Unlike the crime and punishment model of penal social sanctions, or the rehabilitation, training, or therapeutic models of disciplinary social control, risk management strategies do not seize hold of individual deviants but attempt to restructure the environment or context of problematic behaviour in order to minimize the risks to the general population.
It recognizes that fines or imprisonment do not curtail drug users propensity to continue to use drugs, and that therapeutic rehabilitation of drug use is not only expensive but unlikely to succeed unless drug users are willing to quit. Instead, it calculates the risk of deaths from drug overdoses and the danger to the general population from the transmission of disease like HIV and hepatitis C and attempts to modify the riskiest behaviours through targeted interventions.
Programs like needle exchanges designed to prevent the sharing of needles or safe-injection-sites designed to provide sanitary conditions for drug injection and immediate medical services for overdoses do not prevent addicts from using drugs but minimize the harms resulting from drug use by modifying the environment in which drugs are injected. Reducing risks to public health is the priority of the public health model. Rather, they are concerned with techniques to identify, classify, and manage groupings of offenders sorted by the degree of dangerousness they represent to the general public.
In this way, imprisonment is used to incapacitate those who represent a significant risk, whereas probation and various levels of surveillance are used for those who represent a lower risk. Examples include sex offender tracking and monitoring, or the use of electronic monitoring ankle bracelets for low-risk offenders. New penology strategies seek to regulate levels of deviance, not intervene or respond to individual deviants or the social determinants of crime.
Why does deviance occur? How does it affect a society?
see Since the early days of sociology, scholars have developed theories attempting to explain what deviance and crime mean to society. These theories can be grouped according to the three major sociological paradigms: functionalism, symbolic interactionism, and conflict theory. Sociologists who follow the functionalist approach are concerned with how the different elements of a society contribute to the whole. They view deviance as a key component of a functioning society. Moreover, Durkheim noted, when deviance is punished, it reaffirms currently held social norms, which also contributes to society Developed by researchers at the University of Chicago in the s and s, social disorganization theory asserts that crime is most likely to occur in communities with weak social ties and the absence of social control.
Rather than deviance being a force that reinforces moral and social solidarity, it is the absence of moral and social solidarity that provides the conditions for social deviance to emerge. Early Chicago School sociologists used an ecological model to map the zones in Chicago where high levels of social problem were concentrated. During this period, Chicago was experiencing a long period of economic growth, urban expansion, and foreign immigration.
They were particularly interested in the zones of transition between established working class neighbourhoods and the manufacturing district. They proposed that these zones were particularly prone to social disorder because the residents had not yet assimilated to the American way of life. When they did assimilate they moved out, making it difficult for a stable social ecology to become established there. Social disorganization theory points to broad social factors as the cause of deviance.
A person is not born a criminal but becomes one over time, often based on factors in his or her social environment. Many people would be willing to break laws or act in deviant ways to reap the rewards of pleasure, excitement, and profit, etc. Those who do have the opportunity are those who are only weakly controlled by social restrictions. Individuals who believe they are a part of society are less likely to commit crimes against it. An individual who grows up in a poor neighbourhood with high rates of drug use, violence, teenage delinquency, and deprived parenting is more likely to become a criminal than an individual from a wealthy neighbourhood with a good school system and families who are involved positively in the community.
Research into social disorganization theory can greatly influence public policy. For instance, studies have found that children from disadvantaged communities who attend preschool programs that teach basic social skills are significantly less likely to engage in criminal activity.
In the same way, the Chicago School sociologists focused their efforts on community programs designed to help assimilate new immigrants into North American culture. However, in proposing that social disorganization is essentially a moral problem — that it is shared moral values that hold communities together and prevent crime and social disorder — questions about economic inequality, racism, and power dynamics do not get asked.
From birth, we are encouraged to achieve the goal of financial success. A woman who attends business school, receives her MBA, and goes on to make a million-dollar income as CEO of a company is said to be a success. However, not everyone in our society stands on equal footing. A person may have the socially acceptable goal of financial success but lack a socially acceptable way to reach that goal.
The discrepancy between the reality of structural inequality and the high cultural value of economic success creates a strain that has to be resolved by some means. Merton defined five ways that people adapt to this gap between having a socially accepted goal but no socially accepted way to pursue it. Many youth from poor backgrounds are exposed to the high value placed on material success in capitalist society but face insurmountable odds to achieving it, so turning to illegal means to achieve success is a rational, if deviant, solution.
Critical sociology looks to social and economic factors as the causes of crime and deviance. As a result of inequality, many crimes can be understood as crimes of accommodation , or ways in which individuals cope with conditions of oppression Quinney, Predatory crimes like break and enter, robbery, and drug dealing are often simply economic survival strategies.
Personal crimes like murder, assault, and sexual assault are products of the stresses and strains of living under stressful conditions of scarcity and deprivation.
Defensive crimes like economic sabotage, illegal strikes, civil disobedience, and eco-terrorism are direct challenges to social injustice. The analysis of critical sociologists is not meant to excuse or rationalize crime, but to locate its underlying sources at the appropriate level so they can be addressed effectively. Institutions of normalization and the criminal justice system have to be seen in context as mechanisms that actively maintain the power structure of the political-economic order.
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The rich, the powerful, and the privileged have unequal influence on who and what gets labelled deviant or criminal, particularly in instances when their privilege is being challenged. As capitalist society is based on the institution of private property, for example, it is not surprising that theft is a major category of crime. By the same token, when street people, addicts, or hippies drop out of society, they are labelled deviant and are subject to police harassment because they have refused to participate in productive labour.
On the other hand, the ruthless and sometimes sociopathic behaviour of many business people and politicians, otherwise regarded as deviant according to the normative codes of society, is often rewarded or regarded with respect.
In his book The Power Elite , sociologist C. Wright Mills described the existence of what he dubbed the power elite , a small group of wealthy and influential people at the top of society who hold the power and resources. Wealthy executives, politicians, celebrities, and military leaders often have access to national and international power, and in some cases, their decisions affect everyone in society.
Because of this, the rules of society are stacked in favour of a privileged few who manipulate them to stay on top. It is these people who decide what is criminal and what is not, and the effects are often felt most by those who have little power. While functionalist theories often emphasize crime and deviance associated with the underprivileged, there is in fact no clear evidence that crimes are committed disproportionately by the poor or lower classes.
On the other hand, crimes committed by the wealthy and powerful remain an underpunished and costly problem within society. White-collar or corporate crime refers to crimes committed by corporate employees or owners in the pursuit of profit or other organization goals. They are more difficult to detect because the transactions take place in private and are more difficult to prosecute because the criminals can secure expert legal advice on how to bend the rules.
PricewaterhouseCoopers reports that 36 percent of Canadian companies were subject to white-collar crime in theft, fraud, embezzlement, cybercrime. These were highly publicized cases in which jail time was demanded by the public although as nonviolent offenders the perpetrators are eligible for parole after serving one-sixth of their sentence.
However, in — prison sentences were nearly twice as likely for the typically lower-class perpetrators of break and enters 59 percent as they were for typically middle- and upper-class perpetrators of fraud 35 percent Boyce, This imbalance based on class power can also be put into perspective with respect to homicide rates Samuelson, In , there were homicides in Canada recorded by police, an average of 1.
This is an extremely serious crime, which merits the attention given to it by the criminal justice system. However, in there were also 1, workplace deaths that were, in principle, preventable. Estimates from the United States suggest that only one-third of on-the-job deaths and injuries can be attributed to worker carelessness Samuelson, The Ocean Ranger oil rig collapse that killed 84 workers off Newfoundland in and the Westray Mine explosion that killed 26 workers in Nova Scotia in were due to design flaws and unsafe working conditions that were known to the owners.
However, whereas corporations are prosecuted for regulatory violations governing health and safety, it is rare for corporations or corporate officials to be prosecuted for the consequences of those violations. Corporate crime is arguably a more serious type of crime than street crime, and yet white-collar criminals are treated relatively leniently. Fines, when they are imposed, are typically absorbed as a cost of doing business and passed on to consumers, and many crimes, from investment fraud to insider trading and price fixing, are simply not prosecuted.
From a critical sociology point of view, this is because white-collar crime is committed by elites who are able to use their power and financial resources to evade punishment. Here are some examples:. For example, in the late 19th century, kleptomania was a diagnosis used in legal defences that linked an extreme desire for department store commodities with various forms of female physiological or psychiatric illness. Feminist analysis focuses on the way gender inequality influences the opportunities to commit crime and the definition, detection, and prosecution of crime.
In part the gender difference revolves around patriarchal attitudes toward women and the disregard for matters considered to be of a private or domestic nature.
It was not until the Supreme Court ruling in that struck down the law that it was acknowledged that women are capable of making their own choice, in consultation with a doctor, about the procedure. Similarly, until the s two major types of criminal deviance were largely ignored or were difficult to prosecute as crimes: sexual assault and spousal assault. In the Criminal Code was amended to replace the crimes of rape and indecent assault with a three-tier structure of sexual assault ranging from unwanted sexual touching that violates the integrity of the victim to sexual assault with a weapon or threats or causing bodily harm to aggravated sexual assault that results in wounding, maiming, disfiguring, or endangering the life of the victim Kong et al.
The goal of the amendments was to emphasize that sexual assault is an act of violence, not a sexual act. Previously, rape had been defined as an act that involved penetration and was perpetrated against a woman who was not the wife of the accused.