Labeling Theory In Policing

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Introduction Merton (1968) states that there are five levels to adaptation to social structure: conformity, innovation, ritualism, retreatism and rebellion. Social structure states that society gives people goals and means to achieve them. Some people conform while others might not have the means to achieve goals given to them by society which can lead to crime. Another factor is identifying the stigmas that are associated with labels. Chambliss (1973) labeling theory suggests that stigmas are placed on people who are seen as criminals. Therefore, when a person is labeled as a criminal they will be perceived as one by their community which in return can lead to criminalizing all the community’s behaviors. As an example, The Saints and the…show more content…
Similar to crime as culture and culture as crime (Ferrell J, 1995). Labeling theory suggests that people who are labeled as criminals, either because of their appearance, nationality, or neighborhoods will start to act like criminals. Racialized policing and practices can lead minorities to not only lose respect and trust in the police but can also lead to strain. Sanchez, C (2015) conducting a study in two different Chicago neighborhoods to see the the difference if any in policing. In a neighborhood that was predominantly Latino, labeling was very clear. Police officers targeted youth who fit descriptions of gang…show more content…
When an individual is pulled over, it is not in a closed setting but out in the public. A professor, neighbors, or potential boss can see the individual and automatically assume that they did something wrong versus believing the cop is doing it based on race. Chambliss (1973) In Saints and the Roughnecks, as noted, although there were two groups of adolescents studied with similar behavior only the roughnecks were labeled and penalized. That is because they were seen by the community; they did not have the recourses to leave the city to live their delinquent behavior, they were seen by community members as they drank, fought, etcetera. The article identifies the issues with labeling and the need to get rid of demonizing
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