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How the Institution Handles Deviants

In: Philosophy and Psychology

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Deviance and Society
Unit 8 Paper: Institutions and deviance
Monday, June 18th, 2012

How the Institution Handles Deviants

Institutions have made systems, regulations, and rules in an effort to make those who we define as a deviant restrict such behaviors. To manage deviance institutions use restraints, medicalizations, rules, pass them along, punishment, ignore them, hide them, fix them, isolate them, sort them, and challenge/undermined them. Medical institutions for the mentally ill can use any and all of the above techniques to manage deviant behaviors. Legal institutions like police stations, jails, prisons, and courts use the techniques that deal less with medicalizing deviants; the techniques generally include: rules, isolation, sorting, punishment, and challenging the deviants. Such examples are covered in the readings and movie for this unit: Case Routinization in Police Work (Waegel 1981), Normal Crimes (Sudnow 1965), On Being Sane in Insane Places (Rosenhan), and The One Who Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
In Case Routinization in Police Work and Normal Crimes, the main objective of the two journals was to show case the different ways in which the legal system handles deviance. For Case Routinization in Police Work it explained that the differences in bonds and sentencing is based on the crime itself and how the assailant committed the crime, if it was performed in a routine or non-routine way. A great example that comes from recent media coverage would be “the attack of the Miami zombie/ cannibal”, it was rather non-routine in the sense that it is not normal to find two men naked under an overpass where on is eating the other’s face. In reaction, the police that made it to the scene were rather confused on how to approach the situation and in the end had to extinguish the “Miami zombie/cannibal” by shooting him multiple times. It of course has been pinned to the use of a barely legal drug, ‘bath salts”, that has had similar violent reactions of the user in the past. So what is the next step, does the legal system continue allowing for people to use such a dangerous drug at the risk of another violent incident? Or will laws amend, as they generally do when such occurrences do (prohibition and sales of certain items), to make this over the counter drug with effects stronger then crystal meth illegal? Another drug that can be put through this perspective is the K2, similar to marijuana, which has also had violent effects on users? Or better yet, will they handle this on a case by case reading and blame a drug when something tragic happens and ignore or hide the problem before such things happen?
The Normal Crimes journal is about the systematic categorization of crimes that have been produced in an effort to make profiling easier, generate a better knowledge of reaction of the inmates in jails/prisons, set apart “white-collar crime” for “vicious/malicious crimes”, and make deviance seem easier to understand. The flaw in this is that those participating in crimes come from all backgrounds and have all different upbringings, their perspectives are all varying from one perpetrator to the next, and deviance will never be easy to understand. It is clear that in this journal the main technique in focus is the sorting of deviants, which is important in some cases. Take for example; it would not be wise to put a child molester in the same cell as an irate, underage drunk who was once molested, this is because it can go two different ways of which generates undesirable situations and consequences.
On Being Sane in Insane Places was about the medical institutions’ reaction to deviant behaviors and faking the way through the process of being schizophrenic. It opens with the idea of the legal system pinning psychologists and psychiatrists against one another in an effort to make the defense or prosecution look more creditable with the evidence of the defendant’s (in)sanity. In order to give evidence that one’s sanity, or lack thereof, is hard to diagnose, the group explained in the paper conducted an experiment to show that these major institutions used to help those experiencing mental problem cannot differentiate a completely sane individual from the rest of the committed individuals. Each participant was diagnosed as a recovering schizophrenic and given medication and rules to live by while institutionalized. The “psuedopatients” were treated just like the real patients despite emitting many clues that they were completely sane.
An alike story is that of “The One Who Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. Mac, our protagonist, was a person being “passed-along” (going from jail to jail) and ended up in a mental ward by choice of those in the court system. Mac generated all kinds of trouble in the hospital by attempting to give the deviants power, causing havoc on purpose, and asking questions. He managed to attempt giving the other patients power by making them vote and make decisions on their own. He often plead that changes should be made for the benefit of (himself really) the patients. Mac caused havoc with the “fishing-trip” kidnapping of the other patients, stealing the bus, making the patients party (getting them drunk and laid), and bringing people into the institution after hours. He made the deviants ask questions about the management and challenge each other. In reaction, rules changed to create a stronger hold on the patients, medicating, and punishment was used against the patients. As for Mac himself, all of the above techniques were used in addition to under minding by Nurse Ratched, electroshock, and ultimately his humanity was taken with a lobotomy (a form of the fix it technique).…...

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