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Criminal Stigma

Stigma has been studied in multiple disciplines (e.g., psychology, sociology, anthropology, and criminology) and conceptualized in various ways. In general, stigma is defined as a measure of shame or disgrace brought on by physical and/or mental qualities differentiating individuals from the broader population. Sociology further refines this definition by adding a discounting feature—normal individuals use stigma to discredit accomplishments and stereotype those deemed different. Stigma may be visually obvious (overt), such as race and individuals with physical disabilities, or a concealable identity (covert), such as criminal status. However, this criminal or offender identity is no longer concealable when individuals are required to disclose their status for community engagement. Criminal stigma intersects psychology and criminology to explain how the label offender or criminal negatively impacts an ...

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