How does socialization affect the role that criminal justice workers adopt?

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Socialization is the process by which we learn the values of our society, or at least of our part of the overall society.  Socialization happens through contact with our families, our friends, people in school, the media, and others.  By interacting with these people, we learn what sorts of behaviors are expected of people in our situation.

There are at least two ways in which socialization can affect the role that criminal justice workers adopt.  First, these workers can be socialized early in life in ways that affect them when they are adults.  For example, they might grow up in a liberal household that stresses the idea that people can all become good if they are given the right opportunities.  Such socialization would influence criminal justice workers to adopt a more caring role towards those with whom they work.  Second, these workers can be socialized once they are studying for their jobs or actually performing them.  Here, they are being socialized in their profession, not in the society as a whole.  They may be taught to be very cynical about prisoners and other people caught up in the criminal justice system.  This would influence them to take a much more punitive role in dealing with those people.

Thus, the socialization that criminal justice workers get both early in life and in the course of training for and performing their duties can both have an impact on the roles that they play.