Labelling Theory on Crime and Deviance

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SOCIOLOGY

To begin, Stephen Jones (1998) has received the policy implications of interactionist and labelling theories. First of all, he argues that they have two main implications. Initially they sugessted that as many types of behaviour as possible should be decriminalized. Secondly, they imply that, when the law has to intervene, it should try to avoid giving people a self-concept in which they view them selves as criminals. This might involve trying to keep people out of prison or warning people rather than prosecuting them. Both of these approches have had some influence. For example, in Britain the independent newspaper stated a campaign in 1997 to legalize cannabis. In countries such as the Netherlands some “soft” drugs have been effectively legalized. However, in Britain, the main impact of such thinking has probably been an juvenile justice. Jones suggests that there have been rather consistent polices in this area, butfor adults, the only measure of this nature was contained in the rehabilitation of offenders, once a period of time (which depended on the offense) had elapsed. Additionally as Jones Points out, such polices became less popular during the 1990's. IN some quarters there has been a reward emphasis on the public shaming of offenders in order to deter others. In terms of sociological theory in the 1960's, the interactionist view of deviance enjoyed wide popularity. For many sociologists, the work of writers such as Becker, Lemert and Goffman become the accepted, orthodox perspective on deviance. Nevertheless, In the 1970's it began to provoke strong criticism. Interactionist rallied to the defense of their work and attempted to show that the criticism were unjustified. The third major criticism of the interactionist perspective is that it is to deterministic. It assumes that once a person has been labblled, their deviance will inevitably become worse. The labbled person has no option but to get more and more involved in deviant...
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