gangs - From their observations of juvenile gang...

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From their observations of juvenile gang subcultures, Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin formed the basis of their differential opportunity systems theory. Their theory sought to examine why delinquent norms develop and what causes these norms to arise. In their observations they identified three distinctive types of subcultures: the criminal, the conflict, and the retreatist. Cloward and Ohlin state that their “ideas” arose from “research projects supported by The Ford Foundation” and Mobilization for Youth, Inc. which provided the researchers with “an opportunity to formulate material on subcultural differentiation (xi).” They apparently did not base their theory on any empirical studies. They did not state what, if any, scientific method they utilized or how they collected this information. The research sample consisted of only adolescent lower class males in urban areas who are the “typical” participant in delinquent subcultures. Yet they did not specify a sample size or where this sample came from. Moreover, I believe that by overlooking other participants in the gang subculture which includes females and middle and upper class youth, Cloward and Ohlin further jeopardized the validity of their research. Furthermore, at what ages do Cloward and Ohlin define as “adolescent”? Cloward and Ohlin state that the purpose for studying delinquent subcultures was due to its high social costs to society. They further outlined their reasons for why gangs are so much more costly to society as opposed to individual acts of crime. First, with the support of others in the gang, these delinquent acts are more likely to reoccur. In other words, in order to gain acceptance and status into the gang, the individual must perform certain criminal acts quite frequently, thus producing a habitual offender. Consequently, youth gangs provides access to criminal knowledge
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not gained by any other means than participation in youth gangs, thus allowing the young offender to become embroiled in crime and subsequently, become an adult offender. Furthermore, by adopting the gang values and norms, it becomes quite difficult to change or control a member's criminal behavior. In order to change the attitudes of that one member, as Cloward and Ohlin stated, one must change the attitudes of the group as a whole; nevertheless, this would be a very difficult task to undertake. Moreover, Cloward and Ohlin state that lower class gangs are more “distinctive and highly integrated forms of organization than in the middle class (28).” Therefore, “lower class patterns of delinquency present the most costly and difficult problems in the area of delinquency control and prevention (28).” Moreover, they studied primarily lower class adolescent males in urban cities because they are the “most visible and well articulated forms (30).” Before Cloward and Ohlin further discussed their typology of delinquent subcultures, they addressed, for the purposes of this research, what constituted as a
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This note was uploaded on 06/30/2011 for the course CJ 563 taught by Professor Teske during the Spring '04 term at Sam Houston State University.

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gangs - From their observations of juvenile gang...

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