2 What is Deviance?“It is not the act itself, but the reactions to the act, that make something deviant.”Howard Becker, 1966
3 The Problem in Sociological Perspective Norms: rules and expectations by which a society guides the behavior of its membersLaws: the norms created through a society’s political systemCrime: The violation of laws enacted by federal, state, or local governmentsCrime is culturally relativeCrime: The Extent of the ProblemMost people in the US think crime is a serious problemFear of crime is a social problem, because it limits the things people do and the places they go
4 The Problem in Sociological Perspective Making acts criminal is a political processDetermining which behavior is criminal is a political processPower: The capacity to achieve goals in the face of oppositionThe universal nature of crime: No society exists without crime
5 Violent Crime: Patterns and Trends Property offenses account for 88% of all serious offences, while violent crimes against persons account for 12%Violent crime rose quickly from 1960 until the early 1990sAfter that, the trend turned downwardStronger economy (may change due to recession that began in 2008)Drop in use of crack cocaineMore policeTougher sentences
6 Aggravated AssaultAggravated assault accounts for nearly 2/3 of all reported violent crimeAggravated assault is very much a male crime, with the majority of both victims and offenders being men
7 RobberyRobbery involves both stealing and threatening another person, which makes this both a property and a violent crimeThis is the least likely of all violent crimes to result in an arrestvictims usually don’t know a robber so that identification is difficult
8 National Map The Risk of Violent Crime across the United States
9 Property Crimes: Patterns and Trends Burglaryonly 11% of cases are clearedMajority of those arrested are male (86%) and under 25 (59%)Larceny-theftincludes shoplifting, pick pocketing, purse-snatchingthe most common of all the serious crimes tracked by the FBI (account for 67% of total)
10 Property Crimes Motor-vehicle theft Arson only 11% of cases are cleared50% of those arrested are under 25 and 82% are maleArsonthe arson rate is holding steadyOnly 27% are cleared67% those arrested are under 25 and 84% are male
11 “Street” Crime: Who Are the Criminals? Agefor all offenses, there is a strong link between crime and youthGenderIn 2007, males accounted for 67% of arrests for property crimeFor violent crime, men are arrested in 82% of the casesWomen are more often arrested for larceny-theft, fraud, runaway youth and prostitutionFor all serious crimes, the number of women arrested is increasing
12 “Street” Crime: Who Are the Criminals? Social classResearch shows that people of lower social position are involved in most arrests for street crimeThe link between class and criminality depends on the kind of crime one is talking about
13 “Street” Crime: Who Are the Criminals? Race plays a large part in the crime picture several waysthe deprivation faced by black youths may lead to hostility towards the police and various facets of the “system”prejudice based on race may prompt people to suspect blacks on the basis of skin colorresearch suggests that such biases may lead police to arrest African Americans more than whites
14 Symbolic Interactionism Labeling theory views an act as deviant only if other people respond to it as if it were deviant; the view that the labels people are given affect their own and others’ perceptions of them, thus channeling their behavior either into deviance or conformity.Most people resist being labeled deviant, but some revel in a deviant identity.Practice that can set people on different paths in lifeSelf-fulfilling ProphecyRefers to something that becomes true because one said it might come true
15 Crime and ClassCriminal Justice System: Agencies that respond to crimeData comes from the Uniform Crime Report and National Crime Victimization Survey.Police DiscretionDeciding whether to arrest someone or to ignore a particular offenseSocial class influences the authorities' reactions affecting who shows up in official statistics
16 Race, Ethnicity, and Crime Statistics show that African Americans and Latinos are dealt with more harshly than Whites – from arrest through indictment, conviction, sentencing, and parole.Even when criminal offense is the same, African Americans and Latinos are more likely than Whites to be convicted and serve more time in prison than Whites.
17 FunctionalismFunctionalists consider crime a natural part of healthy society.helps clarify norms & and affirms valuesincreases social unity & brings about needed social changeStrain theory states that illegitimate opportunity structures encourage some people to commit crime and provide that others will not have the need to.Robert Merton’s analysis:ConformistsInnovatorsRitualistsRetreatistsRebelsInnovation is most often the cause of criminal behaviorInnovators turn to illegitimate means
18 Cloward & Ohlin (1998) – refined strain theory to emphasize that deviant behavior is not an automatic response but must be learned.Illegitimate Opportunity Theory – Explains why social classes have distinct styles of crimes.Social class and illegitimate opportunitiesIllegitimate Opportunity StructuresOpportunities woven into the texture of life in urban slumsMiddle and upper classes are not free of crimePonzi SchemeOccurs when high investment returns are paid to clients using other clients’ money—not real investment profit
19 Conflict Theory: Crime and Inequality Conflict theorists stress that every society is marked by power and inequality.The Ruling ClassThe Working Class: three major groupsUpper-level managers and professionalsWhite-collar and blue-collar workersMarginal working classLaw is controlled by the ruling classLaw is an instrument of oppression.
20 Conflict Theory: Crime and Inequality Karl Marx: Class and CrimeUnderstood social problems in terms of class conflictCrime was seen as a product of social inequalitySolution to the crime problem is to eliminate capitalism in favor of a more egalitarian system
21 White-Collar and Corporate Crime White-Collar Crime:Any crime committed by respectable and high-status people in the course of their occupationWhen white-collar offenders are caught, their cases are usually heard in a civil court, and they rarely go to jailCorporate crime – crime committed on behalf oforganizations (e.g., environmental pollution and gross negligence)Two major types:Those committed by employees on behalf of a corporationThose committed against a corporationMost of these offenses are tried in civil courts so that no individual is charged with criminal behavior
23 Professional and Organized Crime Professional CriminalsPeople who consider crime to be their occupationCriminal EnterpriseCrime committed within a highly organized gangMafiaFamous organized crime group; made up only of Italians is a mythOrganized crime involves three main elements:In-group loyaltyScorn for the values of the straight worldPride in specialized skills
24 Political CrimePolitical Crime: crime motivated by a particular ideologyU.S. Constitution - First AmendmentSome view political actions of individuals as major social problems, while viewing similar acts by government as acceptable.Crimes designed to maintain the social order
25 The Criminal Justice System Due ProcessThe criminal justice system must operate within the bounds of law.No person can be “deprived of life liberty or property without due process of the law”The U.S. Constitution
26 CourtsIn principle, the U.S. court system is an adversarial process by which the prosecutor presents the state’s case against the suspect and the suspect’s attorney presents a defense
27 Courts The reality of justice, however, is something much different. 90% of criminal cases are settled through plea-bargaining, a negotiation in which the state reduces a defendant’s charge in exchange for a guilty plea even if innocent, for lesser charge―encouraged by defense attorneysWhile plea-bargaining saves the time and expense of a trial, efficiency doesn’t always produce justicePoor spend months (even years) behind bars awaiting trialThreats of mandatory minimum sentences to get guilty pleasJudges impose harsher sentences on those who insist on unnecessary trialsAge, employment, and the number of previous arrests affect sentencingNumber of arrests, not the seriousness of those charges, influences a sentence
28 The Sting of JusticeRespectability, wealth, and power insulate many lawbreakers.Assembly-line justicePlea bargaining has become standard in U.S. criminal justice system.Vast majority of cases, people accused of a crime do not receive a trialCriminal justice system is also slow and inefficient.Plea bargaining and the inefficiencies of the court system subvert the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution.
29 Bias in the Criminal Justice System African Americans are 12% of the U.S. population: 45% of prison inmatesCriminal conviction rates in U.S. vary greatly among different racial groupsUnclear why African Americans are most apt to be arrested and chargedCannot conclude that the courts are biased for or against minorities or for or against WhitesThe evidence is inconclusive.
30 Social Policy - Crime Control in the US A criminal justice system may draw on four approaches to punishment:Deterrence – emphasizes intimidation, using threat of punishment to discourage crime.Retribution – criminals pay compensation equal to their offenses against society.Incarceration – removes criminals from society.Rehabilitation – attempts to resocialize criminals.
31 Does Punishment Work?Some believe that it further brutalizes the societyCriminal recidivismSubsequent offenses by people previously convicted of crimes.
32 Juvenile CrimeJuvenile crime refers to violations of the law committed by those less than eighteen years of age.Juvenile offenders are the third largest category of criminals in the U.S.Juvenile crime reached its lowest in a decade in Several factors account for this.A decline in the demand for crack cocaine.Gangs have reached truces.Police have clamped down on illegal guns.Repeat juvenile offenders have been given stiffer sentences.
33 Global CrimeThe United States has more violent crime than other industrialized countries – highest murder, rape, and robbery rates.According to the United Nations Survey of Crime ( ):rape and robbery increased, assault increased, burglary decreasedhomicide declinedGeneral trend in crime suggests that the world is becoming slightly safer.
34 Politics and Crime: Constructing Problems and Defining Solutions Conservatives believe that people raised in strong, law-abiding families are unlikely to commit crimeMost conservatives favor tougher laws, more aggressive policing, and harsher penalties as ways to combat the crime problem.They believe the key to controlling crime is parents teaching children to make the right choices in a world of pressures
35 Politics and Crime: Constructing Problems and Defining Solutions Liberals believe that many people live in situations that pressure them to break the lawCrime is caused by a harmful environment, particularly living in povertyTo liberals, jobs are the key to a drop in the crime rate
36 Politics and Crime: Constructing Problems and Defining Solutions The radicals believes the real crime of society is tremendous economic inequalityThe radical solution begins with a restructuring of the economic and political system toward a more egalitarian social order that can make a real claim to justice
37 According to U.S. Justice Department (2008): 12,000 terrorist attacks against noncombatants occurred around the world in 2008.40% in the Near East35% in South AsiaTerrorism occurs under certain social conditions:in politically weak states or in nations that have undergone years of political violencein countries with a foreign occupierin countries with widespread racial or ethnic discriminationin the presence of extreme secular or religious ideologies
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