2 ReactionsWhether it involves cheating on a sociology quiz or holding up a liquor store, any violation of norms invites reactions
3 Street Crimes and Prisons 1 out of every 143 citizens is in prisonAlmost all prisoners are and almost all of them are men and close to half are African AmericanFor about the past 20 years, the US has followed a “get tough” policy-“3 strikes your out” lawsWhen someone is convicted of a 3rd felony, judges are required to give a mandatory sentence, sometimes life imprisonment
4 The Decline in Violent Crime Drop in crime rate b/c:Judges have put more and more people in prisonLegislators passed the three strike laws and reduced early releases of prisoners
5 RecidivismA major problem with prisons is that they fail to teach their clients to stay away from crimeRecidivism rate- the percentage of former prisoners who are arrestedFor criminals sent to prison for violent crimes, within 3 years of release, 2 out of 3 are rearrested and ½ are back inprison
6 The Death Penalty and Bias Capital Punishment, the death penalty, is the most extreme measure the state takesMAJOR CONTROVERSYDeath penalty is not administered evenlyGeographySocial classGenderrace
7 Legal ChangeCrime varies from one culture to another, from group to group within a society and from one time period to anotherLets look at some weird laws…Hate crime is a good example….
8 Medicalization of deviance Deviance is a sign of mental sicknessThomas Szasz- says mental illness is neither mental, nor an illness but problem behaviorsSome have organic causes but when someone because deviant and when others cant find an explanation, “sick in the head” is often taken as a cause for their unacceptable behavior
9 ADD as an exampleNo one explains where this came from and why it didn’t exist 50 years ago.It is diagnosed by a teacher or parent complaining about a child misbehavingThis isn’t a new problem for parents/teachers but now their problem behavior has become a sign of mental illness
10 Behaviors not mental illness Everyone struggles with problems as they go through life.Some people fail to cope well with life’s challenges and become depressed uncooperative or hostileThese are behaviors not mental illnessesSzasz concludes that “mental illness” is a myth foisted on a naïve public by a medical profession that uses pseudoscientific jargon to expand its area of control
11 What is the origin of bizarre behavior Szasz’s extreme claim forces us to direct our attention to how people learn such behaviors we deem “mentally ill”Social experience not some illness of the mind
12 The need for a more humane approach Deviance is inevitableOur prisons are filled with poor, and reflect patterns of broad discrimination in our larger societyWhite collar criminals continue to get away with a slap on the wrist, while street criminals are punished severelyWe need to address the larger issuesFinding ways to protect people from harmful deviance, tolerating those behaviors that are not harmful, and developing systems of fair treatment
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