Mental Disorder and Social Control

CRMJ 415

Critical Thinking Analysis
(50 points)

Mental Disorder and
Social Control

TCOs: 1: Defining deviance, types of deviance

Criminal behavior

Physical characteristics (extends to mental disorders)


Case: Obsessed With Trains

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are the most common neurological disorders
affecting children and are one of the most common developmental disabilities in
our society.ASDs
change the way the brain processes information and can affect all aspects of a
person’s development. Asperger’s syndrome, often described as high-functioning
autism, is characterized by social awkwardness and behaviors perceived as
eccentric by normal standards, including obsessive interests that make people
with the disorder stick out in society.

In November 2006, the New York Times reported a story with this headline: “Man Obsessed With
Trains Again Runs Afoul of the Law.” Daniel McCollum, 41, who suffers from
Asperger’s syndrome, had already been arrested many times over the previous 25
years for train-related offences, including impersonating transit workers,
taking busses and subway trains for joy rides, tripping emergency brakes,
entering subway control towers, and trying to steal a Long Island Railway locomotive.

In June 2006, Mr. McCollum was conditionally
released from Sing Sing Prison, where he was serving a term for burglary and
forgery, to live with his parents in Winston-Salem, NC. By November, he had
grown bored with North Carolina and disappeared, violating the terms of his
parole. Authorities believed it was likely that he would return to New York
City, and the transit police were told to be on the lookout for an imposter
posing as a transit worker.

In August 2006, in response to a plea from
police asking companies to be watchful for purchases that might be used in
terrorist activities, a public safety equipment company contacted the New York
police to advise them that a man was trying to buy a transit-style badge. The
individual was identified as Mr. McCollum, whose purchase attempt violated
another condition of his parole. Three months later, the police were able to
reach him on his cell phone, convinced him to turn himself in, and arrested

His latest offense is for criminal
impersonation; when police arrested him, he was in possession of an official-looking
transit authority ID badge, construction hat, and train conductor manuals,
which violated the terms of his parole for earlier offences. When he appeared
in court after his arrest, Mr. McCollum admitted that he found trains
irresistible, and even though he knew that the terms of his parole prohibited
him from any involvement with transit trains in New York, he still had an
overwhelming desire to be in a train yard or train. Advocates for Mr. McCollum
argue that the legal system failed him because he is different in a way that is
typically reflected in obsessive behavior.

Assignment: Analyze this case
using course concepts. Write an essay that contains answers to these three
questions: how deviance occurred, what kind(s) of deviance occurred, and at
least one theoretical perspective on social control that you think has good
explanatory power with respect to this case.

you use the text or external resources remember to use APA citations in the
body of your essay and in the corresponding references section at the end of
the essay. Reminder: You cannot use Wikipedia or the websites of other

a Microsoft Word document, using double-spacing, paragraphs, and subheadings
for each component.

is no set length for your essay, although 750 words or more will probably be
needed to provide sound analysis.

edit your essay for grammar and spelling errors and for presentation style.

This assignment is due by 1 minute before
midnight on the last Sunday of Week 7. Please submit it through the Week 7 Dropbox.
Note: No late submissions are permitted for Week 7 assignments unless you meet
DeVry’s policy for emergency conditions.


of analysis (use of course concepts and reasoning) 40 points

of editing (APA citations, free from spelling and grammar errors) 6

of presentation (subheadings and paragraphing)
4 points

points available 50