Some Important Terms of Criminology:


Behavior that departs from the social norm but it is not necessarily criminal

Critical Criminologists

Members of a branch of criminology that focuses on the oppression of the poor, women and minorities thereby linking class conflict, sexism and racism to crime rates. They examine how those who hold political and economic power shape the law to uphold their self interests


An act, deemed socially harmful or dangerous, that is specifically defined, prohibited and pushed under the criminal law


Having criminal penalties reduced rather than eliminated

Consensus View

The belief that majority of citizens in a society share common values and agree on what behaviors should be defined as criminal

Criminal Law

The written code that defines crimes and their punishments

Conflict View

The belief that criminal behavior is defined by those in power in such a way as to protect and advance their own self interest

Interactionist View

The belief that those with social power are able to impose their values on society as a whole and these values then define criminal behavior

Code of Hammurabi

The first written criminal code developed in Babylonia about 2000 B.C.

Mosaic Code

The laws of ancient Israelites, found in the old testament of the Judeo-Christian Bible. Same laws found in United States. Basis for United States Legal System