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Formal and Informal Social Control Systems

A proposition to remove the formal written law in the United States today will definitely be received with fear and outright resistance. The thought is most unwelcome in a society that has lived knowing that the formal written law is been instrumental in crime deterrence. It would present to many a loss in such aspects as social order, unrestrained social conflict and anarchy. However, that is not to mean that informal social control system is not exercised in the states. The formal social control system views humans as selfish and this calls for certain punishment and presence of a legal system. On the other hand, the informal system encompasses the ethical dimension that view human nature as essentially good. The aim of this system is to promote communitarianism or the common good where people are encouraged to forget their personal interests and develop a sense of responsibility to the society.

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In the United States, the effectiveness of the formal social control system is debatable but greater weight lies on its low effectiveness. Considering that it is the main system in the nation, it would be blamed for a number of reasons. To start with, it has been observed that the number of initial violations has increased. Secondly, when these violations are repeated, the violators do so with increased sophistication and even violence. For instance whereas drugs were once sold discreetly on the streets, nowadays, they are sold in broad daylight. Additionally, the sale of drugs involves shoot outs between gangs. Third, it has been observed that there are new violators every day, not to mean that those who were there before have reduced in any way.

It is instilled by authorities who often contribute to the deviance they are set out to control, something that presents loopholes to the system rendering it actually a cause of both primary and secondary deviance. Authorities define a wide range of behavior as illegal; they then set out laws for enactment on those who break the. Consequently, there is the need to identify laws that seek to punish offenders in the society. Such a singling usually results in subsequent changes in their self-images and consequently, there is the possibility of the development of deviant behavior.

In blaming the authorities, there is the likelihood that they might willingly encourage violation of rules. It is true that excessive enforcement can change the way violators organize themselves. For instance, drug trafficking has taken more sophisticated and skilled labor that can create more markets and evade prosecution through corruption or other means. Secondly, authorities may intentionally permit rule breaking because they did not use any enforcement action in the first place. It is a more hidden form where offenders commit a crime because they believe they will not be sanctioned. Of course there is an agreement where a party in authority receives something in return. Third, authority in formal social control encourages rule breaking by using deceptive enforcement action. It is where police officers for instance cooperate with people in illegal actions.

The informal system is more effective than the formal one. It seeks to correct the individual’s wrongdoing while instilling in them a sense of respect and honor. The formal system on the other hand corrects through punishment and condemning. The latter also involves authorities that are not ardent in keeping what they have already outlined rendering it weak.

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