Deviance and the Criminal Justice System

Deviance and the Criminal
Justice System
1. Illegitimate Opportunity Structures and
perceptions of crime in our society
2. The Criminal Justice System
3. The Success or Failure of our Corrections
Illegitimate Opportunity
Structures - Street Crimes
• IOS – opportunities for crimes woven
into the texture of life
• Poor (especially Urban Poor) – have numerous
opportunities to benefit from committing crime
• There is glamour in the “easy” $ and image of success
• The nature of the crimes committed by the Urban Poor
often involves violence – Street Crimes
• Most who follow the criminal path do not succeed at
achieving long term wealth or avoiding prosecution
• The public nature of street crime makes it a target of law
enforcement and a political issue
Structures –
White Collar Crime
• WCC - Crimes that people of status commit in the
course of their occupations
• Eg. Embezzlement, stock manipulation, fraud,
bribing officials
• Corporate crime - when high ranking officials
commit crimes to benefit their organization
• Prosecution for white collar crimes is done in a
very different manner than street crime
Criminal Justice System
• The Police, Courts, and Correctional
System make up our criminal justice system
• Police - Prevent crime, investigate crime,
arrest offenders
• Courts – Trials for the accused, sentencing
• Correctional System – Punish and/or
rehabilitate those who are convicted
Traditional and Frequent Forms
of Corrections in the USA
• 7.1 Million Americans are under the supervision
of adult corrections in the USA (2010 – Federal,
State, and local)
• Prisons, Jails, Probation, Parole
• Prisons - Usually for felonies; There are various
levels of security
• Jails – Usually for misdemeanors and those
awaiting other sentences
• Probation – Supervised sentencing where
offender is given some freedom (varying levels
exist) Can be revoked and lead to harsher
• Parole – Early release from sentence – often
Goals and Success of our
Corrections System
• Goals? Retribution, Social Protection, Deterrence,
• Based on Recidivism Rate and Crime Population
Statistics, our prisons do not appear to be
succeeding in any of these goals
• Prison Population has nearly quadrupled since the
• 51.8 percent of released offenders return to prison
within three years