Durkheim argued that by having public punishments and executions for criminals, society was reminded of its shared norms and values (Bohm and Vogel, 2011, pg 70). Also, it could be argued crime and deviance can act as a safety valve, with Kingsley Davis claiming that there is a conflict between a man's instinctual need for sexual satisfaction and society's need to restrict the legitimate expression of sex to within the family. Therefore, prostitution is functional because it provides sexual satisfaction without threatening the family as an institution (Matza, 2010, pg 74). However, it is argued by Downes and Rock that suggesting functions for crime and deviance is not the same as finding an explanation for them. ‘ It is one thing to assert that crime can be made to serve some social end or other once it has occurred, for example to heighten solidarity by uniting against the offender.
In this essay we will assess the usefulness of these functionalist theories, and look at how it helps us explain crime. One functionalist who tried to explain crime is Merton and his strain theory, the strain theory argues that people engage in the deviant behaviour when they are unable to achieve socially approved goals by legitimate means. Merton explanation combines 2 elements; structural factors- society’s unequal opportunity structure, cultural factors- strong emphasis to achieve goals and weak emphasis on using legit means. Merton uses the strain theory to explain some patterns of crime in society, he argues a person’s positioning in society affects the way they adapt or respond to the strain to anomie. Merton gives 5 different types of adaption; Conformity- the individual accepts socially acceptable goal and achieves it through legitimate means, Innovation- Individual accepts the role of success and wealth but uses illegitimate means to achieve them, Ritualism- Individual give up on legitimate goals but still follow strictly to the rules, Retreatism- Individuals reject legitimate goals and means of achieving them e.g drug addicts, the final type is Rebellion- Individuals reject existing goals and means but replace them with new one in desire to bring about revolutionary change.
Criminal Law Foundations Evaluation If laws were not in place, individuals could not hold onto their individual properties. Social life would be impossible without laws to help control the way people behave, think and treat each other while in public and private locations. Criminal laws were designed to reflect the accepted behavior in a community, such as morals and the criminal act itself, or Mens Rea and Actus Reus. Thus when people break the law and are caught, the accused are provided certain constitutional rights. Criminal law consists of bodies of regulations and rules that will specify and define the punishments for the wrong committed against society or the state.
Being a criminal or deviant could be seen to be a social construct and therefore this may mean that you could question what criminal activity is and whether this social construct is even right since it has been constructed by members of the society. The laws of the society have also constructed the norms and values of society and therefore if someone were to go against that they would be seen to be criminal however, this may differ in other parts of the world because what may be criminal and deviant in our society may be seen to be the norm in another. The labelling theory helps us to understand why people commit crimes and why people end up being deviant within the community. One reason may be that this stereotypical view or pre-judgement enables people to self-fulfil their prophecy and therefore creates criminal for example. Someone who comes from poor background and where’s hoodies does not automatically mean that they could be deviant.
• Social Control theories attribute crime and delinquency to family structures, education, peer groups etc. • Theorists share a conviction that deviant behavior is expected. • “Why people obey rules” main thing trying to be proven • Critical component of all social control theories is their attempt to explain factors keeping people from committing crimes. Social Heritage • Cynicism of the United States because of Watergate • Conservatism enhanced popularity of control theories, theories themselves not inheritantly conservative. Intellectual Heritage • Connection with strain theories.
The results, of the crime control model are wrongful convictions, being over-turned and this is a major downfall in the criminal justice system. On the other hand the due process model is more concerned with the structure and the efficiency of the law. The due process focuses on evidences and facts in a case and ensures that a person in innocent until proven guilty in the court of law. In addition the due process model goal is the prevention and the elimination of crimes within the criminal justice
It does however explain why some people or actions are described as deviant, and can help in understanding crime and deviance. According to item A labelling has changed the theoretical base for the study of criminals. Becker emphasises the significance of crime being a social construct; an action only becomes criminal or deviant once society has labelled it so, and that crime can be argued to be a social construction. He introduced the concept of a master label, referring to the label which a person is given which overrides all other labels. When a person is labelled as negatively, society tends to tend them as such, and this master label often becomes internalised, and then a self-fulfilling prophecy occurs.
All crime is deviant but not all deviance is crime. Becker stated; “Social groups create deviance by making rules whose infraction constitutes deviance and by applying those rules to particular people and labelling them as outsiders. From this point of view deviance is not a quality of the act a person commits, but rather a consequence of
Acts of armed robbery that end in violence or homicide tend to render the public outraged and give their voice a stronger demand for justice to be done. If we choose to take the stance that our criminal justice system is mean to only keep society safe and that justice is carried out then we need to recognize that the laws we have in place currently are set in place to do so. In theory we could see how enforcing a harsher sentence to those who choose to commit violent acts or armed robbery would work as a deterrent to prevent criminals from committing the act as often as they do
Critically Analyse the Meaning of Official Statistics, Applying this Explanation to the Patterns of Crime by Factors such as Class, Race and Gender and Consider how the Media may Amplify such Deviancy A lthough crime is deviant not all deviance is criminal, for example spitting in public or swearing at a shop assistant are deviant acts, meaning that they go against social norms, but are not criminal. On the other hand, crime is also deviant, but is punishable by the laws of the land. In this way, there is social order and social control, this creates a consensus of what is acceptable behaviour. Since 1857 police crime figures have been recorded and published annually, and until fairly recently they were considered to be accurate, but not all crime is reported to the police and the police can only publish figures of the crimes that have been reported. Despite this, Positivists see official crime statistics as a reliable indicator of crime patterns.