Prison Labeling Research Paper

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In the modern world, prison populations have become a massive problem. These prison populations have only increased since 1980, with a significant explosion in population between 2000 and 2010. This extreme prison population is caused by many factors, including the negative effects of “labeling”. Labeling theory is the theory that states that when a person is labeled a criminal by the judicial establishment, many of his/her future and current options and opportunities are then taken away from him/her. It also states that the label itself can determine and/or influence actions and behavior of a person. Recidivism is a huge factor in the growth of the prison population, this recidivism directly relates to labeling theory. By labeling an individual…show more content…
While this is effective with first time criminals and certain misdemeanors, this does not have the desired effect on habitual criminals and violent or insane offenders. Violent offenders can be labeled appropriately, such as “murderer”, “rapist”, or “pedophile.” This displays to the community that these individuals are specifically worse that the more mundane criminal. This does have the undesired effect of railroading these violent offenders into the continuation of their violent crimes. (Ascani, 2011) Labeling theory states that these labels, while trying to be an effective punishment, has the undesirable effect of causing the offenders into committing more crime, based on what the offenders concept of “self” is. When viewed in the long term, a label can severely damage one of the penal systems goals, which is to reduce recidivism. (Chiricos, 2007) The labels applied can cause harm against the offender more-so than the punishment initially intended. Prejudice may be applied to those criminals looking for legitimate employment, and that this can further cause harm by denying the punished individual a chance, forcing him back into criminal activities. (Chiricos,…show more content…
(Chiricos, 2007) Each type of offender is faced with many of the same problems when being released from prison, but there are several differences between the two of them. (Frederique, 2013) While both labels are damaging, the multiple offender has many more hurdles in order to become reintegrated with society. For example, a multiple offender criminal will have a much harder time finding legitimate employment due to the fact that their label is that this individual is not able to readjust with society. (Chiricos, 2007) The multiple offender will also face harsher jail time, especially with large increases in jail time with such rules as the “Three Strike” rule. (Frederique, 2013) The increased jail time is almost guaranteed by the label they are given after the first or second release from prison. (Chiricos,

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