Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - November 14, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
34 THE LETHBRIDQE HERALD November 14. 1973 UofL professor interviews criminals Sociologist probes work aspect of crime The hardhat punches a clock. A thief 'punches in' a safe. Both regard their ac- tivities as 'work.' Peter Letkemann believes our un- derstanding of criminality can be improved by examining the work aspect of crime. Dr. a University of Lethbridge has con- ducted interviews with 45 ex- perienced to deter- mine what such men actually think about their careers and society's response to them. First written as a 1971 PhD Letkemann's research findings are available in his recent as published by Prentice- Hall. The sociologist is also the author of an earlier report for the Canadian Committee on Corrections and has con- ducted some of his research under the auspices of Canada Council grants. Do men rob banks simply where the money Dr. Letkemann says the answer is not that simple. Pursuit of money may be a criminal's primary but it is seldom his only reason for and remaining his line of work. He also derives other satisfactions from crime he's acquired a certain amount of expertise in his specialty and receives feelings of status and identity from belonging to a 'society' of fellow criminals who will recognize him if he's good at what he does. GOOD COOPERATION Dr. Letkemann says the men he interviewed prisoners in three Canadian penitentiaries and parolees and ex-convicts he met through the auspices of the John Howard Society were surprisingly cooperative in giving him information. The professor says he re- quested only such information which would not threaten his informants' safety or security. He interviewed only 'property offenders' bank house between the ages of 30 and 55. Such offenders actually have a good deal of respect for the viewing them as an to be impressed by a particularly slick caper. Somewhat to his the researcher found that men who are full-time and repeating criminals respect many of the very same virtues endorsed by conventional citizens depend on punctuality and predictability when they plan their says Letkemann. they employ the same- virtues to execute their Another unexpected dis- many of the men interviewed appeared to favor capital punishment. Dr. Letkemann says that In many criminals are basically conservative and stringent in their own ethical codes. SOCIAL HIERARCHY The criminal's sense of pride in a good job extends into the social hierarchy of a says Dr. Letkemann. While it is true that those guil- ty of crimes of sex or violence are at the bottom of the prison social Letkemann thinks another factor influences the remaining prisoners' how reliable they are and how well they do their 'job.' Property offenders such as those Letkemann interviewed are in the criminal hierarchy. Some of the respondents had become personal friends of Letkemann's during his earlier research work on habitual criminal legislation. In it was this association which caused him to initiate the research leading to his re- cent book still keep in touch with several of the com- ments who found that a majority of the 45 men he interviewed appeared to be perfectly normal in mental health and intelligent. Although he did not probe into their Letkemann believes that many of them came from good homes as from every one of them had in common a juvenile record which began at a very early age. Dr. Letkemann is quick to point out that the above fact does not mean all juvenile delinquents become criminals. He does suggest that the early socialization of the delinquent experience is a pre-requisite for success in adult property offenses. criminals suffer from what many of us are afflicted with today the ac- quisitive society says Letkemann. are just as susceptible to ads for new cars and high living as any one else. The difference lies in the means rather than in the ends Dr. Letkemann speculates that a criminal's feelings of self worth and identity come from the cimes he commits. If he is he has a good image of himself as a smart guy who away with Having only skills of a criminal he may find his legitimate job oppor- tunities limited and without a promising future. In the robbing of a bank means excitement and with the possibility of a of at the end of the job. Of countries for which com- parative data is Canada's rate of incarceration is the highest 240 prisoners for every citizens. It seems our judges use prison sentences more often and for longer periods of time than elsewhere. prisons are comments Dr. Letkemann. major investiigations have recommended other alternatives but we are very caught up in improving our prisons many of which are already very comfortable and building even more. bothers con- tinues the it disturbs prisoners too. The more facilities are the greater a judge's tendency to give more frequent and longer Letkemann says most criminals he knows would rather do hard time than easy He believes that no amount of prison improvement is likely to offset the negative effects of more prolonged con- finement. not advocating a return to he our efforts should be directed towards de- populating rather than re- decorating Next to you... only the best will do... and only Eaton's has Haddon Hall sleep sets be I Eaton's Haddon Hall Princess Royal units are specially priced If you're going to get the sleep you need get the sleep set you need. 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Neat Lawson style with two re- versible seat little tuck-away arm orbital no-sag spring back and a contemporary striped Olefin cover and brown just a touch of Open up and you have a double width spring-filled mattress. Loveseat size Queen size Regular size Second Floor EATON CANADA-WIDE SPECIALS Mv riMWMr jMyitacfMw EATON'S We know what you want for Christmas Shop Eaton's Thursday and Friday from to 9. Buy Use Your Eaton Account... Crsdlt Terms Available. Studying wild life Ross graduate of Macdonald Col- inspects his sand trail where he monitors move- ments and habits of wildlife near Lake Attila. The 75 researchers at Lake Attila are employed by the James Bay Energy Corp. to study report and make recom- mendations on the environment of the region to be af- fected by the first dam on La Grande River as part of the James Bay hydroelectric project. Twist of a toe fights epilepsy SEATTLE In less enlightened persons suffering from epilepsy were thought to be possessed by de- mons. Cures were cruel and often fatal as men of learning drill- ed holes in the head of a convulsion-stricken patient to expedite the exit of evil spir- its. But in these more enlight- ened times researchers at the University of Washington say epileptic seizures conceivably may be aborted with the flick of a victim's perhaps the twist of a toe. The theory was developed with highly sensitive bio-feed- back equipment and monkeys conditioned to control brain cell activity. But the basics may have been practised by the of in Athens around 400 BC. And there is a definite Eastern air to with shades of Hindu meditation. About two per cent of the population suffers from epi- leptic generally lasting two minutes or less in which the electrical in the or mus- cle area of the brain becomes hyperexcitable. Until it was thought seizures were caused by normal brain cells being affected by abnormal In- fluences. But Drs. Eberhard E. Fetz and Allen R. Wiler of the Uni- versity of Washington depart- ment of neurological surgery found there are specific epi- leptic brain cells that act as pacemakers for a seizure. They concluded that the epi- leptic cells have an abnormal firing consisting of high-frequency electronic im- pulses. The stereotyped burst pattern indicates that these cells are intrinsically abnor- mal and may be the ones re- sponsible for seizures. Using electronics and apple- they trained monkeys to control the firing of individ- ual brain cells. The monkey sits before a meter that monitors cell ac- tivity and each time the chimp alters the firing pattern in a given direction he is rewarded with a bit of applesauce. By trial and error he learns what body manoeuvres con- trol the epileptic cells being perhaps a twist of a maybe a twitch of the nose. In he can alter cell ac- tivity without moving the muscle. He can increase or decrease the firing of a brain cell by just thinking of it. is the first time some- one has shown single cells that can be voluntarily con- says Dr. Wiler. What this means is the ab- normally long epileptic bursts can be broken and the monkey can be trained to fire the cell in normal preventing the seizure. Hippocrates found that some fits could be halted if the person bit on a stick or otherwise changed normal body actions. Fetz believes the stick cure could have worked if the epileptic cells controlled jaw activity. Wiler says for years some on their dis- covered manoeuvres that dis- rupt the normal progression of events leading to a seizure. Most epileptics can sense when an attack is mounting. Drugs have been developed to help but Fetz and Wiler believe that bio- feedback may provide a safer method of control with fewer side-effects. Though both say more study is they believe they could work with people in the teaching them to monitor their brain waves and send them home with a por- table kit already avail- able for measuring one's own alpha or relaxation waves. years the1 Hindus con- trolled internal Wi- ler said. is a shortcut to learning how to control bodily blood even urine flow through the the meditative They believe bio-feedback could be used for treating high blood migraine headaches and cer- tain pain problems. OUT OF RESPECT TO THE LATE T. H. ADAMS 'UMM IB Uw LITHMIDOt HERALD nn LJLL will at 2 p.m. November 1973 t to allow ttwlr staff to attend ttw fuiwral.