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Reactions to Deviance. Reactions Whether it involves cheating on a sociology quiz or holding up a liquor store, any violation of norms invites reactions.

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Presentation on theme: "Reactions to Deviance. Reactions Whether it involves cheating on a sociology quiz or holding up a liquor store, any violation of norms invites reactions."— Presentation transcript:

1 Reactions to Deviance

2 Reactions Whether 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 prison – Almost all prisoners are and almost all of them are men and close to half are African American For about the past 20 years, the US has followed a “get tough” policy- – “3 strikes your out” laws When someone is convicted of a 3 rd 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 prison – Legislators passed the three strike laws and reduced early releases of prisoners

5 Recidivism A major problem with prisons is that they fail to teach their clients to stay away from crime Recidivism rate- the percentage of former prisoners who are arrested For criminals sent to prison for violent crimes, within 3 years of release, 2 out of 3 are rearrested and ½ are back in prison

6 The Death Penalty and Bias Capital Punishment, the death penalty, is the most extreme measure the state takes – MAJOR CONTROVERSY Death penalty is not administered evenly – Geography – Social class – Gender – race

7 Legal Change Crime varies from one culture to another, from group to group within a society and from one time period to another Lets look at some weird laws… Hate crime is a good example….

8 Medicalization of deviance Deviance is a sign of mental sickness Thomas Szasz- says mental illness is neither mental, nor an illness but problem behaviors – Some 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 example No 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 misbehaving – This 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 hostile – These are behaviors not mental illnesses Szasz 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 inevitable – Our prisons are filled with poor, and reflect patterns of broad discrimination in our larger society – White collar criminals continue to get away with a slap on the wrist, while street criminals are punished severely We need to address the larger issues – Finding ways to protect people from harmful deviance, tolerating those behaviors that are not harmful, and developing systems of fair treatment


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