Crime and deviance
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Crime and Deviance. Deviance. Deviance : Behavior that violates social norms Murder Rape Arson Graffiti Fighting Picking your nose Cross-dressing Drunk Driving Cheating on a test. Deviance Across Cultures.

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Crime and Deviance

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Crime and deviance

Crime and Deviance



  • Deviance: Behavior that violates social norms

    • Murder

    • Rape

    • Arson

    • Graffiti

    • Fighting

    • Picking your nose

    • Cross-dressing

    • Drunk Driving

    • Cheating on a test

Deviance across cultures

Deviance Across Cultures

  • Deviance is culturally relativistic; it varies from society to society

  • It also varies within societies

    • Murder is deviant

    • Police officer killing an armed suspect is not deviant

    • Rebel flag in Ohio is deviant

    • Rebel flag in Alabama is not deviant

    • HIV / AIDS is deviant if you got it through drug use or sexual contact

      • Not deviant if you acquired it through blood transfusion

Why does deviance happen

Why Does Deviance Happen?

I. Cultural-Transmission or Differential Association Theory (Sutherland)

  • Deviance is learned through interaction with others

  • Differential association: if you interact more with deviant people, you will be deviant

  • A deviant person is socialized into deviant norms

  • Interactionist perspective

Ii structural strain theory durkheim and merton

II. Structural-Strain Theory (Durkheim and Merton)

  • Deviance is a natural outgrowth of values, norms, and structure of society

  • Certain people can’t meet goals of society: Anomie

  • Functionalist perspective

Iii control theory hirschi

III. Control Theory (Hirschi)

  • Similar to Structural-Strain theory

  • Deviance occurs in people who do not have close ties to the community

    • People with close ties are controlled by other community members

  • People without close ties have less to lose

  • Consequences of deviance determine behavior

Iv conflict theory

IV. Conflict Theory

  • Competition and social inequality lead to deviance

  • Power struggle

  • Deviance is defined by the group in power—anything threatening their power is “deviant”

  • Group in power establishes ideologies that explain deviance as a lower-class phenomenon

V labeling theory lemert and becker

V. Labeling Theory (Lemert and Becker)

  • Focuses on how people become labeled “deviant”

  • All people commit deviant acts, but not everyone is deviant

  • Primary Deviance: nonconformity that goes undetected

  • Secondary Deviance: deviance that results in a person being labeled

How would each theory explain the columbine shootings

How Would Each Theory Explain the Columbine Shootings?

The columbine massacre april 20 1999

The Columbine MassacreApril 20, 1999

  • Littleton, CO

  • Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold

    • Both had a criminal record

    • Both were bullied at school

    • “Trenchcoat Mafia”

    • Both listened to “violent” music

    • Both were classified as “Goths”

  • 12 students and 1 teacher killed

  • 21 students injured

Why is deviance good for society

Why is Deviance Good for Society?

1. Unifies the Group “Us vs. Them”

-Gives a Sense of community

2. Clarifying Norms

-Defines boundaries of behavior

3. Diffusing Tension

-Minor acts of deviance are a “safety valve”

4. Identifying Problems

-Tells which parts of society need change

5. Provides Jobs

-Judges, lawyers, police, prison guards, etc.



  • Crime: An act prohibited by law and punishable by a governing body

  • Who is committing crimes?

    1. Mostly Male: Generally more aggressive than females

    2. Mostly White in numbers, mostly Black by percentage

    3. Mostly under 25: More laws for those under 18-21

Types of crime

Types of Crime

1. Violent Crime: Murder, rape, robbery

-physical violence or threat of violence

2. Crime against property: Burglary, arson

-No person is physically harmed

3. Victimless Crime: Prostitution, gambling, drug use

-No harm to anyone except the perpetrator

4. White Collar Crime: Fraud, tax evasion, toxic pollution

-By people of high social standing

5. Organized Crime: Drug trafficking, gambling, black market

-large scale and professional



  • A mark or sign to label a criminal


The criminal justice system

The Criminal Justice System

1. Police: Make arrests

-few crimes prevented by police

2. Courts: Determine guilt or innocence—issue sentences

3. Corrections

-Recidivism: repeated criminal behavior

65% in US—the highest in the world

76% juvenile recidivism—also highest in the world

-Approaches to correcting deviance

  • Retribution

  • Deterrence

  • Rehabilitation

  • Societal Protection

    -Are we too nice?

    -Do we not rehabilitate?

    4. Juvenile Justice System: Different punishments for similar crimes

    -focus in on rehabilitation

The us prison system

The US Prison System

  • The US has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s inmates

  • 1 in 5 inmates is sexually assaulted

  • 25% of all inmates are gang members

  • 35% of inmates are drug addicts

    • 80% are drug users

  • 25% of all prison beds are occupied by people who are mentally insane

  • Only 12 of 5000 prisons have higher education programs

  • 700,000 inmates are released each year

    • 2/3 are back within three years

The death penalty

The Death Penalty

History and Statistics

  • The Death Penalty has existed since before Christ

  • Punishable offenses have ranged from blasphemy to murder

  • The Death Penalty was strongly questioned by Enlightenment philosophers of the 1800s

  • In the US, the rate of capital punishment has changed

  • In 2002, 71 people in 13 states were executed

    • Texas had the most with 33

    • 70 were by lethal injection, 1 by electrocution

    • 38 states use the death penalty

  • In 2002, there were 3,557 inmates on death row (all for murder)

  • There was a moratorium in the US from 1967-77


Arguments For


Punishment fits the crime

Criminals forfeit their rights

Recidivism rate is so high


Arguments Against

People still commit crimes

Chance of innocence

“Cruel and Unusual”

Immoral / Human Rights



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