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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 193092 Find in a Library
Title: Deviance as Crime, Sin, or Poor Taste (From Morality and the Law, P 31-40, 2001, Roslyn Muraskin and Matthew Muraskin, eds. -- See NCJ-193090)
Author(s): Alexander B. Smith; Harriet Pollack
Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 10
Sponsoring Agency: Prentice Hall Publishing
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
Sale Source: Prentice Hall Publishing
Criminal Justice and Police Training
1 Lake Street
Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458
United States of America
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Format: Book (Softbound)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter distinguishes among deviant acts and thoughts that society labels as "crimes," "sins," and "poor taste."
Abstract: The authors advise that for the purposes of this discussion, they are assuming an ideal closely akin to the Jeffersonian model, i.e., an open society predicated on a belief in equality of opportunity and equality before the law, with a reasonable level of material comfort and economic security for all. The chapter examines the kinds of behavior considered unacceptable in such a society. Deviant acts that are labeled "crimes" by society are those that so severely violate public order that they must be handled coercively by the police, courts, and correctional policies. Heading the list of such "crimes" are murder, rape, arson, assault, robbery, burglary, and larceny. Other "crimes," however, may carry widely varying views of degree of severity among various segments of society. They may become "crimes" because the majority or the dominant element of a society perceives them as being particularly offensive or threatening. Modes of conduct that a significant segment of society perceives as deviant may not be regulated by law. Many of these modes of conduct are considered "sins" by various religious groups, such that their adherents attempt to refrain from such behavior and may believe that all others should refrain as well. Such a belief may motivate them to attempt to make all "sins" "crimes" by law. Deviant behavior considered "poor taste" involves actions that warrant disapproval but are not sufficiently serious to rise to the level of "sin" or to warrant proscription and punishment by law. The authors advise that the criminal process should be reserved almost exclusively for persons who commit violent crimes or who are otherwise seriously disruptive of the peace and good order of the community.
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Definitions; Deviance; Jurisprudence; Legal deviance; Public Opinion of Crime; Social conditions
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