Professor Robert Blecker
Explores sympathetically and critically conflicting accounts of what causes crime, and how to punish criminals. Does a defective nervous system cause extroverts and psychopaths to desire stimulation and impede deterrence? Are there criminogenic family values or street values? What are the motives, justifications, and purposes of the society that produces the crimes it punishes? How are messages of punishment—retribution, deterrence, rehabilitation—received by criminals and all of us? Taped interviews with inner city street criminals drawn from the instructor’s ongoing study illuminate and challenge standard criminological explanations. Tackle head-on sensitive questions of race and racism, sex and class bias. Although of general interest to students concerned about crime and punishment, the course should help prepare anyone who expects to work in the criminal justice system.