Criminology: Inside the Criminal Mind

Course Overview

Units at a glance

In this unit, you will be introduced to the field of criminology. We will discuss what crime is and how it is related to deviance. We will also examine the similarities and differences between criminologists, criminalists, and criminal justice professionals. In addition, we will investigate the idea of criminal intent and the various defenses that might be used when a crime is committed. Finally, we will look at some of the research methods that are used in the field of criminology to help us better understand crime and criminals.

In this unit, we will consider biological and psychological explanations for crime. In doing so, we will look at phrenology and somatotyping. We will consider how pollution, hormones, and what we eat may have an effect on whether an individual commits a crime. We will discuss some of the psychological explanations of crime such as psychoanalytic theory, modeling theory, and self-control theory. Finally, we will examine the legal definition of insanity and the use of psychological profiling in solving crimes.

In this unit, we will turn from the biological and psychological explanations for crime discussed in the previous unit to looking at how the environment and social conditions affect crime. In doing so, we will discuss theories such as social disorganization theory, strain theory, conflict theories, and radical criminology. We will examine how both negative labeling, inequality, and the physical environment influence crime.

In this unit, we will consider the categories of crime known as crimes against persons and crimes against property. We will learn about crimes against persons such as homicide, assault, and robbery. We will also discuss property crimes, such as larceny, burglary, and arson. With each of the crimes, we will examine insights that criminologists have gained in studying the crime and statistics of the crime for victims and offenders.

In this unit, we will discuss white-collar crime, corporate crime, organized crime, and public order crime. In doing so, we will identify which crimes fall into each area and what the effect is on society and individuals. We will identify the differences between occupational and corporate crime. Finally, we will discuss some of the controversies and debates in reducing organized and public order crimes.

In this unit, we will discuss the criminal case process. We will examine the goals of the criminal justice system, including deterring crime and punishing those who break the law. We will also discuss the stages of a criminal case, including entry into the system, prosecution, sentencing, corrections, and diversions. Finally, we will look at how the juvenile court process differs from the adult criminal case process.

In this unit, we will explore the process of enforcing the law and the court system. In doing so, we will look at the selection of police officers, the choices that they make in their role as a police officer, and the use of community policing. We will also consider the structure of the court system in the United States and what a typical trial looks like. Finally, we will examine the controversy over the death penalty and explore some of the reasons for and against this sentence.

In this unit, we will consider the various punishments that are used in the correctional system. We will first examine institutional corrections, such as sentences to jail or prison. We will look at the different types of facilities and the history of the correctional system. We will also discuss the use of parole and its advantages and disadvantages to society. In addition, we will examine other forms of punishments, including probation and alternative sanctions. In doing so, we will discuss what is involved with these punishments and whether they are effective at keeping individuals from repeating their crimes.

Course Highlights

Analyze the factors that influence crime and the criminal justice system.
Investigate how crimes and criminals are handled in the criminal justice system.
Explore why people commit crimes.
Examine the consequences of crime for individuals and society.

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