Sociology discussion response | Homework Writings Help

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Please respond to the peer discussion. Min 300 words.

Peer discussion

This units’ readings and videos were interesting because it really gave me a better understanding of mental health issues and the system. My dad was a teacher in an all-boys juvenile corrections facility, most of which the population suffers from a severe mental health disorder. I grew up listening to all kinds of stories and at times worried about his safety. The elements of deviance include how people act and how they think. In the video “The New Asylums” it was clear that the prisoners that were incarcerated had a different way of thinking and acting than the general population. As soon as the medications were stopped the behavior would shine through and at times require several guards to help get the situation under control. The elements of deviance also include how people appear, some of these prisoners would appear offensive, strange and even evil to most of the outside public. The three important elements of deviance include an expectation: a behavior expectation that must exist, a norm that defines ideas and appropriate or acceptable behavior. A violation: an act that goes against what the normal expectations are, an accusation of wrongful doing, and a reaction: a person, group, or society must react to the deviance. The reaction may include avoidance, criticism, punishments, or treatment. It can be fact related or have little relation to what happened. If a person does not have an idea of what is appropriate, then deviance cannot exist (Newman, 2017). The examples in the video show us that these individuals did not have any control when they had episodes caused by their mental health disorders and lack of compliance with their medications. Some of these prisoners were incarcerated for minor violations or parole violations, but because the minimum and medium risk prisons cannot accommodate the severally mentally ill, they will end up in maximum security prisons do to not being able or not understanding how to follow the rules.

Power and labeling play into the situations presented in the videos because these prisoners have been defined, singled out, and reacted to as deviant in the eyes of others. Labeling them as criminals or mentally ill gives the ones who hold the power a way to discount and marginalize the ones who challenge the standard expectations. Often these people will serve sentences longer then they should be and obtaining parole can be very difficult. Because over half the nations psychiatric hospitals have shut down the prison system has become the new asylums.

It is hard to say if deviance is depoliticized in this context the definition according to the text book is the process of individualizing social problems that robs deviant behavior of its power to send a message about malfunctioning elements in society. The behavior lose power to make change when they are looked at as a defect or illness. One prisoner spent 16 years in prison for stealing a purse. The follow up from the video(s) “The Released” followed up on the prisoners and out of the six that were interviewed and followed in the video, only one of them is living outside of the prison system now. One is deceased by gun shot, the others have either stopped taking their medications and ended up back in prison. Some for violation, and one was back for rape. A crime was committed, but a sentence may harsher then what a person with out a mental health disorder would receive, but most of the prisoners were also repeat offenders. I lean more towards the opinion that in this context deviance was not depoliticized.

These situations fit into the act of medicalization because the behavior was most likely provoked by medical problem that mandated the medical profession to provide treatment such as medications and therapy but acts of crime were also committed which makes them fall into the model of criminalization. One prisoner stated that he committed the crime to go back to prison. I do feel that for some of the men in the video an asylum would be a better option over prison.


Newman, D. M. (2017). Sociology: exploring the architecture of everyday life (11th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

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