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NCJ Number: 65183 Find in a Library
Title: CULTURAL AND SOCIAL DEFINITIONS OF CRIME AND DEVIANCE (FROM ALTERNATIVES TO PRISONS - ISSUES AND OPTIONS, 1979, BY RODGER O DARNELL ET AL - SEE NCJ-65182)
Author(s): R D WRIGHT
Corporate Author: University of Iowa
School of Social Work
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA 52242
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: BASIC FACTORS THAT DETERMINE A SOCIETY'S DEFINITIONS OF CRIME AND DEVIANCE AND THE APPROACH FOR DEALING WITH OFFENDERS ARE IDENTIFIED AND DISCUSSED.
Abstract: LEGISLATURES CREATE LAWS AND OTHER AGENCIES INTERPRET THOSE LAWS. THE PERSONAL CONCERNS OF LEGISLATORS AND THE INFLUENCES OF INTEREST GROUPS DETERMINE WHAT BEHAVIOR WILL BE FORMALLY PROSCRIBED. POLICE, PROSECUTORS, AND COURTS SELECTIVELY ENFORCE THE LAWS AS INTEREST OR PRESSURE DEMANDS. THEORETICALLY, A PERSON IS CONSIDERED A CRIMINAL ONLY WHEN HE/SHE IS CONVICTED OF VIOLATING THE FORMAL RULES OF SOCIETY. IN THIS SENSE, AN ACT IS DEFINED AS CRIMINAL WHEN THOSE WHO HAVE THE POWER TO BRING THE FORMAL AGENCIES OF SOCIAL CONTROL INTO OPERATION APPLY SUCH POWER IN RELATION TO THE ACT. THUS, THOSE WHO CREATE THE CONCEPT AND SUBSTANCE OF CRIMINALITY ARE THOSE IN KEY POSITIONS OF POWER, WHERE THEY CAN FORMALIZE THEIR BELIEFS AND VALUES IN AN EFFORT TO CONTROL THE BEHAVIOR OF OTHERS ACCORDINGLY. THE AVERAGE CITIZEN, WHO DOES NOT ENJOY SUCH POWER, MUST BEHAVE ACCORDING TO THE LAWS MADE BY OTHERS OR FACE THE SANCTIONS STIPULATED IN THE LAW. IMPLICIT IN FORMALIZED LAW AND ITS ENFORCEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION ARE IDEOLOGIES REGARDING THE NATURE AND HANDLING OF THOSE WHO VIOLATE FORMAL NORMS FOR BEHAVIOR. THE APPARENT IDEOLOGY UNDERLYING MOST FORMAL LAW IS THAT BEHAVIOR CAN BE CONTROLLED BY IDENTIFYING THAT WHICH IS UNACCEPTABLE AND PROVIDING PAINFUL CONSEQUENCES FOR THOSE ENGAGING IN SUCH BEHAVIOR. A CORRECTIONS IDEOLOGY, ON THE OTHER HAND, MAY AFFIRM THAT BEHAVIOR IS CONTROLLED BY MEETING THE CITIZENRY'S BASIC SOCIOECONOMIC NEEDS. A SOCIAL CONTROL SYSTEM THAT AIMS AT EXPRESSING BOTH OF THESE IDEOLOGIES INEVITABLY RESULTS IN CONFLICT THAT MAKES BOTH IDEOLOGIES APPEAR IMPRACTICAL. CONSISTENT AND INTERDEPENDENT IDEOLOGIES ROOTED IN EMPIRICAL RESEARCH OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR MUST UNDERLIE A RATIONAL AND EFFECTIVE SOCIAL CONTROL SYSTEM. NOTES ARE PROVIDED. (RCB)
Index Term(s): Cultural influences; Deviance; Legislation; Political influences; Social organization
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=65183

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