Labeling, Law, And America's Drug Policy

4177 words - 17 pages

Labeling theorists explore how and why certain acts are defined as criminal or deviant and why other such acts are not. As such, they also who is identified as a criminal, and who is not. They question how and why certain people become defined as criminal or deviant. Such theorists view criminals not as evil people who engage in wrong acts but as individuals who have a criminal status forced upon them by both the criminal justice system and the community at large. From this point of view, criminal acts themselves are not significant; it is the reactions of the rest of society to acts defined as criminal that are most crucial. Crime and its control involve a process of social definition, which involves a response from others to an individual's behavior. The external response is crucial to how an individual views himself. According to Sociologist Howard S. Becker (1963) "Deviance is not a quality of the act the person commits, but rather a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an offender. The deviant is one to whom that label has successfully been applied; deviant behavior is behavior that people so label."

Labeling theory focuses on the reactions of other people and the consequent results of those reactions. A person who is exposed to have engaged in deviant acts is shunned from society and labeled, "prostitute," "crook," "addict," "molester," and so on. According to Becker, this process creates a group of "outsiders", who then begin to associate with other outcasts. When more and more people begin to think of these individuals as deviants, they respond to them as such; thus the deviant reacts to such a response by continuing to engage in the behavior society now expects from them. In this paper, I would like to explore the labeling theory beyond it current definition. I contend that racial profiling has made labeling an issue for an entire race of people. Innocent people are repeatedly subjected to suspicions based on the idea that others who have similar ethnic or physical characteristics have committed crimes of a certain nature. Racial profiling, as a technique of law enforcement, has unwittingly contorted Becker's labeling theory into a practice by where government sanctioned policy endorses stereotyping. Becker spoke of people who have actually committed crimes. However, by labeling people before any crime has been committed, society has begun to think of entire groups as deviants, and responds to them as such whether they are engaging in deviant behavior or not. The consequences are devastating to the group as a whole. This labeling process has occurred systematically in the American legal system and is evidenced by the grossly incongruent nature of arrests, convictions, and incarcerations among African Americans.

African-American males have a 29 percent chance of serving time in prison at some point in their lives; white males have a 4 percent chance. About 8 percent of the African-American male...

Find Another Essay On Labeling, Law, and America's Drug Policy

Human Resource Management: Human Resources, the Law, and Job Analysis - Sexual Harassment Policy

1108 words - 4 pages during the interview. The investigator will ask those accused of harassment for any documents or witnesses to support their version of the story. The investigator will avoid arguments, and focus on collecting facts and statements. A no-retaliation policy, will be strictly enforce while the investigation is taking place, and after the investigation is over. The company will try their best to maintain as normal a work atmosphere as possible while the

Should the Us Government Mandate Re-Labeling in Restaurants and Grocery Stores to Emphasize Calorie Count in Products

2111 words - 9 pages & Obesity titled “Menu Labeling in Chain Restaurants,” most people are unaware of how many calories or grams of fat the food they are consuming contains. While some might think there is not a huge calorie difference between an Arby’s sausage, egg, and cheese breakfast wrap and a ham and cheese croissant, the breakfast wrap contains 689 calories, which is more than double the croissant, which only contains 281 (Rudd Center For Food Policy

The War on Drugs: Failures of the Drug Law

1751 words - 7 pages The high profitability of the drug trade often leads to corruption of law enforcement officials. Corruption can lead to a host of problems for the society, including an increase in black money market. Schlosser states that the current policy has “promoted the corruption of government officials throughout the world” (Schlosser 4). The reasons are clear: profit and power. Thanks to black market merchants and rampant police corruption, boozehounds

It's Time to Legalize Drugs

3019 words - 12 pages No one can honestly claim that current American drug policies have been a success. To the contrary, the current policy of drug prohibition, aside from being ineffective and costly, has created a set of unwanted consequences including: a high prison population of non-violent offenders, corruption within law enforcement, health issues, and an erosion of civil liberties . Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over

Sociological Perspective on Teenage Drug Abuse

965 words - 4 pages law enforcement to crack down on teenager drug abuse. Drug abuse can be a result of legalizing marijuana protests or depression in the teenager’s life. Teenager drug abuse can also be applied to conflict theory. Conflict theory was brought about by and drawn on the ideas of Marxism. Conflict theory argues that deviance is deliberate and most often political. Conflict theorists argue that people often chose to be involved in deviant behavior

Drug Policy

976 words - 4 pages The President’s Drug Policy Introduction      The following is a summary of the President’s policy emphasizing on the President’s stated objectives. Stopping drug use before it starts, providing drug treatment, and attacking the economic basis of the drug trade are the main positions the President stressed. The President’s policy was analyzed by the important tasks played by law enforcement, schools and the

Drug Abuse Among American Teenagers

7992 words - 32 pages morals. These ideas are taught to you at a young age by your parents, and other people in your life that are important to you. If your inner containment is low, meaning that you don't have people that have put ideas into your head about what's right and wrong, then your chance of being a drug abuser increases. Outer containment is like the law, teachers, friends, and family. If you have a lot of people around you that are constantly telling you drugs

Deviant Behavior

1642 words - 7 pages emphasis on socialization and what types of influences it has on indiviuals to become members of groups or the general society. With the knowledge of each of these sociological theories, one will see how these theories are incorporated into illicit drug use and see if these theories can give some insight on explanation on why drug use occurs. The first theory described was the labeling theory. This theory provides an explanation to why the

Harm Minimisation Has Been An Overwhelming Success In Australia. It Would Be Equally So In Other Countries

2032 words - 8 pages , nationally committing Australia to reducing the adverse consequences of drug use, fewer health, social and economic problems than exist under the present system of prohibition (Wodak 1996). This essay has shown significant differences in relation to the approach from different countries towards the user.Over the years America has had considerable influence on policy in other nations. There absentee approach has meant a very heavy reliance on law

Economic and Social Costs of Heroin Use and How it Affects Two Economies

1429 words - 6 pages and results in lower productivity, more workplace accidents, and higher health-care costs, all of which constrain America's economic output." Likewise, according to the Executive Office of the President Office of National Drug Control Policy (2001) "the costs to society from drug consumption,however, exceed the amounts spent on drug abuse. Drug use fosters crime; facilitates the spread of catastrophic health problems, such as hepatitis

David F Musto

5667 words - 23 pages dangerous, addictive com pounds that needed to be severely con trolled. Today, after a resurgence of a tolerant attitude toward drugs during the 1960s and 1970s, we find ourselves, again, in a period of drug intolerance. America's recurrent enthusiasm for recreational drugs and subsequent campaigns for abstinence present a problem to policymakers and to the public. Since the peaks of these episodes are about a lifetime apart, citizens rarely have an

Similar Essays

Foreign And Drug Policy Essay

2730 words - 11 pages the NSA are subject to a different standard of legality and disclosure, ensuring that their actions are policy-driven and not necessarily conducted in accordance with the letter of the law. In addition to discussing North’s contention that foreign policy and drug policy were consistent, we must also assess his credibility as a source on this subject. It is widely known that he was convicted of perjuring himself to Congress, so immediately

Policy Identification And Explanation Public Law

1906 words - 8 pages Policy Identification and Explanation Public Law No. 107-56 Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act [USA PATRIOT Act] of 2001, Section 215 is responsible for access to records and other items under FISA, which stands for the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, this act was implemented during the George W. Bush administration after the September 11th terrorist

Sex Work And The Law: A Critical Analysis Of Four Policy Approaches To Adult Prostitution

1810 words - 7 pages Throughout Sex Work and the Law: A Critical Analysis of Four Policy Approaches to Adult Prostitution Frances Shaver discusses the need for change for women working as prostitutes. Shaver explains the ongoing problem surrounding prostitution in Canada and provides four possible ways to resolve the issue in her work. Three well thought out points Shaver writes about are the health benefits as well as personal safety for the women in the sex

Law And Policy In Society Essay

1121 words - 4 pages woman's pregnancy. It used to not be this way and when dealing with the law as evolutionary adaptation it merely tries to make things better off for society now and in the future. You take one step at a time and when you look at the years before us, evolutionary adaptation has come a long way. With these new laws or changed laws coming into play it is essential that they are followed to better our society.Law as Morality is just on of the many laws