2 Crime and Deviance: Discussion Outline I. The Nature of DevianceII. Theories of DevianceIII. Crime and the Criminal Justice System
3 I. The Nature of Deviance Any behavior that violates a norm-Folkways, mores, or lawsNorms vary from society to society, as do reactions to devianceIn analyzing deviance we must consider two important points1. Whether something is deviant depends on who is evaluating itDeviance is what people say it is-based upon one’s value system2. When important norms are violated, social control mechanisms function to maintain order
4 The Relativity of Deviance The Nature of DevianceThe Relativity of DevianceRelativity-There is nothing inherent in an act that makes an act wrong, criminal, or deviant.Social definitions of deviance are relative to the values, beliefs, and norms of a societyDefining deviance is a social and historical construct, varying from:Time to timePlace to placeGroup to groupExamples?
5 Significance of the Relativity of Deviance When the social structure and culture change, what is considered to be deviant/criminal changesHow does culture change?The political nature of defining crime and deviancePolitics?...I.e.: The case of HomosexualityWhat cultural changes have taken place?What political changes have occurred?Time?Culture?Group?
6 Is what comes to be considered deviant or criminal based upon the overall harm done to American society?Murder->Harmful?: >Criminal?:Child abuse->Harmful?: >Criminal?Marital sexual abuse->Harmful?: Criminal?:Racial discrimination in hiring->Harmful?-> Criminal?Alcohol/cigarettes->Harmful?: Criminal?Texting while driving->Harmful? Criminal?Marijuana-Harmful-> Criminal->
7 Why is the use of some drugs considered deviant/criminal, while others are not? Is it based on relative harm done?Does drug policy and concern about drug use make sense when looking at objective reality?I.e- Statistics regarding the harm done by certain drugs
9 The relativity of deviance and drug use These subjective definitions have very real consequencesAccording to the FBI in 2008, "Law enforcement made more arrests for non violent drug abuse violations (an estimated 1.8 million arrests, or 13.0 percent of the total number of arrests) than for any other offense in 2007."“Marijuana arrests set another all-time record in 2007, totaling 872,720 — that’s a marijuana arrest every 36 seconds.”“Arrests for marijuana possession totaled 775,138, greatly exceeding arrests for all violent crimes combined, which totaled 597,447”When and why was marijuana made illegal?
10 “The Power to Make Definitions Stick” Who and what are defined as deviant or criminal depend on who is doing the defining and who has the power to make definitions stickI.e.: The case with illegalizing marijuanaI.e.: White Collar Crime-How often do we hear about corporate crimes and when we do, how much time do the very wealthy often spend in prison?Americans are more likely to be victims of white collar crime than street crime, but what do we fear most? Hear about every night in the news? Who are we scared of?
11 The Nature of Deviance Dysfunctions of Deviance Functions of Deviance Interferes with institutional lifeCan lower morale of non-deviantsErodes societal trustFunctions of DeviancePromotes conformityClarifies boundariesStrengthens the censuring groupWarn non-deviant majority
12 Social Control and Deviance Social control regulates behavior within a societyFunctionalists see it as indispensableConflict theorists see it as tool of powerful groupsInternalization of normsFormal vs. Informal Sanctions
13 II. Theories of Deviance Why do people become deviant and commit crime?Definition of theory?
14 Theories of Deviance Anomie Theory Durkheim’s anomie: social condition in which people find it difficult to guide their behavior by norms that they experience as weak, unclear, or conflictingAnomie occurs when peoples expectations about what they deserve are not metWhat happens when the economy collapses?
15 Anomie Theory How is the American dream possibly connected to crime? How might anomie and the American dream be connected to the formation of large gangs?
16 Anomie Theory Structural Strain Theory-Robert Merton What are the acceptable means to achieving the American Dream (worldly success and material wealth)?Securing a good education and obtaining high paying jobs-Merit hard and hard workAmericans internalize goal, but may not have access to acceptable meansPeople adapt to inconsistency between means and goals in society. Structural limitations Strain adaptation(Crime)InnovationThe drug dealerThe corporate executive??
18 Theories of Deviance Cultural Transmission Theory Youths become delinquent because they associate and make friends with other delinquentsYouths learn and may be pressured into devianceSocialization into a deviant subcultureGang activityWhy do many argue against jail or juvenile hall for a first time drug offender or low level criminal?Sutherland’s Theory of Differential AssociationDifferential association: individual’s cultural conditions help determine his/her likelihood of and attitudes towards devianceParole rules or a parents requests
19 Theories of Deviance Conflict Theory Individuals victimized by capitalist oppression are driven by their struggle to survive to commit acts that the ruling class brands as criminalA focus on social class and criminal activity; How does poverty contribute to crime?How does poverty contribute to alcoholism, drug abuse, prostitution, and family violence?The legal system reflects interests of the richLaws created to protect privilege and propertyDifferential punishment for business and street crimesCorporate crimes cost society more$$$What gov’t agency keeps track of corporate crimes?Video: Many economists proclaim that White collar crime is closely connected to the financial crisis, yet people are seldom prosecuted for it.The FBI focuses very little attention on white collar crime
20 Theories of devianceTo some theorists, white collar criminal activity be best be understood through rational choice theory.People are inclined to engage in deviant behavior when it has significant rewards and limited costsYet conflict theorists contend that because we are not aware of the extent and costs of white collar crime, rarely do we call for measures to “get tough” on white collar crime, and when there is a call to do so, powerful industries engaged in activities will find ways to defend against new laws they see as regulations that limit their profits.
21 Does a student who is labeled as deviant by his teachers more likely to stop acting deviant or continue acts of deviance?
22 Theories of Deviance Labeling Theory Labeling people as deviants has consequences for themPrimary Deviance: We all engage in deviant behavior; but are we caught and labeled as deviants??Secondary deviance: deviance individuals adopt in response to the reactions of other individualsPeople labeled “deviant” typically find themselves rejected and isolated which can result in a self fulfilling prophecy
23 Theories of Deviance Control Theory-Why don’t people deviate? Even most deviants conform to society most of the timeControl Theory-Why don’t people deviate?Hirschi: Elements of the Social BondSocietal bond is crucialAttachment to othersInvolvement in the society’s conventional activitiesCommitment to other peopleBelief in host society’s values
24 III. Crime and the Criminal Justice System The land of the free?
25 Crime and the Criminal Justice System PrisonsPopulation steadily increasingU.S. has highest incarceration rate in worldWhy?
26 The American Punishment Frenzy Punitive policiesImprisonment of non-violent offenders1980’s-The drug warMandatory minimumsThree strikes lawsPlea bargainsIn 2007, the United States had the highest incarceration rate in the worldOver 7 million people in prison, jail, or under correctional supervision
27 The American Punishment Frenzy The Prison Industrial ComplexCorrectional expansion continues not because it decreases crime and creates a safer public, but because it serves the interest of certain powerful groups that benefit from tough on crime policies and continue to push for punitive policies through lobbying political leaders and running million dollar ad campaignsPrivate prison corporationsPrison guards UnionPrison labor benefits government, corporations and a variety of businesses with vested interests in correctional expansionI.e.: Video