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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 67012 Find in a Library
Title: IMPLICATIONS OF CHANGING SOCIAL POLICY FOR THE MEDICALIZATION OF DEVIANCE
Journal: CONTEMPORARY CRISES  Volume:4  Issue:2  Dated:(FEBRUARY 1980)  Pages:195-205
Author(s): P CONRAD
Corporate Author: Elsevier Scientific Publishing Co
Netherlands
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: Elsevier Scientific Publishing Co
1000 Ah Amsterdam, Netherlands
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Netherlands
Annotation: THE IMPLICATIONS OF CHANGING SOCIAL POLICY FOR THE MEDICALIZATION OF DEVIANCE--DEFINED AS A SHIFT IN THE DEFINITION AND DESIGNATION OF DEVIANT BEHAVIOR FROM SIN TO CRIME TO ILLNESS--ARE DISCUSSED.
Abstract: MEDICALIZATION OF DEVIANCE CAN OCCUR IN AT LEAST THREE WAYS, WHICH MAY EXIST INDEPENDENTLY OR IN COMBINATION: (1) ADOPTION OF A MEDICAL VOCABULARY FOR DEVIANT BEHAVIOR, (2) ADOPTION OF MEDICAL SOLUTIONS FOR DEVIANCE, AND (3) THE ADOPTION OF MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL CONTROL OF THE INDIVIDUALS WHO DISPLAY SUCH BEHAVIORS. THE MEDICALIZATION OF DEVIANCE, ALTHOUGH ITSELF NOT AN EXPLICIT SOCIAL POLICY, IS, HOWEVER, PROFOUNDLY AFFECTED BY POLICY CHANGES IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND MEDICAL POLICY. RECENT TRENDS OF DEINSTITUTIONALIZATION IN PRISON AND MENTAL HOSPITAL POPULATIONS, COUPLED WITH THE PARALLEL GROWTH IN 'COMMUNITY-BASED' PROGRAMS (WORK RELEASE, CORRECTIONAL PROGRAMS FOR CRIMINAL OFFENDERS, JUVENILE COURT, ETC.) HAS RESULTED IN AN EMERGING POLICY OF DECARCERATION, WHICH MAY PROMOTE INCREASED MEDICALIZATION. DECRIMINALIZATION, OR NO LONGER CONSIDERING A CERTAIN ACTIVITY A CRIMINAL OFFENSE, ALSO AFFECTS MEDICALIZATION. FOR EXAMPLE, PUBLIC DRUNKENNESS IS NO LONGER CONSIDERED A CRIMINAL OFFENSE. THUS, POLICE NOW BRING DRUNKARDS TO MENTAL HOSPITALS INSTEAD OF JAIL, WHICH HAS RESULTED IN A SUBSTANTIAL JUMP IN THE NUMBER OF ALCOHOLICS IN MENTAL HOSPITALS. WITHIN THE FIELD OF MEDICINE, THE PRODUCTION OF MORE PHYSICIANS AND THE ENACTMENT OF NATIONAL HEALTH INSURANCE HAS ENCOURAGED MEDICALIZATION. HOWEVER, INCREASED INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR HEALTH, THE FISCAL CRISIS IN MEDICAL COSTS, AND THE PUNITIVE BACKLASH SINCE 1970 AGAINST THE INCREASING 'LIBERALIZATION' OF THE TREATMENT OF DEVIANCE MAY DISCOURAGE CONTINUED MEDICALIZATION. IT IS CONCLUDED THAT THE MEDICALIZATION OF DEVIANCE REMAINS AN IMPORTANT RESIDUAL PRODUCT OF OTHER SOCIAL POLICIES; THEREFORE, IT SHOULD BE AFFORDED CONSIDERATION IN POLICY DISCUSSIONS. FOOTNOTES ARE PROVIDED. (DEG)
Index Term(s): Community-based corrections (adult); Community-based corrections (juvenile); Decriminalization; Deinstitutionalization; Deviance; Medicolegal considerations; Policy analysis
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=67012

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