Criminal Justice A summary and comparison and contrast of The Social Organization of Juvenile Justice by Aaron Victor Cicoure

Criminal Justice A summary and comparison and contrast of The Social Organization of Juvenile Justice by Aaron Victor Cicoure

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Criminal Justice: A summary and comparison and contrast of The Social Organization of Juvenile Justice by Aaron Victor Cicourel and Delinquency and Opportunity: A Study of Delinquent Gangs by Richard A. Cloward, and L.E. Ohlin


The Social Organization of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency and Opportunity: A Study of Delinquent Gangs are two separate books on criminal justice that may differ to a great extent while they also remain to bear an extent of similarity. Notably, the point of focus of the first text is how juvenile justice is socially organized. On the other hand, the second text deals with the relationship between delinquency and opportunity viz-a-vis delinquent gangs. Yet all the two texts extensively handle causes of crime in the society, the specifics of organized crime, structures set to deal with crime and the overall outcome of the interplay between crime, legal structures, and the system of delivering criminal justice.

A summary of Delinquency and Opportunity: A Study of Delinquent Gangs by Richard and Lloyd

In summary, Richard and Lloyd use eight chapters within 232 pages to deliver what makes up the book Delinquency and Opportunity: A Study of Delinquent Gangs. In chapter one, they deal with the topic of Delinquent Subcultures. Within this topic, focus is made on the relationship between deviance and delinquency, what makes up delinquent acts and how these acts relate to delinquent subcultures, delinquent norms and the variation and scattering trends of delinquent subcultures (Cloward and Lloyd 1-27). In chapter two, they make a focus on questions that must be answered by theories seeking to explain deviance, its causes and effects. In these, they make further focus on points where pressure originates that pushes individuals into deviating from normative behavior. Further, they review two important issues in these facets which include how delinquent subcultures have evolved, the changes they have witnessed and how persistent they have remained over the years (31-43).

Although both chapters three and four majorly focus on theories, it is noteworthy that the former specifically handles current theories of delinquent subcultures while the latter deals with theories related to goals, norms and anomies. This is the reason Masculine identification and delinquent subcultures, adolescent and delinquent subcultures, lower class culture and delinquent subcultures are among the topics handled in chapter three. On the other hand, chapter four focuses on Durkheim and Merton’s theories in relation to goal regulation, the values of success in the American society and the barriers that hinder legitimacy and success (47-104). With specific concentration on delinquent subcultures, chapters five and six elaborate their evolution and relation to illegitimate means. In chapter five, the techniques of defense are contrasted against guilt with solution generation and decision making processes all being viewed in individual and collective perspectives. Ultimately, the processes through which groups and individuals alienate themselves into delinquency are also examined (108-139). In chapter six, there is an overall evaluation hypotheses related to differential opportunity, learning structures, illegitimate opportunities and social societal organization (144-159).

The seventh chapter of the book is centered on the differentiation and explanation of different subcultures. Ideally, it groups delinquent subcultures into three major categories which include criminal, conflict, and retreatist subcultures. It distinctly exemplifies each of these subcultures and expounds the relationship link among them (161-178). Lastly, the eighth chapter has major focus on how delinquent subcultures have persisted or changed in the past. In a double ended perspective, it reviews patterns of persistence as well as patterns of change (187-193). In summary, this book attempts to review and unravel all the issues related to gang behavior and delinquency. In this sense, it travels from opportunities that prompt delinquency, the process of crime commission, gang and individual psychology, and the effects as well as possible controls for delinquency.

A summary of The Social Organization of Juvenile Justice by Cicourel

The other text The Social Organization of Juvenile Justice by Cicourel, there is a different approach but which is also made within eight chapters. In attempting to demystify how juvenile justice is organized, Cocourel takes us through a comprehensive travel of theories relating to juvenile justice, those of delinquency and their relationship with the rule of law, controversies in how social organizations are depicted in the society, law enforcement agencies and their practices and ultimately a close review of various court hearings.

Chapters one and two of the book majorly focus on theories and the rule of law. In these chapters, Cicourel seeks to explain issues like objectification and verification of theories and the fact that the reality of knowledge of everyday activities applies in such processes. He moves on to define all the primary issues that relate to theories in juvenile justice and then places a specified perspective on the relationship between theories of delinquency and the rule of law (Cicourel 1-57). Using specific statistics and progressive analysis, Cicourel manages to present the rates at which delinquency takes place in the society. There is the link between these rates, established institutions in the society and the whole societal setup in terms of organizational setting (58-110).

In chapter four, emphasis is laid on the different ways in which social organization occurs in the society and how each of such organizations develop conversational depictions of juvenile justice (111-169). Chapter five reviews the law enforcement agencies that mostly involve in juvenile justice. Examples of these include the police and officials in the court systems among others. Comprehensively, the common practices such agencies engage in, especially when they interact with juvenile justice are also reviewed in a detailed way in this chapter (170-242).

The author makes a tentative shift to do a specific analysis of a group within the society in chapter six. This is the middle class in the society with the specification of middle income families. Practices related to law enforcement, how they relate to, and how they affect the middleclass are analyzed keenly and in detail at this point (292-326). Before finalizing the book, the author presents a number of court hearings with which a number of negotiations of dispositions are indicated. After this, he presents the concluding remarks on the book.

Comparison and contrast of The Social Organization of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency and Opportunity: A Study of Delinquent Gangs

There are quite a number of commonalities found in these two books. First, it is worth noting that both the texts are on criminal justice and summarily present the problems brought about by crime and the processes of remediating such problems. Again, it is identifiably notable that both the texts start by disambiguating various theories that affect crime. In The Social Organization of Juvenile Justice, this is covered in chapter two as Theoriesof delinquency and the rule of law. In a similar way, Delinquency and Opportunity: A Study of Delinquent Gangs has this presented in chapters two and three as Questions a theory must answer and Some current theories of delinquent subcultures.

It is true that both the texts touch on delinquency, however, topical coverage differs greatly. While delinquency and gang behavior remains the major point of focus in Cloward and Lloyd’s text, the book by Cicourel touches on delinquency as part of the social organization of juvenile justice which is its topic of coverage. This is even more evident by the fact that the former goes into detail and gives a comprehensive analysis of subcultures of delinquency in different perspectives while the latter does not. In its review, the latter also does a specific detailed analysis of a societal category which is the middle income families, an element that is conspicuously missing in the former.

In a closer perspective, the text Delinquency and Opportunity a Study of Delinquent Gangs presents to the society the major perspective that issues like inequality and unemployment can be real causes of crime. And that it is negatively or positively that opportunities will be used escalate crime or reduce it and better the lives of youths and other citizens. This is however after a comprehensive analysis of the crime causative factors. On the other hand, The Social Organization of Juvenile Justice could be considered an effective redefinition of contemporary criminology. This is because Cicourel uses new theory and methodological approaches in defining how various facets of juvenile justice are organized.

In a way, there is thorough research done in this book as it proves that delinquency is not evenly distributed in the society but occasioned by various events and causes. In reviewing the pressures that play part in this, he analyses how schools, the police, courts and officials, probation officers, and other institutions play part in deviance. In sum, both the texts, though similar and different in various ways, are quite comprehensive, well researched and relevant to students and practitioners in criminal justice.

Works Cited

Cloward, Richard A., and Lloyd E. Ohlin. Delinquency and Opportunity A Study of Delinquent Gangs. United Kingdom, London: Routledge, 2013. Print.

Cicourel, Aaron Victor. The Social Organization of Juvenile Justice. New York, NY: Wiley, 1995. Print.