THE 2012 SUTHERLAND ADDRESS PENALITY AND THE PENAL STATE
The sociology of punishment has developed a rich understanding of the social and historical forces that have transformed American penality during the last 40 years. But whereas these social forces are not unique to the United States, their penal impact there has been disproportionately large, relative to comparable nations. To address this issue, I suggest that future research should attend more closely to the structure and operation of the penal state. I begin by distinguishing penality (the penal field) from the penal state (the governing institutions that direct and control the penal field). I then present a preliminary conceptualization of “the penal state” and discuss the relationship between the penal state and the American state more generally.
MODELING THE ASSOCIATION BETWEEN ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT AND DELINQUENCY: AN APPLICATION OF INTERACTIONAL THEORY
Many studies have addressed whether delinquent behavior is associated with various aspects of schooling and academics. However, this research has been limited to examining unidirectional effects. Building on Thornberry's interactional theory, we develop a conceptual model that posits reciprocal associations among delinquent behavior, school attachment, and academic achievement. The model is tested with two waves from the Add Health data set (n = 9,381) that include measures of transcript grade point average (GPA). The results of a set of structural equation models provide evidence that academic achievement is associated with less delinquent behavior over time, as well as with higher school attachment. However, the effects of delinquency are limited to an attenuating effect on subsequent school attachment; delinquency does not directly influence academic achievement. Thus, we find only partial support for interactional theory.
IS BEING “SPIRITUAL” ENOUGH WITHOUT BEING RELIGIOUS? A STUDY OF VIOLENT AND PROPERTY CRIMES AMONG EMERGING ADULTS
Although prior research has had a tendency to confirm a negative association between religiousness and crime, criminologists have been slow to incorporate new concepts and emergent issues from the scientific study of religion into their own research. The self-identity phrase “spiritual but not religious” is one of them, which has been increasingly used by individuals who claim to be “spiritual” but disassociate themselves from organized religion. This study first examines differences in crime between “spiritual-but-not-religious” individuals and their “religious-and-spiritual,” “religious-but-not-spiritual,” and “neither-religious-nor-spiritual” peers in emerging adulthood. Specifically, we hypothesize that the spiritual-but-not-religious young adults are more prone to crime than their “religious” counterparts, while expecting them to be different from the “neither” group without specifying whether they are more or less crime prone. Second, the expected group differences in crime are hypothesized to be explained by the microcriminological theories of self-control, social bonding, and general strain. Latent-variable structural equation models were estimated separately for violent and property crimes using the third wave of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The overall results tend to provide a partial support for the hypotheses. Implications for criminology and future research are discussed.
EXAMINING THE GENERALITY OF THE UNEMPLOYMENT–CRIME ASSOCIATION
This article examines whether the relationship between unemployment and criminal offending depends on the type of crime analyzed. We rely on fixed-effects regression models to assess the association between changes in unemployment status and changes in violent crime, property crime, and driving under the influence (DUI) over a 6-year period. We also examine whether the type of unemployment benefit received moderates the link to criminal behavior. We find significantly positive effects of unemployment on property crime but not on other types of crime. Our estimates also suggest that unemployed young males commit less crime while participating in active labor market programs when compared with periods during which they receive standard unemployment benefits.
“SEEING” MINORITIES AND PERCEPTIONS OF DISORDER: EXPLICATING THE MEDIATING AND MODERATING MECHANISMS OF SOCIAL COHESION
Research shows that residents report high levels of disorder in places with greater concentrations of minorities even after controlling for objective indicators of crime or disorder. Less understood, however, are the mechanisms that explain this relationship. Drawing on a survey of nearly 10,000 residents nested within 297 neighborhoods across two cities, we use a multiple indicators–multiple causes model to examine the cues that lead individuals to distort the presence of minorities in neighborhoods. We then employ multilevel models to test whether these distortions influence perceptions of disorder. Furthermore, we assess whether living in a socially cohesive neighborhood mediates and/or moderates the relationship between “seeing” minorities and perceiving disorder. We find that when residents overestimate the proportion of minorities living in their neighborhood, perceptions of disorder are heightened. Yet social cohesion moderates and partially mediates this relationship: Residents living in socially cohesive neighborhoods not only report less disorder than those living in less cohesive communities, but also they “see” fewer minorities when compared with residents living in less socially cohesive neighborhoods. These results suggest that social cohesion is an important mechanism for explaining how residents internalize the presence of minorities in their neighborhoods and how this then leads to perceived neighborhood disorder.
A DUAL-SYSTEMS APPROACH FOR UNDERSTANDING DIFFERENTIAL SUSCEPTIBILITY TO PROCESSES OF PEER INFLUENCE
The distinct peer-based perspectives of deviant normative influence and unstructured/unsupervised socializing with friends contend that adolescents rely on different information when deciding to offend, with the former positing that individuals offend after considering the longer term consequences of behavior, and the latter positing that decisions to offend derive from situational stimuli. We argue that these processes can be organized under a dual-systems framework of decision making, which leads to the hypothesis that individuals at the edges of impulsivity should be differentially vulnerable to these peer influence processes because of their tendency to rely on only one system of decision making. We use two large data sets to test this hypothesis: a nationally representative sample of adolescents from the AddHealth study (N = ∼9,000) and a pooled panel data set of adolescents from the Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) evaluation (N = 1,172). The results of longitudinal negative binomial analyses indicate that normative influence by deviant peers has a stronger effect on delinquency for adolescents with low impulsivity than it does for individuals with high impulsivity. Differences in the informal socializing with peers coefficients are less clear and offer minimal support for our predictions.
A MULTILEVEL FRAMEWORK FOR UNDERSTANDING POLICE CULTURE: THE ROLE OF THE WORKGROUP
Relying on a well-established theoretical paradigm from organizational psychology, the aim of the current inquiry is to apply a multilevel approach to the study of police culture that identifies workgroups as important entities that influence officers’ occupational outlooks. More specifically, we propose that police culture be assessed in a way similar to concepts in criminology, such as collective efficacy and street culture, whereby the shared features of individuals’ environments are considered. Within this framework, we draw on survey data from five municipal police agencies to examine how strongly officers within 187 separate workgroups share culture, as well as the extent to which culture differs across these workgroups. Collectively, the findings suggest that the workgroup serves as a viable context that patterns culture in police organizations. As such, the study provides a way to move beyond conceptualizations of police culture as either a purely monolithic or an individual-level phenomenon.
WHEN THE TIES THAT BIND UNWIND: EXAMINING THE ENDURING AND SITUATIONAL PROCESSES OF CHANGE BEHIND THE MARRIAGE EFFECT
Despite the continued growth of research demonstrating that marriage promotes desistance from crime, efforts aimed at understanding the mechanisms driving this effect are limited. Several theories propose to explain why we observe a reduction in offending after marriage including identity changes, strengthened attachments, reduced opportunities, and changes to routine activities. Although mechanisms are hard to measure, we argue that each proposed mechanism implies a specific change process, that is, whether the change that ensues after marriage is enduring (stable) or situational (temporary). Drawing on a medical model framework, we cast the role of marriage as a treatment condition and observe whether the effect of marriage is conditional on staying married or whether the effect persists when the “treatment” is taken away (i.e., divorce). We use 13 years of monthly level data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY97), a nationally representative sample containing close to 3,000 individuals with an arrest history, to examine changes in relationship status and arrest from adolescence into young adulthood. Estimates from multilevel within-individual models reveal greater support for situational mechanisms in that divorce is detrimental particularly for those in longer marriages; yet they also reveal important caveats that suggest a closer examination of the marriage effect. This research adds to the growing body of knowledge regarding the marriage effect by redirecting desistance research away from asking if marriage matters to asking how marriage affects desistance. A better understanding of this change process has important implications for criminal justice policy.
Scholarship has long noted the importance of understanding the changes that occur over time in aggregate public support for punitive criminal justice policies. Yet, the lack of a reliable and valid measure of this concept limits our understanding of this aspect of the criminal justice system. This research develops a measure of public support for punitive policies from 1951 to 2006 using 242 administrations of 24 unique survey indicators. It argues that punitive sentiment is politically constructed via frames focusing on the permissiveness of the criminal justice system. Punitive sentiment is estimated with an error-correction model showing both the short- and long-term relationships between punitive sentiment and presidential framing of crime, public dissatisfaction with social welfare policies, and perceptions of racial integration. The results highlight the complex dynamics responsible for the change over time in punitive sentiment as well as the possibilities of obtaining public support for alternative solutions to crime.
EGOHOODS AS WAVES WASHING ACROSS THE CITY: A NEW MEASURE OF “NEIGHBORHOODS”
Defining “neighborhoods” is a bedeviling challenge faced by all studies of neighborhood effects and ecological models of social processes. Although scholars frequently lament the inadequacies of the various existing definitions of “neighborhood,” we argue that previous strategies relying on nonoverlapping boundaries such as block groups and tracts are fundamentally flawed. The approach taken here instead builds on insights of the mental mapping literature, the social networks literature, the daily activities pattern literature, and the travel to crime literature to propose a new definition of neighborhoods: egohoods. These egohoods are conceptualized as waves washing across the surface of cities, as opposed to independent units with nonoverlapping boundaries. This approach is illustrated using crime data from nine cities: Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Los Angeles, Sacramento, St. Louis, and Tucson. The results show that measures aggregated to our egohoods explain more of the variation in crime across the social environment than do models with measures aggregated to block groups or tracts. The results also suggest that measuring inequality in egohoods provides dramatically stronger positive effects on crime rates than when using the nonoverlapping boundary approach, highlighting the important new insights that can be obtained by using our egohood approach.
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New Journal! STATE CRIME
Journal of the International State Crime Initiative
We are delighted to announce the arrival of State Crime, the first peer-reviewed journal dedicated to state crime scholarship. The journal is interdisciplinary and international and seeks to develop deeper understandings of state crime and institutional deviance. Topics on which articles are invited include: torture; genocide and other forms of government and politically organised mass killing; war crimes; state-corporate crime; state-organised crime; natural disasters exacerbated by government (in)action; asylum and refugee policy and practice; state terror; political and economic corruption; and resistance to state violence and corruption. The journal is keen to feature both empirical and theoretical studies.
The journal will be published twice yearly by Pluto Press from April 2012. Details of the editorial and peer review arrangements can be found in the Editorial Board and Notes for Contributors section. Articles should be limited to 8,000 words and written and submitted in accordance with the guidelines for authors.