Dealing with Deviants

Every social group has "correctional systems"—ways of dealing with deviants. Prisons are an obvious example of a correctional mechanism. In certain religious groups, shunning (refusing to talk to, or even acknowledge, a former member of the group) is a form of punishment and correction used when a member is considered to have strayed from the righteous path. It can be devastating, cutting people off from family members who—remaining faithful to the belief system—are not allowed to converse with the shunned person.

How do groups commonly deal with deviants?

A common element in the correctional practices of most social systems is exclusion from group membership as a form of punishment. This is a solution of last resort, because it reduces group membership. Often it is preceded by a warning or probationary stage. Consider the following correctional practices in different social organizations:









Organization

Warning

Ultimate punishment

 

 

 

College/University

Academic Probation

Expelled

Church

Counseling

Excommunication

Society

Arrest, Probation

Incarceration

Family

Disciplined

Disowned

Marriage

Counseling, Separation

Divorced

Business

Warning, demotion

Loss of job

Practice of Law

Discipline/warning

Disbarred


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