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Crime and deviance in Trinidad and Tobago

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´╗┐Tanille Spicer Sociology Upper 6 2 Mr. Ramdass Essay: Crime and Deviance in Trinidad and Tobago is attributed to the limited access to the ?legitimate opportunity structure?. Crime, according to Brown (2001), is an act in violation of the criminal law that is subject to official punishment by the state. Whereas a deviant act, is simply an act which goes against the mainstream norms and value of society. With reference to Robert K. Merton, a functionalist theorist, and Cloward and Ohlin, subcultural theorists, both of whom argue to a large extent that the cause of crime and deviance is due to the lack of access to the ?legitimate opportunity structure.? On the other hand, Walter Miller, another functionalist theorist, disagrees with them. In this essay, it will be attempted to discuss whether the lack of access to the legitimate opportunity structure is the main cause of crime and deviance in the Caribbean, specifically, Trinidad and Tobago. According to Robert K. Merton, deviance results from the culture and structure of society itself. ...read more.


In Trinidad and Tobago, Sangre Grande and Mayaro are among the poorest areas in the country with the lowest annual household income and the lowest levels of education, as well as, most criminal offenders come out of these areas. As well as, the Port of Spain division, the most industrialized area in Trinidad and Tobago, one person in each family has experienced some sort of crime within 2009, according to Trinidad and Tobago National Human Development Index 2012. Therefore, this supports Merton?s view that the lack of access to the legitimate opportunity structure leads to anomie and increases the existence of crime and deviance. According to Cloward and Ohlin; Differential Opportunity Structures(1961), they believe in the existence of an ?illegitimate opportunity structure,? which is just as well-defined and access can be just as limited, just as the legitimate opportunity structure, which also contributes to crime and deviance. In the Caribbean, specifically Trinidad and Tobago, there exists an illegitimate opportunity structure in the form of activities such as illegal drug trade, kidnapping and prostitution. ...read more.


Fourthly, fate, which depicts the future as a matter of fate rather than from gratificational methods, such as education and finally, autonomy which represents freedom from external authority. This theory suggests other causes for the occurrence of crime and deviance however it is not very common in the Caribbean, particularly Trinidad and Tobago. Nonetheless, it can still be seen in Trinidad and Tobago, to a certain extent, where, as there are many matrifocal families that contain no male role model, young male adolescents commit these crimes to prove themselves as masculine. As well as there is not many stable families in the lower class which can lead to a lack of educational attainment and success on the whole as the children are encouraged to work and make money as soon as possible and in any way. In conclusion, from the statistical evidence given above to support the criminological theories it can be seen that to a large extent that a lack of access to the legitimate opportunity structure is a huge cause of crime and deviance in Trinidad and Tobago, however, there are still other factors to consider when evaluating the reasons for crime. ...read more.

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