Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Dr. Timothy Brazill

Degree Award Date

Spring 2005


Labeling, Effects, Criminals, deviants, social interaction


Criminology | Inequality and Stratification | Social Control, Law, Crime, and Deviance | Sociology


This study focuses on a group of deviants that have been convicted of a crime. The labeling theory projects that through social interaction, a person is labeled as deviant once they break norms. After a cycle of continued deviation, with harsher punishments, the person will internalize the deviant identity and act accordingly. I interviewed three people who have been convicted of crimes and analyzed the application of the labeling theory to their individual situations. The labeling theory can be partially applied to each of the people with prior convictions. Therefore the labeling theory is valid in explaining some of the variations in repeated offenses of those who have been convicted of crime.