Criminal Justice Theories Labeling Theory Suggests That Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Criminal Justice Theories

Labeling theory suggests that criminal behavior can be the result of a person being considered a criminal. "People become stabilized in criminal roles when they are labeled as criminal, are stigmatized, develop criminal identities, are sent to prison, and are excluded from conventional roles. Reintegrative responses are less likely to create defiance and a commitment to crime" (Patchin, 2011). Anyone who has ever filled out a job application and seen the question asking about criminal convictions understands that there is not only a social stigma attached to criminal behavior, but also that even past criminal behavior can impact a person's entire future. When non-criminal options are not available because of past criminal behavior, one can anticipate that a person may be more likely to reoffend.

Conflict theory focuses on the idea that people are not seeking consensus, but are instead looking to exert power. It is "the view that society is divided into two or more groups with competing ideas and values. The group(s) with the most power makes the laws and controls society. Groups lacking the formal power to make the rules still maintain their own group norms, and continue in their behavior which is now viewed as criminal by the larger society. This perspective explains both law and criminal justice (why some acts are legally defined as criminal), as well as criminal and deviant behavior (why some individuals commit acts defined as criminal)" (Sees, 2004). Conflict theory can explain why some things remain illegal, even when a majority of people seem to seek legalization. Moreover, conflict theory can explain seeming disparities in the criminal law, such as why the possession of crack cocaine, a drug normally associated with lower socio economic groups, has greater penalties than the possession of an equivalent amount of non-rock cocaine.

Radical theory is based on class struggles and the economic system. Radical theories look at crime as a by-product of capitalism. Criminal behavior is seen as something that the rich coerce the poor into doing. In many ways, radical theory is a conflict theory, and the conflict…

Sources Used in Documents:


Patchin, J. (2011). Criminological theory summaries. Retrieved October 29, 2011 from University of Wisconsin Eau Claire website:

See, E. (2004). Student study guide for Ronald L. Akers and Christine S. Sellers'

Criminological theories: Introduction, evaluation, and applications, 4th Edition. Retrieved October 29, 2011 from Roxbury Publishing Company website:

Cite This Term Paper:

"Criminal Justice Theories Labeling Theory Suggests That" (2011, October 29) Retrieved July 16, 2020, from

"Criminal Justice Theories Labeling Theory Suggests That" 29 October 2011. Web.16 July. 2020. <>

"Criminal Justice Theories Labeling Theory Suggests That", 29 October 2011, Accessed.16 July. 2020,