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Deviant acts are behaviours or actions that violate what is considered a social norm by a society. Deviance may or may not be formalized by law. When formalized it is a criminal deviance. Sociologists argue that social norms are different depending in communities, for example some communities believe that taking alcohol is a good practice, on the other hand other communities believe taking alcohol is a bad hence it is a deviant act. The definition of deviance changes over time as the world keeps on changing. In the past for instance, gambling was considered a defiant behaviour but most governments are legalising gambling and people view it as a recreational activity. Andersen cited that deviance is created and defined within the social context of a particular community in regards to the social beliefs of a particular community (169). Deviance has been studied extensively by psychologists and they have come up with explanations of deviance. One of the major emphases of deviant acts is that individual personality factors deviant behaviour (Andersen, Taylor, 2008, 169). Those who have harmful acts of deviance are considered sociopaths and sick.
There various forms of deviant behaviour and it major categorized as violent or non-violent behaviours. Harmful deviant behaviours include; sexual assault, suicide, homicide, Murder, robbery with violence, domestic violence issues among others. Most deviant activities have been put to law and are punishable in most countries in the world. Deviance is not necessarily negative as cited by John, Humphrey and Frank (2012). They say that deviance can also be positive though it is a rare occurrence. They further gave an example of a particular Christmas day where citizens went to the local store only to find no attendants. They shopped and left their money on the store counter and no loss was reported (353).
Crime is found everywhere in the world, there is no place in the world that is considered to be free of crime. People who practice various criminal acts are believed to have started from their youthful ages and have harboured criminal thoughts for a long time. In society, crime is usually associated with the youth and the middle-aged people. Further studies have shown that the underprivileged in society are more involved in crime than the privileged members. In the recent time, the rate of crime has been on the rise yearly. Sociologists attribute this fact to media influence which air programs that encourage criminal activities. Crime is considered a type of a deviant behaviour. In formal law, deviant behaviours that are written in the constitution are considered crime.
Criminal deviance is the violation of criminal law. Palispis cites that even criminal deviance can be variable and it may range from minor crimes like violation of traffic rules to more complicated crimes like murder, rape, robbery and other crimes categorized as heinous (209). Despite how small a crime is considered, it is punishable according to the law. It is not expected for all crimes to have the same punishment but the weight of the punishment depends on how heavy the crime is. Criminal deviance is associated with the individual and factors that cause a man to be a criminal all point back to the individualâ€™s life especially past experiences. It is also associated with the company that a company keeps this shows that company mostly influences an individualâ€™s character and behaviour. This forms the basis of the argument that deviant acts should be viewed as non-criminal to criminal. Sociologists have debated on this issue for several years and have tried to come up with ways so as to find alternative measures.
Sociologists attribute the fact of deviant acts to past experiences. This should be considered when making laws that it is not the fault of this person and he or she might have been acting out of anger, pain and bitterness. For example, nobody in his right state of mind will take a knife or a gun and head to a school and kill a couple of innocent children as this was the case at the Oikos University in California in early April 2012. The argument is such a person should not be given a judgement as one who knowingly plans and executes a crime. Instead such a person should be taken to a psychiatrist and treated for mental disorder and undergo a series of counselling sessions then released to the society under heavy supervision for a period of time. This will help the individual return the society and have a productive life as opposed to him being in jail, serving a penalty and come out the same way he went in without any change in behaviour.
Defiant activities that are associated with deviant behaviour should not be viewed as criminal because it is the circumstances of the people that dictate such behaviours. People and governments should be more considerate when it comes to such people and they should work out ways to assist such people and make them productive in society. In the world today such people are oppressed, discriminated on, looked down upon while the other people are given respect and a high society status, yet every constitution worldwide states that everybody is equal. This Equality should be practiced and the peopleâ€™s view be changed so that defiant activities be viewed as non-criminal. Instead everybody should chip in a helping hand in helping out this people to be normal.
As stated earlier, people who participate in deviant acts have a background as to why they do so. For instance, people who are under-privileged are most associated with crime. This behaviour arises from the need to have a means of survival in the world. They have basic needs that have to be net and with no hopes of employment, they turn to crime. If governments come up with ways of creating projects or trainings on various walk of life for such people. This people are taught different ways to make ends meet, that way they can turn to this methods this will reduce the rate of crimes in society. Hence the people will refrain from deviant activities and engage in normal social behaviour.
The large gap between the privileged and the less privileged needs to be addressed, so that the blame does not fall on the less privileged always. Government also needs to set up institutions that offer guidance and recreation activities for the youth so as to avoid a lot of idle time that they may use to plan criminal activities under each otherâ€™s peer influence. The people can chip in by being better parents to their children. For example, to avoid cases of domestic violence, parents should work out their differences in a civilised manner. That way their children will not learn how to practice such violent behaviour in the future. The early days of a child are the ones that dictate the latter behaviours and practices of the child. If a boy for instance, sees his father beat his mother, the boy will grow up knowing that women should be beaten and later on when he marries chances are high that he will also beat his wife. Therefore, the deviant acts should be treated from individual level.
In as much as the argument would like to have defiant acts to be viewed as non-criminal, society has different kinds of people some of who are cunning. The cunning people will participate in defiant behaviours and get away with it and pretend that they also have a mental case. This makes governments and other law practitioners argue that it is impossible to differentiate a genuine case from a fake once hence all the criminal deviants should have the same fate. The society would also alienate those criminals from the rest and discriminate against them. They can build anger towards the justice system for releasing criminals to roam freely in the streets, this can encourage them to take matters in their own hands and punish the offenders in the way that they think is best. Therefore the government has to act in the interest of the compact majority in society considering they make a significant number of people in a country, as opposed to the criminals who are very few in societies.
Finally, in as much as equality should to be practiced everywhere; it has proved difficult for governments to implement it. The argument is that people cannot be equal because they have different Intelligence Quotients hence the decisions people make is what makes the difference and creates the large difference. In conclusion, all criminal activities are considered deviant behaviours but not all deviant behaviours are criminal activities. So people should not judge everybody with a deviant history as criminals. It will also require a lot of effort for a line to be drawn so that some deviant activities may be views as non-criminal. Sociologists, government heads and law practitioners should organize forums and work out these differences in order to finally differentiate between criminal and non criminal behaviours.