social stigma | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Criminology

Social stigma refers to the negative attitudes, beliefs, and stereotypes that individuals or groups may face due to their association with certain behaviors or characteristics, often leading to discrimination and social exclusion.

In the context of criminology, social stigma can be particularly detrimental to individuals who have been involved in the criminal justice system. These individuals may face negative stereotypes and assumptions about their character and abilities, which can make it difficult for them to reintegrate into society and lead productive lives.

Social stigma can also lead to discrimination in areas such as housing, employment, and education, making it harder for individuals with a criminal record to find stable and secure living situations, gainful employment, and access to education and training opportunities.

To combat social stigma in the criminal justice system, efforts are being made to change the way society views and treats individuals who have been involved in the criminal justice system. This includes initiatives such as “ban the box” policies, which prohibit employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal record until after a job offer has been made, and programs that aim to reduce recidivism and support successful reentry into society.

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Last Modified: 03/14/2023


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