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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 52285 Find in a Library
Title: INEQUALITY IN THE IMPOSITION OF A CRIMINAL LABEL
Journal: SOCIAL PROBLEMS  Volume:19  Issue:4  Dated:(SPRING 1972)  Pages:553-572
Author(s): T G CHIRICOS; P D JACKSON; G P WALDO
Corporate Author: Soc for the Study of Social Problems
United States of America
Date Published: 1972
Page Count: 20
Sponsoring Agency: Soc for the Study of Social Problems
Buffalo, NY 14122
Type: Statistics
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS ARTICLE PRESENTS THE RESULTS OF EMPIRICAL RESEARCH DESIGNED TO DISCOVER WHETHER THOSE PERSONS WHO ARE LABELLED CRIMINALLY DEVIANT ARE DIFFERENT FROM THOSE WHO AVOID THAT LABEL.
Abstract: FLORIDA LAW ALLOWS A JUDGE THE OPTION OF WITHHOLDING ADJUDICATION OF GUILT FROM DEFENDANTS WHO ARE BEING PLACED ON PROBATION. FOR PERSONS ACCUSED OF A FELONY, THIS STEP AFFORDS AN OPPORTUNITY TO AVOID THE STIGMA ASSOCIATED WITH THE STATUS OF 'CONVICTED FELON.' SOCIAL AND LEGAL CHARACTERISTICS OF 2,419 CONSECUTIVE FELONY PROBATION CASES ARE EXAMINED TO DETERMINE WHAT KINDS OF PERSONS ARE MOST LIKELY TO RECEIVE THE PRIVILEGED DISPOSITION OF 'ADJUDICATION WITHHELD.' INCONSISTENCIES IN THE IMPOSITION OF THE 'CONVICT' LABEL WERE FOUND, SUGGESTING THAT DEFENDANTS WHO ARE OLDER, BLACK, POORLY EDUCATED, HAVE A PRIOR RECORD, AND ARE DEFENDED BY A COURT-APPOINTED ATTORNEY ARE AMONG THOSE MOST LIKELY TO BE SO LABELLED. LEMERT HAS ARGUED THAT INCONSISTENT APPLICATION OF PENALTIES OR STIGMA INCREASES THE LIKELIHOOD OF COMMITMENT TO DEVIANT IDENTITY OR CAREER ON THE PART OF THE ACCUSED. WHILE THESE DATA CANNOT CONFIRM LEMERT'S HYPOTHESIS, THEY DO SUGGEST THAT CRIMINAL LABELS ARE DISPENSED IN SUCH A MANNER THAT PERSONS WHO ARE EXPECTED TO BE THE MOST CRIMINAL (I.E., POORLY EDUCATED, INDIGENTS, BLACKS) ARE GIVEN THE GREATEST OPPORTUNITY TO DEVELOP A CRIMINAL IDENTITY OR CAREER. REFERENCES ARE INCLUDED. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED--MPK)
Index Term(s): Criminal justice statistics; Criminology; Deviance; Diversion programs; Florida; Judicial discretion; Labeling theory; Offender statistics; Probation
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=52285

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