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Crime, Deviance, and Punishment

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by

Elizabeth East

on 5 November 2016

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Transcript of Crime, Deviance, and Punishment

Today
Crime, Deviance, and Punishment
E.East 2016
Basic Concepts
Criminology
the social scientific study of the nature, extent, causes, control, and prevention of criminal behavior
first developed in the mid-18th century as social philosophers gave thought to crime, law, and social control

One of the concentrations at UT!
Basic Concepts
Deviance
any behavior, practice, or condition, including those that
violate

cultural norms
or societal laws, that results in disapproval, hostility, or sanction if it becomes known
questions and defines what is "normal"
Extra Credit Opportunity:
today and Saturday! (check out BB)
Test 2 graded and here today :)

Lecture today:
Basic Concepts
Theories on the causes of crime/deviance
Myths and facts about crime and punishment

Crime
an act defined in the law as punishable
by fines, imprisonment, or both
Some Types of Deviance
Range of Deviance
from the relatively benign to the extremely harmful
Everyday Deviance
a broad spectrum of usually benign acts that violate social norms
ex.
bathroom etiquette violations; farting, spitting, belching in public; violating gender roles
Sexual Deviance
sexual behaviors that are considered odd, different, or unacceptable to either most or influential persons in one's society
ex. kinky sex, polyamory, rape, exhibitionism (flashing)
Readings for next week
Posted BB over the weekend... and maybe a documentary next week?
Criminal Deviance
deviance that violates established laws
today, supported and defined usually by the state or other governing bodies
usually simply referred to as
crime
Some Types of Crime
Violent Crime
involves force or threat of force
robbery (taking something from someone by physical force), murder, assault, and rape
Property Crime
involves violating the ownership of someone else
burglary (taking something from a person's home), larceny/theft, arson, and motor vehicle theft
Some Types of Crime
Organized Crime
crimes committed by groups that provide illegal goods and services
ex. gambling, prostitution, selling and trafficking illegal drugs, black marketeering, loan sharking, money laundering
Some Types of Crime
White-Collar and Corporate Crime
crimes committed by people of high social status in connection with their work
either for personal benefit or for the organization they work for
ex. embezzlement; bankruptcy fraud; tax evasion; environmental harms
Some Types of Crime
State Crime
criminal acts committed by state and government officials in the pursuit of their jobs as representatives of the government
ex. police brutality, torture of detainees, experimentation on populations
Perceptions of Crime and Deviance
We construct our
perception
of deviance and crime in several ways:
Media
Political Rhetoric
Personal Experience and Social Environment

Moral Panic
An intense feeling in the population concerning an issue that threatens social order
Media as Mythmaker
The media choose and present crime problems for public consumption
often select the most bizarre or gruesome crime

The media is more concerned about the
entertainment factor of crime
rather than the realistic trends of such crimes

The State as Mythmaker
The state has a vested interest in maintaining the existing social definition of crime
And directs policy and law based on this definition
Ex. War on Drugs

Crime statistics are collected by the government,
focusing exclusively on street-level crimes
rather than political crimes, white-collar crimes, and corporate crime
Confronting Myths about Crime
Most crimes are not serious, violent, dangerous crimes
most crimes involve minor incidents
most common crime: property crime

Most violent crimes that do occur are not committed by psychopathic, predatory strangers.
Relatives and friends are much more likely to be perpetrators

Most crimes are intra-racial, contradicting racist stereotypes about criminals
There is no “crime wave” occurring in the US
Violent crime has been steadily decreasing for three decades.
Source: FBI Uniform Crime Report
Incarceration
Although violent crime rates have fallen in the US, incarceration rates have increased dramatically
In 1980, the U.S. prison population consisted of roughly 450,000 inmates
As of 2014, the U.S.
prison
population has exceeded 1.5 million inmates
Most of these are
non-violent, drug crime offenders

The US has the largest prison population in the world
Deviance and Crime:
are
not
universal
vary across
time

socially constructed
views are changing!
Theories of Deviance and Crime
Sociological Theories of deviance and crime:
emphasize the
role of social factors
in criminal behavior and
social responses
to deviance and crime
Theories of Deviance and Crime
Theories of Deviance and Crime
Theories of Deviance and Crime
Structural-Functionalist Perspectives
Deviance serves social purposes:
sets and re-affirms boundaries of right and wrong
strengthens social cohesion
represents a need for social change
acts as a "safety value"
releases pressure and encourages reflection
Differential Association Theory
Deviant and criminal behavior
results from regular exposure to attitudes

favorable
to acting in ways that are deviant or criminal
learn from others already engaged in deviant behavior
Conflict Perspective
Deviance is inevitable when there a
power differentials
in society
more inequality, more crime
those with power shape
what is considered deviant (and criminal) and what is not
those with less power, penalized more
enforcement of certain laws (and not other laws) is meant to reinforce power structures
Source: Bureau of Justice 2014
Full transcript