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Sociology 2267A/B

Second Half Youth and Deviance Notes (Feb 27-April 2) Gangs Questions to note: what is a gang? Why do they exist? Who joins gangs? What is the relationships btwn the experience of schooling and gang membership? What are the risk factors or predictors of gang membership? What is it that gangs do? When do gangs become a problem for law and order? Does gang membership represent a rational choice for the youth involved? What theories best explain the gang phenomenon? Defining Youth Gangs: groups of youth that have a physical presence, a self-identity, and who are usually engaged in some sort of anti-social activity (tanner); Malcolm Klein views gangs as a group of young adults or adolescents what are generally perceived as a distinct ‘aggregation’ by others in their neighbourhood, recognize themselves as a denotable group (almost invariably with a group name) and have been involved in a sufficient number of illegal activities to call forth a ‘consistent negative response from neighbourhood residents/enforcement agencies’ ...Frederic Thrasher (1937) documented activities of youth in Chicago in the 20s and 30s during a period of rapid social change, adolescent playgroups, informal neighbourhood-based street culture thriving without adult constraint on their behaviour; note that thrashers research demonstrated that crime and deviance among these groups was episodic not a regular occurrence Predictors of youth gang membership include: social class, family structure, education, career aspirations, age, race and ethnicity Reasons for joining a gang: to receive protection (from other ‘predators’ including gangs), to ‘belong’ to cohesive group/unit when family ties are absent, to provide lucrative money-making options for those without educational achievements, offer protection as well as resistance to racism and prejudice Gangs are differentiated by multiple criteria including age, ethnicity, gender, type of activity, the degree of criminality, level of organization, function/purpose, and region Working class gangs like the Skin Heads in the UK....white middle class youth, diverted to working-class skinhead ideology by heavy metal, white power ideology etc Hybrid Gangs: may/may not have allegiance to a particular gang colour; often adopt the symbols of larger groups; change affiliation/claim many affiliations Canadian Gangs: most CNDian gang members are male, under 18, comprised of racial and ethnic groups, significant representation of African-Canadian, Caucasian and First Nations Youth...cnd gangs are hybrid, they are not restricted to inner-city areas; they do have a multi-ethnic composition; they are not well- organized or territorial (tanner) Theory: empirical research points to the fact that the single most important predictor of delinquency is interaction with delinquent friends in the formative adolescent years Sutherland & Ackers: explanations of the relationship btwn peer interaction and youth crime are offered in the various explanations of Sutherland’s differential association theory and Acker’s social learning theory Hirschi: control theory cites the degree of attachment to significant individuals in one’s life, as an indicator of attachment to social norms Resistance Theory: Paul Willis (1977) working class British youth; anti-school culture/counter cultural activities; active participation in the school’s counter-culture counts as resistance Deviance... for these youth their deviance is political; they are likely to be rude to teachers, not conform to school norms and regulations and even drop-out; Willis’ resistance theory also applicable in a North American context; in the Tanner et al (1995) study reasons given for dropping out included “objections to particular teachers, teachers in general, specific subjects, the curriculum as a whole...poor grades, learning difficulties” (110-111)...resistance based on race rather than class; systematic racism, poverty and marginalization experienced by native people explain high rates of crime in the community and resistance in schools (tanner, p 111) Solomon 1992: identified resistant behaviour in black CNDian youth as demonstrated in their choice in music, reggae, hip hop etc...many identify with Rastafarianism; “Solomon ends up arguing that the involvement of young blacks in curricular sports contributes to the reproduction of their marginality” (tanner, 114) Disengagement Theory: Dei et al (1997) experiences cause black youth to progressively disengage from school and eventually drop out (tanner 114)...these experiences include: low expectations, unequal treatment by teachers, lack of respect for black students, streaming (tracking) Gang Violence in Schools: schools are not the primary site of gang violence mostly bc of surveillance; however the carrying of weapons (allegedly for self protection) among members of gangs has given rise to zero-tolerance policies; this puts the potential gang member out into the streets where most crimes of violence area committed Female Deviants Changing face of the woman criminal...young convicted murderer, Kelly Allard; from the evidence of Dr. Vogt of Youth Forensic Services, the school counsellor Barbara Smith, Chris Pollard, a youth worker, and some of Allard’s peers... the court learned that Allard had moderate to severe conduct disorder and substance abuse problems. She had a great deal of anger and had told the school counsellor that she enjoyed “punching people because punching bags just didn’t do it for her.” One of her peers described Allard as ‘crazy’ and stated that her nickname is ‘Killer Kelly’ Where are they? Until Thrasher’s one page description of female juvenile offenders in The Gang (1937), girls were virtually absent from theories of deviance; in 1927 Thrasher in his study of gangs identified 6 female gangs Marge Reitsma-Street (1999) all theories of delinquency anticipate maximum delinquency from ‘those most abused, marginalized, and devalued by adults and societal institutions’; Tanner says that since this characterizes the experiences of girls more than boys, then the absence of theorizing to account for female delinquency is a big failing (p.199) Explanations for Absence girls more law-abiding than boys; girls have fewer opportunities for delinquency than boys; girls socialized into different roles than boys –more nurturing, less aggressive; girls are more prone to relational aggression than to physical aggression Research shows young female offenders are less likely to be known to police than young male offenders; females are less likely to self-report their wrong doing; young males are more likely to commit violent crimes than young females; girls are more likely to be arrested for crimes related to their running away from home such as prostitution; girls are less likely to continue delinquent activities into adulthood than boys Trends since 1997: relative to males, the rate at which young females come into contact with the law is relatively low; fifteen year old girls had the highest rates of female offending; generally, the rate at which females are accused of violations against the person is about one-fifth the rate of males; theft of something other than a motor vehicle is the most typical crime by a female; acquaintances most often the ones victimized; when women inflict injury, they are just as likely as males to use weapons; multiple charges and criminal history are less common among females than males; seriousness of female offending does not seem to increase over time for most repeat and chronic offenders Trends (charges): 3 in 10 offences are done by chronic female offenders; overall, the rate at which females aged 12 and older have been charged by police for Criminal Code offences has fallen 28% since peaking in 1992; however, the rate for ‘serious violent crime’ among female youth aged 12-17 yrs has doubled, growing from 60/100 000 that yr to a rate of 132/100 000 in 2005; for both female youth and adults, charge rates for ‘serious property crimes’ have decreased slowly since the mid 1990s; girls were the accused in 21% of the cases that flowed through CNDs youth courts in 2003/2004 Kelly Ellard Swarming girl gangs Anne Campbell virtually all female gangs affiliated with male gang membership; they play the role of the girlfriends, drug/weapon carriers, providers of sexual services; all female gangs- members not typical deprived and disadvantaged working class youth “drawn instead from the most deprived and disadvantaged segments of the working class: members of ethnic minorities who make up an inner city underclass, with minimal access to good and reasonable incomes, and lacking the basic educational qualifications to lift themselves out of the ghetto” (tanner p209-210) Young (2009) notes that “feminist literature has challenged the stereotypical view of girl gang membership and argued that some young women find empowerment and a sense of belonging in gangs or utilize the group to challenge dominant fender stereotypes” As peripheral members of male gangs, female members may be considered the property of men: they are sexually exploited and assaulted, often as part of the initiation ritual (young, 2009) Male gang membership for women has been far from liberating. Most studies suggest that the role of women is to provide ‘safe houses’ for male gang members, to carry weapons or drugs and/or to provide sexual services, to scout out rival territory and to engage in violence with girls who are connected to male gangs The media are partly responsible for evoking the moral panic which posits that girls are becoming engaged in more criminal activity, especially gang activity; the general impression generated in the press of a female gang member says Young “is of an aggressive, callous teenager capable of extreme violence”; what about self-portraits of female delinquency using the media....? Beyonce, destiny’s child, usher, ludicrous, Britney spears, Madonna (ie. Beyonces naughty girls song with lyrics including”tonight i’ll be your naughty girl, im callin all my girls, we’re gonna turn this party out, i know you want my body”)..... the question is....why are unconventional roleplaying or behaviours in young women treated as deviance Early Ideas about Female Delinquency focused on biology as the source of crime, Lombrosso and Ferrero placed female criminals lower of the evolutionary scale than males; women were weaker, more childlike, more maternal and less intelligent; they had weaker moral sense as well; women or girls were only mentioned in terms of sexual delinquency The Chicago School in WI Thomas’ The Unadjusted Girl (1923) he noticed that the majority of young women were placed in custody for prostitution and related offences...he located this within disorganization theory; Albert Cohen...delinquent subculture was a response to the problems faced by boys; girls are only capable of sexual delinquency; Cloward and Ohlin not only focused on male delinquency, but applied blame on mothers; Sutherland also ignored female delinquency in his differential association did Hirschi in his social control theory Adolescent Criminality or Moral Conduct? Is there a double standard in the juvenile justice system? Are young female offenders treated differently by the law? Paternalism patriarchal power relations model used to study crime; paternalism suggests females ought to be protected for their own good Theoretical Perspectives: Chesney-Lind and Shelden blame female delinquency on the different nurturing of boys and girls *care ethic-an ethical or moral standard based on nurturing attitudes of caring and welfare and well-being of others; girls are more likely than boys to be victims of family- related sexual abuse; girls who attempt to escape this abuse are met with apprehension by the criminal justice system TP Mauby and Tanner: both use female gender-role arguments; expectations of appropriate behaviour- boys encouraged to court danger, take risks, break rules, such behaviour not tolerated in girls; social control- boys accorded more freedom than girls whose activities closely monitored; opportunity- surveillance means that girls have fewer opportunities to involve in delinquency; career models- girls still less likely to anticipate paid careers, see in their future marriage and family...does this act as a deterrence to criminal activity or an incentive?; attitudes- girls more committed to pro-social attitudes than boys Role Theory attempts to explain criminal behaviour by understanding the processes whereby individuals acquire and become committed to deviant roles (Sandra bell); social disorganization theory according to Thomas of the Chicago school, the crimes young women were engaging in were a product of social disorganization, since these young women came from a part of the city characterized by a lack of social cohesion; Thomas argued that girls problems stemmed from inadequate families, demoralization, frustration with social and moral codes Sisters of Crime Thesis can girls involvement in group criminal activity have anything to do with women’s liberation?? The sisters of crime thesis (aka Liberation Thesis) suggests that with fewer limitations being placed on women, the number of women criminals will increase Carol Smart rejected the liberation thesis commenting: “it is unlikely that advocates of the Women’s Movement are to be found amongst delinquent girls and criminal women”; the more likely explanation was a change in the way the justice system dealt with women; as women move closer to filling the same roles as men, the legal system will treat them more like men Feminism and Delinquency the consensus is that girls most supportive of feminist ideals are less inclined to delinquency; their resistance to domination or oppression do not include criminally delinquent solutions Power Control Theory (John Hagen) attempts to explain class and gender differences in delinquency by the structure of family relations-egalitarian or patriarchal; power relationships in larger society, especially in workplace are reflected in the family methods of establishing authority and dominance over others; the theory emerged from a study of self-reported surveys administered to high school students in TO; this theory does not view crime as caused by social status by comparing the gender roles and parental control mechanisms in two different families, patriarchal and egalitarian, these researchers were able to explain gender-based differences in conduct Power control greater in the patriarchal family so daughters are restricted in the opportunities for delinquent activities; however, it is not so in egalitarian families; therefore there are more opportunities to commit crime; a key difference btwn patriarchal families and egalitarian families is that boys are encouraged to be risk takers, and girls- because they are controlled more rigorously- are raised to be risk- aversive One Explanation....shift in how women negotiate public space; young women now have more opportunity to be out in public spaces where they can socialize with rebellious or disenfranchised girls; they stay together for as is the case with boys, gang membership involves a certain degree of empowerment Aboriginal Youth in Justice System From Mark Totten’s article... in CND, 22% of all gang members are Aboriginal...Aboriginal youth gangs are defined as: visible, hardcore groups that come together for profit-driven criminal activity and severe violence; they identify themselves through the adoption of a name, common brands/colours of clothing, and tattoos to demonstrate gang membership to rival gangs; gang-related communication rituals and public display of gang-like attributes are common More info from article: membership is fluid; there is a lack of organization and structure; many of these gangs operate independently in small cells; status is defined by ability to make large amounts of cash and engage in serious violence; aboriginal gangs tend to be intergenerational and rely on violent entry and exit rituals to protect the gang from outsiders; membership commitment can be measured in a hierarchical ranking system within the gang “Aboriginal youth can be categorized on a continuum of gang involvement into one of the following groups: anti-social group; spontaneous criminal activity group; purposive criminal group; crew; and street gang” –Mark Totten Aboriginal Youth Suicide (2005 fact sheet): five to six times higher suicide in aboriginal youth than non- aboriginal youth; cultural factors shape suicide in communities...most aboriginal communities have low rates of suicide; most dominant in BC 2006 Census: the number of ppl who identified themselves as an Aboriginal person surpassed the one- million mark, reaching 1, 172, 790; btwn 1996 and 2006 aboriginal population grew by 45% nearly six times faster than the 8% rate of increase for the non-Aboriginal population; aboriginal population in 2006 accounted for almost 4% of total CND population Basic Demography: aboriginals are younger in general! In the north, avg age is 22 compared with median of 35-40 in lower provinces; highest concentration of single families in the north; high rates of drinking (53% report consuming 5+drinks in last month); unemployment higher in Nunavut (17.4) than overall CND (7.4) 48% aboriginal youth have not completed high school (31% non aboriginal); 4% aboriginal people have a uni degree (16% non aboriginal) as of 2001 Aboriginals have... twice the birth rates as non-aboriginals; almost half of aboriginal population consists of children and youth aged 24 and under, compared with 31% of the non-aboriginal population; twice as likely to live in poverty as non-aboriginals; 54% live in urban centers (50% first nations youth in cities live below poverty line) Context: residents are three times more likely to be victimized by robbery, sexual assault, or assault in general; 2005 crime rates four times higher in north than southern provinces; self-reported (2004) victimization rate higher, 37% vs 28% in southern provinces; higher rates of homicide (8.8 vs 1.3 overall); approx 12% of northern residents in current of previous marital or common-law relationship reported being the victim of some form of spousal violence in the 5 yrs preceding the survey compared with 7% of population in provinces; 2005 property crimes only slightly more common than violent incidents in the territories Young People...are most likely to be victimized criminally; in 2004 the rate for northern CNDs 15-24yrs was 860per1000; over 3 times greater than rate for those aged 25-34...over 4 times greater than the rate for those 35-44 and over 15x greater for those aged 45+ Domestic Violence 40% of children in some northern communities victims of domestic violence; 21% of aboriginal ppl reported having experienced some form of physical or sexual violence by a spouse in the 5yrs preceding the 2004 survey; this compares to 6% of non-aboriginal ppl who experienced spousal violence over the same time period, and translates to a level of aboriginal spousal violence which is over three times greater than that for non-aboriginal people FASD (fetal alcohol spectrum disorder) organic brain disorder; exposure to excessive alcohol as a fetus; range in first nations communities (25-200 per 1000 births; general Canadian rate 1-10 per 1000); characteristics include developmental delay, school failure, learning disabilities, early onset drug abuse, correlate to juvenile delinquency; in Yukon at least half of young offenders suffer from FASD Court Processing: in 2004 aboriginal youth represented 25% of sentenced admissions to custody (only represent 5% of population), 84% in Manitoba (19% of population); aboriginal youth have a better chance of going to jail than graduating from high school Criminal Offending most common juvenile offences...theft, B&E, willful damage; typical aboriginal youth in custody is male btwn ages 16 and 17, guilty of property offense and lives in an urban area (off- reserve); close to 11times more likely to be accused of homicide than non aboriginals (1997-2000) Prostitution in some communities, 90% of visible sex trade is aboriginal women; in Winnipeg virtually all street-involved youth are First Nations; clearly influenced by victimization histories, family disorganization, drug use and class status Cultural Trauma history of European colonization: disputes over land, spiritual practices; introduction of liquor by fur traders; creation of reserves by white elites via treaties; creation of residential school system; western justice system imposed from outside Aboriginal Justice Systems “Probably one of the most serious gaps in the system is the different perception of wrongdoing and how to best treat it. In the non-Indian community, committing a crime seems to mean that the individual is a bad person and therefore must be punished...The Indian communities view a wrongdoing as a misbehaviour which requires teaching or an illness which requires healing” Aboriginal Culture Affecting Notions of Justice and Corrections principle of holistic understanding, based on belief that we all are connected; inclusive decision-making, not just judges or experts, but community have a right to decide; healing principle...crime is a sickness and focus should be on healing...based on the philosophy that crime is an injury requiring the healing of severed relations among the offender, victim, families, communities; principle of reconciliation...based on the belief that a productive response to crime is to encourage all affected to participate in conflict resolution Why Justice System Opposed to Aboriginal View adversarial court process v community dispute resolution and circles; negative (convict) labelling and alienation v reintegration the norm for every offender (worth and dignity); pleading guilty and punishment divorced from community v feeling responses of people who have been affected to take responsibility for pain caused Observations prison not a reference point for aboriginal justice; third
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