Labeling has been a form of identification, within our social system, some of which can have adverse tones. Examples include the cognitive application of stereotypes associated with people who may have experienced economic and social adaptation challenges, differences in culture, religion and race, along with persons who have been adjudicated as having committed a criminal offense
1) How has the concept of labeling within the criminal justice system affected you, either personally or professionally?
2) Based on our course readings and the review of theoretical explanations, please share your thoughts on how this labeling of persons has impacted the administration of criminal justice, from investigative practice to court processes?
ANSWER THE ABOVE QUESTION AND THEN REPLY TO MY CLASSMATE’S RESPONSE TO THE ABOVE QUESTION AND EXPLAIN WHY YOU AGREE? (A MINIMUM OF 125 WORDS or MORE)
Labeling presented many challenges as a Juvenile Probation Officer. When working with teens involved in the criminal justice system we see many issues. The biggest presenting issues I encountered was mental health. Many of the kids I worked with had trauma, environmental stressors, and even chronic homelessness. When addressing their needs, oftentimes were turned away because they were unable to address the needs of the individual. The more times we attempted to find help or housing, the more times we heard their concerns about mental health and stability. The kids were labeled as mentally unstable and even sometimes their behavior resulting from disappointment, mental health, and familiar issues would cause them to be kicked out of school and not allow to participate in specific programs. As the juvenile progressed in the system resources became even more scarce. At that point being labeled “mentally ill” because just too dangerous or does not qualify based on charges. The stigma of mental health is a barrier for many it becomes especially challenging when dealing with juveniles involved in the criminal justice system.
Labeling within the criminal justice system has evolved over the years. It appears in some situations labeling linked with crime and other factors impact the final outcome of many cases. For instance, a homeless person is classified as an addict whether they are or not. Homelessness creates one of the biggest labels as trouble makers and criminals. In all reality that is not always the case. Labeling theory states that crime is a label which may be associated with negative choices. This label may become a stigma that follows the individual. A good example is with Pretrial Release we only use electronic monitoring devices with felony offenses or domestic charges. We all realize that monitoring a low-risk offender may create a label. The whole purpose is to reduce recidivism with the littlest court involvement as possible. This week’s readings stressed the importance that not every criminal act is done on purpose or with malice. Look a the number of low-risk offenders who return to jail numerous times, they never become a felon but rack up multiple misdemeanor charges. They are then labeled as a career criminal. Some courts believe the shaming theory will rehabilitate the offender. I believe that just makes the offender feel bad and may see themselves as never able to climb out of the hole they have created for themselves. Labels prevent some from the ability to heal and to make different choices, for some it helps them to climb out the hole they have sank into.
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