Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Criminology 2-07

Got the Feb 2007 Criminology a little while back and finally had time to peruse it seriously. As always, of course, a good volume. You'll find interesting articles on the following topics:
  • Marriage and crime. "Results show that marriage suppresses offending for males, even when accounting for their likelihood to marry. Furthermore, males who are least likely to marry seem to benefit most from this institution. The influence of marriage on crime is less robust for females, where marriage reduces crime only for those with modest propensities to marry."
  • Adolescent employment and anti-social behavior. "Contrary to most prior research we find no overall effect of working on either criminal behavior or substance abuse. However, we do find some indication that work may have a salutary effect on these behaviors for some individuals who had followed trajectories of heightened criminal activity or substance abuse prior to their working for the first time."
  • Drug use and desistance. "Although alcohol has indeed been shown to have significant effects on criminal offending, we argue that drug use and the drug culture in which many contemporary offenders are enmeshed have consequences that often complicate desistance processes in ways that alcohol does not. Drug use and its lifestyle concomitants bring together a host of distinctive social dynamics that compromise multiple life domains. . . . The results support the assertion that drug use exerts unique effects on desistance processes, once levels of alcohol use are taken into account."
  • The impact of direct and indirect informal social controls on social disorganization [direct better]; the consequences of official delinquency status and activity on later adult functioning and well-being [not good]; the impact of COPS grants on crime [not much]; and public attitudes about juveniles, juvenile court, and the rehab ideal [still strong].

The best part of the issue, though, was Gary LaFree's 2006 ASC Presidential Addres on "Expanding Criminology's Domain." I know Gary a little, and this work reaffirms his place as one of criminology's leaders. As the title indicates, he's looking at how criminology can touch other areas than its traditional base, especially its role in promoting democratic, nonauthoritarian regimes. He specifically recommends outreach in five directions: "1) by providing more emphasis on historical data and analysis, 2) by broadening the scope of emotions we test for among offenders, 3) by doing more cross-national comparative analysis, 4) by bringing situational variables into our research, and 5) by making criminology more interdisciplinary." All sound, all needed. Good work, and definitely worth your time to hunt it down.

Criminology, Vol 45, No. 1, Feb 2007

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