminals could be born and also be affected by several environmental factors that drive them to do crime (Blevins, 2018).

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My Opinion and how have I come to this

By studying the module of criminology, I came to understand how historical behavior has impacted our criminal laws and jurisdictions and how much the approach has been changed to match the punishment with the crime. While classical criminology was much more in practice in the past, scientists and researchers felt the need to include scientific evidence to provide a more just system for the offenders (Bedoya and Portnoy, 2022). I understand that not every crime can be given the same weightage as the motivations of the crime can be different for every person. Though the theory of positivism came across a lot of criticisms due to its content, it provided a much needed insight into the minds of the offenders and provided a different biological and psychological perspective to criminology.

How the Module affected my thinking

This module helped me to gain a better understanding of the psyche of a criminal. It is very difficult to sometimes grasp the motivation behind criminals who commit heinous crimes and sometimes do not feel any remorse. By studying the theories on which criminal justice is based today, I came to understand there are a lot of factors that can influence a human being to commit a crime. I came to understand that there are certain mental conditions that can drive people to commit crime and for some it is just a matter of the best opportunity. Moreover, this module helped me change my thinking on the motivations of criminals and how the justice system bases those motivations into just punishments for the criminals.

Steps to take after learning the Module

This module has motivated me to learn about the other existing theories of criminology and understand how the justice system has evolved by then. It also made me interested to study more about the pioneers of classicism and positivism, namely, Jeremy Bentham and Cesare Lombroso and how their observations and theories helped advance criminology. It inspired me to apply these given theories on real events and criminals to understand the motivations behind them.

Week 2: Criminology - victims

Learnings from the module

In this module, we learn about victimization and how it impacts the justice system relating to criminals. We learn about the definition of criminals, how victimology emerged, the concept of victim blaming and the various approaches to victimology. A victim is someone who has suffered some kind of harm that can be categorized into physical and mental, emotional injury, financial loss or some kind of violation of their fundamental rights by other people who are abusing their power and are in violation of criminal laws (Turanovic and Pratt, 2019).

Victimology developed as there were more studies on it and there was emergence of a vulnerable group of people who were more susceptible to crime, for example, females, old or incapacitated people, or young people who cannot defend themselves. Victim blaming emerged as a concept when Victim-precipitation theories acknowledged that there is a form of relationship between the criminal and the victim and the victim could have escaped the crime if not for their own culpability (North and Smith, 2018). The justice system has some markers of the extent to which the victim was victimized in order to mete out appropriate punishments.

My Opinion and how have I come to this

By going through this module, I have come to understand the factors of victimization and how a victim is determined. With the emergence of research in victimology, the nature of the focus has changed. Earlier the study of victims was solely focused on the nature of the crime and how it affected them. However, recent studies have focused on the nature of victimization itself. It has given me an understanding about how much the victim is related to the crime and how much their actions can also affect the justice provided. I came to know that blaming the victim for negligence and other factors are still very rampant.

How the Module affected my thinking

This module helped me understand the extent of victimization and how it affects the general public of the country. The module helped me gain an understanding about the frequency of attacks on victims. According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, it was estimated that there were 9.6 million crimes committed against adults who were living in households (crimesurvey.co.uk, 2023). In households there was a significant amount of risk of being victimized and in an alarming percentage of those cases, the victims knew the offender. It changed my view on the kind of people who are more likely to be victimized like older people, homeless and women.

Steps to take after learning the Module

After learning the module, it has inspired me to read more about the victim theories and understand the factors of victimization. It has also guided me to look up existing literature on the victimization theories and research about how it can be implemented to provide improved justice systems. It has helped me to learn about the ways in which the victims can be better protected and reduction of the criminal activities can take place.

Week 3: Procedural Justice

Learnings from the module

In this module, we learn about the system of procedural justice and how it impacts the belief of the common people in the legitimacy of the law and the justice system. Procedural justice is the process of enforcing the law rather than the outcomes of it. In a few words, we can say that the procedure of following the law and experience of interaction with the police officers play a huge role in the belief of justice and the system that enforces it (Nagin, and Telep, 2017).

We learn about the concept of legitimacy, which describes the public’s belief that the authority who is enforcing has the right and power to do so. Legitimacy can be enhanced in the public’s mind if they feel like the procedure to the law was justly carried out and they were treated with respect, given a voice, the authority was neutral and they had trustworthy motives. This makes the public view the justice system and its enforcers in a positive manner and they’re not defensive or afraid of the system.

My Opinion and how have I come to this

Throughout this model, I got to learn about the concept of legitimacy and how it affects the perspective of the common public. I have come to understand that legitimacy can lower the risks of crime being committed and build trust and belief in the police officers. Common public who understands that the law is being carried out in a just manner and there is fair decision making involved, they are more likely to communicate with them. I understand that procedural justice can be the best driver in terms of people obeying the law rather than statistics of lower crime rates and increased vigilances.

How the Module affected my thinking

Through the understanding of this module, I have come to understand how the judiciary system and its enforcers have to follow a code of conduct and ethics while doing their duties (college.police.uk, 2023). It changed my thinking in the way that the enforcers can be a trustworthy figure of authority in the minds of the public. It has helped me understand how the fairness of interaction between the police and the public has an impact on the understanding of the justice system.

Steps to take after learning the Module

This module has helped me to understand the importance of a police interaction with the general public. That has inspired me to learn more about the case study of interactions of police and public to understand how it has impacted the individuals. It has further urged me to research on the various ways in which the police ensure fairness in their interactions while dealing with the public and if the considerations of neutrality, respect, voice and trustworthiness are carried out.

References

Journals

Bedoya, A. and Portnoy, J., 2022. Biosocial Criminology: History, Theory, Research Evidence, and Policy. Victims & Offenders, pp.1-31.

Blevins, K.R., 2018. Positivism. In The Routledge Companion to Criminological Theory and Concepts (pp. 23-27). Routledge.

Jennings, W.G. and Beaudry?Cyr, M., 2014. Rational choice theory. The encyclopedia of theoretical criminology, pp.1-3.

Nagin, D.S. and Telep, C.W., 2017. Procedural justice and legal compliance. Annual review of law and social science, 13, pp.5-28.

North, M.A. and Smith, S., 2018. Victim precipitation: Let's not silence that voice. Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 11(1), pp.137-141. [Accessed on 30.05.2023]

Turanovic, J.J. and Pratt, T.C., 2019. Thinking about victimization: Context and consequences. Routledge.

Websites

college.police.uk. APP (authorised professional practice), About us, Available at: https://www.college.police.uk/app [Accessed on 30.05.2023]

Crimesurvey.co.uk. Crime Survey for England & Wales, About us, Available at: https://www.crimesurvey.co.uk/en/index.html [Accessed on 30.05.2023]

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