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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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  • 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
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