Monday, November 29, 2010

Crime & Delinquency

A Life-Course Analysis of Offense Specialization Across Age: Introducing a New Method for Studying Individual Specialization Over the Life Course
Paul Nieuwbeerta, Arjan A.J. Blokland, Alex R. Piquero, and Gary Sweeten
Much of the knowledge base on offense specialization indicates that, although there is some (short-term) specialization, it exists amidst much versatility in offending. Yet this general conclusion is drawn on studies using very different conceptualizations of specialization and emerges with data primarily through the first two to three decades of life. Using data on a sample of Dutch offenders through age 72 years, this article introduces and applies a new method for studying individual offender specialization over the life course. The results indicate that although, in general, individual offending patterns over the life course are diverse, there is also evidence of an age—diversity curve. Linking offense frequency trajectories to the estimated diversity index, the authors also examine distinct specialization patterns across unique trajectory groups. Implications for theory and research are outlined.

Patterns of Victimization and Feelings of Safety Inside Prison: The Experience of Male and Female Inmates
Nancy Wolff and Jing Shi
Little is known about the patterns of sexual victimization inside prisons and their relationship to inmates’ feelings of safety. This study examined patterns of sexual victimization with and without co-occurring physical victimization and feelings of safety as reported by 6,964 male and 564 female inmates. Respondents completed a computerized survey with questions about type of victimization (sexual/physical) and source of victimization (inmate/staff). Compared to sexual assault, inappropriate sexual touching was more common, especially among female inmates (22% versus 4%), whereas sexual assault was relatively less common for male and female inmates (< 2%). Sexual victimization often involved one to three types of sexually inappropriately behavior. Victimization perpetrated by staff was more frequently reported by male inmates. Most inmates, independent of gender and sexual victimization, reported feeling safe inside prison. Inmates who felt the most unsafe reported sexual victimization by staff or concurrent sexual and physical victimization (n = 150).

The Failure of Race Neutral Policies: How Mandatory Terms and Sentencing Enhancements Contribute to Mass Racialized Incarceration
Traci Schlesinger
This study examines the effects of mandatory terms and sentencing enhancements on Black and White men’s state-level prison admission rates. Four major findings emerge from the analysis. First, both mandatory terms and sentencing enhancements increase prison admission rates for Black and White men. Second, these policies disproportionately increase Black men’s admissions. Third, the effects of these policies—on both scale and disparity—are strongest and most consistent on admissions for violent offenses. Finally, although sentencing enhancements increase admission rates more consistently than mandatory terms, mandatory terms have larger effects on admission rates for the categories—for example, violent admissions for Black men—where they do increase admission rates. The findings are consistent with theories of modern racism, which argue that, in the post-civil rights era, racial disparities are primarily produced and maintained by colorblind policies and practices.

Therapeutic Community in a California Prison: Treatment Outcomes After 5 Years
Sheldon X. Zhang, Robert E. L. Roberts, and Kathryn E. McCollister
Therapeutic communities have become increasingly popular among correctional agencies with drug-involved offenders. This quasi-experimental study followed a group of inmates who participated in a prison-based therapeutic community in a California state prison, with a comparison group of matched offenders, for more than 5 years after their initial prison release. Contrary to successes reported elsewhere, this study found no difference in new arrests and returns to prison between therapeutic community participants and the comparison participants after 5 years. Overall, more than 60% of both groups were returned to prison within 2 years following their initial release. After 5 years, the return-to-prison rate reached about 73% for both groups. The average time spent in prison following initial release was about the same for both groups. Rearrest offenses were also similar in both groups. Policy implications are discussed.

Parolees’ Physical Closeness to Social Services: A Study of California Parolees
John R. Hipp, Jesse Jannetta, Rita Shah, and Susan Turner
This study examines the proximity of service providers to recently released parolees in California over a 2-year period (2005-2006). The addresses of parolee residences and service providers are geocoded, and the number of various types of service providers within 2 miles (3.2 km) of a parolee are measured. “Potential demand” is measured as the number of parolees within 2 miles of a provider. Although racial and ethnic minority parolees have more service providers nearby, these providers appear to be particularly impacted based on potential demand. It is also found that the parolees arguably most in need of social services—those who have spent more time in correctional institutions, have been convicted of more serious or violent crimes in their careers, or are sex offenders—live near fewer social services, or the providers near them appear impacted.

Gangkill: An Exploratory Empirical Assessment of Gang Membership, Homicide Offending, and Prison Misconduct
Alan J. Drury and Matt DeLisi
Extant research indicates that inmates with street gang history are prone for prison misconduct but that inmates convicted of homicide offenses are less likely to be noncompliant. No research has explored the interaction between street gang history and homicide offending. Based on official infraction data from 1,005 inmates selected from the Southwestern United States, the current study found that inmates with street gang history and convictions for homicide offenses were significantly involved in six types of institutional misconduct, net the effects of homicide offending, offense severity, street and prison gang risk, violence history, and demographics. Implications for theory and research are explored.

Multiple Homicide as a Function of Prisonization and Concurrent Instrumental Violence: Testing an Interactive Model—A Research Note
Matt DeLisi and Glenn D. Walters
Prisonization (as measured by number of prior incarcerations) and concurrent instrumental offending (as measured by contemporaneous kidnapping, rape, robbery, and burglary offenses) were found to interact in 160 multiple-homicide offenders and 494 single-homicide offenders. Controlling for age, gender, race, criminal history, prior incarcerations, and instrumental contemporaneous offending, the interaction between prior incarceration and instrumental contemporaneous offending was a significant predictor of multiple homicide. These results constitute exploratory evidence suggesting that multiple homicide has a greater likelihood of occurring when prisonization and concurrent instrumental criminal offending are present. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

Crime & Delinquency, January 2011: Volume 57, Issue 1

Criminology 48(4)

Adolescent Romance And Delinquency: A Further Exploration Of Hirschi's "Cold And Brittle" Relationships Hypothesis
Peggy C. Giordano, Robert A. Lonardo, Wendy D. Manning and Monica A. Longmore
Hirschi (1969) argued that delinquent youth tend to form relatively “cold and brittle” relationships with peers, depicting these youths as deficient in their attachments to others. The current analysis explores connections between delinquency and the character of adolescent romantic ties, drawing primarily on the first wave of the Toledo Adolescent Relationships Study and focusing on 957 teens with dating experience. We examine multiple relationship qualities/dynamics to explore both the “cold” and the “brittle” dimensions of Hirschi's hypothesis. Regarding the “cold” assumption, results suggest that delinquency is not related to the perceived importance of the romantic relationship, level of intimate self-disclosure, or feelings of romantic love, and more delinquent youth actually report more frequent contact with their romantic partners. Analyses focused on two dimensions tapping the “brittle” description, which indicate that although durations of a focal relationship do not differ according to the level of respondent delinquency, more delinquent youths report higher levels of verbal conflict.

Parolee Recidivism In California: The Effect Of Neighborhood Context And Social Service Agency Characteristics
John R. Hipp, Joan Petersilia and Susan Turner
We studied a sample of reentering parolees in California in 2005–2006 to examine whether the social structural context of the census tract, as well as nearby tracts, along with the relative physical closeness of social service providers affects serious recidivism resulting in imprisonment. We found that a 1 standard deviation increase in the presence of nearby social service providers (within 2 miles) decreases the likelihood of recidivating 41 percent and that this protective effect was particularly strong for African American parolees. This protective effect was diminished by overtaxed services (as proxied by potential demand). We found that higher concentrated disadvantage and social disorder (as measured by bar and liquor store capacity) in the tract increases recidivism and that higher levels of disadvantage and disorder in nearby tracts increase recidivism. A 1 standard deviation increase in the concentrated disadvantage of the focal neighborhood and the surrounding neighborhoods increases the likelihood of recidivating by 26 percent. The findings suggest that the social context to which parolees return (both in their own neighborhood and in nearby neighborhoods), as well as the geographic accessibility of social service agencies, play important roles in their successful reintegration.

Sentencing Homicide Offenders In The Netherlands: Offender, Victim, And Situational Influences In Criminal Punishment
Brian D. Johnson, Sigrid Van Wingerden and Paul Nieuwbeerta
Empirical investigations of criminal sentencing represent a vast research enterprise in criminology. However, this research has been restricted almost exclusively to U.S. contexts, and often it suffers from key data limitations. As such, an examination of more detailed international sentencing data provides an important opportunity to assess the generalizability of contemporary research and theorizing on criminal punishment in the United States. The current study investigates little-researched questions about the influence of prosecutorial sentencing recommendations, victim/offender relationships, and extralegal disparities in sentencing by analyzing unique data on the punishment of homicide offenders in the Netherlands. The results indicate that offender, victim, and situational offense characteristics all exert important independent effects at sentencing and that prosecutorial recommendations exert powerful influences over judicial sentences. The article concludes with a discussion of future directions for comparative sentencing research across international contexts.

Modeling The Effects Of Racial Threat On Punitive And Restorative School Discipline Practices
Allison Ann Payne and Kelly Welch
It is clear that schools are mirroring the criminal justice system by becoming harsher toward student misbehavior despite decreases in delinquency. Moreover, Black students consistently are disciplined more frequently and more severely than others for the same behaviors, much in the same way that Black criminals are subjected to harsher criminal punishments than other offenders. Research has found that the racial composition of schools is partially responsible for harsher school discipline just as the racial composition of areas has been associated with punitive criminal justice measures. Yet, no research has explored comprehensively the dynamics involved in how racial threat and other factors influence discipline policies that ultimately punish Black students disproportionately. In this study (N = 294 public schools), structural equation models assess how school racial composition affects school disciplinary policies in light of other influences on discipline and gauge how other possible predictors of school disciplinary policies relate to racial composition of schools, to various school disciplinary policies, and to one another. Findings indicate that schools responding to student misbehavior with one type of discipline tend to use other types of responses as well and that many factors predict the type of disciplinary response used by schools. However, disadvantaged, urban schools with a greater Black, poor, and Hispanic student population are more likely to respond to misbehavior in a punitive manner and less likely to respond in a restorative manner.

Neighborhood Structural Characteristics, Individual-Level Attitudes, And Youths' Crime Reporting Intentions
Lee Ann Slocum, Terrance J. Taylor, Bradley T. Brick and Finn-Aage Esbensen
Although the “stop snitching” phenomenon has brought recent attention to crime reporting, researchers have recognized for a long time the importance of this issue. Early studies focused on individual-level factors related to reporting, but recently, researchers have begun to examine neighborhood-level predictors. Most of these studies, however, omit key individual-level predictors of reporting and provide relatively little insight into the individual-level processes through which neighborhood context might affect reporting. This study uses survey data from a multisite, school-based study to examine whether neighborhood structural characteristics and individual-level attitudes and experiences are related to youths’ intentions to report crime. In addition, we assess whether neighborhood characteristics influence reporting via their effect on individual-level attitudes and experiences. We find that neighborhood poverty has an inverse relationship with crime reporting intentions and that numerous individual-level measures are associated with reporting, including attitudes toward the police, delinquency, and perceptions of the community. Importantly, the effects of neighborhood characteristics are reduced when youths’ attitudes and experiences are included in the model. Taken together, our findings suggest that neighborhood context might affect reporting by shaping the attitudes and experiences of youth.

Explaining The Relationship Between Employment And Juvenile Delinquency
Jeremy Staff, D. Wayne Osgood, John E. Schulenberg, Jerald G. Bachman and Emily E. Messersmith
Most criminological theories predict an inverse relationship between employment and crime, but teenagers' involvement in paid work during the school year is correlated positively with delinquency and substance use. Whether the work–delinquency association is causal or spurious has been debated for a long time. This study estimates the effect of paid work on juvenile delinquency using longitudinal data from the national Monitoring the Future project. We address issues of spuriousness by using a two-level hierarchical model to estimate the relationships of within-individual changes in juvenile delinquency and substance use to those in paid work and other explanatory variables. We also disentangle the effects of actual employment from the preferences for employment to provide insight about the likely role of time-varying selection factors tied to employment, delinquency, school engagement, and leisure activities. Whereas causal effects of employment would produce differences based on whether and how many hours respondents worked, we found significantly higher rates of crime and substance use among nonemployed youth who preferred intensive versus moderate work. Our findings suggest the relationship between high-intensity work and delinquency results from preexisting factors that lead youth to desire varying levels of employment.

Scope And Conceptual Issues In Testing The Race–Crime Invariance Thesis: Black, White, And Hispanic Comparisons
Darrell Steffensmeier, Jeffery T. Ulmer, Ben Feldmeyer and Casey T. Harris
Our goal in this article is to contribute conceptually and empirically to assessments of the racial invariance hypothesis, which posits that structural disadvantage predicts violent crime in the same way for all racial and ethnic groups. Conceptually, we elucidate the scope of the racial invariance hypothesis and clarify the criteria used for evaluating it. Empirically, we use 1999–2001 averaged arrest data from California and New York to extend analyses of the invariance hypothesis within the context of the scope and definitional issues raised in our conceptual framing—most notably by including Hispanic comparisons with Blacks and Whites, by examining the invariance assumption for homicide as well as the violent crime index, by using discrete as well as composite disadvantage measures, and by using census place localities as the study unit. The mixed findings we report from our comparisons (across Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics; offense types; and type of disadvantage) suggest caution and uncertainty about the notion that structural sources of violence affect racial/ethnic groups in uniform ways. We conclude that the hypothesis should be regarded as provisional, and its scope remains to be established as to whether it applies only under narrow conditions or is a principle of general applicability.

Race-Specific Employment Contexts And Recidivism
Xia Wang, Daniel P. Mears and William D. Bales
Although much literature has examined macrolevel employment contexts and crime rates and, at the individual level, employment and offending, few studies have examined systematically whether macrolevel employment contexts influence individual-level offending. At the same time, emerging literature on prisoner reentry increasingly underscores the potential importance of the social environment for impeding or facilitating successful transitions back into society. All three avenues of inquiry have emphasized the salience of race-specific and offense-specific effects. This study extends prior work on ecology and offending, employment and crime, and prisoner reentry by examining the race-specific effects of unemployment rates and manufacturing employment rates on violent, property, and drug recidivism. By analyzing data on male ex-prisoners released to 67 counties in Florida, we found, as hypothesized, that Black ex-prisoners released to areas with higher Black male unemployment rates have a greater likelihood of violent recidivism. No comparable effect was identified for White exprisoners. However, we found that White ex-prisoners, especially those without prior violent convictions, have a lower likelihood of violent recidivism when released to areas with higher White male manufacturing employment rates. We discuss the findings and their implications for theory, research, and policy.

Criminology, November 2010: Volume 48, Issue 4

Journal of Criminal Justice 38(6)

General strain theory and the development of stressors and substance use over time: An empirical examination
Lee Ann Slocum
Little research has examined whether General Strain Theory (GST) can account for continuity in illicit behavior over their time. The current study fills this void by testing the ability of GST to account for the association between adolescent and adult substance use. Four mechanisms that Agnew argues lead to behavioral continuity—a direct effect of negative emotionality and low constraint on substance use, evocative and active selection, passive selection, and stressor amplification—are examined using structural equation modeling. Drawing from the broader stress literature, an additional pathway—stress proliferation—is also tested. This research uses two unique datasets, which together provide information on the lives of high risk individuals from birth through adulthood. Support for GST explanations of continuity is mixed. The direct and moderating effects of negative emotionality and low constraint as well as the more dynamic aspects of the stress process, like proliferation and amplification, received the most empirical support. It is argued that more attention should be directed to exploring the social processes through which stressors develop over time.

General strain theory, persistence, and desistance among young adult males
David Eitle
Despite the surge in scholarly activity investigating the criminal career, relatively less attention has been devoted to the issue of criminal desistance versus persistence (until recently). The present study contributed to our understanding of this process by exploring the suitability of General Strain Theory (GST) for predicting changes in criminal activity across time.
Data from a longitudinal study of males in South Florida are examined using robust regression analyses.
The core GST relationship, that changes in strain should predict changes in criminal activity, was supported, even after controlling for important adult social roles such as marriage, labor force participation, and education. While no support for the proposition that changes in self-esteem and social support moderate the strain-criminal desistance association was evinced, evidence was found that angry disposition, a measure of negative emotionality, moderated the association between change in chronic stressors and change in criminal activity.
While exploratory in nature, these findings demonstrate the utility of employing GST principles in studies of criminal desistance.

Sex differences in the causes of self-control: An examination of mediation, moderation, and gendered etiologies
Constance L. Chapple, Jamie Vaske, Trina L. Hope
Sex is one of the most robust predictors of self-control, with a consistent finding that girls score higher on a variety of measures of self-control. In this research, we investigate three possible reasons for why this is true: first, we examine whether current predictors of self-control mediate the effect of sex on self-control, second, we examine whether sex moderates the effect of current predictors on self-control and third, we examine the possibility that the causes of self-control are gendered, necessitating different causal models for boys and girls. Using data from the Children of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth79, we assess three, related questions: Is the sex effect on self-control mediated by current predictors of self-control? Does sex moderate the effects of current predictors of self-control? Does the causal model predicting self-control differ for boys and girls? We find that the sex effect on self-control is robust; does not moderate the etiology of self-control; and although partially mediated by etiological variables, remains a significant predictor of self-control. We also find that current predictors do a poor job of explaining girls’ acquisition of self-control, suggesting a gendered etiology of self-control.

Sugar and spice and everything nice? Exploring institutional misconduct among serious and violent female delinquents
Ashley G. Blackburn, Chad R. Trulson
Despite an emerging body of research on the institutional behavior and adjustment of delinquent males, there exists little information on the incarceration experiences of female delinquents. The present study explored the incidence, prevalence, and determinants of institutional misconduct among a sample of 139 serious and violent delinquent females sentenced to state juvenile incarceration.
Secondary data analysis was used for the present study. Data utilized were derived from information originally gathered by correctional staff during intake at a state Youth Correctional System (a pseudonym) and during an offender's entire incarceration through on-site diagnostic processes, staff observations, official records, and offender self-reports.
Members of the study sample engaged in roughly 700 incidents of major misconduct and more than 12,000 instances of minor institutional misconduct during their incarceration. Results from negative binomial regression models examining four different types of institutional misconduct revealed that age at commitment, offense type, mental health status, and gang affiliation were related to the expected rate of misconduct, although this varied by misconduct type.
Institutionalization is not necessarily a period of desistance from offending for all delinquent girls. As institutional misconduct may impact post-release recidivism, it is important to identify and intervene with at-risk juveniles during periods of incarceration.

The influence of forensic evidence on the case outcomes of homicide incidents
Deborah Baskin, Ira Sommers
In spite of the growth of forensic science services little published research exists related to the impact of forensic evidence on criminal case outcomes. The present study focused on the influence of forensic evidence on the case processing of homicide incidents.
The study utilized a prospective analysis of official record data that followed homicide cases in five jurisdictions from the time of police incident report to final criminal disposition.
The results showed that most homicides went unsolved (34.5% conviction rate). Only 55.5% of the 400 homicide incidents resulted in arrest of which 77% were referred to the district attorney. On the other hand, 94% of cases referred to the district attorney were charged. Cases were more likely to have arrests, referrals, and charges when witnesses provided information to the police. Suspects who knew their victims were more likely to be arrested and referred to the district attorney. Homicides committed with firearms were less likely to be cleared. The most noteworthy finding was that none of the forensic evidence variables significantly influenced criminal justice outcomes.
The study results suggest that forensic evidence is auxiliary and non-determinative for homicide cases.

Healthy, wealthy, and wise: Incorporating health issues as a source of strain in Agnew's general strain theory
John Stogner, Chris L. Gibson
The current study uses Agnew's general strain theory (GST) as a foundation to argue that poor health may lead to delinquency. Those who suffer frequently from minor health problems and lack resources to afford proper medical care are expected to experience elevated levels of health-related strain, negative emotional affect, and report engaging in more delinquent acts. Using longitudinal data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), negative binomial regression models were estimated and show that health strains increase the subsequent frequency of non-violent delinquency even when controlling for important demographic and theoretically derived variables. Health strain's influence on non-violent delinquency was not conditioned by anger, depression, self-esteem, low constraint, or religiosity. Implications for GST are discussed and a modest research agenda for investigating health strain is identified.

Cleaning up your act: Forensic awareness as a detection avoidance strategy
Eric Beauregard, Martin Bouchard
Although rational choice researchers has investigated how offenders successfully commit certain crimes, there is a lack of research looking at the factors explaining the use – or not - of certain detection avoidance strategies. This study introduces the concept of “forensic awareness” as a detection avoidance strategy, and proposes to examine the effect of disinhibitors, target selection behaviors, and acts that may potentially leave evidence at the crime scene on its use.
Factors influencing forensic awareness are tested using logistic regression models on a sample of 222 rape events collected from offenders incarcerated in Canada.
Offenders exhibit less forensic awareness when under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. However, offenders who show some form of target selection are more likely to take forensic precautions. Finally, offenders who break and enter in the victim's residence, and undertake specific sexual acts during the crime are also more likely to exhibit forensic awareness.
Despite the increasing use and knowledge of forensic evidence by law enforcement, offenders are inconsistent in their forensic awareness and they direct most of their efforts toward protecting their identity, neglecting to either destroy or clean up DNA that could be recovered at the crime scene.

The relationship between shift work, perceived stress, sleep and health in Swiss police officers
Markus Gerber, Tim Hartmann, Serge Brand, Edith Holsboer-Trachsler, Uwe Pühse
This study examined how a specific shift system was associated with stress, sleep and health among police officers. Moreover, this study investigated whether gender moderated the association between shift work and stress, sleep and health. Additional analyses were performed to find out how stress and shift work interact in explaining sleep and health.
The findings are based on a cross-sectional survey. A written questionnaire was sent to all employees of a local police force. 460 police officers (M = 40.67 years, SD = 9.66; 25.2% females) volunteered to take part in the study. 251 subjects were shift workers (54.6%). Police officers filled in a series of validated instruments assessing stress (TICS), perceived health (SF-12, somatic complaints, health care use) and sleep (ISI, PSQI).
Shift work was associated with increased social stress, work discontent and sleep complaints. In turn, shift workers reported decreased use of primary health care. Moreover, stress was associated with increased sleep complaints and lower scores in perceived health. The interplay between stress and shift work did not produce any significant effects.
Workforce health promotion should make attempts to reduce chronic stress, while occupational health physicians should emphasize the diagnosis of undetected sleep disorders.

An empirical examination of adolescence-limited offending: A direct test of Moffitt's maturity gap thesis
J.C. Barnes, Kevin M. Beaver
Provide the first direct test of Moffitt's (1993) hypothesis linking the maturity gap with adolescent delinquency.
Data were drawn from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health) and a direct measure of the maturity gap was constructed. Negative binomial regression models—survey-corrected to account for the Add Health research design—were estimated.
Consistent with Moffitt's theory, the results of the analyses revealed that the maturity gap was predictive of minor forms of delinquency and drug use but not of more serious types of offending behaviors for males. Findings were less supportive of Moffitt's hypothesis for females.
Moffitt's maturity gap thesis is a viable explanation of adolescent delinquency, especially for males. This portion of the theory, which has largely gone unexamined, warrants further inquiry from criminologists.

Research Note: Assessing the validity of college samples: Are students really that different?
Filip M. Wiecko
The purpose of this research note is to explore the validity of college student samples for criminology and criminal justice research. Some scholars have suggested that college populations are comprised of individuals who are different from the rest of society and that the use of college students for social research may distort our theoretical understanding of crime and criminality.
The National Youth Survey is used to assess, college students’ self-reported behaviors, frequency of behaviors, and attitudes in relation to the general population.
The results indicate that there is almost no statistically significant difference in behaviors and only minor differences in the frequency of behaviors and attitudes.
The findings from this investigation suggest that while college students may be culturally unique, this uniqueness does not seem to affect validity.

Assessing the victim-offender overlap among Puerto Rican youth
Mildred M. Maldonado-Molina, Wesley G. Jennings, Amy L. Tobler, Alex R. Piquero, Glorisa Canino
Knowledge about offenders and knowledge about victims has traditionally been undertaken without formal consideration of the overlap among the two. A small but growing research agenda has examined the extent of this overlap. At the same time, there has been a minimal amount of research regarding offending and victimization among minority youth, and this is most apparent with respect to Hispanics, who have been increasing in population in the United States.
This study explores the joint, longitudinal overlap between offending and victimization among a sample of Puerto Rican youth from the Bronx, New York.
Results indicate: (1) an overlap between offending and victimization that persists over time, (2) a considerable overlap in the number, type, direction, and magnitude of the effect of individual, familial, peer, and contextual factors on both offending and victimization, (3) some of the factors related to offending were only relevant at baseline and not for the growth in offending but that several factors were associated with the growth in victimization, and (4) various risk factors could not explain much of the overlap between offending and victimization.
Theoretical, policy, and future research directions are addressed.

Journal of Criminal Justice, November 2010: Volume 38, Issue 6

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Theoretical Criminology 14(4)

Traversing sites of confinement: Post-prison survival in Sierra Leone
Andrew M. Jefferson
In February 2006 a group of over 50 former fighters were released from Freetown’s central prison after over six years’ incarceration. This article traces the ways they handled the move from one form of confinement to another and shows how everyday life for former combatant, ex-prisoners is fashioned according to contingent, unpredictable features of the post-war, post-prison landscape. These are mediated through worldviews that developed prior to confinement as well as in response to their particular personal and collective histories of violent conflict, imprisonment and ongoing feelings of dislocation and ontological insecurity. The article contributes to the broadening out of studies of imprisonment effects, focusing on experiences of re-entry while highlighting the importance of pre-prison experience. Based on data from a quite different context (post-conflict Sierra Leone, West Africa) and of a different form (ethnographic rather than interview/survey) the article lends support to the perspective advocated by Jamieson and Grounds that a new paradigm is necessary for thinking about the effects of imprisonment.

Historical criminology and the imprisonment of women in 19th-century Malta
Paul Knepper and Sandra Scicluna
For many criminologists, theory matters more than evidence in historical studies. But can historical criminology really proceed on this basis? In this article, we argue for the importance of primary research, that is, analysis of documents that originate in the period of interest. Using examples from archived documents in a study of women imprisoned in Malta during the 19th century, we address four issues related to history and theory: gaining perspective from unfamiliar places, finding the beginning of historical processes, making discoveries from details, and recovering the significance of forgotten practices. In this, we wish to join a conversation about historical evidence and genealogical accounts in prison history. We will also contribute to the significant, but relatively limited, literature on prisons for women in the 19th century.

Doing and undoing gender in policing
Janet Chan, Sally Doran, and Christina Marel
This article assesses the utility of ‘doing gender’ as a framework for examining gender issues in policing. Drawing on a longitudinal study in an Australian police force, the article seeks to explain the persistence of barriers to the integration of female officers after decades of equal employment laws and policies. The interviews make transparent the agency of male and female actors in sustaining or resisting the status quo. While there are real benefits in opening up the ‘doing gender’ framework to draw attention to contestations and challenges to gender hierarchy as suggested by the notion of ‘undoing gender’, the article demonstrates the complexity of gender practices in policing and rejects the posing of equality and difference as mutually exclusive alternatives.

Policing, urban poverty and insecurity in Latin America: The case of Mexico City and Buenos Aires
Giuseppe Campesi
This article explains how, in the late 20th century, Latin America went through a transition in social-control policy that followed and paralleled the area’s transition from a pervasively authoritarian polity to a democratic one bearing a strong neoliberal imprint. Social-control strategies initially designed to serve a national-security doctrine mainly directed against political opponents morphed into strategies for the repressive government of the advanced marginal groups that for the most part live within economically deprived urban areas. The focus here will be on Buenos Aires and Mexico City. These two cases will be used to exemplify the way in which crime and public security in the Latin American megalopolis have become an important part of the political agenda and how the fears and concerns so amplified have stimulated strong neo-authoritarian pressures that in certain ways have stifled police-democratization processes which had got under way in both Argentina and Mexico in the last decade of the 20th century.

Advancing governmentality studies: Lessons from social constructionism
Randy Lippert and Kevin Stenson
Criminology has been significantly influenced by governmentality studies and the social constructionist perspective on social problems. Despite emerging in distinctive academic networks, this article elaborates how both programmes similarly focus on the simultaneous governance and constitution of problematized—often moralized or criminalized—conduct; imagine plurality, temporality and continuous failure of their subject matters; and presume language is constitutive. These similarities are discussed in order to show how the governmentality project in relation to criminology can learn from the social constructionist perspective on social problems. Using empirical illustrations, it is shown how governmentality studies can benefit from adopting constructionism’s concept of claims-making activities; attention to context; and earlier acceptance of the futility of cutting the cord with ‘the real’.

Nodal wars and network fallacies: A genealogical analysis of global insecurities
Clifford Shearing and Les Johnston
In this article we examine three prominent discourses of security governance and suggest, through a critical review of organizational network theory, that the nodal model can offer theoretical, methodological and ethical benefits over alternative ones. These benefits, we argue, are especially pertinent to the analysis of contemporary global insecurities. The article closes by reflecting on two issues raised in the earlier analysis: how an awareness of discursive contiguity can help inform our understanding of nodal tendencies in global security governance; and how the methodological fallacy of ‘nodal-network equivalence’ plays out under conditions of the ‘war on terror’.

Review Article: Punishment, politics, and levels of analysis
Gray Cavender

Review Article: Rebellious politics and the social control of civil disobedience
Alessandro De Giorgi
Theoretical Criminology, November 2010: Volume 14, Issue 4

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sociological Methodology 40

Methods for Life-Course Data Analysis

Multichannel Sequence Analysis Applied to Social Science Data
Jacques-Antoine Gauthier, Eric D. Widmer, Philipp Bucher and Cédric Notredame
Applications of optimal matching analysis in the social sciences are typically based on sequences of specific social statuses that model the residential, family, or occupational trajectories of individuals. Despite the broadly recognized interdependence of these statuses, few attempts have been made to systematize the ways in which optimal matching analysis should be applied multidimensionally—that is, in an approach that takes into account multiple trajectories simultaneously. Based on methods pioneered in the field of bioinformatics, this paper proposes a method of multichannel sequence analysis (MCSA) that simultaneously extends the usual optimal matching analysis (OMA) to multiple life spheres. Using data from the Swiss household panel (SHP), we examine the types of trajectories obtained using MCSA. We also consider a random data set and find that MCSA offers an alternative to the sole use of ex-post sum of distance matrices by locally aligning distinct life trajectories simultaneously. Moreover, MCSA reduces the complexity of the typologies it allows to produce, without making them less informative. It is more robust to noise in the data, and it provides more reliable alignments than two independent OMA.

Memory Bias in Retrospectively Collected Employment Careers: A Model-Based Approach to Correct for Measurement Error
Anna Manzoni, Jeroen K. Vermunt, Ruud Luijkx and Ruud Muffels
Event history data constitute a valuable source to analyze life courses, although the reliance of such data on autobiographical memory raises many concerns over their reliability. In this paper, we use Swedish survey data to investigate bias in retrospective reports of employment biographies, applying a novel model-based latent Markov method.A descriptive comparison of the biographies as reconstructed by the same respondents at two interviews carried out about 10 years apart reveals that careers appear simpler and less heterogeneous and have fewer elements and episodes when reported at a point long after their occurrence, with a particularly high underreport of unemployment. Using matching techniques, the dissimilarity between the two reconstructions turns out to be unaffected by respondents’ sociodemographic characteristics but particularly affected by the occurrence of unemployment spells and career complexity.Using latent Markov models, we assume correlated errors across occasions to determine the measurement error and to obtain a more reliable estimate of the (true) latent state occupied at a particular time point. The results confirm that (correlated) measurement errors lead to simplification and conventionalism. Career complexity makes recall particularly problematic at longer recall distances, whereas unemployment underreporting also happens very close to the interview. However, only a small fraction of respondents make consistent errors over time, while the great majority makes no errors at all.

Causal Inference and Multivariate Data Analysis

The Foundations of Causal Inference
Judea Pearl
This paper reviews recent advances in the foundations of causal inference and introduces a systematic methodology for defining, estimating, and testing causal claims in experimental and observational studies. It is based on nonparametric structural equation models (SEM)—a natural generalization of those used by econometricians and social scientists in the 1950s and 1960s, which provides a coherent mathematical foundation for the analysis of causes and counterfactuals. In particular, the paper surveys the development of mathematical tools for inferring the effects of potential interventions (also called “causal effects” or “policy evaluation”), as well as direct and indirect effects (also known as “mediation”), in both linear and nonlinear systems. Finally, the paper clarifies the role of propensity score matching in causal analysis, defines the relationships between the structural and potential-outcome frameworks, and develops symbiotic tools that use the strong features of both.

Bayesian Propensity Score Estimators: Incorporating Uncertainties in Propensity Scores into Causal Inference
Weihua An
Despite their popularity, conventional propensity score estimators (PSEs) do not take into account uncertainties in propensity scores. This paper develops Bayesian propensity score estimators (BPSEs) to model the joint likelihood of both propensity score and outcome in one step, which naturally incorporates such uncertainties into causal inference. Simulations show that PSEs using estimated propensity scores tend to overestimate variations in the estimates of treatment effects—that is, too often they provide larger than necessary standard errors and lead to overly conservative inference—whereas BPSEs provide correct standard errors for the estimates of treatment effects and valid inference. Compared with other variance adjustment methods, BPSEs are guaranteed to provide positive standard errors, more reliable in small samples, can be readily employed to draw inference on individual treatment effects, etc. To illustrate the proposed methods, BPSEs are applied to evaluating a job training program. Accompanying software is available on the author's website.

Finite Normal Mixture SEM Analysis by Fitting Multiple Conventional SEM Models
Ke-Hai Yuan and Peter M. Bentler
This paper proposes a two-stage maximum likelihood (ML) approach to normal mixture structural equation modeling (SEM) and develops a statistical inference that allows distributional misspecification. Saturated means and covariances are estimated at stage 1 together with a sandwich-type covariance matrix. These are used to evaluate structural models at stage 2. Techniques accumulated in the conventional SEM literature for model diagnosis and evaluation can be used to study the model structure for each component. Examples show that the two-stage ML approach leads to correct or nearly correct models even when the normal mixture assumptions are violated and initial models are misspecified. Compared to single-stage ML, two-stage ML avoids the confounding effect of model specification and the number of components, and it is computationally more efficient. Monte Carlo results indicate that two-stage ML loses only minimal efficiency under the condition where single-stage ML performs best. Monte Carlo results also indicate that the commonly used model selection criterion BIC is more robust to distribution violations for the saturated model than that for a structural model at moderate sample sizes. The proposed two-stage ML approach is also extremely flexible in modeling different components with different models. Potential new developments in the mixture modeling literature can be easily adapted to study issues with normal mixture SEM.

The Simultaneous Decision(s) about the Number of Lower- and Higher-Level Classes in Multilevel Latent Class Analysis
Olga Lukočienė, Roberta Varriale and Jeroen K. Vermunt
Recently, several types of extensions of the latent class (LC) model have been developed for the analysis of data sets having a multilevel structure. The most popular variant is the multilevel LC model with finite mixture distributions at multiple levels of a hierarchical structure; that is, with LCs for both lower-level units (e.g. individuals, citizens, or patients) and higher-level units (e.g. groups, regions, or hospitals). A problem in the application of this model is that determining the number of LCs is much more complicated than in standard (single-level) LC analysis because it involves multiple, nonindependent decisions. We propose a three-step model-fitting procedure for deciding about the number of higher- and lower-level classes. We also investigate the performance of information criteria (BIC, AIC, CAIC, and AIC3) in the context of multilevel LC analysis, with different types of response variables. A specific difficulty associated with using BIC and CAIC in any type of multilevel analysis is that these measures contain the sample size in their formulae, and we investigate whether this should be the number of groups, the number of individuals, or either the number of groups or individuals depending on whether one has to decide about model features concerning the higher or lower level. The three main conclusions of our simulations studies are that (1) the proposed three-step model-fitting strategy works rather well, (2) the number of higher-level units (K) is the preferred sample size for BIC and CAIC, both for decisions about higher- and lower-level classes, and (3) with categorical indicators, AIC3 and BIC based on the higher-level sample size are the preferred measures for deciding about the number of LCs at both the higher and lower level. With continuous indicators, BIC(K) performs better than AIC3. AIC performs best in very specific situations—namely, with poorly separated classes and categorical indicators.

Methods for the Analysis of Social Network Data

Respondent-Driven Sampling: An Assessment of Current Methodology
Krista J. Gile and Mark S. Handcock
Respondent-driven sampling (RDS) employs a variant of a link-tracing network sampling strategy to collect data from hard-to-reach populations. By tracing the links in the underlying social network, the process exploits the social structure to expand the sample and reduce its dependence on the initial (convenience) sample. The current estimators of population averages make strong assumptions in order to treat the data as a probability sample. We evaluate three critical sensitivities of the estimators: (1) to bias induced by the initial sample, (2) to uncontrollable features of respondent behavior, and (3) to the without-replacement structure of sampling. Our analysis indicates: (1) that the convenience sample of seeds can induce bias, and the number of sample waves typically used in RDS is likely insufficient for the type of nodal mixing required to obtain the reputed asymptotic unbiasedness; (2) that preferential referral behavior by respondents leads to bias; (3) that when a substantial fraction of the target population is sampled the current estimators can have substantial bias. This paper sounds a cautionary note for the users of RDS. While current RDS methodology is powerful and clever, the favorable statistical properties claimed for the current estimates are shown to be heavily dependent on often unrealistic assumptions. We recommend ways to improve the methodology.

Dynamic Networks and Behavior: Separating Selection from Influence
Christian Steglich, Tom A. B. Snijders and Michael Pearson
A recurrent problem in the analysis of behavioral dynamics, given a simultaneously evolving social network, is the difficulty of separating the effects of partner selection from the effects of social influence. Because misattribution of selection effects to social influence, or vice versa, suggests wrong conclusions about the social mechanisms underlying the observed dynamics, special diligence in data analysis is advisable. While a dependable and valid method would benefit several research areas, according to the best of our knowledge, it has been lacking in the extant literature. In this paper, we present a recently developed family of statistical models that enables researchers to separate the two effects in a statistically adequate manner. To illustrate our method, we investigate the roles of homophile selection and peer influence mechanisms in the joint dynamics of friendship formation and substance use among adolescents. Making use of a three-wave panel measured in the years 1995–1997 at a school in Scotland, we are able to assess the strength of selection and influence mechanisms and quantify the relative contributions of homophile selection, assimilation to peers, and control mechanisms to observed similarity of substance use among friends.

Sociological Methodology, 2010: Volume 40

Sociological Theory 28(4)

The Sociology of the Local: Action and its Publics
Gary Alan Fine
Sociology requires a robust theory of how local circumstances create social order. When we analyze social structures not recognizing that they depend on groups with collective pasts and futures that are spatially situated and that are based on personal relations, we avoid a core sociological dimension: the importance of local context in constituting social worlds. Too often this has been the sociological stance, both in micro-sociological studies that examine interaction as untethered from local traditions and in research that treats culture as autonomous from action and choice. Building on theories of action, group dynamics, and micro-cultures, I argue that a sociology of the local solves critical theoretical problems. The local is a stage on which social order gets produced and a lens for understanding how particular forms of action are selected. Treating ethnographic studies as readings of ongoing cultures, I examine how the continuing and referential features of group life (spatial arenas, relations, shared pasts) generate action and argue that local practices provide the basis for cultural extension, influencing societal expectations through the linkages among groups.

The Soviet Communist Party and the Other Spirit of Capitalism
Anna Paretskaya
Based on qualitative analysis of the Soviet press and official state documents, this article argues that the Communist Party was, counterintuitively, an agent of capitalist dispositions in the Soviet Union during 1970s–1980s. Understanding the spirit of capitalism not simply as an ascetic ethos but in broader terms of the cult of individualism, I demonstrate that the Soviet party-state promoted ideas and values of individuality, self-expression, and pleasure seeking in the areas of work and consumption. By broadening our conception of the spirit of capitalism, tracing the formation of capitalist dispositions as well as institutions, and showing that the culture of capitalism can come from within the old regime, I further the agenda of neoclassical sociology of studying varieties of origins, paths, and destinations of modern capitalisms.

The Territorial State as a Figured World of Power: Strategics, Logistics, and Impersonal Rule
Chandra Mukerji
The ability to dominate or exercise will in social encounters is often assumed in social theory to define power, but there is another form of power that is often confused with it and rarely analyzed as distinct: logistics or the ability to mobilize the natural world for political effect. I develop this claim through a case study of seventeenth-century France, where the power of impersonal rule, exercised through logistics, was fundamental to state formation. Logistical activity circumvented patrimonial networks, disempowering the nobility and supporting a new regime of impersonal rule: the modern, territorial state.

Sociological Theory, December 2010: Volume 28, Issue 4

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Critical Criminology 18(4)

Critical Criminology and Crimes Against the Environment
Vincenzo Ruggiero & Nigel South

Green Criminology and Dirty Collar Crime
Vincenzo Ruggiero & Nigel South
As a contribution to literature drawing together green criminology and studies of organised and corporate crime, this paper provides a case study of crimes and public health harms linked to the Naples garbage disposal crisis. The context is the inability of modern consumer society to cope with the problem of mass production of waste. In turn this leads to opportunities for both legal and criminal entrepreneurs to offer services that promise but fail to ‘dispose’ of the problem. The analysis draws upon environmental law and classic studies of organised crime.

Deforestation Crimes and Conflicts in the Amazon
Tim Boekhout van Solinge
This article explores and explains deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest. It primarily takes a green criminological perspective and looks at the harm that is inflicted on many of the Amazon’s inhabitants, including indigenous populations such as ‘uncontacted’ tribes of hunters-gatherers, the oldest human societies. The green criminological perspective also implies that the definition of victimisation is being enlarged: not only (future) humans, but also non-humans can be considered victims. Being the most biodiverse place on the planet, deforestation of the Amazon leads to threats and extinctions of animal and plant species. The main causes of deforestation in the Amazon are land conversion for agriculture (mainly cattle, also soy), practices that are mostly illegal. As the products of the (illegally) deforested rainforest in the Brazilian Amazon are mainly for export markets, western societies with large ecological footprints could be held responsible for deforestation of the Amazon.

Criminalizing Ecological Harm: Crimes Against Carrying Capacity and the Criminalization of Eco-Sinners
Dennis Mares
This article examines how a broader class of environmentally harmful behavior can be examined from a criminological frame of reference. By using examples of soil degradation and anthropogenic climate change, it is argued that environmentally damaging behavior is similar to many other types of crime. Particularly when taken from the standpoint that environmentally harmful behavior is ultimately detrimental to human social organizations by undermining ‘carrying capacity’, outright criminalization might strike many as a valid option. Nonetheless, there are also some fundamental differences that will ultimately prevent a strict legalistic perspective from being successful in minimizing ecological harm. Instead, this article argues that criminologists need to emphasize the importance of shaming and status rewards in pursuing a greener future.

The Corporate Crimes of Dow Chemical and the Failure to Regulate Environmental Pollution
Rebecca S. Katz
A case study of Dow Chemical Company using scholarly research, journalistic investigations, and government documents reveals the existence of the criminogenic corporate-state. The Corporate-State manages and regulates itself with limited interference from the Environmental Protection Agency and in the form of Dow Chemicals is responsible for numerous environmental crimes both nationally and globally all of which have been linked to numerous health, labor and economic problems. Future researchers are encouraged to undertake similar case studies to expose the Corporate-State and the criminal harms done to ordinary citizens for the sake of profit.

Toxic Atmospheres Air Pollution, Trade and the Politics of Regulation
Reece Walters
Air is an essential ingredient for all living things and its properties influence the quality and longevity of life. When polluted, it is estimated that it causes the annual premature death of millions of people and the world-wide damage and destruction of wildlife and natural habitats. This article examines human-made air pollution within a framework of ‘eco-crime’ and Green Criminology. Using original data on air pollution infringements, it critically examines the shortcomings with existing mechanisms of air pollution control, regulation and enforcement in the UK. In doing so, it identifies how Criminology must continue to push new boundaries and engage with emerging harmful acts of both local and global concern.

Critical Criminology, December 2010: Volume 18, Issue 4

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Journal of Quantitative Criminology 26(4)

25th Anniversary Issue

Remembering the Launch of JQC, 1985–1991
James Alan Fox

Nurturing the Journal of Quantitative Criminology Through Late Childhood: Retrospective Memories (Distorted?) from a Former Editor
John H. Laub

Picturing JQC’s Future
Michael D. Maltz

The Present and Possible Future of Quantitative Criminology
David McDowall

Longitudinal Criminology
David F. Greenberg

Group-Based Trajectory Modeling (Nearly) Two Decades Later
Daniel S. Nagin & Candice L. Odgers

Communities, Crime, and Reactions to Crime Multilevel Models: Accomplishments and Meta-Challenges
Ralph B. Taylor

Making Space for Theory: The Challenges of Theorizing Space and Place for Spatial Analysis in Criminology
George E. Tita & Steven M. Radil

What You Can and Can’t Properly Do with Regression
Richard Berk

Gold Standard Myths: Observations on the Experimental Turn in Quantitative Criminology
Robert J. Sampson

Advances and Challenges in Empirical Studies of Victimization
Janet L. Lauritsen

The Development and Impact of Self-Report Measures of Crime and Delinquency
Marvin D. Krohn, Terence P. Thornberry, Chris L. Gibson & Julie M. Baldwin

The Use of Official Records to Measure Crime and Delinquency
Colin Loftin & David McDowall

Linking the Crime and Arrest Processes to Measure Variations in Individual Arrest Risk per Crime (Q)
Alfred Blumstein, Jacqueline Cohen, Alex R. Piquero & Christy A. Visher

Some Perspectives on Quantitative Criminology Pre-JQC: and Then Some
Alfred Blumstein

Journal of Quantitative Criminology, December 2010: Volume 26, Issue 4