Social Groups And Social Control

Family Structure and Characteristics
By: KayAnn Mader

My family consists of a mom and dad, who are divorced, six older brothers, four of them married and four of them with kids and or ones on the way, I also have a wonderful future family ahead of me in about a year and a half. Were not perfect, we all work pretty hard, some of us don’t get along with each other and probably wish we weren’t related but in reality we will always be family. So the question is what is the actual definition of family? A “family” was originally defined as a group of people who are related to one another by bonds of blood, marriage, or adoption and who live together, form an economic unit, and bear and raise children. (Lamanna and Riedmann. 2009) Today there are many types of family living arrangements and relationships such as single-parent households, unmarried couples, lesbian and gay couples, multiple generations, living in the same household. To update these new changes, some sociologists believe there needs to be a more appropriate definition. Now, family is defined as relationships in which people live together with commitment, form an economic unit and care for any young, and consider their identity to be significantly attached to the group.


Some attributes that comes with the title family is the structure. Family structure includes kinship. This refers to a social network of people based on common ancestry, marriage, or adoption. People work together so they can obtain the basic necessities of life. Kinship systems can also serve as a means by which property is transferred, goods are produced and distributed, and power is due.

Contemporary families are responsible primarily for regulating sexual activity, socializing children, and providing affection and companionship for family members. According to sociologist Judy Root Aulette, many of us will be members of two different types of families, either a family of orientation or a family of procreation. Family of orientation is the family into which a person is born and which early socialization usually takes place. It’s stated that those who are adopted have a legal tie that is patterned after a blood relationship. Family of procreation is the family that a person forms by having or adopting children. Both legal and blood ties are found in most families of procreation. Some sociologists have stressed that “family of orientation” and “family of procreation” do not include all the types of contemporary families. Many gay men and lesbians have families we choose. This is the social arrangement that include intimate relationships between couples and close familial relationships among the other couples and other adults and children. Aulette says that “families that we choose” include blood ties, but they also include fictive kin. Fictive kin is the persons who are not actually related by blood but who are accepted as family members.

The main difference between extended family and nuclear family is based on the number of generations that live within a household. An extended family is a family unit composed of relatives in addition to parents and children who live in the same household. Examples would be grandparents, uncles, aunts, or other relatives who live close to the parents and children, making it possible for family members to share resources. Extended families are very important especially in horticulture and agriculture societies because having a large number of family members participate in food production may be essential for survival. Today in society, Latin America, Africa, Asia, and some parts in Southern Europe par-take in extended families. (Busch, 1990) Maintaining an extended family can become difficult in an urbanization and industrialization society. At that rate the nuclear family becomes the largest family. A nuclear family is a family composed of one or two parents and their dependent children, all of whom live apart from other relatives. Traditionally it is defined as being made up of a “couple” and their dependent children. This definition became outdated when a significant shift occurred in the family structure. There has been a major decline in the percentage of U.S. households comprising a married couple with their own children under eighteen years old according to the Census Bureau data from 1970 and 2003. Also there has been an increase in the percentage of households in which either a woman or a man lives alone.

Family is really important part of life, whether it’s fictive or families you choose, it’s just the idea of having someone there for you when you really need it, is a good security blanket. Family is a special bond that can never be broken even if there are families, who don’t get along or don’t ever talk to each other, your still family no matter what. Around the holidays are always great memories for family members because it gives the time to share and catch up on old times with each other. Being together is what makes a family.


Aulette, Judy Root. 1994. Changing Families. Belmont: CA: Wadsworth.

Lamanna, Marianne, and Agnes Riedmann. 2009. Marriages and Families: Making Choices in a Diverse Society (10th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Domestic and Emotional Abuse

By Tanya Weiss

One of the most overlooked outlines of abuse in today’s society is domestic violence and emotional abuse. Domestic violence and emotional abuse are behaviors used by one person in a relationship to control the other. You may be married; unmarried; heterosexual, gay, or lesbian; living together, separated or just dating. Violence and abuse can take many shapes and can happen all the time or once in a while.

Domestic Abuse can be criminal and include physical assault such as hitting, pushing, or shoving a human being. Emotional abuse is more psychological such as verbal, aggression, and belittling. Emotional abuse it is not considered a criminal behavior; however, they are forms of abuse that can lead to criminal violence.

Domestic violence and emotional abuse is most likely to occur behind closed doors, which is one of the main reasons why domestic violence and emotional abuse is not given that much attention. In most cases domestic violence is the silent, ugly side of dating and people do not like to talk about it.

A woman named Freya was only 16yrs old when she then met her boyfriend at that time. The relationship started out great. She was completely in love with him and felt happy but it all started to go down the hill. He started with the really nasty name calling and belittling, then the threatening and then the beating, which could be choking, punching, kicking and even head butting at times. The next day he would start again fooling Freya by making her believe that he was sorry and he has changed. Even though she hated him and stayed with him because she felt trapped. Freya felt like she couldn't get out because he would try and kill himself or stalk her until she gave in. Freya would cry herself to sleep every night lying next to a man that treated her unfair. This went on for about 2 years and when she finally got the courage and decided that she was not going to stand and subject herself no longer and left.

Does it believe that women are the only thing subjected to abuse? In some cases men can be the victims, and be emotionally and physically hurt by their partner. Unlike women, many men suffer in silence rather than telling someone of the abuse they are going through by their spouse, girlfriend, or lover. There are women who abuse the ones they love, through the same means as a male abuser, with hitting, spitting, kicking, threatening, or using their children as leverage. Being a male victim is harder, because we do not have the support groups for male victims like we do for female victims. We do not have the shelters needed to house a man and his children. We do not have the counselors and counseling centers to help the male victims. Also men can be treated unfairly by the police, court systems, friends, and associates because of being involved in Domestic Violence. It is hard to convince the court system that a 6 ft man was beaten up by his 5'2" partner. In a lot of cases where men are actually the victims, they get labeled the abuser.

Do you think that having domestic violence in your household would affect your children? In homes where domestic violence occurs, children are at high risk for suffering physical abuse themselves. Regardless of whether children are physically abused or emotionally abused the effects of watching domestic violence are very similar to the psychological actions of being a victim of child abuse. They are often unable to establish bonds with their parents. Younger children, do not understand the meaning of abuse they watch and tend to believe that they "must have done something wrong." This may subject to feelings of guilt, worry, and anxiety. It is important to consider that children, especially younger children, typically do not have the ability to express their feelings. Older Children such as teenagers are at risk of academic failure, school drop-out, delinquency, and substance use. Children are at greater risk for abuse and neglect if they live in a violent home.

Would you be able to tell if someone was being abused? Often, there are signs when abuse occurs. Here are some of the signs you can look for to confirm your suspicions about abuse. If the person has an unexplained or unusual injuries, such as bruises, burns, cuts, broken bones, or bite marks. They get defensive when you ask about an injury. They feel wary of physical contact. They have sleep disturbances. Sometimes the victim will have new injuries before old injuries have healed. These are all signs that a person is being physically abused. What about emotional abuse? Emotional abuse has extreme, unusual behavior, such as aggression or withdrawal. The victim feels the need to constantly apologize for things. Often has destructive behavior and decreased ability to cope with familiar situations. Victims usually have high levels of anxiety, especially when asked to return to a certain place or accompany a certain person. Victims also feel the need to detach themselves from others.

The affects of domestic violence do not stop when the cuts and bruises heal. The psychological effects of domestic and emotional abuse can be seen long after the violence has stopped. Many of the criminals that are locked up blame their violent acts on the violence that they were victims of when they were young. It is devastating for a child to witness its mother, or father, getting beat. Why do women put up with abuse? This question is often the first question people ask, but it is misdirected. Why doesn't she leave? This focuses on the woman’s behavior and not the abusers behavior. Instead we should ask why do men abuse? This question is also misinformed. If you are being abused, it is best to get out of the situation and be sure to report to the police, that way they know your situation, in case abuse from your former partner strikes again. Don't feel like a victim, this is what they want you to feel. You may not be able to just up and leave in some case, but start working on a plan of action to escape the abuse.


Social Groups
Nichole Buskirk

Social Groups are defined as two or more people who interact frequently and share a common identity and a feeling of interdependence.


To put this a little simpler: a group of people whose members share close, enduring and personal relationships. They usually share cultures and activities. Every human is part of some kind of group, and frequently people belong to many different groups at the same time.

The study of social groups is conducted by sociologists who analyze behavior and interactions among people and show how these interactions shape societies. It is thought that humans first started forming groups because it was safer than being alone. Over centuries, these groups have evolved into differing social groups with specific purposes.

-Types of Social Groups-

The idea of primary and secondary social groups was first identified by sociologist Charles Cooley.

The primary group is labeled that because these groups are first experienced early in life. Members experience emotion based interactions. Examples of primary groups would be family, friends, school, and work relationships.

The secondary group is generally larger and more impersonal relationships that last for only a limited time. These groups have few or no emotional ties or importance. The best examples are work environment, clubs, gangs or communities. In secondary groups, the members only come together for one specific purpose or goal.

Social groups can also sometimes overlap each other, for example, when a group starts out as a secondary group, the more time they spend together eventualy leads them to become more of a primary group. Another example of group overlap would be if two members of a baseball team get married, they now become members of each others' primary groups, but still belong to their team or secondary group.

The many social groups define roles and rules for people, and they give people a sense of belonging. Some social groups are easily recognized and clearly defined such as family and friends, whereas others are more subtle and difficult to recognize.

-Effects of Social Groups-

Mostly, social groups are viewed as positive influences on people. They provide kinship and a sense of belonging. However, there is also some evidence that certain social groups can cause negative affects like discrimination and prejudice. Members of certain hate groups conform to the model provided for that group, such as racism.

1. Sociology in Our Times, The Essentials– 7th addition Diana Kendall.

By: Erica Crain and Jesse Rhea

Sociologists and criminologists typically define a gang as a group of people, usually young, who band together for purposes generally considered to be deviant or criminal by the larger society. The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in 2002 estimates that there are more than 24,500 gangs with about 772, 500 members in the United States (Kendall). The gang population estimate is up to 200,000 since 2005. According to sociologists Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin they think of gangs as differential opportunities and that individuals become involved in gangs and crimes because success is not available for them without doing so. In conclusion they think that people join one of three gangs between criminal, conflict, or retreatist.

Criminal gangs are devoted to theft, extortion, and other illegal means of securing income. Young people in this type of gang are more likely to be running drug houses or sell drugs on street corners to make things work and to be able to support them and whoever else they need to support. They are generally found in lower-income areas due to not having much money and because adolescents have close bonds of adult criminals that already live in lower-income areas. The USA Today stated that criminal gangs in the USA have swelled to an estimated 1 million members responsible for up to 80% of crimes in communities across the nation, according to a gang threat assessment compiled by federal officials. Last year, 58% of state and local law enforcement agencies reported that criminal gangs were active in their jurisdictions, up from 45% in 2004.

Opposed to criminal gangs, conflict gangs like to merge in communities that has neither legitimate or illegitimate opportunities. Members of these type of gangs like to character themselves by fighting over territories and learning a value system of toughness, courage, and similar qualities. They develop in communities that have damaged conditions that are not to suitable for living and with an always changing population because people don’t usually stay there for years on out. Conflict gangs like to fight over social statuses to gain the best one they can get and they fight to protect their purity and glory.

Unlike criminal and conflict gangs, retreatist gangs like to achieve success be legitimate means and won’t participate in means that would cause them to do something illegal. They don’t like to gain success through illegal means of opportunities. They do not possess enough skills or the right skills to be recognized as criminal gangs. They present themselves to the society as heavy drug users and they don’t like to participate in social interaction so they often like to withdrawal from that.

Along with these three types of gangs, is another gang called delinquent gangs where more and more young people are becoming members of gangs. Today’s gangs are more likely to use and sell drugs and to carry more lethal weapons than gangs in the past, but they still look up to the bigger gangs. According to the census data from the Galveston Police Department in Galveston, Texas, over 50% of the children’s living conditions are not the original family, 40% of Galveston children live with a single parent and 36% of them live in poverty. Between 1988 and 1992 the juvenile crime went up by 60%. No homicides were accounted for in the youth until 1992 when there were 57 drive-by shootings, 15 juvenile arrests for murder and attempted murder, and 109 arrests for aggravated assault. In the 1980s youth gangs weren’t being seen around Galveston, Texas, but by 1992, there were around 350 gang members and 10 to 12 recognized gangs with the average size of 20 members. Members of delinquent gangs like to do everything that the other gangs do they just aren’t as old.

There are many gangs out around the United States. For example, Bloods they are formed from the Piru gang on 1972 at Centennial High School. The formed to protect members from Crips. Their memberships were smaller than the Crips, but they were more dangerous. They often liked to identify themselves apart from others by wearing the color red. On the West Coast they usually wore red bandanas, while on the East Coast they usually wore red beads. The Crips are an original street gang which originated in Los Angeles in the late 1960s. Most of the Crips activities focused around school campuses. They liked to characterize themselves as violent. The Crips usually liked to identify themselves with the color blue, to show them apart from other groups. They usually had on a blue du rag as another identity item. They liked to call each other “Cuzz” and used the letter C in replace of B in their conversations and writings. They are found in nearly every city in the United States and also around foreign countries. The Nortenos, also known as the Nuestra Familia is another gang. It was organized in Folsom California State Prison in 1968. The Mexican Mafia had been abusing the inmates and they got tired of it and made up this gang. A lot of the members were from Northern California, and they were recruited by the inmates while the Nortenos and Mexican Mafia engaged in prison wars because the members from Southern California joined the Mexican Mafia. In the late 1970s, an official dividing point became about between the two gangs located in Delano, California, near Bakersfield to separate them. The Nestra Familia was the first ever prison gang back in the early 1980s to violate the R.I.C.O. act. They also wear the color red and often associate with usuing the words Norteno, Norte and Northerner, and they have symbols of a 5 pointed star symbolizing the “North” star and the Huegla bird symbolizing the United Farm Workers association. The Surenos came from the Mexican Mafia. Inmates from the Duel Vocational Institute in Tracy, California, often complained about the abuse because of racism because the white prison gangs controlled everybody. The Mexican-American inmates had to create the gang to protect themselves and to control what people were doing behind bars including illegal activity. The Southern California street gangs including the Black Guerilla Family and the Aryan Brotherhood banded together to fight the Northern California street gangs. They liked to identify themselves with the color blue and liked to call themselves Sureno, Sur and Southerner. Another big gang group was called the MS-13 short for Mara Salvaturcha 13. They are one of the newest but most violent street gang that has developed in the last 20 years. They were first from San Salvador but eventually they were organized in Los Angeles in the later 1980s. They like to symbolize themselves by wearing blue and white, they got the colors from the national flag of El Salvador. They like to wear numerous body and face tattoos. They are hard to get control of because they can move so soon even from state to state or country to country now. The oath the members share “no one jumps out alive” is what separates them from the other gangs. It was founded in Pico Union LA. They will neber where read and won’t associate themselves with the Mexican Mafia, which is really weird because the Mexican Mafia was the founder of the 13 sur and they swear enemies of the biggest LA gangs. Out of all the gangs in Los Angeles County, the biggest gang there with 20,000 members is The 18th Street Gang. They mostly consisted of Mexican and Chicano people but they did have some Salvadorean membership and a select few Blacks. Some people say their lowest count of people is 8,000 which would still make them the biggest gang in the country. The 18th Street Gang actually isn’t one big gang, but it is actually a bunch of smaller gangs, so therefore, they are also the most fragmented gang in the County. The smaller gangs range from either 50 to several hundred members each. Another gang, the Latin Kings were founded in Chicago back in the 1940s by Puerto Ricans. But in a short 30 years that had already spread across the whole United States, Mexico and Latin America. They liked to cause and participate in crime, a big crime they liked to participate in is drug trafficking. Another cool thing about this gang is that they were once led by the woman named La Madrina and the spread to the east coast in the 1980s. Also in the 1980s Mara Saalvatrucha first started in Los Angeles among immigrants leaving the war of El Salvador. They like to wear tattoos that were tattooed in Gothic lettering and MS and 13 were the most popular tattoos among them. So they were followers of the MS-13 gang. The last gang Diamonds were from Chicago and they were just a street gang whose members were second-generation Puerto Rican youths.

In conclusion, gangs are everywhere around the United States and world and the numbers keep continuing to grow. Younger people are getting involved, and the law enforcement should get involved to get and help keep these growing numbers down.

Sociology in Our Times, The Essentials– 7th addition Diana Kendall.;col1

By:Courtney Winter

In the late 1950s the average family size in the United States began to change. Today, most women are having 2 children. The highest fertility rates are found among Mexican American women and Puerto Rican and Cuban American women are lower. Birth control is now a big factor in deciding whether or not to start a family. According to sociologists Leslie King and Madonna Harrington Meyer many U.S. women spend up to half of their life attempting to control their reproductivity. However, there are some couples who experience involuntary fertility which is wanting to have children but are physically unable. Infertility is the inability to conceive after a year of unprotected sexual relations. Infertility is part of almost five million U.S. couples lives in today’s world.

Adoption is the legal process through which the rights and duties of parenting are transferred from a child’s biological and /or legal parents to new legal parents. A new birth certificate is given, and the child can have no contact with their biological parents. But, in some states there is the “right-to-know” laws which state that the adoptive parents must give the biological parents visiting rights.

Teenage Pregnancies


The United States has the highest rate of teen pregnancies in the Western Industrialized World (National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 1997). In 2006 there were 22 live births to women ages 15 to 17 and 73 to women ages 18 to 19 (National Center for Health Statistics, 2007).
The primary reasons for teenage pregnancies are 1) many sexually active teens use no form of contraception 2) teens receive little to no information about the use of contraceptives 3) some males thinks that it’s the females job to be responsible for the contraception 4)teenagers view being pregnant as a way to gain status as an adult.

Raising a child alone can be a financial and emotional problem for some single parents. According to sociologists Sara McLanahan and Karen Booth, children coming from a mother-only family are more likely to do poorly in school, have a higher absentee rate, get married early and become pregnant, have high divorce rates, and are more likely to use alcohol and drugs. Many other factors contribute to these problems as well. Such as poverty, discrimination, neighborhoods being unsafe, and crime rates being high.

Two Parents


Sociologist Alice Rossi states that maternity is the mark of adulthood for women. Some studies show that if men take on an active role in their child’s life that is not only beneficial for women but also for the children and the men themselves.

Remaining Single
Some people stay single by choice. Reasons for this are opportunities for a career, availability for sexual partners without being married, the belief of the single life being full of excitement, and the desire to be self sufficient (Stein, 1976, 1981). For those who choose to remain single personal growth and friends are more important than choosing to get married and have children.

Sociology in Our Times, The Essentials– 7th addition Diana Kendall.
King, Leslie and Meyer, Madonna Harrington. Sociology in Our Times.
McLanahan, Sara and Booth, Karen. Sociology in Our Times.

Crime & Gangs
By Morgan Martin & Cherish Manning

According to, crime is any action or instance of negligence that is deemed injurious to the public welfare or morals to the interests of the state and that is legally prohibited. We will discuss the types of crime and the gang related crime. We will also talk about crime by gender and age with statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Hate Crimes

The hate crime data we will discuss are further broken down into more specific categories similar to the UCR’s statistics. As collected for each hate crime incident, the aggregate data in this report include the following: offense type, location, bias motivation, victim type, number of individual victims, number of offenders, and the race of the offenders.
- Incidents and offenses—Crimes reported to the FBI involve those motivated by biases based on race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity/national origin, and disability.
- Victims—The victim of a hate crime may be an individual, a business, an institution, or society as a whole.
- Offenders—Law enforcement specifies the number of offenders and, when possible, the race of the offender or offenders as a group.
- Location type—Law enforcement may specify one of 25 location designations, e.g., residences or homes, schools or colleges, and parking lots or garages.
- Hate crime by jurisdiction—Includes data about hate crimes by state and agency.

Property Crimes

In the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, property crime includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. The object of the theft-type offenses is the taking of money or property, but there is no force or threat of force against the victims.

The property crime category includes arson because the offense involves the destruction of property; however, arson victims may be subjected to force. Because of limited participation and varying collection procedures by local law enforcement agencies, only limited data are available for arson.

There were an estimated 9,767,915 property crime offenses in the Nation in 2008. The 2-year trend showed property crime decreased 0.8 percent compared with 2007 estimates. The 5-year trend, comparing 2008 with 2004, showed a 5.3 percent drop in property crime. The rate of property crimes was estimated at 3,212.5 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants, a 1.6 percent decrease when compared with the rate in 2007. The 2008 property crime rate was 8.6 percent lower than the 2004 rate and 14.2 percent under the 1999 rate. Larceny-theft accounted for 67.5 percent of all property crimes in 2008. Burglary accounted for 22.7 percent and motor vehicle theft for 9.8 percent. An estimated 17.2 billion dollars in losses resulted from property crimes in 2008.

Violent Crimes

In the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Violent crimes are defined in the UCR Program as those offenses which involve force or threat of force.

In 2008 an estimated 1,382,012 violent crimes occurred nationwide, showing a decrease of 1.9 percent from the 2007 estimate. This violent crime total was 1.6 percent above the 2004 level, but 3.1 percent below the 1999 level. And overall there were an estimated 454.5 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants in 2008. In 2008 aggravated assaults were 60.4 percent of violent crimes, the highest number of violent crimes reported to law enforcement. Robbery comprised 32.0 percent of violent crimes, forcible rape accounted for 6.4 percent, and murder accounted for 1.2 percent of estimated violent crimes in 2008. The offenders used firearms in 66.9 percent of the Nation’s murders, 43.5 percent of robberies, and 21.4 percent of aggravated assaults.


The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program defines robbery as the taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear.
In 2008, the estimated robbery total (441,855) decreased 0.7 percent from the 2007 estimate. However, the 5-year robbery trend showed an increase of 10.1 percent. Losses estimated at $581 million were attributed to robberies in 2008. The average dollar loss per robbery offense was $1,315. The highest average dollar loss was for banks, which lost $4,854 per offense. Overall, firearms were used in 43.5 percent of robberies in 2008. Strong-arm robberies accounted for 40.2 percent of the total.


A gang is defined as a group of individuals who share a common identity and, in current usage, engage in illegal activities. Gangs are most commonly known for taking over territory in a particular city.

Since roughly the 1970’s, street gangs have been strongly connected with drug sales. Once an urban problem, street gangs have now infiltrated United States communities large and small. Gang experts say at least 21,500 gangs are active nationwide.

Gangs today are filled with many different ages, sexes, and races. These different people join gangs for different reasons: some join because they are looking for a sense of respect and power, others may join for money or to get nice clothes, but most join because their gang is like family to them. For some, being in a gang is a normal way of life because it is what they grew up around.

Gangs bring serious violence to the communities they dominate. Almost all gang members carry weapons on them for a sense of protection. Once a person is recognized as a gang member he/she is in serious danger of getting hurt or even killed. This danger occurs because of the rivalry between different gangs. Once a climate of war exists between two gangs, violence will be continual. The most known rivalry between two gangs is the Crips and Bloods.

There are many different gangs out there, the best known criminal gangs include, the Italian Cosa Nostra, or otherwise known as the Italian Mafia, the Irish Mob, the Japanese Yakuza, the Surenos, Nortenos, Latin Kings, Bloods, and the Crips.

Most gang members have identifying characteristics unique to their specific clique or gang affiliation. The Bloods for instance wear red bandanna and the Crips wear blue. Tattoos are also common identifiers for gang members. For instance, an “18” above the eyebrow is a common 18th street gang member tattoo.

Gangs are involved in all areas of street-crime activities like extortion, drug trafficking, and murder, both in and outside the prison system. Most people think of gangs to be on the street, but gangs have now made their way into the system, still just as dangerous. Many prison gangs require members to have gang tattoos to recognize other members of the organization. Most prison gangs follow the policy of “blood in-blood out.” It generally means that to get into a prison gang, one has to spill someone else’s blood. Most often this requires a murder of sort.

Neither street gangs nor prison gangs invented initiation rites as a requirement to belong to the gang but they certainly have expanded the initiation requirements to belong to the gang. An initiation is a rite, ceremony, or an instruction with which one is made a member of a gang. Gangs use the initiation rite as a means of determining of the inductee is mentally and physically strong enough to be worthy of membership. Some common initiations for street gangs include the “beatin”, where the person getting initiated get beat buy a current member, commit an armed robbery, be involved in a drive-by shooting, assault an innocent victim, “sexed-in”, this includes the female getting initiated by having sex with numerous male members of the gang, and the most violent initiation is committing a murder.

Leaving the street gang can be as violent as joining. Many gangs require lifetime memberships. Many street gangs require the person, wanting to depart from the gang’s way of life, to endure a “beat-out.” This beating is more severe than the beating the member may have taken to join.

Rachel Lamm

Fixing Problems Creates More Problems

One of the biggest problems with the world today is crime. Crime is everywhere. It can be as simple as dropping trash on the ground, or as complex as a being a serial killer. One of the main problems of dealing with crime is not actually the crime that has been committed. Instead, it is how the punishment is dealt with. If the punishment does not fit the crime, it is not doing its job of being a deterrent. The Eighth Amendment clearly states, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” If the punishment does not fit the crime then it is a direct violation of the constitution; at that point it is cruel and unusual punishment.

Capital Punishment should not be allowed because it does not it does not follow the four major goals of punishment and Corrections:


In murder cases, there is a lot of talk about retribution. What is the punishment that the offender should receive? It depends on what state the crime was committed in. If you killed someone in a state without the death penalty then you would be sentenced to life in prison. While if you lived in a state that did have the death penalty you would have to go through many appellate courts before they could actually served their final punishment. Most of the time they serve many years in prison before they are killed, sometimes dieing in prison first.

General Deterrence:

Many years ago, before the constitution was thought of, criminals were punished in public. The stocks are a prime example of this. If a crime was committed the punishment was to serve time in the middle of town square where everyone can see that person standing in the stocks has committed an offense. Even earlier than the stocks, if someone were to steal the penalty was to cut off the hand so it could not steal again. This sent two messages to the public. The first, “I have stolen,” a reminder for the rest of the offender’s life; the second, “This will happen to you if you steal.” This form of punishment may not be comparable to capital punishment, but it does portray the effects of a public punishment. If it is not done in public it is not a deterrence; it seems more like an open threat.

The biggest problem with capital punishment is it is not a deterrent, so it is not serving its purpose. A deterrent is supposed to stop people from committing the same crime. To commit a crime that will result in the sentencing of the death penalty requires premeditated thought. During the thought process, prior to committing the crime the consequences of the action are taken into consideration. If the person still acts, then the risks did not outweigh the benefits. Yet, an alarmingly large amount of people are continuing to be charged with premeditated murder each year. Clearly, the threat of being sentenced to death, after spending many years on death row and generally with multiple appeals, is not as effective as it needs to be.


Many people have the misconception that capital punishment is only lethal injection anymore. In multiple states, capital punishment can be carried out in more than one way. Some still have it legalized to use the electric chair, firing squads, hangings, and other ways still (Forms…). For capital punishment to be remotely effective as a deterrent, it needs to be public. Hangings are a better deterrent than a “hush-hush” lethal injection. Capital punishment in the pass, though in many cases cruel, was a better deterrent, because it showed the public the price of crimes.


Many think that capital punishment is cheaper and easier compared to sentencing the convict to life in prison. It is neither. When the cost of the appeals, the attorneys, and the maximum security cells on a separate death row wing of the prison are added up the cost is as much as four times as much as sentencing the convicted to life in prison. It takes substantially more time and man power to put someone on death row, and keep them there, than to sentence them to life in prison.

The most effective way of dealing with those convicted of premeditated murder is to sentence them to life in prison. It serves all of the purpose that capital punishment should do, but doesn’t. First, being in prison isn’t “hushed”. It is when the state “legalizing” the killing of the criminal that it starts to becomes a private issue. Second, death, by those possessed, by emotions or mentally enough to kill another person, is sometimes seen by the murderer as an easy way out. The criminal got what they wanted and instead of staying in prison for the rest of their life they only have a fairly short amount of years to wait. If the murderer was 28-years-old they would have to wait in prison for much longer and be miserable compared to if they got the death penalty. Instead the criminal has to stay locked up the rest of their life never to commit a crime again. Additionally, capital punishment is not a cost effective way to carry out the punishment. If it comes down to an issue of cost it is far less expensive to simply feed the criminal for the rest of their lives when compared to paying for the price of sentencing the criminal to capital punishment.


Capital punishment and rehabilitation do not go together in the same sentence. Many peoples views are if they killed someone they will never change. If they are sentenced to death row they may not have the amount of time needed to change and truly be sorry for what they did. If they are sentenced to life in prison they might change.

Often, when debating this issue the question, “If it was someone you know who was killed wouldn’t you rather see the murderer put to death?” arises. My answer is a resounding no. I am one of those people that have had someone closed to them murdered. I want the murderer to remain in prison for the rest of his life. With each remaining day he has left, I want him to remember what got him there and what is keeping him there. Maybe that will rehabilitate him.

Works Cited
“Death Row Facts.” Texas Department of Criminal Justice. 2007. Texas Department of Criminal Justice. 18 Jul. 2009 <>.
“Execution by Lethal Injection Is Not Humane or Painless.” Medical News Today. 2005. MediLexicon International Ltd. 18 Jul. 2009 <>.
“Forms of Execution in the United States, 1977 – 2007.” 2009. 18 Jul. 2009 <>.

By: Mindy Antholz and Andrea Emick

Blue and White Collar Crime

“Blue-Collar” Crime
Blue Collar Crime is the name they give to criminal acts more likely to be committed by citizens of a lower social class in society, such as those who inflict direct harm on the person or property of others. The name “Blue Collar Crime” really doesn’t hold any legal weight. Most of blue-collar crimes are done without much thought and preparation, they are most often spur of the moment no real planning went into the actions committed.


Types of Crime
Crimes against a Person
Crimes against Property
Victimless Crime (example-drug abuse,gambling, prostitution, ect.)

Normally they are punished more rapidly and severely compared to white-collar crime; their crimes are usually a higher visible injury to society. Also the lower class citizens don’t have the funds to get high-quality legal assistance, so they tend to suffer a bigger punishment than white-collar crime criminals.

“White-Collar” Crime
White Collar Crime as opposed to blue collar crime, it is a relatively sophisticated criminal activity in which individuals entrusted with commercial or governmental responsibilities abuse their positions for financial or political gain. According to Sociologist Edwin Sutherland he defines white collar crime as "crime committed by a person of respectability and high social status in the course of his occupation.” It is estimated that white-collar crime cost the United States from $200 to over $300 billion every year. This is staggering compared to the estimated $15 billion to $20 billion in damages that blue-collar crime inflicts. The problem is these outrageous financial losses are spread out thinly through the population, making it difficult to raise awareness and concern necessary to spark criminal investigation. White-collar crime very rarely involves violence against the person or the destruction of physical property. In a sense, this crime victimizes no one and everyone at once.
Types of Crime
Cooperate Crime
State Crime
State-Cooperate Crime

White-collar crime is extremely difficult to prosecute. Those who commit this sort of crime are often in a position to plan out their every action, and they tend to work in the areas that they have much control and have much knowledge. This good planning and in-depth knowledge of their targets often make it easy to cover up and frame whoever for their crime. These crimes occur right under the noses of regular business and political transactions, there are even certain lines of business that encourages their employees to get away with as much as they possible can without getting caught. In the United States we don’t have the police force to hunt down and prosecute every white collar crime like we do with blue collar crime. Most of our police forces don’t have the authority or the man force to investigate at the white collar level. It is commonly known that those guilty of white-collar crimes can afford to hire the best legal defense, or even have the power to influence the way a jury will vote and prosecutes crime, so they have hardly no punishment.

"Work Cited"
Sociology in our times,Sociology Book

Crime and Gangs

Definition of a Gang
A group of people who associate closely, often exclusively, for social reasons, esp. such a group engaging in delinquent behavior. Gangs are a type of Organized crime.

Different Gangs & Gang history
There are many different types of gangs in many different nationalities. Gang members in Italy are referred as the Mafia. One of the most notorious gangs is that led by Al Capone in Chicago. In America two of the most dominate gangs started in California between the two gangs of the Surenos and the Nortenos. Two other are the Crips (blue) and the Bloods (red). The Surenos are south side and associated with the number 13. The Nortenos are from the Nuestra family are the north side and associated with the number 14. Most other gangs are branched from these four gangs. It is not uncommon for women to be inn a gang.

Symbols, Rituals
The symbols affiliated with the different gangs can be the colors worn, tattoos, graffiti, and various other markings left forth. In strong gang neighborhoods, the symbols used can be noticeable even as young as middle school or grade school. Gang members bring there whole family into gang life. There are several rituals that each gang has. One of the most interesting and surprising is called “jumping in”. In this ritual the person trying to join a gang is beaten for a certain amount of time by the rest of the gang members. Another initiation is that have the potential member drive around with his light off or brights on in the night time, if someone flashes their brights signaling them to turn the lights on, the person being initiated must then kill everyone in that car.

Violence& law breaking
Gangs are very violent. Murder, armed robbery, rape, and drug use are common occurrences for gang members.

Gangs are very structured. They have a pledge, a code to live by, and a written government within the gang.

Why do people join gangs?
People join gangs for many different reasons. Unfortunately, one of those reasons is that they were already born into a gang. Other reasons include social acceptance, a need to belong, and the environment you grow up in.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License