Reviewing The Youth And Deviance Laws Criminology Essay

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1.1 Crime is the breach of rules or laws for which some governing authority via mechanisms such as legal systems can ultimately prescribe a conviction. Every single human society may each define crime and crimes differently. Even though every crime violates the law, not every violation of the law is considered as a crime for instance breaches of contract and of other civil law may rank as offences or as infractions. Crimes are normally taken as offenses against the public or the state, differentiated from torts which are offenses against private parties that can cause rise to a civil cause of action.

To deviate means to move or stray from, set standards in a society. Deviance is a much more general category than crime and used by sociologists to refer to behaviour that while being different is often not controlled legally. Deviance varies from time to time and place to place in certain societies an act that is considered deviant today may be defined normal in the future. It can also happen that acts which are considered to be defined to be deviant in one society may be considered to be normal in another.

Three Types of Deviant behaviour

Admired behaviour this can be an act of heroism -saving life of another person whilst putting your own life in great danger. They deviate from norms but still value the same thing.

Odd behaviour this can range from such things as outlandish modes of dress, through mildly eccentric forms of behaviour to right madness.

Bad behaviour this is law breaking or criminal behaviour, depending on the time and place this kind of behaviour can include crimes of violence, crimes against property. This tends to receive widespread disapproval and punishment as they deviate from both accepted norms and values.

Youth is explained as the period between childhood and adulthood, described as the period of physical and psychological development from the onset of puberty to maturity and early adulthood. Defining the precise age range that constitutes youth vary. An individual's actual maturity may not be in contact with their age, as immature individuals exist at all ages. Around the world the terms youth, adolescents, teenager, and young person are interchanged, often meaning the same thing, occasionally differentiated. Youth generally refers to a time of life that is neither childhood nor adulthood but rather somewhere in-between. Youth also identifies a particular mindset of attitude.

Statistics for recorded crime do not capture most incidents of law breaking it raises the possibility that patterns of detected offending do not necessarily provide an accurate reflection of underlying patterns of criminal behaviour. In the early of the 1990s statistics where showing that it had declined but this might be argued as this might be caused by a fall in recorded offences. From 2004-2006 and 2007 after a period of further decline there was again a further rise of 4% in the offences cleared by the police. Over a period of 12 months the rate of detention rose by 0.6% less than 1% increase in youth justice disposal over that time. Changes on the level of detected youth crime are not then simply a function of changes in the proportion of offences cleared up by the police. Home office suggest that much of the subsequent increase up to 2001/02 is attributable to changes in the counting rules which require the police to record a greater proportion of incidents reported by the public. The British crime survey is generally regarded as providing a more reliable indicator of crime trends since self reported victimisation is not susceptible to changes in the extent to which the public reports offending and the police record it. Estimates based on the survey suggest that there was a 48% fall in offending against persons living in private households between 1995 and 2007/8. The other measures of trends of offending add weight to the suggestion that the decline in youth crime recorded in criminal statistics up to 2003 represent a genuine fall. Surveys which elicit self reported offending by young people do not suggest a recent rapid escalation in youth crime. Recent crime and justice survey show no statistically significant difference between 2003 and 2006 in the proportion of 10-17 year olds admitting any offence or self report serious or frequent offending. Trends since 2003 reflect changes in police practice in response to government targets. The government established a target to narrow the justice gap between offences recorded and those brought to justice by increasing the number that resulted in sanction detection. The rise in sanction detection was not accompanied by any increase in the proportion of crime reported to the police that was cleared up. The majority of crimes committed by youth are directed against property despite the decline of these offences during 1990s. In 2007 theft, handling stolen goods, burglary, fraud or forgery and criminal damage comprised more than 62% of offences committed by young people. Juvenile typically include acts which would be considered crimes if committed by adults and status offences which are less serious mis-behavioural problems such as truancy and parental disobedience. Most crimes committed by juveniles, police are rather encouraged to caution juveniles who admit an offence unless they are persistent offenders unlike adults. If the courts need to punish juveniles they tend to utilise community sentences this requires juveniles to attend at attendance centre orders during their leisure hours where they are given programmes of constructive activities.

1.2 Class defined here as social relation it is directly associated with economic, social and political power and it are evident in how laws are framed, institutions are organised and social resources are distributed (White and Van der Velden, 1995). Class situation of young people is very much dependent upon family and community resources and it changes over time. Typically, a young people's class situation is defined and distinguished on the basis of geographical location of their housing, capacity of parents to provide material support and nature of their education. Community resources are distributed via market, state and informal community and family networks and this has a huge bearing on class situation. Unemployment is a biggest transformation in people's lives if this is not available then a number of social problems are often invoked especially crime. Predominantly young men from low income, low educational achievement and strained familial relations are the standard defining characteristics young people most frequently found in juvenile detention and custodial institutions. People from modern and advanced industrialised societies are not simply marginal to the labour market; they are literally excluded from it by virtue of family history.

Merton's theory states that the origins of deviance in terms of the position of individual or groups in the social structure. Subcultural theorist argue that certain groups develop norms and values which are to some extent held different by other members of society. Subcultural theories claim that deviance is the result of individual's conformity to the values and norms of the social group to which they belong. Albert Cohen's analysis of youth offending provides that the development of subculture is explained in terms of the position of groups or individuals in the social structure. Cohen's (1955) criticises Merton's views on working class deviance, he argues that delinquency is collective rather than an individual response. Merton saw individuals responding to the position in the class structure. Cohen also argues that Merton failed to account for non-utilitarian crime, which does not produce monetary reward. Cohen mentions that lower working class boys hold the success goals of the mainstream culture but due to educational failure and the dead end jobs that result from this, they have little opportunities to attain these goals. Their failure relates to their position in the social structure. Cultural deprivation accounts for the lack of educational success of members of the lower working class. Lower working class boys suffer from status frustration; they are frustrated and dissatisfied with their low status in society. They resolve their frustration not by turning to criminal paths to success, Merton suggest by rejecting the success goals of mainstream culture. This replace them with alternative values which they can achieve success and gain prestige delinquent subculture. Steven Box (1981) questioned Cohen's view that most young people offend originally accepted the mainstream standards of success. Box argued they feel resentment at being regarded as failures by teachers and middle class youths; they turn against those who look down on them. Cohen has also been criticised for his selective use of the of lower class subculture David Bordua (1962) argued that he used to explain the educational of lower working class youngsters with the notion of cultural deprivation but did not use it to youth offending. Delinquent subculture is created by a new generation reacting to its position and the social structure. Richard A. Cloward and Lloyd E. Ohlin (1961) explain working class delinquency from the same point as Merton there is pressure on members of working class to deviate because they have less opportunity to succeed by legitimate means.

Conflict subculture tends to develop in areas where there is little opportunity for success and it tends to be in within working class and their neighbourhoods. In these areas there is little adult crime to provide apprenticeship these areas tend to have a high turnover population and lack unity and cohesiveness. The response to this situation is often gang violence as it serves as release for anger and frustration and means of obtaining prestige in terms of values of the subculture. Cloward and Ohlin also suggest that some lower class adolescents form retreat subculture organised mainly around illegal drug use, because they have failed to succeed in both the legitimate and illegitimate structures. Roger Hopkins Burke (2001) argues that criminal subculture is based on gangs in Chicago in the 1920s and 1930s and it's now highly debatable how far the analysis would be applicable today. Burke argues that Coward and Ohlin theory is based upon false assumption that the working class is a homogeneous group. Burke also mentions that drug taking is not just for working class but also successful middle class professional people.

Charles Murray (1989) do not accept that the underclass share the same values as the other members of the society. They see underclass as responsible for high proportion of crime Ian Taylor (1997) argues that marketization of America and Britain declining demand for unskilled labour and rising in inequality are all responsible for the development of underclass and the rise of crime. The lower class commit blue collar crime, every potential criminal is limited in the opportunity to commit crime by the situation they occupy in the society. Individual employed in a low or unskilled job and lives in an inner city environment. Many blue collar crimes tend to involve the use of force and usually a greater number of tend to get injured in this type of crime there is a greater chance that the victim will report the crime. Statistical data usually shows that there is more crime in high density areas and usually the areas have more police officers in patrol. Thornberry and Christenson (1984) analysed data cohort study of delinquency in Philadelphia and found unemployment exerts an immediate effect on criminal involvement

White collar crime has been defined by Edwin Sutherland (1960) as a crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation. White collar crime overlaps with corporate crime because the opportunity for fraud, bribery, insider trading, embezzlement, computer crime, identity theft and forgery are more available to white collar employees. Offences committed by adults of high social status are less likely to lead to arrests and convictions than those committed of adults of low social status.

Corporate crime refers to crimes committed by corporations or by individuals that may be identified with corporations or other business entity. White collar crimes coincide with corporate crime because the majority of individuals who represent the corporation interests are employees of a higher social class. Laureen Snider (1993) argues that many of the most anti-social acts committed in modern industrial countries are corporate and do more harm than street crimes. She mentioned that corporate crimes cost more money and lives than street crimes.


Consistent pattern show that there they is a large number of British African Caribbean in prison or is it because they commit more crime than any other ethnic group or the result of discriminatory treatment by the criminal justice. Philips and Bowling (2002) in the 1970s after the mass migration official consensus showed that the settler community offended at lower rates than the majority population House of Commons Report in 1972 found that African Caribbean crime rates were not higher than those of whites. In the mid 70s face of conflict increased between the police and African Caribbean communities due to statistics from the police at higher rate particularly in theft and robbery Philips and Bowling, 2002. Paul Gilroy (1983) sees minority ethnic group as defending themselves against a society which treats then unjustly. He states that Asians and Caribbean's originate from former colonies of Britain so they carried with them scars of imperialist violence. Gilroy states that criminality has been created as a result of the police having negative stereotypes of African Caribbean's and Asians. Gilroy (1983) also points out Police Federation magazine which claimed that Jamaica had deliberately shipped convicts to Britain during the early period of migration in order to export its crime problems. Gilroy argued that statistics which showed a disproportionate involvement of African Caribbean's in streets could not be trusted. They reflect the prejudice of the police rather than any real tendency for this group to be more criminal than white British people. Critcher, Tony Jefferson, John Clarke and Brian Roberts (1979) detailed of explanation of mugging in Britain their argument seemed contradictory buts its main thrust was that African Caribbean's were much more likely to be labelled as criminal than whites. They argued that certain sections of the police were racist and that concern about street crime, particularly mugging, was an unjustified moral panic. In thirteen months between August 1972 and August 1973 sixty events were reported as mugging in the daily national papers. This highlighted new frightening type of crime in Britain, judges, politicians and police lined up with the media in stressing the threat that this crime posed to society. Hall et al (1979) see these reactions as moral panic (exaggerated outburst of public concern over the morality and behaviour of a group in a society). Since the arrival of African Caribbean's and Asians Hall and his colleagues could not accept the supposed novelty or rate of increase crime explained the moral panic. They argued that both mugging and moral panic could be explained in context of the problems faced by British capitalism. Economic problems faced in the 1970s when firms found it difficult to sell at profit Hall et al (1979) supported the Marxist view that capitalist economies tend to go through periods of crisis. The declining rate of profit, rising unemployment and falling wages which coincided with the mugging panic. The rise of the crisis according to Gramsi the state tend to be dominated by ruling class and attempt to win support for their policies and ideas from other groups they try to persuade the working class that the authority of the state is being run fairly and justly in the interests of all to assure their dominants. With the arrival of immigrants African Caribbean's and Asians their views where challenged as the basis of the inter-class was undermined as there was now increased activity from the black power movement. Since the government was no longer able to govern by consent it turned to the use of force and it is this context that street crime became an issue. Violence was portrayed as threat to the stability of society, mugging was presented to be a key element in a breakdown of law and order and it was the black mugger who was seen to pose these threats. In this way the White British public could be persuaded that these problems were caused by immigrants. The British transport police was particularly concerned with mugging and as it was associated with African Caribbean's they ended up setting a special squad to deal with violent crime on the London underground. Hall et al claim the police created much of the mugging that was later to appear in the official statistics showing the rise of crimes committed by African Caribbean's. Hall further explained the pouncing of African Caribbean youths by the police to fuel violent reaction in self defence the youths would then be arrested and tried for crimes of violence. Many so called muggers who were arrested and convicted only had police evidence them at trial victims of crimes where in some cases where not produced. Labelling helped to produce the figures that appeared to show rising levels of black crime, which in turn justified stronger police measures. Policing crisis concentrates on moral panic about crime, Hall et al makes an attempt to explain African Caribbean criminality as in the 1960s and 50s many immigrants from commonwealth arrived to fill the labour shortage as recession in the 1970s hit immigrants hard. This was because of the lack of jobs and having low paid jobs some opted out of the employment market they turned to hustling for money using petty crime street crime, casual drug dealing and prostitution to earn a living. Policing the crisis that the rise in African Caribbean criminality was largely the result of police labelling but some individuals were forced into crime in order to survive. David Downers and Paul Rock (1988) mention that African Caribbean Street crime was not rising quickly it was being amplified by police labelling and that it was bound to rise because of lack of employment. Gilroy and Hall et al tends to see any over-representation of minority ethnic groups in as largely a product of labelling and this been largely criticised by left realist criminologists such as John Lea and Jock Young. They argue that it is not entirely a myth certain type of crime is more common among minority ethnic group's official statistics on the ethnic background of offenders is entirely fabricated. They attack Gilroy for suggesting that a certain number of males convicted of crimes in Britain was caused by police racism as they mention that 92% of known to police are brought to their attention by the public and only 8% are uncovered by the police. Leah and young also contradict Gilroy claim that African Caribbean crime came as result of continues anti-colonial struggle as most young West Indians are second generation immigrants who have lived in Britain since birth. Home office 2004-5 show that white ethnic groups were likely be arrested and cautioned than other ethnic groups and are also less likely to be sent to prison than any other group. There is a larger of young black male likely to be stopped and searched by the police

Phillips and Bowling (2002) argue that discrimation against minority ethnic groups starts with the decision about policing. Criminalisation of minority groups ethnic groups starts with the over policing of neighbourhoods where they live African/ Caribbean's are heavily concentrated.1999-2000 black people were still five times more likely than whites to be stopped and searched. British crime survey of 2000 found that the incidence of stops and searches of African Caribbean's could be explained in terms of factors other than race, such as age, income and areas of residence. A number of studies found evidence of racism within the police which might account for a greater tendency for the police to suspect members of the ethnic group. A study by Ben Bowling (1999) found that the police saw racism as a natural and resentment of ethnic minority on what had been white areas. Macpherson enquiry into the Stephen Laurence case examined a range of evidence and supported that there was institutional racism in the police. Data for 1999-2000, Phillips and Bowling note that about four times as many African Caribbean's arrested would be expected in terms of the general population and more likely to be imprisoned than their white counterparts. Minority groups are more likely than whites be tried in a Crown court rather than a Magistrate court.

1.4 The writing by criminologists on the association between masculinities and crime were influenced by second-wave feminism originating in the 1960s which challenged the masculinity nature of the academy by illuminating the patterns of gendered power that up to that point social theory had all but ignored. In particular, feminism secured a permanent role for sexual politics in popular culture and moved analysis of gendered power to the forefront of much social thought. In addition, feminist research spotlighted the nature and pervasiveness of violence against women, crime by girls and women, the social control of girls and women, and women working in the criminal justice system (Belknap, 2000; Chesney-Lind and Pasko, 2004; Daly and Maher, 1998). The importance of this feminist work is enormous. It has contributed greatly to the order of criminology and has made a long lasting impact. It just only the importance of gender to understanding crime more generally accepted within the discipline, but it has led, logically, to the critical study of masculinity and crime. Boys and men are no longer seen as the normal subjects rather the social construction of masculinities has come under careful criminological scrutiny.       

When it comes to focusing on the relationship between masculinities and crime, criminologists have focused on men and boys and ignored women and girls. This should not be surprising since men and boys dominate crime. Arrest, self-report, and victimization data reflect that men and boys perpetrate more conventional crimes and the more serious of these crimes than do women and girls. Criminologists have always advanced gender as the strongest judge of criminal involvement. As a result studying men and boys provides insights into understanding the highly gendered ratio of crime in industrialized societies. Concentrating exclusively on men and boys, however, neglects the fact that women and girls occasionally engage in masculine practices and crime. It is, therefore, logically necessary that we also analyze how crime and violence committed by women and girls is related to masculinities.   

Pre-feminist Criminology

The early criminological theorists relied heavily upon an essentialist sex-role framework to explain the relationship between masculinity and crime. That is the opinion was that a natural distinction exists between men and women, a distinction that leads to masculine men and feminine women. What brings together criminologists who center their detailed theoretical thought on sex roles is that their frameworks eventually assign to individuals certain innate characteristics. These form the foundation of gendered social conditions the male and female sex roles that leads to particular sexed patterns of crime. These sex roles, in turn, determine the types and amounts of crime committed by men and women, and by boys and girls. The sex-role theorists mention that the body enters criminological theory

Parsons reasons that roles are based in the fact that women bear and nurse children and men do not. Therefore, women are best fitted to perform expressive roles whereas men are best adapted to instrumental roles. Accordingly, the family is structured in conformity with biological demands, functioning best for society when women's role is the internal affairs of the family, as wife, mother and manager of the household and men's role is in his job and through it by his status-giving and income-earning functions for the family" (Parsons and Bales, 1955). For Parsons, the relation­ship between men and women is one of harmony, and the connection between masculine and feminine sex roles is complementary.

Parsons employed his dichotomous functionalist perspective in the early 1940s to explain the greater delinquency of boys. In the urban family, specifically, because the father is absent most of the time performing the mother is the emotionally significant adult, the role model for both boys and girls. For a girl, this is normal and natural because the functions of the housewife and mother are immediately before her eyes and are tangible and relatively easily understood by a child. But the boy does not have his father immediately available and, therefore, initially forms a feminine identification with the mother. He soon discovers that women are inferior to men, that it would hence be shameful for him to grow up to be like a woman. The consequence of this masculine anxiety is the engagement of com­pulsive masculinity. Boys get interested in athletics and physical things in which men have the most primitive and obvious advantage over women. Furthermore they become allergic to all expression of tender emotion; they must be tough.

In short, reaction-formation and resulting compulsive mascu­linity create a strong tendency for boyish behavior to run in anti-social. For Parsons, masculinity is something that is internalized in adolescence and resulting in boys engage in more delinquent.


In 1955, Albert Cohen synthesized the respective sex-roles argu­ments of Sutherland and Parsons into a theoretical formulation for un­derstanding why gangs are dominated by boys. In Cohen argued that a working-class delinquent subculture arises in re­action to discriminatory middle-class standards. Entering schools where teachers typically evaluate children in accordance with how their behavior approximates middle-class standards, boys socialized in working-class families are relatively unprepared for the challenge. Be­cause working-class boys have internalized middle-class standards, they become status frustrated.


 Cohen went on to attempt, through a discussion of sex-role social­ization, an explanation of why delinquency is dominated by boys. Following Parsons' view that the actual socialization into the male sex role causes an irrational masculinity, even though the nature of male sex-role association is not a smooth process, simply joining the gang in the street can solve the problem of masculine worry in the home. Cohen states that gang activ­ity is clearly masculine in that it emphasizes success, exploit, hostility, heroic, active mastery, and pursuit.



Sutherland, Parsons, and Cohen can be credited for putting masculinity on the criminological agenda. These theorists per­ceived the theoretical importance of gender and its relation to crime and acted upon that awareness.

               Liberal feminism emerged in the industrialized world in the late 1960s, states its study of gender difference on unlike type of sex-role perspective. Following the lead of the civil rights movement, the liberal feminist perspective identified as its major goal the extension of equal rights to women. Parallel to Sutherland, Parsons, and Cohen, liberal feminist criminologists painted the social inequalities between men and women. The liberal feminism states that women are discriminated against on the base of sex and, therefore, are disadvantaged of the same chances as men and kept outside the mainstream of society (politics, business, finance, medicine, law).

                The liberal feminist criminologists created perspectives on gender differences in crime.

                Hagan (1989) states that in modern industrialized societies an instrument-object relationship exists between parents and children. Parents are the instruments of control and their objects are children, and this relationship shapes the social reproduction of gender.


In families daughters are less criminal then sons because daughters are more controlled by their mothers, Hagan argues that daughters in patriarchal families are more often taught by parents to avoid risk-taking endeavors, whereas in egalitarian families, both daughters and sons are frequently taught to be more open to risk-taking. It is this combination of the instrument-object relationship and matching socialization of risk taking that affects delinquency. According to Hagan, patriarchal families are characterized by great gender differences in delinquent behavior, while egalitarian families maintain smaller gender differences in delinquency. The daughters become more like sons in their participation in such forms of taking risks as delinquency. Sons are for the most part unnoticed in this theory, and gender differences in crime are explained by a concentration on the characteristics of mothers and daughters.

In a current statement of power control theory, the highlighting remains entirely on gender differences in crime, arguing that four conditions result in male over involvement in crime (Hagan, McCarthy, and Foster, 2002).

For Hagan and his counterparts, gender similarities in crime are in theory irrelevant.

Agnew (1992) states three forms of twists that may show the way to delinquency, the failure to achieve positively valued goals such as disjunctions between expectations and actual achievements, the removal of positively valued stimuli from the individual such as a loss of a girlfriend or boyfriend or death of a parent, and the presence of negative stimuli such as child abuse, neglect or negative relations with parents.

Because men are more likely to be in public and, therefore, to experience conflict with others and criminal victimization, they are more likely to be involved in violence. This means the different types of strain men and women experience cause higher rates of crime by men.

Men are more likely to carry out violent and property crimes, while women are more likely to route to self destructive forms of deviance, such as drug use and eating disorders.                                    

 Liberal feminist criminology is progressive but in an incomplete sense there is at least recognition of gender inequality and an additional conditional focus on the social proportions of behavior that gendered behavior is learned through interaction in an unequal culture and such social conditions give rise to differences in control and types of strain experienced.

1.4 Official statistic tend to show that woman commit less crime than man approximately 80% of those convicted of serious crimes are men. There is only approximately 2000 woman in prison accounting for about 4% of the prison population. Analysis of their offences shows that there are differences in the types of crime committed by men and women majority of woman are imprisoned for non-violent crimes. Carol Smart (1979) stated that sociology and criminology have both tended be dominated by males. Traditional.

Criminology is motivated by a desire to control behaviour that is regarded as problematic since woman's criminality has been seen much less problematic than men's it has received correspondingly less attention. Official figures suggest that gender is perhaps the most significant single factor in whether an individual is convicted of crime. According to official statistics in 2005, 1.8 million offenders were found guilty of, or cautioned for in England and Wales and of these 79% were male. The ratio of male offenders to female is four to one. Theft and handling stolen goods was the most common category for both male and female, males committed over 70% of the offences. Half of the offences committed by woman were theft the proportion for men was one third. The associations between gender and crime are profound, persistent and paradoxical. For as long as observation of offending has been made, it has been noted that men and women differ in their offence rates and patterns and in their experiences of victimisation. As Braithwaite put it, listing it as the first of his key points about crime, '(it) is committed disproportionately by males' (1989: 44). In the twenty-first century this statement can be analysed and qualified in several ways. Moreover, the considerable body of work flowing from the statement has had some major effects on criminological thinking and on criminal justice policies

Most social enquiry is concerned with both issues of sex and of gender, although the second term is used more often because it covers both aspects of innate and acquired characteristics and the interaction between them and society. In the case of crime there is an elision made between the two forms of categorisation which has considerable salience for the study of this field. For as long as systematic records of crime have been kept the sex of offenders has been noted. Indeed sex has sometimes had significance as a legal category in relation to criminal acts. While criminal law broadly applies equally to women and to men, there have been, and still are, some exceptions. Male homosexual acts have at certain times been defined as criminal in most western countries, while lesbian acts have not. Criminal codes often treat prostitute activities of males and females differently. Under English common law women charged with felony committed in the presence of their husbands (except murder and treason) could rely on the presumption that they acted under compulsion (Mannheim, 1965) until this was abolished in 1925.

The sex of offenders also needed to be known for routine criminal justice purposes, especially once segregation was practised in prisons (Smith, 1962; Zedner, 1991). Obviously, only the sex of known offenders can be registered and thus data on this topic are subject to even more limitations than those considered in general. Despite these reservations, certain trends and patterns in female criminality as compared with male have long been observed. In summary these are:

that women commit a small share of all crimes

that their crimes are fewer, less serious, more rarely professional and less likely to be repeated

In consequence, women formed a small proportion of prison populations.