1. For your first discussion question, we must first set a firm understanding of “What’s Criminology?” So first discuss the mutual relevance of sociology and criminology. 

2. Before we continue moving forward, it is also crucial that you have a good understanding of crime – “What is crime?” Your text discusses the terms mala in se and mala prohibita. Can you think of any behaviors that are currently considered mala in se but better fit the mala prohibita definition? Why? *

*Note: Remember, some crimes are difficult to classify. Individual or subjective beliefs involving religion, politics, and ethics creates diverse views as to whether certain activities are mala in se or mala prohibita. Think about crimes such as marijuana possession, gambling, bigamy, prostitution, stealing food because your family is hungry, etc. – Are these crimes evil in themselves (mala in se) or wrong only because prohibited by law (hence implying that they are not inherently evil – mala prohibita)? You can also think about how the way we view behaviors has changed over time and how it differs across cultures.

3. What elements need to be present for a crime to occur? Explain the differences between mens rea and actus reus. Find a news article online in which a crime was reported and explain how the mens rea and actus reus are present. Provide a link to your article.

In the following story, for example:

“A man from Kansas has been given three life sentences in prison for a hate crime in which he murdered an Indian engineer at a bar last year, also injuring the man’s friend and a patron who tried to help. Adam Purinton, 53, called Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, a “terrorist” and screamed at him to “get out of my country!” in a bar confrontation in February 2017. After the incident, Purinton drove home, got a gun and returned to the bar to fatally shoot Kuchibhotla, also wounding the victim’s friend Alok Madasani and a bar patron who intervened, Ian Gillot.”

  • Mens rea (guilty mind) – After the altercation, Mr. Purinton went to his home, got a gun, drove back to the scene and shot the victim. This shows that the defendant intended to commit the act.
  • Actus reus (actual act) – Mr. Purinton shot the gun, which killed Mr. Kuchibhotla and injured Mr. Gillot