Labeling theory underscores that how society reacts to and categorizes criminal actions impact the occurrence of the crime. Lilly, Cullen, and Ball (2011) explained that because crime is socially constructed, society should be wary of how the state, the predominant labeling agent, shapes criminal justice systems, which in turn, influences criminality. Labeling theory emphasizes that the criminalization of human behavior cannot be seen as always truthful, valid, and accurate, because the state, which performs the labeling, do so out of evolving (and this indicates arbitrary) interests (i.e. labeling marijuana as bad during the 1930s, when accounts for its severe negative effects on human sanity were not fully proven). Other social groups also participate in labeling crimes and criminals (i.e. work of middle-class women against juvenile delinquency without responding to the social roots of crime). Labeling theory believes that these groups and the state are forming different conceptions of reality that affect social reactions and answers to “criminal behavior.” Lilly, Cullen, and Ball (2011) provided a number of studies that proved how labeling affects people’s reactions, including the police. The work of Heusenstamm in 1975 showed that when the police see “Black Panther” stickers on automobiles, the more that they gave these drivers traffic violations tickets. William Chambliss (1984) showed in his study that labeling one middle-class youth group as “Saints” and another working-class teenage group as “Roughnecks” resulted to opposing reactions from society. The community, school, and law enforcers reacted more positively to the “Saints” than the “Roughnecks,” although both have almost the same level of delinquency behaviors. Labeling theory argues that labeling is criminogenic, or it results to greater criminal behaviors.
The origins of labeling theory come from other thinkers. Jeremy Bentham believed that the prison does not promote