FORENSICS - Psychodynamic theories of offending

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  • Psychodynamic theories of offending
    • Psychodynamic theory
      • psyche
        • ID - pleasure principles, drives for crime
        • EGO - balances principles of ID and SE
        • SUPER EGO - moral principle, social norms. developed during phallic stage, prevents criminality
      • psychosexual stages
        • oral, anal, phallic, genital, latent
      • criminality is due to:
        • weak super ego
        • deviant super ego
        • overly strong super ego - criminal behaviour allows punishment; or pressure from ID erupts occasionally
    • Research
      • MEGARGEE - documented series of cases of violence by people regarded as passive and harmless. Eg. 11 yr old boy stabbed his bro 34 times - described as polite with no history of violence. Such cases show a sub-group of violent offenders
      • BLACKBURN - people convicted of very violent crimes tended to have fewer previous convictions and scored lower on measures of hostility than those convicted of moderate assaults
    • most psychologists believe crime is down to weak rather than overly strong S-E
      • S-E develops during phallic stage
      • which sex shows less identity with same sex parent - females -> not driven by castration fear
      • women therefore have less developed S-E
      • this should show that there are more female criminals -> NOT TRUE - more male criminals that females
    • Evaluation (A03)
      • assumes there should be more females criminals due to less developed S-E. FALSE -> more male criminals
      • difficult to test (unfalsifiable) due to  concepts like the unconscious mind - existence is difficult to prove
      • allows us to make predictions that can be scientifically tested eg. link with MD and offending; lack of same sex role model & reduced super ego. BUT constructs themselves are diff to test
      • psychodynamic therapies to treat offending have not been successful
      • theory (not Freud) alpha bias against females
      • complex factors - juvenile offending may be due to poverty, bad housing, lack of recreational facilities -> these don't place in theory
      • FARRINGTON - most important risk factors for aged 8-10 boys for later offending were: family history of criminality, daring or risk-taking personality, low school attainment, poverty, poor parenting. Shows theory hasn't considered these factors - everything could be combined to give clearer picture
        • cost saving interventions targeted at under 10 yr olds
    • Gender Bias
      • ALPHA BIAS - assumes real differences between males and females devalue to females -> women are 'failed men' (absence of penis)
        • EJ: assumes all women will be criminals due to less developed S-E
      • BETA BIAS - assumes there are no differences between men and women. Assumes findings from studies using only male PPs can be applied to females too (androcentric bias)
        • assumes there are equal numbers of male and female criminals - NO - more male criminals
    • Defence mechanisms
      • displacement
        • displacing anger from one situation or person onto someone else
        • violence: you may take out anger on someone who doesn't deserve it
      • sublimation
        • strong id impulses expressed in a more socially accepted way
        • football supporter wanting to murder but getting involved in hooliganism instead
      • rationalisation
        • explaining negative behaviour in an acceptable way
        • used as justification for crimes
        • woman killing prostitutes bc she thinks they are a threat to civilised society
    • Maternal deprivation hypothesis
      • Bowlby = biological, evolutionary NOT A PSYCHODYNAMIC THEORIST
      • can be considered psychodynamic: rel with mother, childhood experiences persisting into adulthood
      • 44 thieves study: the thieves had had maternal deprivation for 6+ months before the age of 2. 14 of them had affectionless psychopaths, 12 of them had been separated
      • affectionless psychopathy - LEWIS - 500 offenders - MD was poor predictor of future offending. Even if there was a correlation, it was not causal
    • Key words
      • INTERGENERATIONAL TRANSMISSION - The occurrence of (criminal) behaviour through successive generations of the same family
      • RISK FACTORS: The factors that make it more likely for criminal behaviour to occur
      • PROTECTIVE FACTORS: The factors that will prevent criminal behaviour
      • CRITERIA OF SUCCESS: A set of nine criteria that are used to judge whether someone has successfully turned away from crime. Includes: No drug use in the last 5 years. No self reported offence

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