Labelling Theory: A Program For Dealing With Crime

1119 words - 5 pages

Labels are everywhere. Whether conscious or subconsciously, they are a fundamental part of our lives. We label together foods, clothing, colours and things that are alike. But what happens when we expand this form of “labelling” to split up types of people? When we assume character traits about those who belong to a certain group, this can intensely affect the way many react in life. Those who are judged for their sexual orientation, gender, income, mental problems etc., may eventually begin to conform to a stereotype that they belong to. In turn, this stereotyping may be the reason for certain people to partake in deviance acts.
Labelling theory takes a micro and consensualist approach. At times, it can also be considered conflictual due to the fact that it may affect others but for the most part it relies on the question: why do people offend? This theory was created to help others understand that many of those who offend, may be living through a self-fulfilling prophecy in which their behaviour and identity may be influenced by the labels they adhere to. This theory states that deviance is not about the act, but the negative labels minorities or those who are seen as deviant from a standard cultural viewpoint. It also coincides with social-construction and symbolic interactionism analysis.
In this essay, I will argue how labelling theory, developed by Howard Becker, can affect someone’s probability to acting deviant because of the labelling group they conform to. I will also discuss a program and possible ways to essentially reduce crime rates in relation to labelling theory. The three main ways I believe we can deal with crime are through finding out who is more likely to act in deviant ways due to hereditary factors and family members who may have had issues with the law, education to help society expand and understand minorities, and resources for those who are in dire need to get out of poverty.
I would like to begin with one of the most prominent aspects of labelling theory, those who suffer from mental issues. Many suffer from unwanted labels such as those that come with a disability or diagnosis of a mental disorder in which a stigma is created under a negative label that will change someone’s self-concept and social identity. This is something that in my opinion could be avoided. Once a child is born, I believe there should be a background check placed on the family to see if there are any hereditary or other factors, that could affect a child’s state of mind or well being. It has happened on to many occasions where there have been mass-murders or tragedies where someone had only been diagnosed AFTER a crime had been committed. Usually, these types of events occur randomly and without any sort of indication that something was wrong. I can name many occasions in 2013 where this has occurred and after 20+ people had been killed, the person would be considered un-well with a mental illness. If certain people were kept an eye on...

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