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Deviance and Crime notes

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Robert Brym

Chapter 14 Deviance and Crime Conceptions of Crime and Devianceie generally accepted ways of doings things about All known human societies have normsappropriate behavior involves breaking a norm Deviance Crime involves breaking a lawy Some norms have wide scope applying to more or less everybody in the community prescriptions against murder and armed robbery for instance y Other norms may only apply to particular subgroups of societyNorms and Enforcement Norms are enforced in many ways both formally and informallyAt the formal level norms are enforced with laws regulated by a criminal justice system that includes police courts prisons etcAt the informal level norms may be enforced with shaming communal pressure etcNorm Violations Hagan distinguishes between diverse kinds of rule breaking behaviour by suggesting norm violations be differentiated according to different measures of seriousness which include the following 1 How harmful the act in question is deemed to be 2 How much agreement there is that the behavior in question is wrong 3 Severity of the sanction or punishment imposed on that behavior Norm Violations Types of Deviance and Crime Hagan employs his conception of seriousness to identify four different kinds of deviance as followsActs deemed very harmful and wrong and for which the harshest 1 Consensus crimecriminal sanctions are reserved 1Chapter 14 Deviance and CrimeExamples Homicide attempted homicide violent assault with a weapon violent sexual assault armed robbery kidnappingtheft Where members of the community disagree over whether behaviors 2 Conflict crimein question are harmful wrong or deserving of severe criminal sanction Examples Euthanasia gambling prostitution drug use and public drunkenness often referred to as morality offences y The important point about conflict crime is that its presence in the criminal code is loaded with controversyy A decade ago much public debate surrounded the appropriateness of a lengthy prison term for Saskatchewan farmer Robert Latimer who killed his severely handicapped daughter in what he regarded as an act of mercyy Some people regularly call for the decriminalization of marijuana use or even prostitution much to the horror of other peopley The public is divided about how wrong harmful and deserving of strict punishment these offences arey With marijuana use for example we have a situation in which large numbers of people particularly young people have used it and believe that they as well as other people should be allowed to use it3 Social deviation Normviolating behavior that is not illegal but nevertheless may be subject to social stigma through condemnation ostracization and medicalization Examples People who are mentally ill who are homosexual or who are alcohol or drugdependent y Research indicates that finding a job somewhere to live a circle of friends or a marital partner is significantly more difficult for people who are recognized as a former mental patient than it is for others Link 1982y The experience of former mental patients in this regard is not much different from that of exconvicts y Historically Roman Catholics and Jews who commit suicide cannot be buried on consecrated ground Such stigmatized acts are not illegal and Hagan categorizes them as social deviations 4 Social diversion Minority heterosexualhomosexual activities as well as forms 2
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