Glossary
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Chicago School
See ecological theory.

capital punishment
the legal imposition of a sentence of death upon a convicted offender. Another term for the death penalty.

carjacking
the stealing of a car while it is occupied.

civil law
that body of laws which regulates arrangements between individuals, such as contracts and claims to property.

Classical School
a criminological perspective operative in the late 1700s and early 1800s which had its roots in the Enlightenment, and which held that men and women are rational beings, that crime is the result of the exercise of free will, and that punishment can be effective in reducing the incidence of crime since it negates the pleasure to be derived from crime commission.

clearance rate
the proportion of reported or discovered crimes within a given offense category which are solved.

Code of Hammurabi
an early set of laws established by the Babylonian King Hammurabi around the year 2000 B.C.

cohort
a group of individuals sharing certain significant social characteristics in common, such as sex, time, and place of birth.

cohort analysis
a social scientific technique which studies a population that shares common characteristics, over time. Cohort analysis usually begins at birth and traces the development of cohort members until they reach a certain age.

common law
a body of unwritten judicial opinion originally based upon customary social practices of Anglo-Saxon society during the Middle Ages.

computer abuse
any incident without color of right associated with computer technology in which a victim suffered or could have suffered loss and/or a perpetrator by intention made or could have made gain.

computer bulletin board
see bulletin board system (BBS).

computer crime
any violation of a computer crime statute.

computer-related crime
any illegal act for which knowledge of computer technology is involved for its investigation, perpetration, or prosecution.

computer virus
a set of computer instructions that propagates copies or versions of itself into computer programs or data when it is executed.

conditioning
a psychological principle which holds that the frequency of any behavior can be increased or decreased through reward, punishment, and/or association with other stimuli.

conduct norms
the shared expectations of a social group relative to personal conduct.

confidentiality
See data confidentiality.

conflict perspective
an analytical perspective on social organization which holds that conflict is a fundamental aspect of social life itself and can never be fully resolved.

confounding effects
rival explanations, also called competing hypotheses, which are threats to the internal or external validity of any research design.

consensus model
an analytical perspective on social organization which holds that most members of society agree as to what is right and what is wrong, and that the various elements of society work together in unison toward a common and shared vision of the greater good.

constitutional theories
those which explain criminality by reference to offenders’ body types, inheritance, genetics, and/or external observable physical characteristics.

constitutive criminology
the study of the process by which human beings create an ideology of crime that sustains it (the notion of crime) as a concrete reality.

containment
those aspects of the social bond which act to prevent individuals from committing crimes and keep them from engaging in deviance.

containment theory
a form of control theory which suggests that a series of both internal and external factors contribute to law-abiding behavior.

control group
a group of experimental subjects which, although the subject of measurement and observation, are not exposed to the experimental intervention.

control theory
see social control theory.

controlled experiments
those which attempt to hold conditions (other than the intentionally introduced experimental intervention) constant.

corporate crime
a violation of a criminal statute either by a corporate entity or by its executives, employees, or agents acting on behalf of and for the benefit of the corporation, partnership, or other form of business entity.

correctional psychology
that aspect of forensic psychology which is concerned with the diagnosis and classification of offenders, the treatment of correctional populations, and the rehabilitation of inmates and other law violators.

correlation
A causal, complementary, or reciprocal relationship between two measurable variables. See also Statistical correlation.

Cosa Nostra
(literally, "our thing") a term signifying organized crime, and one of a variety of names for the "Mafia," the "Outfit," the "Mob," the "syndicate," or "the organization."

crime
human conduct in violation of the criminal laws of a state, the federal government, or a local jurisdiction which has the power to make such laws.

criminal anthropology
the scientific study of the relationship between human physical characteristics and criminality.

criminal homicide
the causing of the death of another person without legal justification or excuse. Also, the illegal killing of one human being by another.

criminal homicide (UCR)
the name of the UCR category which includes and is limited to all offenses of causing the death of another person without justification or excuse.

criminal justice
the scientific study of crime, the criminal law, and components of the criminal justice system, including the police, courts, and corrections.

criminal justice system
the various agencies of "justice," especially police, courts, and corrections, whose goal it is to apprehend, convict, punish, and rehabilitate law violators.

criminal law
that body of law which regulates those actions which have the potential to harm interests of the state or the federal government.

criminality
a behavioral predisposition that disproportionately favors criminal activity.

criminalize
to make illegal.

criminaloids
a term used by Cesare Lombroso to describe occasional criminals who were pulled into criminality primarily by environmental influences.

criminologist
one who is trained in the field of criminology. Also, one who studies crime, criminals, and criminal behavior.

criminology
an interdisciplinary profession built around the scientific study of crime and criminal behavior, including their form, causes, legal aspects and control.

criminology of place
See environmental criminology.

critical criminology
See radical criminology.

culture conflict
a sociological perspective on crime which suggests that the root cause of criminality can be found in a clash of values between variously socialized groups over what is acceptable or proper behavior.

cybercrime
crime committed with the use of computers, or via the manipulation of digital forms of data. Another term for computer crime.

cyberspace
the computer-created matrix of virtual possibilities, including on-line services, wherein human beings interact with each other and with technology itself.

cyberterrorism
A form of terrorism that makes use of high technology, especially computers and the Internet, in the planning and carrying out of terrorist attacks.

cycloid
a term developed by Ernst Kretschmer to describe a particular relationship between body build and personality type. The cycloid personality, which was associated with a heavy-set, soft type of body, was said to vacillate between normality and abnormality.


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