Crime and Age Stats - Sociology

In: Social Issues

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Social Construction of crime:
Platt (1969) – Juvenile Delinquency (Youth crime, is participation in illegal behavior by minors)
Originally created as a result of a campaign by upper class Victorian model entrepreneurs, aimed at protecting young people at risk. This established ‘juveniles’ as a separate category of offender with their own courts, and it enabled the state to extend its powers beyond criminal offences involving the young, into so-called ‘status offences’ such as truancy and sexual promiscuity.

Becker – notes that social control agencies themselves may also campaign for a change in the law to increase their own power. For example, the US Federal Bureau of Narcotics successfully campaigned for the passing of the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937 to outlaw marijuana use. Supposedly, this was on the grounds of its ill effects on young people, but Becker argues it was really to extend the Bureau’s sphere of influence.

Who gets labelled?
Piliavin and Briar (1964) found that police decisions to arrest a youth were mainly based on the physical cues (such as manner and dress), from which they made judgements about the youth’s character.

Cicourel – probation officers held the common sense theory that juvenile delinquency was caused by broken homes, poverty and lax parenting. Therefore they tended to see youths from such backgrounds as likely to offend in future and were less likely to support non-custodial sentences for them.
^Page 81

Left Realism – Causes of crime - Marginalisation
Unemployed youth are marginalised. They have no organisation to represent them and no clear goals, just a sense of resentment and frustration. Bing powerless to use political means to improve their position, they express their frustration through criminal means such as violence and rioting.
^Page 96

Gender Patterns in Crime
By the age of 40, 9% of females had a…...

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