Labeling Theory Essay

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Labeling theory focuses on the stigmatization that can be associated with a criminal offender. The offender brought to be defined by the community after it is made aware of the person’s criminality. Also, the offender is also psychologically inclined to view himself in a negative manner once he has been penalized for breaking the law. Labeling theory is a form of social reaction theory, which places an emphasis on the social pressure that is held against a person who exercises deviant behavior. Some contributors to the field of labeling theory are John Braithwaite, Howard Becker, Edwin Lemert, Dina Rose, Todd Clear, and Lawrence Sherman. Labeling theory took root sometime in the early 1960. The theory pointed out the many discrepancies that existed in the legal system as it related to a particular type of person. It was pointed out that there existed certain biases that were attached to the lower class groups, and even particular sets of people. Staffensmeier and Terry pointed out in an experiment that people were more…show more content…
As a myriad of undesirable behavior was becoming codified as illegal, more people were finding themselves incarcerated for very small offenses. Thus more and more people were finding themselves stuck with the identity of a criminal. In light of this undesirable consequence of the legal system, diversions were created in an attempt to break the recidivism cycle. Work camps were used as alternates of incarceration. Deinstitutionalism also led to a slowing of simply building more prisons to house offenders. Due process was also addressed. Attempts to limit the states discretion and abuse of penalties against the offender were also addressed. This was all in an attempt to limit the problem of the growing amount of repeat offenders, who found little recourse in life but to identify with a life of

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