Deviance In The Criminal Justice System

351 Words2 Pages
Deviance is defined as "any violation of norms, whether the infraction is as minor as driving over the speed limit, as serious as murder, or as humorous as Chagnon 's encounter with the Yanomamo" (Henslin 194). One statement that stuck out to me was sociologist Howard S. Becker 's definition of deviance: "It is not the act itself, but the reactions to the act, that make something deviant" (Henslin 194). One reaction that acts as a punishment for a deviant or minor criminal is the criminal justice system. On page 211 in our book, it is stated that "the working class and those below them pose a special threat to the power elite" (Henslin). As a result of this threat, the law and punishment comes down harder on the lower class than it does on the upper class.…show more content…
In fact, it is from the poor and the underclass that have the most prison inmates in the United States (Henslin 211). The reason the criminal justice system is so focused on the working class is because if they become enraged, it could lead to a rising of a revolt. In an effort to please the lower classes, the courts will occasionally go after the executives of corporations and give the case major publicity to provide evidence of the "fairness" of the criminal justice system (Henslin 211). Since bigger corporations don 't have a punishment to fit the crime, their white-collar crimes are continued. Whereas, the poor 's punishment for minor crimes cause them to believe they are truly criminals. Therefore, with this newly attach label, they must "live up" to it and show their deviance. This can all be shown through media; nowadays, crime, murders, and robberies are all you hear about on the news. As a result, this encourages people to deviate from the norms in order to "achieve fame." The same goes for death penalty, anyone on death row makes national news and can be talked about for days, weeks, or even
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