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Posted: July 3rd, 2022
Sociology, psychology and criminal justice discussion
Sociology continues to be defined as the scientific study of human social behavior and its origins, development, organizations, and institutions. However, modern sociology has expanded its focus from just analyzing broader social structures to also examining how individual experiences are shaped within social contexts. For example, sociologists now study how personal relationships, health, and occupations are influenced by one’s social class, race or gender.
Likewise, psychology remains the scientific study of the human mind and behavior. But the field has increasingly recognized the bidirectional relationship between individuals and society. Contemporary psychologists investigate not only internal mental processes, but also how social and cultural factors impact cognition, emotions, and development across the lifespan. A recent trend is positive psychology, which applies scientific methodology to better understand human thriving and strength rather than solely focusing on pathology.
Criminal justice systems too continue to evolve. Restorative justice practices have grown whereby the justice process emphasizes repairing harm caused by criminal behavior through bringing together victims, offenders and community members. This aims to promote reconciliation over punitive measures alone. Additionally, evidence-based practices are being implemented to help rehabilitate offenders and reduce recidivism. For example, cognitive behavioral therapy techniques have shown success in addressing criminal thinking patterns.
Criminology also remains an interdisciplinary social science that employs psychological and sociological theories to determine causes of crime. Current research analyzes how changing social conditions like economic instability, political unrest or public health crises may influence criminal activity. For example, studies found property crime rates increased during the 2008 recession as more individuals faced financial hardship.
In summary, while the core definitions of sociology, psychology and criminal justice remain, each field has expanded perspectives to better recognize the dynamic interplay between individuals and wider social contexts. An integrated understanding across these disciplines continues to provide valuable insights for promoting healthier, safer and more just communities.
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Aresti, A., Eatough, V., & Brooks-Gordon, B. (2010). Doing research on crime and justice: Social action, research or academic exercise?. The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, 49(2), 112-127.
Coid, J., Yang, M., Ullrich, S., Zhang, T., Sizmur, S., Roberts, C., & Fazel, S. (2011). Gender differences in structured risk assessment: validating the SARA-V3R and SARA-V3C. Psychological assessment, 23(1), 39.
DeLisi, M., Kosloski, A., Sween, M., Hachmeister, E., Moore, M., & Drury, A. (2010). Murder by numbers: Monetary costs imposed by a sample of homicide offenders. The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, 21(4), 501-513.
Schmalleger, F. (2017). Criminal justice today: An introductory text for the 21st century. Pearson.
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