Neutralization Theory Essays

1473 Words Nov 26th, 2011 6 Pages
Neutralization Theory
By Leidy Cardona
12/5/2011

Offenders learn “techniques” which permits them to neutralize such values and attitudes momentarily and therefore they drift back and forth among legitimate and illegitimate performances. Delinquents develop a special set of justification for their behavior when it violates social norms. Matza and Sykes developed five rationalizations and techniques of neutralization. 1. The denial of responsibility. 2. The denial of injury. 3. The denial of victim. 4. The condemnation of the condemners. 5. The appeal to higher loyalties. The neutralization theory holds that people learn the values, attitude and techniques to criminal behavior through hidden values. They also argue that most criminals
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Sutherland argued that an individual could be skilled to follow patterns of criminal performance. To expand their theory of neutralization Matza and Sykes came up with five techniques of neutralization.
The denial of responsibility “I didn’t mean it; it wasn’t my fault”. This occurs when an individual asserts the delinquent act but to outside forces their acts are beyond their control. The deviant believes he was helplessly driven into deviance, and under the same circumstances any other person would have done the same actions. An example is when they view their deviance as an accident or see themselves as a victim. “I beat him up because he started, he was harassing me and calling me names, so he started it”
The denial of the Injury “No harm, no foul”. Criminal law has made a distinction between crimes that are wrong in themselves and acts that are illegal but not immoral, and the delinquent can make the same kind of distinction in evaluating the wrongfulness of his behavior (Sykes & Matza, 1957, p.667). The deviant uses this technique to convince themselves and their accuser that their deviation was inoffensive, leading to no real damage. Their

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