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Stereotyping Criminals

By LeticiaJ1 Jun 26, 2015 940 Words

Stereotyping Criminals

This paper will discuss another theory and strategy to help to avoid stereotyping individuals that are in the criminal justice system. Along with whether or not the labeling theory is a legitimate crime causation theory and why. This paper will also discuss where gangs fit in the three influential versions of cultural deviance theory. Which one of the two theories would be used to help explain the number of youths that are joining gangs in the inner city has doubled. Along with the number of gang leaders serving time in prison and being released after good conduct has increased.

Stereotyping Criminals
Stereotyping in general is a major issue all over the world. Now when you look at stereotyping in regards to criminals that is another issue that needs to be changed. Stereotyping has its effects on criminals more that some would imagine. Rehabilitated criminals try to get a second chance and end up being stereotyped making it harder for them to start over fresh with a clean slate. Stereotypes can be rooted in truth or falsehood, or somewhere in between, (Profiling & Criminal Justice, 2015). The labeling theory is one of the major issues with stereotyping of individuals in the criminal justice system. With this theory along with some others criminals are labeled ex-con, offender and things of this nature. There needs to be a way to eliminate these labels. Labels are not just an issue with criminals but with all individuals. These labels slowly progress into stereotypes making these rehabilitated criminal’s feels that they are no more than just a criminal. When looking at strategies that would be helpful in avoiding stereotypes in the individuals in the criminal justice system is to avoid using that language. Refraining from the use of the language that labels them is a great start. If the term offender, or ex-con is no longer used this would change stereotyping in the criminal justice system. A theory that can be used to help avoid the stereotyping would be rational choice theory. Choices are important in everyone’s daily life. Some may make bad decisions while others make good decisions. These choices help decide where this person ends up in society and how they are labeled. It can be argued that the labeling theory is a form of crime causation theory. This is because crime causation theories can vary. While some may believe that crime is a result of negative reactions or even poverty that is not always the case. In every persons lie they will experience some sort or anger, jealousy, or even desire; however each person handles these situations different. This has nothing to do with where they were raised, or their race. The labeling theory looks and evaluates why some people committing actions that are defined as deviant while others may not. This theory has concerns about what the effects that these labels will have on these individuals. It is believed that everyone commits a crime at some point in their life and not all of them are considered deviant. This is very true, while a child can steal candy from the candy store; an adult that was to steal would have completely different consequences. Now this child is not labeled a theft the rest of their life but the adult was. Inappropriate behavior or deviant behavior can be touchy, what some may consider deviant others may not. There are many theories that fall under the crime causation which include sociological theories, strain theory, social learning theory, control theory and even the labeling theory. All of these theories are different aspects to help better understand why crime is committed.

Out of the three influential versions of cultural deviance gangs would it into all three. Gangs are diverse there are usually members that are from a lower class, urban lower-class and even subcultures. This primarily depends on the type of gang. While there are certain gangs that may be in the lower class, there is also another genre of gangs that are created in the subcultures. These influential versions of cultural deviance theories cover all gangs in all areas.

The theories that would be used to explain the following problem would be the labeling theory and the cultural deviance theory. With this particular situation the cultural deviance theory would be a better fit. The reason for this is because the gangs in the inner city doubled, the gang leaders being released has increase along with the 20% rise in gang violence. These are all contributors to this problem. The gang leaders are out and recruiting new gang members. With the new recruits the crime has increase. While all of this is taking place in the inner city area.

In conclusion stereotyping can be serious. While one assumption may be true for one person it does not mean that the next will be the same. People make mistakes that is a part of being human but to be punished for the same mistake forever can also seem cruel. However this also depends on the circumstance. Stereotyping all criminals in general needs to be changed.


Profiling and Criminal Justice in America, (2015). Retrieved from: Crime Causation, (2015). Retrieved from: Crime Causation: The Field, (2015). Retrieved from: Criminal Justice and Behavior, (2015). Retrieved from:

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