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4 page mid term paper for sociology (punishment and social control) classEssay Question
Discuss the usefulness of course readings for understanding the issued raised in the New Yorker article “Unforgivable: The Governor and the Teenager.” Your answer should include a substantial discussion of two of the following readings: (a) Greg Barak, Paul Leighton and Jeanne Flavin “Introduction: Crime, Inequality and Justice,” (b) William Chambliss “The Saints and The Roughnecks,” (c) Devah Pager “The Mark of a Criminal Record.”I already uploaded the related file of reading belowFormat
Your essay should be 4 pages long (typed, double-spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-pt. font)
Please cite all of your sources using ASA or APA citation style
Include page numbers
Be sure to include your name!
Grading CriteriaThis assignment is worth 20% of your course grade. It will be evaluated on the following:
Accurate understanding of course concepts and readings
Appropriate application of course concepts and readings to the news article or novel
Depth of analysis
Clarity of writing
Organization of ideas Citation of sources


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The New Yorker
JANUARY 8, 2015
Unforgivable: The Governor and the Teen-Ager
The former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell speaks to members of the media; January 6,
Bob McDonnell, the disgraced ex-governor of Virginia, appealed for the mercy of the court, and
he received it. A former Presidential prospect with a career in state politics, McDonnell, along
with his wife, Maureen, was convicted in September of trading the powers of his office for
loans, shopping sprees, golf trips, a Rolex, and use of a Ferrari and a country home—a pattern
that unfolded in the course of eleven months, netting his family a range of pleasures worth a
hundred and seventy-seven thousand dollars, until federal prosecutors took notice.
Federal sentencing guidelines called for ten to twelve years. Michael Dry, an assistant United
States attorney who prosecuted the case, called the series of abuses “unprecedented in
Virginia’s two-hundred-and-twenty-six-year history,” and sought six and a half years.
McDonnell’s defense attorneys asked for no prison time. They proposed instead six thousand
hours of community service and in court presented eleven witnesses, including another former
governor and an N.F.L. star, who argued for leniency. The witnesses said that McDonnell cared
little for material possessions; the Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates reported that the
conviction itself would be a sufficient deterrent to others; the governor’s sister said her brother
was already so grieved that he had trouble eating and was losing weight. While pleading for the
judge’s grace, even McDonnell’s lawyer choked up.
By the time the U.S. district judge James Spencer rendered his sentence, he sounded almost as
pained. “It breaks my heart, but I have a duty I can’t avoid,” Spencer said. In a lengthy
preamble, he compared himself to the Roman prefect who reluctantly condemned Jesus Christ.
“Unlike Pontius Pilate, I can’t wash my hands of it all,” Spencer said. “A meaningful sentence
must be imposed.”
He sentenced McDonnell to two years, a term of such impressive leniency that McDonnell’s
first words outside the courthouse in Richmond were ones of thanks to the justice system. Dry,
the prosecutor, left the court without comment, “his face twisted in anger,” as a reporter put it.
For comparison purposes, prosecutors had argued that McDonnell’s deeds went on far longer
than those of Phillip A. Hamilton, a former Virginia lawmaker convicted, in 2011, of bribery and
extortion and sentenced to nine and a half years, and that McDonnell’s office was higher than
that of Hamilton. (Another former governor, Rod Blagojevich, of Illinois, is serving fourteen
American sentencing today rests on a mix of improvisation, unthinking bureaucracy, power, and
cruelty. To see it in the round, you need not leave Virginia. Consider a comparison, handed
down in a different Virginia courtroom, in March, 2008, to considerably less attention. The
defendant, Travion Blount, had no former governors or sitting Speakers or N.F.L. stars to testify
to his character. His crime, as the Virginian-Pilot described it in a 2013 report, did not attract
much attention: “No shots were fired, and he didn’t hit any victims. It did not merit a mention
in the morning newspaper.”
Blount had joined the Crips at the age of eleven. By the fall of 2006, when he was fifteen, he
was repeating the sixth grade for the fourth time. His mother had asked the truancy court and
other agencies to try to get him into a program. That September, Blount and two older teenagers set out to rob a drug dealer at a house party near Norfolk Naval Station. The three of
them pulled guns. At one point, Blount tried to give his pistol to one of the other attackers, who
pushed it back into his hands. They stole money, marijuana, and cell phones. While Blount was
in another part of the house, one of his fellow-assailants got angry with a victim for being slow
to hand over a wallet and hit him in the head with a gun, cutting his scalp. The heist took about
twenty minutes. Police caught them within a week, and they were charged with armed robbery
and related offenses.
His two co-defendants (both eighteen years old) pleaded guilty. Prosecutors offered Blount a
plea that would carry a mandated term of at least eighteen years; if he didn’t take it, they said,
they would bring additional charges. To a seventeen-year-old, eighteen years in jail seemed
interminable. According to theVirginian-Pilot’s Louis Hansen, “Blount was stubborn. He thought
he was innocent of some charges. He was willing to fight.”
Blount lost. He had faced fifty-one felonies—including illegal use of a firearm, robbery, and
abduction. The jury found him guilty on forty-nine of them. At the sentencing, in March 2008,
the judge said the gun crimes carried fixed punishments in Virginia, so his sentence for the
weapons charge came to a hundred and eighteen years. On top of that, because the crime
involved robbing three juveniles at gunpoint, the judge added six life sentences. The VirginianPilot wrote that the sentence “may be the harshest in America for a teen who didn’t commit
Blount’s lawyers say that six life sentences for a teen-ager involved in a gun crime in which no
shots were fired is cruel and unusual, a violation of the constitution; they want him to receive a
sentence comparable to his co-defendants’ terms of ten and thirteen years. The Equal Justice
Initiative (E.J.I.), a nonprofit, represented Blount in an appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court,
but the court turned it down, maintaining its position that teen offenders already have a
merciful option in the form of “geriatric release”—the right to appeal once they turn sixty years
old. As of 2013, Blount was one of at least twenty-two Virginia inmates doing life for a nonhomicide crime committed as a teen.
In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court banned life without parole for minors not involved in
homicide. But Bryan Stevenson, the founder and executive director of E.J.I., told me that
“Virginia has been deliberately indifferent” to revisiting sentences like Blount’s. “Virginia has
taken the position that it doesn’t need to implement the Court’s ruling and reform their laws
because clemency or executive-branch oversight through geriatric parole is adequate.” After
the McDonnell ruling, Stevenson told me, “It’s a little ironic that the executive branch the
Virginia courts and legislature have relied on to protect people from unfair sentences has now
been exposed with evidence of corruption, but the remedy is to be very lenient toward the
executive and let everyone else rot in prison.”
Last January, in a brief intersection of fates, Bob McDonnell, who was then still
governor, commuted Travion Blount’s sentence to forty years. But, in August, while McDonnell
was on trial, a federal judge struck down that commutation. Unless something changes, Blount
will be in prison at least until his sixtieth birthday, in 2051.
Outside the courthouse yesterday, after expressing his gratitude to the court system,
McDonnell began the long march back to resurrection. “I am a fallen human being. I have made
mistakes in my life,” he said. His wife will be sentenced on February 20th. During the trial, his
lawyers had done their best to shift the blame to her. But McDonnell asked the judge that
“whatever mercy you might have, you grant it first to my wife, Maureen.”
The Saints and the Roughnecks
Eight promising young
of good,
stable, white upper-middle-class families, active
in school affairs, good
were some of the most delinquent boys at
Hanibal High School. While community residents and parents knew that these boys occasionally sowed a few wild
they were totally
unaware that sowing wild oats completely occupied the daily routine of these young men. The
Saints were constantly occupied with truancy,
drinking, wild driving, petty theft and vandalism. Yet not one was officially arrested for any
misdeed during the two years I observed them.
This record was particularly surprising in light
of my observations during the same two years of
another gang of Hanibal High School students,
six lower-class white boys known as the Roughnecks. The Roughnecks were constantly in trouble with police and community even though their
rate of delinquency was about equal with that of
the Saints. What was the cause of this disparity?
The result? The following consideration of the
activities, social class and community perceptions of both gangs may provide some answers.
The Saints
Monday to Friday
The Saints’ principal daily concern was with
getting out of school as early as possible. The
boys managed to get out of school with
minimum danger that they would be accused of
playing hookey through an elaborate procedure
for obtaining “legitimate” release from class.
The most common procedure was for one boy to
obtain the release of another by fabricating a
meeting of some committee, program or recognized club. Charles might raise his hand in his
9:00 chemistry class and ask to be
euphemism for going to the bathroom. Charles
would go to Ed’s math class and inform the
teacher that Ed was needed for a
of the drama club play. The math teacher would
recognize Ed and Charles as
involved in numerous school activities and
would permit Ed to leave at 9:30. Charles would
return to his class, and Ed would go to Tom’s
English class to obtain his release. Tom would
escape. The strategy would
continue until as many of the Saints as possible
were freed. After a stealthy trip to the car (which
had been parked in a strategic spot), the boys
were off for a day of
Over the two years I observed the Saints, this
pattern was repeated nearly every day. There
were variations on the theme, but in one form or
another, the boys used this procedure for getting
out of class and then off the school grounds.
Rarely did all eight of the Saints manage to leave
school at the same time. The average number
avoiding school on the days I observed them
was five.
Having escaped from the concrete corridors
the boys usually went either to a pool hall on the
other (lower-class) side of town or to a cafe in
the suburbs. Both places were out of the way of
people the boys were likely to know (family or
school officials), and both provided a source of
entertainment. The pool hall entertainment was
the generally rough atmosphere, the occasional
hustler, the sometimes drunk proprietor and, of
the game of pool. The
entertainment was provided by the owner. The boys
would “accidentally” knock a glass on the floor
or spill cola on the
all the
enough to be sporting. They would also bend
spoons, put salt in sugar bowls and generally
tease whoever was working in the cafe. The
owner had opened the cafe recently and was dependent on the boys’ business which was, in fact,
substantial since between the horsing around
and the teasing they bought food and drinks.
The Saints on Weekends
On weekends, the automobile was even more
critical than during the week, for on weekends
the Saints went to Big
large city with a
population of over a million, 25 miles from
Hanibal. Every Friday and Saturday night most
of the Saints would meet between 8:00 and 8:30
and would go into Big Town. Big Town activities
included drinking heavily in taverns or nightdriving drunkenly through the streets, and
committing acts of vandalism and playing pranks.
Reprinted by permission of Transaction, Inc., from Society, Vol. 11, No. 1 (November/December 1973), pp. 24Copyright © 1973 by Transaction, Inc.
The Saints and the Roughnecks
By midnight on Fridays and Saturdays the
Saints were usually thoroughly high, and one or
two of them were often so drunk they had to be
carried to the cars. Then the boys drove around
town, calling obscenities to women and girls; occasionally trying (unsuccessfully so far as I
could tell) to pick girls up; and driving recklessly
through red lights and at high speeds with their
lights out. Occasionally they played “chicken.”
One boy would climb out the back window of
the car and across the roof to the driver’s side of
the car while the car was moving at high speed
(between 40 and 50 miles an hour); then the
driver would move over and the boy who had
just crawled across the car roof would take the
driver’s seat.
Searching for “fair game” for a prank was the
boys’ principal activity after they left the tavern.
The boys would drive alongside a foot patrolman
and ask directions to some street. If the policeman leaned on the car in the course of answering
the question, the driver would speed away,
causing him to lose his balance. The Saints were
careful to play this prank only in an area where
they were not going to spend much time and
where they could quickly disappear around a
corner to avoid having their license plate number taken.
sites and road repair areas were
the special province of the Saints’ mischief. A
soon-to-be-repaired hole in the road inevitably
invited the Saints to remove lanterns and
wooden barricades and put them in the car, leaving the hole unprotected. The boys would find a
safe vantage point and wait for an unsuspecting
motorist to drive into the
Often, though not
always, the boys would go up to the motorist
and commiserate with him about the dreadful
way the city protected its citizenry.
Leaving the scene of the open hole and the
motorist, the boys would then go searching for
an appropriate place to erect the stolen barricade. An “appropriate place” was often a spot
on a highway near a curve in the road where the
barricade would not be seen by an oncoming
motorist. The boys would wait to watch an unsuspecting motorist attempt to stop and (usually)
crash into the wooden barricade. With saintly
bearing the boys might offer help and understanding.
A stolen lantern might well find its way onto
the back of a police car or hang from a street
lamp. Once a lantern served as a prop for a
reenactment of the “midnight ride of Paul Re-
vere” until the
which was taking place
at 2:00 A.M. in the center of a main street of Big
Town, was interrupted by a police car several
blocks away. The boys ran, leaving the
on the street, and managed to avoid being apprehended.
Abandoned houses, especially if they were
located in out-of-the-way places, were fair game
for destruction and spontaneous vandalism. The
boys would break windows, remove furniture to
the yard and tear it apart, urinate on the walls
and scrawl obscenities inside.
Through all the pranks, drinking and reckless
driving the boys managed miraculously to avoid
being stopped by
Only twice in two years
was I aware that they had been stopped by a Big
City policeman. Once was for speeding (which
they did every time they drove whether they
were drunk or
and the driver managed to
convince the policeman that it was simply an
error. The second time they were stopped they
had just left a nightclub and were walking
through an alley. Aaron stopped to urinate and
the boys began making obscene remarks. A foot
patrolman came into the alley, lectured the boys
and sent them home. Before the boys got to the
car one began talking in a loud voice again. The
policeman, who had followed them down the alley, arrested this boy for disturbing the peace
and took him to the police station where the
other Saints gathered. After paying a $5.00 fine,
and with the assurance that there would be no
permanent record of the arrest, the boy was released.
had a spirit of frivolity and fun about
their escapades. They did not view what they
were engaged in as “delinquency,” though it
surely was by any reasonable definition of that
word. They simply viewed themselves as having
a little fun and who, they would ask, was really
hurt by it? The answer had to be no one, although this fact remains one of the most difficult
things to explain about the gang’s behavior. Unlikely though it seems, in two years of drinking,
driving, carousing and vandalism no one was
seriously injured as a result of the Saints’ activi-
The Saints in School
The Saints were highly successful in school.
The average grade for the group was
two of the boys having close to a straight “A”
188 The Effects of Contact with Control Agents
average. Almost all of the boys were popular
and many of them held offices in the school. One
of the boys was vice-president of the student
body one year. Six of the boys played on athletic
At the end of their senior year, the student
body selected ten seniors for special recognition
as the “school
four of the ten were
Saints. Teachers and school officials saw no
problem with any of these boys and anticipated
that they would all
something of themHow the boys managed to maintain this impression is surprising in view of their actual behavior while in school. Their technique for covering truancy was so successful that teachers did
not even realize that the boys were absent from
school much of the time. Occasionally, of
course, the system would backfire and then the
boy was on his own. A boy who was caught
would be most contrite, would plead guilty and
ask for mercy. He inevitably got the mercy he
Cheating on examinations was rampant, even
to the point of orally communicating answers to
exams as well as looking at one another’s papers. Since none of the group studied, and since
they were primarily dependent on one another
for help, it is surprising that grades were so high.
Teachers contributed to the deception in their
admitted inclination to give these boys (and presumably others like them) the benefit of the
doubt. When asked how the boys did in school,
and when pressed on specific examinations,
teachers might admit that they were disappointed in John’s performance, but would
quickly add that they “knew he was capable of
doing better,” so John was given a higher grade
than he had actually
How often this happened is impossible to know. During the time
that I observed the group, I never saw any of the
boys take homework home. Teachers may have
been “understanding” very regularly.
One exception to the gang’s generally good
performance was Jerry, who had a
in his junior year, experienced disaster the next
year and failed to graduate. Jerry had always
been a little more nonchalant than the others
about the liberties he took in school. Rather than
wait for someone to come get him from
would offer his own excuse and
he probably did not miss any more classes than
most of the others in the group, he did not take
the requisite pains to cover his absences. Jerry
was the only Saint whom I ever heard talk back
to a teacher. Although teachers often called him
a “cut up” or a “smart kid,” they never referred
to him as a troublemaker or as a kid headed for
trouble. It seems likely, then, that
his senior year and his mediocre performance
his junior year were consequences of his not
playing the game the proper way (possibly because he was disturbed by his parents’ divorce).
His teachers regarded him as “immature” and
not quite ready to get out of high
The Police and the Saints
The local police saw the Saints as good boys
who were among the leaders of the youth in the
community. Rarely, the boys might be stopped
in town for speeding or for running a stop sign.
When this happened the boys were always polite, contrite and pled for mercy. As in school,
they received the mercy they asked for. None
ever received a ticket or was taken into the precinct by the local police.
The situation in Big City, where the boys engaged in most of their delinquency, was only
slightly different. The police there did not know
the boys at all, although occasionally the boys
were stopped by a patrolman. Once they were
caught taking a lantern from a construction site.
Another time they were stopped for running a
stop sign, and on several occasions …
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