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Application of Labels as Central Process in Symbolic Social Interaction
1. Informal (primary groups, family, peers, relatives, neighborhood, school, etc.)
2. Formal (law, police, criminal justice, organizations)
Labels as Dependent Variable
i. why the labels are applied to some and not others
ii. Similar to conflict theory (will re-visit)
Labels as Independent Variables
1. Effects of labels on deviant behavior
i.Primary deviance (theory does not explain)
ii.Secondary deviance-takes place after in in reaction of the label
i.The labels becomes a cause of deviance enhancement/stabilization. Once you get labeled you start accepting and taking on said label, more likely to become a habitual/organized criminal. Labeled as an addict you get more into it and it causes you to be more of it)
ii.Behaviors that is based on the person's reaction to label and societal reactions.
iii.Critiques of labeling as a cause of deviance.
i.if you havent committed deviant acts to begin with, and they convict you they label you a criminal and you didnt do anything so you begin to do criminal acts you start thinking more like that.
iv.Variable reaction to labeling denial, rejection, defiance, negotiation, etc.
starts messing with your self concept identity.
Labels as Independent Variables
-The most important cause of determining what causes criminal behavior!!!!
-Also called Societal Reaction.
How we behave depends strongly on what labels we've been given.
-Formal has biggest impact in terms of negative outcomes.
-Its not what you do its who you are.
-What causes the labels to be applied, what causes certain behavior and not others and to who its applies.
-Other theory takes label as an independent label.
-Labels become what people assume is their identity based on those labels.
-Going to prison doesn't deter you it makes you more likely to continue being criminal.
Research evidence on Effects of Labels
i. Informal (not really tested) with regard to crime and deviance
ii. Formal (weak and non-supportive), although some recent supportive findings
iii. To test theory accurately must have this design:
Deviance T1---->labeled T2---->deviance T3
Deviance T1-->not labeled T2 ---->deviance T3
Causes of primary deviance at T1 do not disappear and must be controlled for in order to test enhancing effect of official labeling
iv. Preponderance of evidence not supportive of the theory, although some recent research finds some support
Research evidence on Effects of Labels (con't)
iv. May be the process of labeling people that leads to deviance
i. Prison -negative experience (general)
v. according to theory, it should have high levels of deviance
i. Problem- not finding many difference between groups -> labels have weak effects; sometimes 2) higher than 1).
vi. Things measured in T1 have better effect on T3
i. Primary cause of deviance not changed by labels
vii. No independent deviance enhancing effects of labels
viii. Causes of primary deviance at T1 not disappear and must be controlled in official labeling.
Juvenile Diversion as the Major Policy Application of Labeling Theory
1. Policy changes reflected the desire to stop labeling juveniles (60s)
2. Widely accepted un juvenile system -don't be so hard on them- get them out of institutions -> wanted less stigmatizing.
3. new programs and policies in part influenced by labeling theory- also had economic motive behind it (keeping kids out of institutions)
4. Juvenile Diversion as the major policy application of labeling theory
a. notice-> contact-> arrest/detention-> court-adjudication (as delinquent)-> disposition (incarceration/community)
i. each step of the way the label is placed more strongly.
b. The sooner you get people out of the system - mitigate labeling system.
i. started as early as they could (programs)
ii. tried to get out of system when there was police contact, or after arrest.
iii. court might defer adjudication - informal probation -> at least not yet formally labelled.
iv. after adjudication - give community based disposition.
v. the sooner they divert from system = less labeling
Braithwaite's Reintegrative Shaming theory
A. Theory specifies the conditions under which negative labels will decrease or increase deviance
a. Stigmatizing labeling (shaming) vs reintegrative labeling (shaming)
b. Stigmatizing labeling in a "non-communitarian" non-supportive social context enhances deviance
c. Reintegrative shaming in a communitarian, supportive social context will reduce it
d. Empirical validity-- not yet determined;not much research; mixed findings;
B. Restorative Justice and Faith Based Programs as Major Policy Application of Reintegrative Shaming Theory
a. Theory and Philosophy of Restorative Justice:
Restorative Justice programs reflect the theory of reintegrative shaming theory but also reflect the philosophy or moral/faith based standards of forgiveness, hating the offense but accepting the offender, redemption and reconciliation
b. Restorative justice programs include sentencing circles; community service; direct apologies to victims; resolution and reparations; mediation, involvement of all parties in determining sentencing or disposition; see Vermont program in Akers and Sellers
c. Reintegration and Rehabilitation: many supporters do not see rehabilitation and reduction in recidivism (repeat offending) as goals of restorative justice, but it must meet the same standards of effectiveness in reducing recidivism as other programs
d. Restorative Justice, Faith-Based Programs and Reintegration: many faith-based programs in institutions and in the community are explicitly or implicitly are restorative justice programs
C. Florida DJJ Community and Faith Based Mentoring Lane, Lanza-Kaduce, Akers
Five facilities --3 for boys 2 for girls
Mentors assigned on intake and stay with youth after release
problems with implementation; closure of facilities, staff turnover; inability to locate mentors and youth in community after release
In-facility improvement, but no differences in recidivism between youth in the mentoring program and comparison group.
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