Crime and Justice in America

  1. Define Crime
    An act that violates criminal law and is punishable by criminal sanctions.
  2. What are the two most common models of how society determines which acts are criminal?
    Consensus Model & Conflict Model
  3. Describe Consensus Model
    Argues that the majority of citizens will agree on which activities should be outlawed and punished as crimes. It rests on the assumption that a diverse group of people can have similar morals.
  4. Describe Conflict Model
    Argues that in a diverse society, the dominant groups exercise power by codifying their value systems into criminal laws.
  5. What are the three levels of law enforcement?
    National/Federal, state and local/county
  6. What are the essential elements of the corrections system?
    Criminal offenders are placed on probation, incarcerated in a jail or prison, transferred to community-based corrections facilities, or released on parole.
  7. What is the difference between the formal and informal criminal justice processes?
    The formal criminal justice process involves the somewhat mechanical steps that are designed to guide criminal defendants from arrest to possible punishment. For every step in the formal process, though, someone has discretion, and such discretion leads to an informal process. Even when prosecutors believe that a suspect is guilty, they have the discretion not to prosecute, for example.
  8. Define ethics.
    The moral principles that guide a person's perception of right and wrong.
  9. What role do ethics play in discretionary decision making?
    Most criminal justice professionals have a great deal of discretionary leeway in their day-to-day decision making, and their ethical beliefs can help ensure that they make such decisions in keeping with society's established values.
  10. Contrast the crime control and due process models.
    The crime control model assumes that the criminal justice system is designed to protect the public from criminals. Thus, its most important function is to punish and repress criminal conduct. The due process model presumes that the accused are innocent and provides them with the most complete safeguards usually within the court system.
  11. What are the major issues in criminal justice today?
    • -Falling violent and property crime rates
    • -The impact of an extended recession on crime rates
    • -Improved policing strategies
    • -Street gangs
    • -Gun sales & gun control
    • -Use of illegal drugs
    • -Homeland security¬†
    • -The Patriot Act and civil liberties
    • -America's shrinking inmate population
    • -Cost-cutting measures in the corrections system
    • -Possible bias against minorities in the criminal justice system
    • -Social media in the criminal justice system
  12. Define biometrics
    Methods to identify a person based on his or her unique physical characteristics, such as fingerprints or facial configuration.
  13. Define capital crime
    A criminal act that makes the offender eligible to receive the death penalty
  14. Define civil liberties
    The basic rights and freedoms for American citizens guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, particularly in the Bill of Rights.
  15. Define conflict model
    A criminal justice model in which the content of criminal law is determined by the gouts that hold economic, political, and social power in a community.
  16. Define crime control model
    A criminal justice model that places primary emphasis on the right of society to be protected from crime and violent criminals
  17. Define criminal justice system
    The interlocking network of law enforcement agencies, courts, and corrections institutions designed to enforce criminal laws and protect society from criminal behavior
  18. Define deviance
    Behavior that is considered to go against the norms established by society
  19. Define discretion
    The ability of individuals in the criminal justice system to make operational decisions based on personal judgment instead of formal rules or official information
  20. Define drug
    Any substance that modifies biological, psychological, or social behavior; in particular, an illegal substance with those properties.
  21. Define due process model
    A criminal justice model that places primacy on the right of the individual to be protected from the power of the government
  22. Define federalism
    A form of government in which a written constitution provides for a division of powers between a central government and several regional governments
  23. Define formal criminal justice process
    The model of the criminal justice process ins which participants follow formal rules to create a smoothly functioning disposition of cases from arrest to punishment
  24. Define gun control
    Efforts by a government to regulate or control the sale of guns
  25. Define homeland security
    A concerted national effort to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States and reduce the country's vulnerability to terrorism.
  26. Define informal criminal justice process
    A model of the criminal justice system that recognizes the informal authority exercised by individuals at each step of the criminal justice process
  27. Define justice
    The quality of fairness that must exist in the processes designed to determine whether individuals are guilty of criminal wrongdoing
  28. Define morals
    Principles of right and wrong behavior, as practiced by individuals or by society
  29. Define psychoactive drugs
    Chemicals that affect the brain, causing changes in emotions, perceptions, and behavior.
  30. Define recidivism
    The act of committing a new crime after a person has already been punished for a previous crime by being convicted and sent to jail or prison
  31. Define street gang
    A group of people, usually three or more, who share a common identity and engage in illegal activities
  32. Define system
    A set of interacting parts that, when functioning properly, achieve a desired result
  33. Define terrorism
    The use or threat of violence to achieve political objectives
  34. What are the six main categories of crime?
    • -Violent crimes
    • -Property crimes
    • -Public order crimes
    • -White collar crime
    • -Organized crime
    • -High tech crimes
  35. What are some examples of violent crimes?
    Murder, rape, assault, battery, and robbery
  36. What are some examples of property crimes?
    Pocket picking, shoplifting, larceny/theft, burglary, and arson
  37. What are some examples of public order crimes?
    Public drunkenness, prostitution, gambling, and illicit drug use
  38. What are some examples of white collar crime?
    Fraud and embezzlement
  39. What is organized crime?
    Crime undertaken by a number of persons who operate their activities much as legal business do
  40. What are some examples of high-tech crimes?
    Sabotage, fraud, embezzlement, and theft of proprietary data from computer systems, as well as cyber crimes, such as selling child pornography over the Internet.
  41. What is the difference between Part I and Part II offenses as defined by the Uniform Crime Report?
    Part I offenses include the most violent crimes and several property crimes. Part II offenses include all other crimes recorded in the UCR. They generally cover less serious crimes and constitute the majority of crimes committed.
  42. What is the difference between the National Crime Victimization Survey and self-reported surveys?
    The NCVS involves an annual survey of more than 40,000 households conducted by the Bureau of Census along with the Bureau of Justice Statistics. The survey queries citizens on crimes that have been committed against them. As such, the NCVS includes crimes not necessarily reported tot eh police. Self-reported surveys, in contrast, ask individuals about criminal activity which they may have been a party.
  43. Discuss the prevailing explanation for the rising number of women incarcerated in the United States.
    Experts believe that many women are arrested and given harsh punishment for activity that would not have put them behind bars several decades ago. For the most part, this activity is nonviolent: the majority of female arrestees are involved in drug- and alcohol-related offenses and property crimes.
  44. Discuss the difference between a hypothesis and a theory in the context of criminology.
    A hypothesis is a proposition, usually presented in an "If..., then..." format, that can be tested by researchers. If enough different authorities are able to test and verify a hypothesis, it will usually be accepted as a theory. Because theories can offer explanations for behavior, criminologists often rely on them when trying to determine the causes of criminal behavior.
  45. What are the two important branches of social process theory?
    Learning theory & control theory
  46. Explain learning theory
    Contends that people learn to be criminals from their family and peers
  47. Explain control theory
    Holds that most of us are dissuaded from a  life of crime because we place importance on the opinions of family and peers
  48. Explain the theory of the chronic offender.
    A chronic offender is a juvenile or adult who commits multiple offenses.
  49. What is the importance of a chronic offender for the criminal justice system?
    According to research conducted by Marvin Wolfgang and others int eh 1970s, chronic offenders are responsible for a disproportionately large percentage of all crime. In the decades since, law enforcement agencies and public prosecutors have developed strategies to identify and convict chronic offenders with the goal of lessening overall crime rates. In addition, legislators have passed laws that provide longer sentences for chronic offenders in an attempt to keep them off the streets.
  50. Discuss the connection between learning theory and the start of an individual's drug use.
    One criminologist believes that first-time illegal drug users go through a "learning process" in taking up the habit. That is, more experienced users teach them the techniques of drug use, the pleasurable aspects of drug use, and the social experience of drug use.
  51. Define anomie
    A condition in which the individual suffers from the breakdown or absence of social norms.
  52. Define assault
    A threat or an attempt to do violence to another present hat causes that person to fear immediate physical harm
  53. Define battery
    The act of physically contacting another person with the intent to do harm, even if the resulting injury is insubstantial
  54. Define biology
    The science of living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, and origin
  55. Define burglary
    The act of breaking into or entering a structure (such as a home or office) without permission for the purpose of committing a crime
  56. Define causation
    The relationship in which a change in one measurement or behavior creates a recognizable change in another measurement or behavior
  57. Define chronic offender
    A delinquent or criminal who commits multiple offenses and is considered part of a small group of wrongdoers who are responsible for a majority of the antisocial activity in any given community
  58. Define control theory
    A series of theories that assume that all individuals have the potential for criminal behavior, but are restrained by the damage that such actions would do to their relationships with family, friends, and members o the community.
  59. Define correlation
    The relationship between two measurements or behaviors that tend to move in the same direction
  60. Define criminologist
    A specialist in the field of crime and the causes of criminal behavior
  61. Define criminology
    The scientific study of crime and the causes of criminal behavior
  62. Define dark figure of crime
    A term used to describe the actual amount of crime that takes place. The "figure" is "dark," or impossible to detect, because a great number of crimes are never reported to the police
  63. Define drug abuse
    The use of drugs that results in physical or psychological problems for the user, as well as disruption of personal relationships and employment
  64. Define hormone
    A chemical substance, produced in tissue and conveyed in the bloodstream, that controls certain cellular and body functions such as growth and reproduction
  65. Define hypothesis
    A possible explanation for unobserved occurrence that can be tested by further investigation
  66. Define larceny
    The act of taking property from another person without the use of force with the intent of keeping that property
  67. Define learning theory
    The hypothesis that delinquents and criminals must be taught both the practical and the emotional skills necessary to participate in illegal activity
  68. Define life course criminology
    The study of crime based on the belief that behavioral patterns developed in childhood can predict delinquent and criminal behavior later in life.
  69. Define methamphetamine (meth)
    An easily produced, relatively inexpensive stimulant that creates a strong feeling of euphoria in the user and is highly addictive
  70. Define murder
    The unlawful killing of one human being by another
  71. Define neurotransmitter
    A chemical that transmits nerve impulses between nerve cells and from nerve cells to the brain
  72. Define organized crime
    Illegal acts carried out by illegal organizations engaged int he market for illegal goods or services, such as illicit drugs or firearms
  73. Define Part I offenses
    Crimes reported annually by the FBI in its Uniform Crime Report. Part I offenses include murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft, and arson.
  74. Define Part II offenses
    All crimes recorded by the FBI that do not fall into the category of Part I offenses. These crimes include both misdemeanors and felonies
  75. Define prescription drugs
    Medical drugs that require a physician's permission for purchase
  76. Define psychology
    The scientific study of mental processes and behavior
  77. Define public order crime
    Behavior that has been labeled criminal because it is contrary to shared social values, customs, and norms
  78. Define rational choice theory
    A school of criminology that holds that wrongdoers act as if they weigh the possible benefits of criminal or delinquent activity against the expected costs of being apprehended
  79. Define robbery
    The act of taking property from another person through force, threat of force, or intimidation
  80. Define self-reported survey
    A method of gathering crime data that relies on participants to reveal and detail their own criminal or delinquent behavior
  81. Define sexual assault
    Forced or coerced sexual intercourse or other sexual acts
  82. Define social conflict theories
    A school of criminology that views criminal behavior as the result of class conflict
  83. Define social disorganization theory
    The theory that deviant behavior is more likely in communities where social institutions such as the family, schools, and the criminal justice system fail to exert control over the population
  84. Define social process theories
    A school of criminology that considers criminal behavior to be the predictable result of a person's interaction with his or her environment
  85. Define sociology
    The study of the development and functioning of groups of people who live together within a society
  86. Define strain theory
    The assumption that crime is the result of frustration felt by individuals who cannot reach their financial and personal goals through legitimate means
  87. Define testosterone
    The hormone primarily responsible for the production of sperm and the development of male secondary sex characteristics such as the growth of facial and pubic hair and the change of voice pitch
  88. Define theory
    An explanation of a happening or circumstance that is based on observation, experimentation, and reasoning
  89. Define Uniform Crime Report (UCR)
    An annual report compiled by the FBI to give an indication of criminal activity in the United States
  90. Define victimology
    A school of criminology that studies why certain people are the victims of crimes and the optimal role for victims in the criminal justice system.
  91. Define victim surveys
    A method of gathering crime data that directly surveys participants to determine their experiences as victims of crime
  92. Define white-collar crime
    Nonviolent crimes committed by business entities or individuals to gain a personal or business advantage
  93. What are the four written sources of American criminal law?
    • -The U.S. Constitution and state constitutions
    • -Statutes passed by Congress and state legislatures (plus local ordinances)
    • -Administrative agency regulations
    • -Case Law
  94. Explain the two basic functions of criminal law.
    The primary function is to protect citizens from harms to their safety and property and from harms to society's interest collectively. The second function is to maintain and teach social values as well as social boundaries -- for example, sped delimits and laws against bigamy.
  95. What are the primary goals of civil law?
    Civil law is designed to resolve dispute between private individuals and their entities, such as corporations. In these disputes, one party, called the plaintiff, tries to gain monetary damages by proving that the accused party, or the defendant, is to blame for a tort, or wrongful act.
  96. What are the primary goals of criminal law?
    Criminal law exists to precut society from criminal behavior. To that end, the government prosecutors defendants, or persons who have been charged with committing a crime.
  97. Explain the differences between crimes mala in se and mala prohibita.
    A criminal act is mala in se if it is inherently wrong, while a criminal act mala prohibita is illegal only because it is prohibited by the laws of a particular society. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between these two sorts of crimes because it is difficult to define a "pure" mala in se crime; that is, it is difficult to separate a crime from the culture that has deemed it a crime.
  98. What elements are required to establish mens rea (a guilty mental state)?
    • -Purpose
    • -Knowledge
    • -Negligence
    • -Recklessness
  99. What are the most important excuse defenses for crimes?
    • -Insanity
    • -Intoxication
    • -Mistake
  100. What types of insanity tests can be used in defense?
    • -M'Naghten rule (right-wrong test)
    • -The ALI/MPC test, aka the substantial-capacity test
    • -The irresistible-impulse test
  101. What are the four most important justification criminal defense?
    • -Duress
    • -Justifiable use of force
    • -Necessity
    • -Entrapment
  102. What is required for a duress justification?
    • -The threat is of serious bodily harm or death
    • -The harm is greater than that caused by the crime
    • -The threat is immediate and inescapable
    • -The defendant became involved in the situation through no fault of his or her own
  103. Explain the importance of the due process clause in the criminal justice system.
    The due process clause acts to limit the power of government. In the criminal justice system, the due process clause requires that certain procedures be followed to ensure the fairness of criminal proceedings and that all criminal laws be reasonable and in the interest of the public good.
  104. Define actus reus
    A guilty prohibited act
  105. Define administrative law
    The body of law created by regulatory (administrative) agencies (in the form of rules, regulations, orders, and decisions) in order to carry out their duties and responsibilities
  106. Define attempt
    The act of taking substantial steps toward committing a crime while having the ability and the intent to commit the crime, even if the crime never takes place
  107. Define attendant circumstances
    The facts surrounding a criminal event that must be proved to convict the defendant of the underlying crime
  108. Define ballot initiative
    A procedure in which citizens, by collecting enough signatures, can force a public vote on a proposed change to a state or local law
  109. Define beyond a reasonable doubt
    The degree of proof required to find the defendant in a criminal trial guilty of committing he crime. The defendant's guilty must be the only reasonable explanation for the criminal act before the court
  110. Define Bill of Rights
    The first ten amendments to the U.S. Consitution
  111. Define case law
    The rules of law announced in court decisions
  112. Define civil law
    The branch of law dealing with the definition and enforcement of all private or public rights, as opposed to criminal matters
  113. Define competency hearing
    A court proceeding to determine whether the defendant is mentally well enough to understand the charges filed against her or him and cooperate with a lawyer in presenting a defense
  114. Define conspiracy
    A secret plot by two or more people to carry out an illegal or harmful act
  115. Define constitutional law
    Law based on the U.S. Constitution and the constitutions of the various states
  116. Define corpus delicti
    The body of circumstances that must exist for a criminal act to have occurred
  117. Define defendant
    In a civil court, the person or institution against whom an action is brought. In a criminal court, the person or entity who has been formally accused of violating a criminal law
  118. Define due process clause
    The provisions of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the constitution that guarantee that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law
  119. Define duress
    Unlawful pressure brought to bear on a person, causing the person to perform an act that he or she would not otherwise perform
  120. Define duty to retreat
    The requirement that a person claiming self-defense prove that she or he first took reasonable steps to avoid the conflict that resulted in the use of deadly force
  121. Define entrapment
    A defense in which the defendant claims that he or she was induced by a public official - usually an undercover agent or police officer - to commit a crime that he or she would otherwise not have committed
  122. Define felony
    A serious crime, usually punishable by death or imprisonment for a year or longer
  123. Define felony-murder
    An unlawful homicide that occurs during the attempted commission of a felony
  124. Define hate crime law
    A statute that provides for greater sanctions against those who commit crimes motivated by bias against an individual or a group based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or age
  125. Define inchoate offenses
    Conduct deemed criminal without actual harm being done, provided that the harm that would have occurred is one that would have occurred is one the law tries to prevent
  126. Define infancy
    A condition that, under early American law, excused young wrongdoers of criminal behavior because presumably they could not understand the consequences of their actions
  127. Define infraction
    In most jurisdictions, a noncriminal offense for which the penalty is a fine rather than incarceration
  128. Define insanity
    A defense for criminal liability that asserts a lack of criminal responsibility due to mental instability
  129. Define intoxication
    A defense for criminal liability in which the defendant claims that the taking of intoxicants rendered him or her unable to form the requisite intent to commit a criminal act
  130. Define involuntary manslaughter
    A negligent homicide, in which the offender had no intent to killer her or his victim
  131. Define irresistible-impulse test
    A test for the insanity defense under which a defendant who knew her or his action was wrong may still be found insane if he or she was unable, as a result of a mental deficiency, to control the urge to complete the act
  132. Define liability
    In a civil court, legal responsibility for one's own or another's actions
  133. Define mala in se
    A descriptive term for acts that are inherently wrong, regardless of whether they are prohibited by law
  134. Define mala prohibita
    A descriptive term for acts that are made illegal by criminal statute and are not necessarily wrong in and of themselves
  135. Define malice aforethought
    A depraved state of mind in which the offender's behavior reflected a wanton disregard for the well-being of his or her victim
  136. Define mens rea
    Mental state, or intent. A wrongful mental state is usually as necessary as a wrongful act to establish criminal liability
  137. Define misdemeanor
    A criminal offense that is not a felony; usually punishable by a fine and/or a jail term of less than one year
  138. Define M'Naghten rule
    A common law test of criminal responsibility, derived from M'Naghten's Case in 1843, that relies on the defendant's inability to distinguish right from wrong.
  139. Define necessity
    A defense against criminal liability in which the defendant asserts that circumstances required him or her to commit an illegal act
  140. Define negligence
    A failure to exercise the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise in similar circumstances
  141. Define plaintiff
    The person or institution that initiates a lawsuit in civil court proceedings by filing a complaint
  142. Define precedent
    A court decision that furnishes an example or authority for deciding subsequent cases involving similar facts
  143. Define preponderance of the evidence
    The degree of proof required to decide in favor of one side or the other in a civil case. In general, this requirement is met when a plaintiff proves that a fact more likely than not is true.
  144. Define procedural criminal law
    Rules that define the manner in which the rights and duties of individuals may be enforced
  145. Define procedural due process
    The constitutional requirement that the law must be carried out in a fair and orderly manner
  146. Define recklessness
    The state of being aware that a risk does or will exist and nevertheless acting in a way that consciously disregards this risk
  147. Define self-defense
    The legally recognized privilege to protect one's self or property from injury by another
  148. Define statutory law
    The body of law enacted by legislative bodies
  149. Define statutory rape
    A strict liability crime in which an adult engages in a sexual act with a minor
  150. Define strict liability crimes
    Certain crimes, such as traffic violations, in which the defendant is guilty regardless of her or his state of mind at the time of the act
  151. Define substantial-capacity test (ALI/MPC test)
    A test for the insanity defense that states that a person is not responsible for criminal behavior when he or she "lacks substantial capacity" to understand that the behavior is wrong or know how to behave properly
  152. Define substantive criminal law
    Law that defines the rights and duties of individuals with respect to one another
  153. Define substantive due process
    The constitutional requirement that laws use to accuse and convict persons of crimes must be fair
  154. Define supremacy clause
    A clause in the U.S. Constitution establishing that federal law is the "supreme law of the land" and shall prevail when in conflict with state constitutions or statutes.
  155. Define voluntary manslaughter
    A homicide in which the intent to kill was present in the mind of the offender, but malice was lacking.
  156. Amendment 4
    Search and Seizure
  157. Amendment 5
    Trial and punishment, compensation for takings
  158. Amendment 6
    Right to speedy trial, confrontation of witnesses
  159. Amendment 8
    Cruel and unusual punishment
Card Set
Crime and Justice in America
Exam 1 Review