Labeling Theory

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Labeling theorists explore how and why certain acts are defined as criminal or deviant and why other such acts are not. As such, they also who is identified as a criminal, and who is not. They question how and why certain people become defined as criminal or deviant. Such theorists view criminals not as evil people who engage in wrong acts but as individuals who have a criminal status forced upon them by both the criminal justice system and the community at large. From this point of view, criminal acts themselves are not significant; it is the reactions of the rest of society to acts defined as criminal that are most crucial. Crime and its control involve a process of social definition, which involves a response from others to an individual's behavior. Juvenile Delinquency and Society Throughout time, crime has played in an important part in the function of society. We see crime in the news everyday, in our communities, in our schools, and in some cases, even in our immediate families. Which reaches out and takes a stranglehold on the human-interest angle of the general public's mind, and makes us become enveloped in the thought processes of the modern criminal. Along these lines, the fascination with delinquent behavior and the mind of the delinquent has prompted the development of numerous theories, and the continuous, yet rigorous, study of youth behavior. But only recently has the concept of juvenile delinquency become an issue in the way crime among youth is viewed. Our society tends to hold children in special regards in most cases, and the implementation of the juvenile court system led to the development of specific theories such as neutralization, labeling, and social control theories, by people which had a first-hand interest in these juvenile delinquency cases.
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