Exiting Deviance

Coerced and Imposed

Authored by: James Quinn

The Routledge Handbook of Deviant Behavior

Print publication date:  June  2011
Online publication date:  April  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415482745
eBook ISBN: 9780203880548
Adobe ISBN: 9781134015580


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Society’s ability to coerce an end to a deviant lifestyle is hotly debated. A shift to conventional behavior may result from many factors, some of which (e.g., brain maturity) are hard to measure. Deviance can legally be punished only where it overlaps with crime. The criminal justice system routinely uses incapacitation, deterrence, and treatment to force an end to criminality while striving to assure retribution to appease victims and the public. The type of offense, offender’s background, and sentencing judge’s beliefs determine how these goals translate into specific methods of inhibiting illicit behavior. Law presumes that incarceration is sufficient to motivate change, but recidivism statistics call this assumption into question. While some prisons and jails offer treatment programs, most efforts at reform are guided by probation and parole officers (PPOs).

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