Respond to the following in the context of the situation in California:
San Francisco police cited several factors they say contribute to African Americans accounting for about half of all felony arrests in the city, where they are less than 8 percent of the population. In 2005, 1 out of 3 arrests of black people involved narcotics. San Francisco's high black arrest rate is not of recent origin: 20 years ago, San Francisco was making black felony arrests at a rate much higher than California's seven other largest cities, state Justice Department reports show. In 1986, for example, San Francisco's black felony arrest rate was almost 45 percent greater than Los Angeles' and almost 51 percent higher than Oakland's. Many minorities believe that California's predominantly white judges, juries and court staffs treat them unfairly while courts convict and imprison them at a higher rate than whites, said a report released yesterday by the state Judicial Council. Statistics on the sentencing of adults "are inconclusive," according to the report. However, it found evidence of racial and ethnic prejudice in several national studies. For example, 33.2 percent of black males in California were on parole, on probation or in prison in 1990. The comparable figures for Latinos and whites were 9.4 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively.
At the same time, the report said, whites commit about 60 percent of rapes, robberies and assaults in California but account for less than half of the prison population.
In the decades since then, San Francisco's black felony arrest rate has climbed by more than 35 percent while the other seven major California cities' rates have dropped -- often by a considerable amount. During those 20 years, Los Angeles' black felony arrest rate dropped by more than 36 percent and Oakland's declined by more than 52 percent.
- How is labeling theory different from anomie and ecological theories? How does the concept of symbolic interactionism affect labeling?
- How effective is labeling theory in explaining the situation in San Francisco and other cities in California? Why?
- Do you believe individuals who are arrested once for a blue-collar or white-collar crime earn a permanent label of "criminal," and are, therefore, more prone to commit crimes again? Why?
- Could expanding the number of activities that are labeled as crimes actually create more criminals rather than deterring crime? Why?
Shaming sentences have been criticized by some as placing a stigma or label on offenders and potentially can do more harm than good. Others believe that shaming can only work on offenders in small communities where individuals know many of their fellow citizens. In the context of shaming sentences, answer these questions:
- How effective are policies of shaming and placing stigmas on individuals in deterring crimes?
- Do shaming sentences have equal impact on individuals of different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds or will it affect some individuals more than others? Why?
- Can shaming sentences be used in specific environments of San Francisco and other Californian cities that are more prone to crimes? Why?
- With a disorganized "melting pot" found in many large urban areas, does criminal labeling have a strong stigma and impact on an individual's self-concept, or is it reserved more for smaller homogenous communities?
How is labeling theory different from anomie and ecological theories? How does the concept of symbolic interactionism affect labeling?
Labeling theory differs from other theories in regard to the ability for the criminal justice system to effectively marginalize different segments of society by placing labels upon them such as delinquents, thugs, and criminals. This narrative is used to further justify the unequal and unjust policies toward minorities who are most affected by these labels. Therefore, when cops encounter members of this community, they are more inclined to treat them as they have labeled them regardless of whether or not the person is engaging in any criminal behavior. It's a form of stereotyping that has been used by society, and because police are from the society or the majority within the society, they also profile and stereotype based upon these labels.
How effective is labeling theory in explaining the situation in San Francisco and other cities in California? Why?
Labeling theory isn't effective in explaining the situation in San Francisco beyond the fact that police have accepted the labels and stereotypes ...
This solution discusses shaming and criminal justice.