RSF-Funded Research on Criminal Justice, Incarceration, and Law Enforcement

RSF has a long history of funding research projects, working groups, and visiting scholars, as well as publishing books and journal issues on criminal justice, incarceration, and law enforcement, with an emphasis on racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities. Over the last 20 years, RSF has made about 80 grants that have resulted in over 60 journal publications, six books, and other publications.

RSF has also supported working groups on Law and Legitimacy (2000-2002) and Racial Bias in Policing (2009-2015) and a special initiative on Mass Incarceration (2000-2004). The working groups have helped build a national network of researcher and a series of start-up research projects and contributed to the training of a new generation of scholars. The Law and Legitimacy Working Group examined how policing methods influenced the climate of trust between minority communities and the policy and produced two issues of RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences. The Working Group on Mass Incarceration analyzed the social and economic consequences of the surge in incarceration that began in the 1980s. RSF funded a dozen projects by Mass Incarceration working group members, totaling about $1.4 million. Additionally, this group produced six RSF books. The Working Group on Racial Bias in Policing focused on three related topics: the causes and consequences of racial profiling, the implications of requiring local police to enforce immigration laws, and the effects of organizational equity measures of police behavior. RSF provided substantial funding for organizational infrastructure to this working group, including field site visits to police departments and support for an annual research conference.

Grantees and working group members include economists, legal scholars, public policy scholars, social psychologists, and sociologists.

RSF no longer funds working groups on criminal justice, law enforcement, and incarceration, however, the foundation continues to make many grants on these topics across our program areas and special initiatives.

Below we present these grant details: authors, titles, grant period, amount, abstracts, and publications and work in progress. Grants are presented in reverse chronological order.

Joshua Pasek, University of Michigan, Hakeem Jefferson, Stanford University, and Fabian Neuner, Arizona State University. Reducing Racial Polarization in Reactions to Police Use of Force: Identifying Mechanisms and Testing Interventions (Program: Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration; Grant Period: 8/1/2022-3/31/2024; $146,215)
Abstract: The project is designed to accomplish two complementary goals. First, building on prior research, it interrogates the reasons why Black and White Americans differ in their reactions to high-profile instances of police use of force against Black people. Second, it tests three theory-based interventions aimed at reducing these racial differences. These involve: 1) presenting objective information about bias in law enforcement and racial crime rates to equalize expectations, 2) providing respondents with select components of implicit bias training to reduce the potential that racial bias is altering group expectations, and 3) highlighting the likelihood that people bring their own experiences and expectations to their decisions and encouraging individuals to consider each case on its own. These interventions are expected to reduce racial differences in evaluations of the incident and increase the perceived legitimacy of outcomes that differ from the preferences of the respondent.

Gerard Torrats-Espinosa, Columbia University. Organizational diversity, peer influences, and partisan effects in policing: Quasi-experimental evidence from seven law enforcement agencies in the US (Program: Decision Making and Human Behavior in Context; Grant Period: 7/1/2022-6/30/2024; $130,497)
Abstract: Racial discrimination by police is one of the most pressing domestic policy issues of our time. A number of studies have documented the burden that police officers’ aggressiveness, misbehavior, and use of force impose on racial and ethnic minorities in the United States. In this project, we will investigate how peer influences, organizational diversity, and partisan effects impact officers’ behavior when they come into contact with citizens. Using quasi-random variation in the composition of units and shifts arising from arguably exogenous events that change an officer’s set of peers in specific days, we will estimate how the likelihood that an officer stops, searches, arrests, or uses force against a civilian is influenced by the following attributes of that officer’s peers: race, gender, party affiliation, and prior record of misconduct or use of force. We will investigate this question in seven law enforcement agencies in the United States.

Robert Mickey, University of Michigan, Jacob M. Grumbach, University of Washington, and Daniel Ziblatt, Harvard University. Authoritarian Policing and America’s Incomplete Democratization (Program: Social, Political, and Economic Inequality; Grant Period: 5/1/2022-4/30/2024; $152,614)
Abstract: Why is the United States an extreme outlier among democratic countries in its racist and repressive policing? Why has police reform proven so difficult? We draw on the fields of comparative politics, American political history, law, and economics to explore the historical roots of the current impasse. Conceptualizing U.S. cities as having undergone incomplete democratizations from the 1940s to the 1970s, we assess whether and how policy changes during this period, made in response to the growing demands of black and Hispanic citizens, politicians, and movements, further insulated policing from democratic accountability. Through a mixed-methods project, we seek to understand the contemporary political power of police—and its consequences of racist, repressive policing and high barriers to reform—as shaped by the tumultuous period of democratization of cities in the early postwar period.

Sandra Susan Smith, Harvard University. Why Prosecuting Nonviolent, Misdemeanor Offenses Yields Poorer Outcomes (Program: Social, Political, and Economic Inequality; Grant Period: 1/1/2022-12/31/2023; $143,341)
Abstract: What is it about the prosecution of nonviolent, misdemeanor offenses that significantly increases the risk of future penal system involvement, especially so among first time defendants? And what are the downstream effects for marginal defendants of having cases prosecuted? To address these questions, my research team and I will conduct in-depth, semi-structured interviews with a stratified, random sample of 150 non-violent, misdemeanor defendants at the margins—75 who were prosecuted and 75 who were not—contrasting the experiences and trajectories of otherwise similar misdemeanor defendants whose cases were dismissed, diverted, or declined at arraignment with defendants held for further processing.

Samantha Simon, University of Missouri, St. Louis. Learning Lethal Force: Police Firearms Training and Evaluation (Program: Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration; Grant Period: 1/1/2022- 12/31/2023; $39,302)
Abstract: The project is designed to accomplish two complementary goals. First, building on prior research, it interrogates the reasons why Black and White Americans differ in their reactions to high-profile instances of police use of force against Black people. Second, it tests three theory-based interventions aimed at reducing these racial differences. These involve: 1) presenting objective information about bias in law enforcement and racial crime rates to equalize expectations, 2) providing respondents with select components of implicit bias training to reduce the potential that racial bias is altering group expectations, and 3) highlighting the likelihood that people bring their own experiences and expectations to their decisions and encouraging individuals to consider each case on its own. These interventions are expected to reduce racial differences in evaluations of the incident and increase the perceived legitimacy of outcomes that differ from the preferences of the respondent.

Kasey Henricks, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Manufactured Disorder: Race, Policing, and Erroneous Ticketing in Chicago (Program: Social, Political, and Economic Inequality; Grant Period: 1/1/2022-12/31/2022; $16,696)
Abstract: This case study of Chicago centers parking tickets written under false pretenses. Much of the work on monetary sanctions details the relationship between levels of fines and fees, on one hand, and a community’s ethnoracial composition, on the other. One question these studies leave unexplored is whether these sanctions resulted from legitimate crimes from the onset. Using multiple sources of public data leveraged against one another, preliminary results from my ongoing study find that more than 1 in 8 tickets are erroneously issued per year. The analysis to come uses multivariate models to answer three questions: 1) are erroneous tickets more likely to be issued in neighborhoods with more Black or Latinx residents, 2) are erroneous tickets more likely to be issued by patrol officers or parking enforcement officers, and 3) does ethnoracial composition moderate the relationship between tickets errored tickets and differential policing authorities?

Martin Gilens, University of California, Los Angeles. Changing Dominant Carceral Attitudes: A Deep Canvass Field Experiment (Program: Social, Political, and Economic Inequality; Grant Period: 12/1/2021-11/30/2023; $142,531)
Abstract: This study is a large-scale, randomized, placebo-controlled field experiment to investigate the effects of deep canvass organizing on a decarceration policy proposal. The study aims to assess the effectiveness of this approach in shaping attitudes toward decarceration policies and associated racialized attitudes. Complier Average Causal Effect estimates will be used to analyze the effect of the intervention on attitude and policy opinion outcomes among voters contacted by a canvasser.

Lori Hoggard, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, Danielle L. Beatty Moody, University of Maryland, Baltimore, and Jamein P. Cunningham, University of Memphis. Police Exposure and Socioeconomic Wellbeing among African American Men (Program: Social, Political, and Economic Inequality; Grant Period: 11/1/2021-10/31/2023; $161,140)
Abstract: The project will examine how key aspects of police exposure influence socioeconomic outcomes among a representative sample of African American men. Specifically, with regard to law enforcement exposure, we will examine involuntary encounters (e.g., police stops, searches, arrests, and lethal and non-lethal force) that are both directly and vicariously experienced, with vicarious experiences including encounters relayed via relatives, friends, neighbors, and the news/social media. Police exposure will also include the assessment of zip code-level homicides involving police officers. Socioeconomic outcomes will be assessed via current socioeconomic status (SES) attainment, subjective standing, system avoidance, and perceptions of prospects for changes in SES (longitudinal survey) as well as daily functioning and daily decision-making (e.g., daily diary assessment). Finally, we propose to examine personal growth initiative and distrust in institutions as mechanisms.

Conrad Miller, University of California, Berkeley, Ellora Derenoncourt, Princeton University, Heather Sarsons, University of Chicago, and Benjamin Feigenberg, University of Illinois, Chicago. The Rise of Punitive Criminal Justice Policy in the Wake of the Great Migration (Program: Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration; Grant Period: 9/1/2021-8/31/2023; $138,171)
Abstract: This study estimates the causal relationship between historical racial composition changes and criminal justice severity in the non-southern urban United States, answering a key question on the relationship between punitive policy and community demographics as well as the effects of punitive policy on economic inequality. We use administrative court records for 9 large northern and western states and estimate the effects of criminal court jurisdictions on defendant outcomes, including within-defendant models, to construct measures of jurisdiction severity. We then relate these measures of severity to exogenous variation in historical Black in- migration during the Great Migration and to income, employment, and intergenerational outcomes for different racial groups.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Derenoncourt, E. 2022. “Can You Move to Opportunity? Evidence from the Great Migration.” American Economic Review, 112: 369-408.

Jeffrey Fagan and Charles Branas, Columbia University. Racial Inequality in Police Violence: Injuries and Fatalities from Police Use of Force (Program: Social, Political, and Economic Inequality; Grant Period: 7/1/2021-6/30/2023; $171,050)
Abstract: First, we will develop and integrate national medical and criminal justice databases that use varied methods to record fatal and non-fatal police use of force. Second, we will analyze the relative risks of police-caused injury or death by civilian race, institutional contexts of police agencies and actions, and population demography. Third, we will analyze these data to respond to two related dimensions of racial threat. We will include measures of policing to explain how policing itself contributes to use of lethal and non-lethal force.

Martin Fiszbein, Boston University and Samuel Bazzi, University of California, Davis. Migration and the Geography of Racism in the United States (Program: Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration; Grant Period: 7/1/2021-6/30/2022; $111,184)
Abstract: This project aims to shed new light on the origins of racist institutions and ideologies across the U.S. We will investigate how white migration from the postbellum Confederacy changed the trajectory of racial norms elsewhere in the country at a time of westward expansion and frontier settlement. With the upheaval after the Civil War came significant pressure---both economic and cultural---on many white Southerners to seek out new lives elsewhere. For many, the westward-moving frontier provided unique opportunities. Through a novel combination of historical data, we will connect these migrants' experiences with slaveholding and Confederate army service to the short- and long-run prevalence of racism outside the South. We will provide a unique look at the role of migrants in the early days of law enforcement and criminal justice. Our study promises some of the first evidence of how migration shaped the diffusion of racist norms and practices at a critical juncture of American history.

Will Dobbie and Crystal Yang, Harvard University. Reducing Racial Disparities in Bail Decisions (Program: Decision Making and Human Behavior in Context; Grant Period: 7/1/2021- 6/30/2023; $170,327)
Abstract: In this project, we are collaborating with courts from around the country to test the effectiveness of three interventions that can reduce racial disparities in bail decisions. The first intervention provides objective information on the pretrial risk of white and non-white defendants to judges to correct inaccurate stereotypes that exaggerate the relative danger of non- white defendants. The second intervention provides a simple benchcard (or checklist) to judges to slow down and systematize decision-making. The third intervention provides detailed feedback to judges on their own outcomes over time, giving them the motivation, information, and tools necessary to reduce racial disparities in their pretrial decisions.

Matthew Ross, Claremont Graduate University, and Carly Will Sloan, Claremont Graduate University. Does More Training Mitigate Disparities in Police Use of Force? Quasi- Experimental Evidence from New Linked Data (Program: Social, Political, and Economic Inequality; Grant Period: 7/1/2021-6/30/2022; $29,178)
Abstract: This analysis will build a unique linked dataset containing detailed course-level training records for all Dallas Police Department officers with the universe of nearly 3 million 911 calls, use of force reports, and arrests. The 911 data contain detailed dispatcher notes describing the context of the incident and force applications by officers. as well as the sequence of events. We will focus on required training in de-escalation, crisis intervention, and use-of- force protocol. We leverage quasi-random variation in the assignment of officers to calls within patrol beats and estimate event study models on the impact of training on use of force overall and on minorities.

Anna Gunderson, Louisiana State University, and Laura Huber, University of Mississippi. Breaking the Brass Ceiling: Do Female and Non-White Police Chiefs Change Police Behavior? (Program: Social, Political, and Economic Inequality; Grant Period: 7/1/2021-6/30/2022; $34,994)
Abstract: We will create a dataset of police chiefs of all American cities from 1980 on, along with a dataset of police scandals. We will then explore the patterns in where female and non- white police chiefs are appointed, whether these police chiefs are more likely to be appointed when the police face accusations of corruption or scandal, and whether female and non-white police chiefs alter police behavior, by linking this new data with existing arrest rate information. This study not only has implications for understanding of policing and police reform, but also for social and political inequality, bureaucracy, demographic and substantive representation, security and defense, and democracy.

Heather Schoenfeld, Boston University. 21st Century Justice: The Struggle to Decarcerate in the U.S. States (Program: Social, Political, and Economic Inequality; Grant Period: 6/1/2021- 5/31/2022; $35,000)
Abstract: This project examines what political and social factors contribute to policy changes that would reduce incarceration. The project seeks to understand why some reform efforts succeed; who gets included and excluded in the reform process; and why lawmakers support only certain policy solutions. The project uses a matched-pair comparative research design that compares case studies of criminal justice reform efforts from 2000 to 2020 in three pairs of states (six states total). Data for each case study, include newspaper articles, legislative material, official records, and interviews.

Natacha Blain and Emily Backes, National Academy of Sciences. Reducing Racial Inequalities in the Justice System (Program: Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration; Grant Period: 4/1/2021-3/31/2023; $171,309)
Abstract: An ad hoc committee of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine will be appointed to review and assess existing evidence on how observed racial differences in criminal justice might be reduced through public policy. As appropriate, the committee will make evidence-driven policy and research recommendations for key criminal justice stakeholders with the goal of identifying ways to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the criminal justice system.

Kenneth Andrews and Neal Caren, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and Rashawn Ray, University of Maryland. Protest, Policy and Racial Justice: The Impact of Black Lives Matter on Policing Reforms (Program: Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration; Grant Period: 4/1/2021-3/31/2023; $155,868)
Abstract: Our project focuses on the recent wave of protest and traces the development of protest, movement organizations, and police reform from 2013 to 2020 in the 89 largest U.S. cities (>250K). In addition, we will conduct eight case studies to trace sequences of protest, advocacy and reform to identify key mechanisms that facilitate or obstruct change. We focus on three areas of institutional change: transparency and accountability, policing practices and techniques, and shifts to community-based solutions. Our project will generate high quality, publicly available data on protest and policing, and we will assess changes in policing to provide rigorous analyses to inform scholarship and broader understanding of this case.

Andrew Papachristos, Northwestern University, and Jamie Kalven, Invisible Institute. Network Structure of Police Misconduct (Program: Decision Making and Human Behavior in Context; Grant Period: 8/1/2020-7/31/2022; $164,212)
Abstract: This study will develop a data-driven approach to analyzing the network structures of a large police agency (Chicago Police Department) to determine how such structures impact officer behavior, misconduct, and violence (especially, use of force and police-involved shootings). Three interrelated studies will work towards building a massive network dataset over an extended period of time to advance our science of networks and police decision making and to develop predictive analytics that might be incorporated into intervention systems and organizational decision-making procedures.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Sinclair Rajiv and Andrew Papachristos. “Identifying Misconduct-Committing Officer Crews in the Chicago Police Department.” PLOS One manuscript
  • Zhoa, Linda and Andrew Papachristos. “Threats to Blue Networks: The Impact of Partner Injuries on Police Misconduct.” American Sociological Review: 1-54.
  • Freedman, Alexa, Andrew Papachristos, and Britney Smart. 2022. “Complaints about Excessive Use of Police Force in Women’s Neighborhoods and Subsequent Perinatal and Cardiovascular Health.” Science Advances 8(3): 1-10.

Amanda Charbonneau and Hannah Laquer, University of California, Davis, Jack Glaser, University of California, Berkeley. Suspicion and Police Decision Making (Program: Decision Making and Human Behavior in Context; Grant Period: 5/1/2020-4/30/2022; $174,594)
Abstract: This project has three aims: (1) To experimentally test the hypothesis that instructing officers to focus on specific behavioral indicators can improve the accuracy and equity of policing decisions; (2) To describe the psychology of suspicion in the context of police decision- making and its relationship to the number, effectiveness, and equity of officers’ simulated and real-world SQF decisions; and (3) To evaluate the extent to which officer-recorded reasons for SQF decisions and individual differences between officers are predictive of outcomes reflected by the performance data. The findings from this line of research could inform policies and trainings to advance the broader objectives of increasing effectiveness and equity of policing decisions, with implications for increasing public safety and improving the relationships between police officers and the communities they serve.

Calvin Lai, Washington University, St. Louis. Improving Police-Community Relations with a Social-Psychological Intervention for Reducing Racial Bias in Policing (Program: Decision Making and Human Behavior in Context; Grant Period: 12/1/2019-11/30/2022; $127,015
Abstract: We will conduct a large-scale RCT testing a social-psychological program for training police officers to interact with citizens in a racially equitable manner. In this program, we will educate officers on how implicit biases affect interactions with citizens and train them on bias-reduction strategies to practice over time. Findings from this training program will inform interventions to improve policy-community relations.

Joanna Dreby and Eunju Lee, University at Albany, State University of New York. The Aftermath of Immigration Enforcement Episodes: An Exploration of the Impacts on Young Adults (Program: Immigration and Immigrant Integration; Grant Period: 12/1/2019-11/30/2022; $100,009)
Abstract: This project documents the lasting impacts of immigration enforcement on young adults. Given the increased emphasis on enforcement and the trauma associated with deportation and detention, enforcement episodes likely become significant barriers to the integration of youth in immigrant origin families over time. Yet we know little about how enforcement compares to other adverse childhood experiences. In-depth interviews, paired with questionnaires, with 40-60 young adults (ages 18-30) who had a parent arrested, detained, or deported due to immigration violations while under age 18 will explore how they understand enforcement to have shaped their (1) resiliency, (2) relationships, (3) education and (4) emotional wellbeing. Analyzing variations by type of enforcement episode, and triangulating quantifiable measures with narratives, will identify what about these episodes augment—or mitigate—immigration related trauma, as well as the types of social support that may lead to resiliency.

Patrick Rafail, Tulane University. The Racial Dynamics of Fatal Police Shootings: A Computational Approach (Program: Computational Social Science; Grant Period: 9/1/2019- 8/31/2021; $86,692)
Abstract: This project uses computational social science techniques to analyze racial disparities in fatal police shootings. The research questions focus on (1) how to increase data quality about fatal police shootings; (2) the event-level microdynamics leading to fatal shootings, such as victim and police officer demographics, attempts to flee the police, and other factors; (3) the spatial and organizational contexts that facilitate and impede fatal shootings; and (4) the outcomes and aftermath of fatal shootings, such as media depictions of the event, protest activity, and police responses. This research will use text-mining procedures to generate an exhaustive database of fatal police shootings (2014-2019) and collect approximately 250,000 newspaper articles in combination with police department statements. Once complete, this project will provide the necessary data to move the literature from descriptive accounts to a more comprehensive explanatory model of fatal police shootings.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Rafail, Patrick. “Racial Segregation, Police Risk, and the Spatial Distribution of Fatal Police Shootings.” Social Current (under review)

Joscha Legewie, Harvard University, Amy Hsin, Queens College, City University of New York, and Niklas Harder, German Center for Integration and Migration Research. Effects of Stop-and-Frisk Policing on the Educational Outcomes of Undocumented Youth (Program: Immigration and Immigrant Integration; Grant Period: 9/1/2019-8/31/2022; $137,499)
Abstract: We merge two unique administrative data sets to examine the effect of NYPD's stop- and-frisk (SQF) program and the college outcomes of undocumented youth. Under SQF, millions of NYC residents were stopped and briefly detained. This project will examine the effect SQF on the college performance of undocumented youth in NYC by merging over 5 million instances of SQFs over a 10-year period with data on college performance of students attending the City University of New York. Our project will constitute the first large scale project to examine the causal link between aggressive policing and the educational outcomes of undocumented youth.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Hsin, Amy and Sofya Aptekar. 2021. “The Violence of Asylum: The Case of Undocumented Chinese Migration to the United States.” Social Forces 100(3): 1195- 1217.

Carmen Gutierrez, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Affordable Care Act and the Demography of the Criminal Justice Population (Program: Effects of the Affordable Care Act; Grant Period: 9/1/2019-8/31/2022; $48,286)
Abstract: This project will explore whether and how the ACA affects the size and composition of the U.S. criminal justice population. Using data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), I find that a significantly fewer number of people have become involved in criminal justice system since passage of the ACA.

Karen Tejada, University of Hartford. Putting Them on Ice: Policing Salvadoran Communities on Long Island (Program: Immigration and Immigrant Integration; Grant Period: 7/1/2019-6/30/2022; $101,472)
Abstract: This study examines how Salvadoran migrants on Long Island are impacted by the criminalization practices of local police when these entities cooperate with Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE). The first phase of the project seeks to collect ‘community’ data and the second phase will consist of capturing ‘police’ data. Collectively, this research explores: 1) the effects that local police and ICE cooperation have on Salvadorans on Long Island; 2) how Salvadoran families are responding to local police when ICE is involved; and 3) the ways in which non-profit organizations are mediating community-policing relations. This research underscores the “risky business” of linking federal immigration efforts to local-level crime control mechanisms. The results of this research will culminate in an academic book.

Rowena Gray, University of California, Merced. Immigration, Crime and Policing: Evidence from US History (Program: Immigration and Immigrant Integration; Grant Period: 7/1/2019- 6/30/2020; $21,185)
Abstract: The project will investigate the impact of immigration on crime and explore the role of public sector employment in intergenerational mobility of immigrant groups. It contributes to the existing multi-disciplinary work on immigration and crime by examining a historical setting with sizable inflows and identifying the causal impact of immigrants. It also looks at an understudied question of the possible long run benefits of political patronage for groups that secured jobs as a result. This project will generate at least 2 peer-reviewed publications and will use existing Census data, combined with new data on arrests and policing that has been constructed using annual police reports for 30 US cities, 1880-1930. This dataset is now complete, and funds will mainly be used for analysis, plus final identification of members of historical police forces.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Gaggl, Paul, Rowena Gray, Ioana Marinescu, and Miguel Morin. 2021. “Does Electricity Drive Structural Transformation? Evidence from the United States.” Labour Economics 68 (101944)

Huyen Pham, Texas A&M University, Chapel Hill, and Van Pham, Baylor University. Spillover Effects of 287(g) Agreements on State Trooper Policing (Program: Immigration and Immigrant Integration; Grant Period: 7/1/2019-6/30/2021; $34,352)
Abstract: Our project analyzes the spillover and persistent racial profiling effects of 287(g) agreements, through which local enforcement agencies (sheriffs) enforce federal immigration laws. Existing literature finds connections between agreements and racial profiling of Latinos, focusing on the signing LEAs during the active period of the agreements. Our preliminary results indicate other racial profiling effects: (1) committed by other LEAs that operate in 287(g) counties (like state troopers and local police) but are not parties to the agreements and (2) occurring after agreements expire. We use data from the Stanford Open Policing Project, our collection of 287(g) agreements, and county arrest data.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Pham, Huyen and Pham Hoang Van. “Sheriffs, State Troopers, and the Spillover Effects of Immigration Enforcement.” Under review at the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies and other law reviews

Daniel Chand, Daniel Hawes, and Christopher Banks, Kent State University, and Maria Calderon, University of Maryland, College Park. Detained Immigrants and Parole Decisions: Does Legal Aid Make a Difference? (Program: Immigration and Immigrant Integration; Grant Period: 6/1/2019-8/31/2022; $32,825)
Abstract: In Damus, et al. v. Nielson (2018) the U.S. District Court for Washington, D.C. ordered that detainees be given the opportunity to apply for parole while awaiting their asylum hearing. Most applicants must apply for parole with little or no legal assistance. We are proposing a random assignment field experiment to determine the effects of legal assistance when applying for parole.

Bruce Western, Columbia University. Studying the Rikers Island Jail Population: The Rikers Island Longitudinal Study (Program: Social, Political, and Economic Inequality; Grant Period: 1/1/2019-12/31/2020; $172,390)
Abstract: Jail incarceration lies on the leading edge of how the state interacts with poor young people of color, often with significant negative effects on social and economic wellbeing. The Rikers Island Longitudinal Study (RILS) asks how do race, poverty, and related vulnerabilities raise the risk of jail incarceration? Working with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ), the RILS will guide policy reform on reducing the jail population, particularly in the areas of racial disparity, repeated incarceration, and incarceration for those suffering from mental illness, addiction, and housing insecurity.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Western, Bruce and Catherine Sirois. “Racialized Re-Entry: Labor Market Inequality After Incarceration,” Social Forces 97(4): 1517-1542.

James Gibson, Washington University, St. Louis, and Michael Nelson, Pennsylvania State University. Judging Inequality (Program: Social, Political, and Economic Inequality; Grant Period: 7/1/2018-6/30/2021; $150,000)
Abstract: We have collected data with support from the NSF, on the equality-relevant decisions made by state supreme courts from 1990-2016. We aim to supplement this database with theoretically-derived explanatory variables pertaining to judges, courts, states, and the public over time. With this data, we will test theories of why some courts, judges, and states favor greater equality.

James Prescott, University of Michigan, Dean Karlan, Northwestern University, and Adi Leibovitch, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.  Evaluating the Effects of Case Order on Judicial Decision Making and Developing Better Case-Assignment Mechanisms (Program: Behavioral Economics; Grant Period: 6/1/2018-5/31/2021; $50,000)
Abstract: Do the decisions a judge makes in a case depend on the decisions and outcomes in other cases that the judge has previously encountered? Using system-generated use data from judges’ electronic dockets, we propose to create a unique micro-level dataset on judicial decisions and behavior in criminal and civil infractions, test how dockets’ composition affects case outcomes, and experimentally evaluate the impact of alternative case assignment mechanisms on the substantive decisions judges reach. This setting offers a unique opportunity to conduct a field experiment to study case-order effects for professional decision makers who evaluate the merits of real-world cases.

Emma Adam and Jonathan Guryan, Northwestern University. Quiet Time, Quiet Biology: Does a School-based Meditation Intervention Impact Stress Biomarkers? (Program: Integrating Biology and Social Science; Grant Period: 4/1/2018-3/31/2020; $135,830)
Abstract: They will collect biological stress data from 480 students participating in an existing randomized controlled trial of a school-based meditation intervention called Quiet Time (QT), which seeks to understand how meditation affects student mood, behavior and academic performance. They will examine whether QT affects student biological stress system activity, including acute levels and daily rhythms of salivary cortisol and salivary alpha amylase; whether effects are greater for students exposed to higher rates of violence and chronic stress; and whether stress biomarkers are associated with student academic and criminal justice outcomes.

Mona Lynch, University of California, Irvine. Drugs, Immigration, and a Renewed War on Crime: A Mixed Methods Follow-up Study (Program: Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration; Grant Period: 1/1/2018-12/31/2019; $34,979)
Abstract: This project follows up on previous research addressing racial inequality in federal criminal court by examining the on-the-ground impact of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ punitive prosecutorial policy reforms that reverse Obama-era criminal justice reforms. It aims to advance a social psychological understanding of how legal power is creatively deployed as a function of micro-level situational dynamics, and it examines how institutional power imbalances translate into harms imposed upon marginalized populations. I will use ethnographic observations, interviews, and case file data to assess case adjudication in four federal districts, and I will update an agency-related dataset to conduct longitudinal regression analyses.

Phillip Atiba Goff, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York and Tom Tyler, Yale University. National Justice Survey: Residential Legitimacy and 21st Century Policing (Program: Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration; Grant Period: 9/1/2017-8/31/2019; $146,049)
Abstract: They will collect data on the public’s experience of policing at both a national and local level, in order to create a benchmark of trust focused on the public’s perceptions of police legitimacy and experiences of stereotype threat regarding crime. This will allow us to benchmark trust and confidence, and provide both a picture of the relationship between law enforcement and communities, and a beginning of the type of metrics that could make building trust as quantifiable as lowering crime. A representative sample will be obtained from NORC’ s AmeriSpeak Panel.

Richard Frank and Thomas McGuire, Harvard University, Henry Steadman and Lisa Callahan, Policy Research Associates. Criminal Justice Spillovers and Medicaid Expansion: Churning and Mental Health (Program: Effects of the Affordable Care Act; Grant Period: 7/1/2017-7/31/2019; $129,196)
Abstract: We will study spillover effects stemming from Medicaid expansion that may improve the lives of the criminal justice involved population. Specifically, we are interested in the degree to which Medicaid expansion may reduce recidivism in the population re-entering communities from jails. We posit that providing immediate health care coverage and engaging the re-entering population in treatment may reduce recidivism among those released from jail. We focus on jail populations where recidivism is greatest. We focus on comparing three sets of community pairs that are geographically close and will work closely with each site’s sheriff.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Fry, Carrie, Thomas McGuire, and Richard Frank. 2020. “Medicaid Expansion’s Spillover to the Criminal Justice System: Evidence from Six Urban Counties.” The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences 6(2): 244-263.

Joscha Legewie, Yale University and Jeffrey Fagan, Columbia University. Group Threat and the Deadly Use of Police Force: Revisiting the Determinants of Police Killings (Program: Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration; Grant Period: 6/1/2017-5/31/2019; $28,996)
Abstract: First, we will compile two comprehensive datasets on police killings for all incidents between 2013 and 2015 and for all incidents in the largest 50 police departments between 2000 and 2015. Second, we plan to examine the racial composition of police departments and the effect of lethal violence against police officers as two factors that have played a major role in discussions on policing over the last decades.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Legewie, Joscha and Jeffrey Fagan. “Group Threat, Police Officer Diversity and the Deadly Use of Police Violence.” Columbia Public Law Research Paper 14-512 (2016)

Christopher Wildeman and Maria Fitzpatrick, Cornell University. Linking NYC Administrative Data to Estimate the Effects of Paternal Incarceration (Program: Social Political, and Economic Inequality; Grant Period: 1/1/2017-12/31/2018; $35,000)
Abstract: The goal of this project is to generate a linked administrative dataset of all children in NYC who experienced paternal or maternal incarceration in order to (1) demonstrate whether doing so is feasible for paternal incarceration and (2) estimate the associations between paternal and maternal incarceration and maternal and infant birth outcomes.

Megan Reid, University of Wisconsin, Madison. Economic Wellbeing, Housing Insecurity, and New Family Formation in the Reentry Population: An Exploratory Study (Program: Social, Political, and Economic Inequality; Grant Period: 12/1/2016-4/30/2019; $33,916)
Abstract: The goal of this project is to understand the contexts and processes of new relationship formation in the reentry population. Prior research in low-income populations strongly suggests that new relationship formation with single mothers upon reentry is common. It is important to understand how and why such relationships are formed because relationship characteristics impact both adult and child economic and overall wellbeing. Little prior research has examined this phenomenon, and this project addresses this gap though collecting and analyzing in-depth interviews and ethnographic observations with reentering low-income Black men and their new or potential partners in New York City.

Randy Capps, Migration Policy Institute. Exploring the Implementation and Early Impacts of the Department of Homeland Security’s Priority Enforcement Program (Program: Race, Ethnicity and Immigration; Grant Period: 7/1/2016-6/30/2017; $75,635)
Abstract: We will study spillover effects stemming from Medicaid expansion that may improve the lives of the criminal justice involved population. Specifically, we are interested in the degree to which Medicaid expansion may reduce recidivism in the population re-entering communities from jails. We posit that providing immediate health care coverage and engaging the re-entering population in treatment may reduce recidivism among those released from jail. We focus on jail populations where recidivism is greatest. We focus on comparing three sets of community pairs that are geographically close and will work closely with each site’s sheriff. MPI is studying the Obama administration’s Priority Enforcement Program (PEP), announced in November 2014. With DAPA suspended by the courts, changes in enforcement priorities represent the only major protection for most unauthorized immigrants. (1) Will PEP result in ongoing declines in deportations? (2) Will deportations become more focused on those with serious criminal charges? (3) How much will deportation policies vary by jurisdiction? (4) What will the perceived impacts on immigrant communities be? To answer these questions, MPI will analyze ICE administrative data and visit local ICE offices, law enforcement agencies and immigrant communities.

Kurt Gray and Brian Keith Payne, University of North Carolina and Jazmin Brown- Iannuzzi, University of Virginia. Cast as a Criminal: How Moral Typecasting Leads to Racial Prejudice (Program: Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration; Grant Period: 6/1/2016-5/31/2019; $139,095)
Abstract: Compared to other demographic groups, Black males are especially likely to be pulled over by police, stopped-and-frisked, and shot to death. Although general racial stereotypes (e.g., Black men are hostile) help explain this mistreatment, we suggest that moral typecasting—the stereotyping of others into enduring moral roles, such as villain or victim—is a robust proximate cause of over-criminalization of Black males. Using a combination of experiments and archival studies, we propose to test whether moral typecasting explains people’s moral judgments of Black males, and whether these judgments are more severe for adolescents, especially in contexts that elicit suspicion.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Hester, Neil and Kurt Gray. 2020. “The Moral Psychology of Raceless, Genderless Strangers.” Perspectives on Psychological Science 15(2): 216-230.
  • Schein, Chelsea and Kurt Gray. 2018. “Theory of Dyadic Morality: Reinventing Moral Judgment by Redefining Harm.” Personality and Social Psychology Review 22(1): 32-70
  • Goranson, Amelia, Ryan Ritter, Adam Waytz, Michael Norton, and Kurt Gray. 2017. “Dying is Unexpectedly Positive.” Psychological Science 28(7): 988-999.
  • Jackson, Joshua Conrad, David Rand, and Kevin Lewis. 2017. “Agent-Based Modeling: A Guide for Social Psychologists.” Social Psychological and Personality Science 8(4): 387-395.
  • Gray, Kurt. 2017. “How to Map Theory: Reliable Methods are Fruitless without Rigorous Theory.” Perspectives on Psychological Science 12(5): 731-741.
  • Hester, Neil, Keith Payne, and Jazmin Brown-Iannuzzi. 2020. “On Intersectionality: How Complex Patterns of Discrimination Can Emerge From Simple Stereotypes.” Psychological Science 31(8): 1013-1024.
  • Payne, Brian Keith, and Heidi A. 2019. “Policy Insights from Advances in Implicit Bias Research.” Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 5: 49-56.

Eric Baumer and John Iceland, Pennsylvania State University. Ethnicity and English- Language Proficiency and Experiences with Crime and Police: A Multi-Level Analysis of Restricted Data from the National Crime Victimization Survey (Program: Race, Ethnicity and Immigration; Grant Period: 5/1/2016-4/30/2018; $73,874)
Abstract: They will use restricted-use National Crime and Victimization Survey (NCVS) data on incidents of crime and crime reporting, together with demographic data from the American Community Survey (ACS), and police department data from the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) to explore whether and how English-language proficiency correlates with crime reporting and official response to reported crimes.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Xie, Min and Eric Baumer. 2019. “Crime Victims’ Decisions to Call the Police: Past Research and new Directions” Annual Review of Criminology 2: 217-240.
  • Xie, Min and Eric Baumer. 2018. “Reassessing the Breadth of the Protective Benefits of Immigrant Neighborhoods: A Multilevel Analysis of Violence Risk by Race, Ethnicity, and Labor Market Stratification”. Criminology 56(2): 302-332.
  • Xie, Min and Eric Baumer. 2018. “Neighborhood Immigrant Concentration and Violent Crime Reporting to the Police: A Multilevel Analysis of Data from the National Crime Victimization Survey.” Criminology 57(2): 237-267.

Emily Ryo, University of Southern California. Experiences and Impacts of Immigration Detention (Program: Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration; Grant Period: 5/1/2016-5/31/2018; $34,940)
Abstract: This project seeks to make key contributions to research on immigration detention, and research on legitimacy, procedural justice, and inequality. How do immigrant detainees navigate the complex legal system and how do they experience the detention and release process? How do those experiences shape their attitudes toward the law and legal authority? I will address these questions by analyzing original quantitative and qualitative data on long-term immigrant detainees in the Central District of California.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Ryo, Emily. 2017. “Fostering Legal Cynicism through Immigration Detention.” Southern California Law Review 90(5): 999-1053.
  • Ryo, Emily. 2018. “Representing Immigrants: The Role of Lawyers in Immigration Bond Hearings.” Law and Society Review 52(2): 503-531.
  • Ryo, Emily. 2019. “Predicting Danger in Immigration Courts.” Law and Social Inquiry 44(1): 227-256.
  • Ryo, Emily. 2017. “Legal Attitudes of Immigrant Detainees.” Law and Society Review 51(1): 99-131.
  • Ryo, Emily. 2017. “The Promise of Subject-Centered Approach to Understanding Immigration Noncompliance.” Journal on Migration and Human Security 5(2): 285-296.

David Harding, University of California, Berkeley. Racial Disparities in the Transition to Adulthood after Prison (Program: Social, Political, and Economic Inequality; Grant Period: 4/1/2016-3/31/2017; $34,313)
Abstract: Our goal is to examine the role of the criminal justice system in exacerbating racial inequalities by investigating differences in post-prison outcomes between black and white former prisoners, whereas past research on inequality and incarceration has compared former prisoners to non-prisoners. The central motivating idea is that inequalities in post-prison outcomes may in part be rooted in racial disparities in earlier criminal justice system exposure that have long-term consequences– cascading effects on early life experiences, prison experiences, reentry experiences, and the transition to adulthood. We will analyze administrative data on a cohort of parolees aged 18-25 using various statistical methods.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Harding, David, Jonah Seigel, and Jeffrey Morenoff, et al. 2017. “Custodial Parole Sanctions and Earnings after Release from Prison.” Social Forces 96(2): 909-934.
  • Seim, Josh and David Harding. 2020. “Parolefare: Post-Prison Supervision and Low- Wage Work.” The Russell Sage Journal of the Social Sciences 6(1): 173-195.
  • Lee, Keunbok, David J. Harding and Jeffrey Morenoff. 2017. “Trajectories of Neighborhood Attainment after Prison.” Social Science Research, 66: 211-33.

Lasana Harris, Leiden University. No Humans Involved: Neurological Correlates of Dehumanization in the Decision to Shoot (Program: Cultural Contact; Grant Period: 2/1/2016- 5/31/2017; $29,400)
Abstract: Our goal is to examine the role of the criminal justice system in exacerbating racial inequalities by investigating differences in post-prison outcomes between black and white former prisoners, whereas past research on inequality and incarceration has compared former prisoners to non-prisoners. The central motivating idea is that inequalities in post-prison outcomes may in part be rooted in racial disparities in earlier criminal justice system exposure that have long-term consequences– cascading effects on early life experiences, prison experiences, reentry experiences, and the transition to adulthood. We will analyze administrative data on a cohort of parolees aged 18-25 using various statistical methods. He will test the feasibility of using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to gain insight into police shootings of young black males. He will collect data from 120 police officers from the Los Angeles Police Department. Specifically, police officers will watch 160 25-second videos of simulated resident “potential force” scenarios: 30 with simulated residents of African-American decent, 30 with Caucasian residents, 30 with Asian residents, 30 with residents of Latino descent, and 40 control scenarios (10 per ethnic group) where the escalation of aggression by the resident increases then decreases. These latter videos will be interspersed with escalating aggression videos, ensuring that officers cannot predict whether the scenarios will escalate on every trial. During the scenario, officers have the option to discharge their firearm at any point. Participants must decide upon the appropriate behaviors to diffuse the increasingly hostile situation, from conversation escalating through a variety of weapons culminating in a side-arm pistol.

Jay Van Bavel, New York University. Racially-biased Distance Perception in Law Enforcement Decisions (Program: Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration; Grant Period: 12/1/2015- 1/31/2018; $34,857)
Abstract: The goal of this project is to better understand the role of racially biased distance perception in law enforcement decisions. This will be the first research to examine the role of visual perception (i.e., distance perception) in decisions to shoot Black and White suspects. We will examine whether biases in the perceived proximity of racial minorities manifests in laboratory experiments and real-world police shootings. Data will be drawn from volunteer participants in a virtual shooting game and an archival database of police shootings.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Hackel, Leor M, Jamil Zaki, and Jay Van Bavel. 2017. “Social Identity Shapes Social Valuation: Evidence from Prosocial Behavior and Vicarious Reward.” Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 12(8): 1219-1228.

Mia Bird and Shannon McConville, Public Policy Institute of California. The Effect of Health Insurance Enrollment on Recidivism in the Criminal Justice Population (Program: Effects of the Affordable Care Act; Grant Period: 7/1/2015-6/30/2017; $137,810)
Abstract: This study will leverage newly available, individual-level data, along with variation in the timing and intensity of enrollment efforts across counties, to estimate the effect of health insurance enrollment under ACA coverage expansions on recidivism outcomes for the justice-involved population.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Grattet, Ryken, Mia Bird, Viet Nguyen, and Sonya Tafoya. 2017. “California Jails Under Realignment and Proposition 47.” California Journal of Politics and Policy 9(3): 1-15.

Robynn Cox, Spelman College, Jennifer Doleac, University of Virginia, Benjamin Hansen, University of Oregon, and Sarah Jacobson, Williams College. How Race Affects Perceptions of Criminality and Thereby Employment (Program: Future of Work; Grant Period: 7/1/2015- 6/30/2017; $28,600)
Abstract: This study investigates how race influences both criminal justice and labor market outcomes through perceptions of criminality. We contribute to the literature by implementing a mixed-methods approach to distinguish between statistical and taste-based discrimination, and to determine if trust is a factor influencing racial bias in these settings. Using observational data (from the CPS and state administrative data), we test employment effects of popular ban the box policies across the U.S. and conduct lab experiments to understand the mechanisms underlying those effects. We analyze all data (experimental and observational) using appropriate econometric techniques (e.g., random effects, difference-in-difference, synthetic controls, etc.).

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Doleac, Jennifer and Benjamin Hansen. 2016. “Does Ban the Box Help or Hurt Low- Skilled Workers? Statistical Discrimination and Employment Outcomes When Criminal Histories are Hidden.” Working paper 22469,
  • Doleac, Jennifer L., and Benjamin Hansen. 2017. “Moving to Job Opportunities? The Effect of ‘Ban the Box’ on the Composition of Cities.” American Economic Review, 107: 556-59.
  • Doleac, Jennifer L., and Benjamin Hansen. 2020. “The Unintended Consequences of ‘Ban the Box’: Statistical Discrimination and Employment Outcomes When Criminal Histories Are Hidden.” Journal of Labor Economics, 38: 321-74.

Avital Mentovich, University of California, Los Angeles, Tom Tyler, Yale University, and Guy Ben Porat, Ben Gurion University. A Comparative Outlook on Policing Minorities in the US and Israel: From Alienation to Legitimation (Program: Cultural Contact; Grant Period: 11/1/2014-3/31/2018; $34,951)
Abstract: They will examine how law enforcement is experienced (both first and second-hand) by dominant and stigmatized groups in the United States and Israel. They will examine how and why minority and majority groups may differ in what they need from the police, in how they generate views about the police, and in the meaning they assign to policing with regard to their standing in society. Using quantitative survey questions, they will conduct face-to-face interviews with 250 white and 250 black residents in Metropolitan Los Angeles, and with 250 Jewish and 250 Arab residents in Tel Aviv- Jaffa, Israel.

Bruce Western, Harvard University. Boston Reentry Study (Program: Social, Political, and Economic Inequality; Grant Period: 7/1/2014-4/30/2017; $150,000)
Abstract: The study combines an intensive one-year panel survey of 122 formerly-incarcerated men and women with extensive qualitative interviews and administrative records. This study largely takes the perspective that leaving prison and returning to an inner-city neighborhood is, for most, a transition to poverty that affects low-wage labor markets, vulnerable families, and community safety. As part of this study, Western will focus on a number of key questions about community return, including whether the stigmatizing effects of a criminal record vary by race, ethnicity, and gender; whether social integration differs for those who have experienced violence or trauma, those with histories of drug and alcohol problems, or those who suffer from mental illness; and the dynamics of prisoner reentry during the first year, especially with regard to employment, supervision, and social relationships.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Western, Bruce, Anthony A. Braga, and David Hureau. 2016. “Study Retention as Bias Reduction in a Hard-to-Reach Population.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113(20): 5477-5485.
  • Western, Bruce, Anthony A. Braga, and Jaclyn Davis. 2015. “Stress Hardship after Prison.” American Journal of Sociology 120(5): 1512-1547.
  • Simes, Jessica. 2019. “Place after Prison: Neighborhood Attainment and Attachment During Reentry.” Journal of Urban Affairs 41(4): 443-463.
  • Western, Bruce and Jessica Simes. 2019. “Drug Use in the Year After Prison”. Social Science and Medicine 235: 1-7.
  • Western, Bruce. 2016. “Trends in Income Insecurity Among U.S. Children, 1984-2010.” Demography, 53: 419-47.
  • Western, Bruce. 2015. “Lifetimes of Violence in a Sample of Released Prisoners.” Russell Sage Foundation Journal of Social Sciences 1(2): 14-30.

Joscha Legewie, Harvard University. Racial Profiling in Stop-and-Frisk Operations: Do Local Events Trigger Periods of Increased Discrimination? (Program: Cultural Contact; Grant Period: 1/1/2014-8/31/2015; $22,246)
Abstract: Sociologist Joscha Legewie will use a quasi-experimental research design study when, where, and what kind of events trigger periods of increased racial bias in police stops of pedestrians. He will compare similar stops before and right after the events to estimate their effect on racial profiling and the use of physical force by police officers. The matched stops will then be used as the counterfactual trend. The exogenous events will allow the PI to identify the causal effect of local events on racial profiling in pedestrian stops and study when, where, and what kind of events influence racial bias in police stops.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Legewie, Joscha. 2016. “Racial Profiling and Use of Force in Police Stops: How Local Events Trigger Periods of Increased Discrimination.” American Journal of Sociology 122(2): 379-424.

Cynthia Najdowski, University of Illinois at Chicago. Effects of Citizens' Response to Stereotype Threat on Police Officers' Perceptions and Decision Making (Program: Cultural Contact; Grant Period: 9/1/2013-8/31/2014; $34,999)
Abstract: Najdowski will run an experiment to test the hypothesis that racial differences in non- verbal behaviors in police encounters are mediated by stereotype threat and that stereotype threat, in turn, affects police officers’ decisions to target blacks (versus whites). The experiment involves having actual police officers view videos of staged encounters between a security officer and citizens who would be either white or black males experiencing either high or low levels of stereotype threat. To explore how citizens’ behavior and its effect on police officers’ perceptions and judgments change (or not) over the course of an encounter, police officers would view segments of videos taken of the citizens either just before, during, or just after, a staged encounter with a security officer. After viewing the videos, police officers would report how suspicious they perceived each citizen to be, and then make judgments regarding whether they would suspect the citizen of criminal activity or initiate contact with him.

Peter Enns, Cornell University. The Great Recession and State Criminal Justice Policy: Explaining the Unexpected (Program: Great Recession; Grant Period: 3/15/2012-8/31/2015; $77,766)
Abstract: Enns will study two interrelated propositions: first, that the recent contraction of the carceral state should not be viewed as a direct response to budget constraints but rather as an ongoing process of policy choices shaped by the public’s evolving attitudes about being tough on crime; and second, that it is also necessary to understand how the recession influenced elite rhetoric, particularly among political conservatives who were the strongest advocates of tough- on-crime policies. The key idea is that public opinion in regard to crime policy has become less punitive over time, and that the fiscal environment of the Great Recession allowed political elites who had previously advocated tough-on-crime positions to align their rhetoric with emerging public opinion without suffering a political cost with their conservative constituents.

Sara Wakefield, University of California, Irvine and Christopher Wildeman, University of Michigan. The Effects of Mass Incarceration on Inequality in the U.S. (Program: Social, Political, and Economic Inequality; Grant Period: 5/1/2010-9/30/2011; $34,633)
Abstract: Suggesting many pathways through which a child would be disadvantaged due to the incarceration of a parent (individual and family trauma, social stigmatization, diminished financial resources, and the increased risk of divorce and separation are only a few), they will explore the effects of parental imprisonment on children’s behavioral problems, educational attainment and achievement, as well as severe forms of disadvantage, including infant mortality, homelessness, and child abuse. Two longitudinal studies will be the primary sources of data for this project: the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN), a longitudinal survey of youth and their primary caregiver specifically designed to measure the determinants of anti-social behaviors, attainment, and health; and the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCW), a longitudinal birth cohort study.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Wakefield, Sara and Christopher Wildeman. 2011. “Mass Imprisonment and Racial Disparities in Childhood Behavioral Problems.” Criminology & Public Policy 10(3): 793- 817.
  • Wildeman, Christopher. 2010. “Paternal Incarceration and Children’s Physically Aggressive Behaviors: Evidence from the Fragile and Child Wellbeing Study.” Social Forces 89(1): 285-309.

Carolyn Moehling, and Anne Piehl, Rutgers University, New Brunswick. Immigrant Incarceration 1900-1930: Development and Analysis of Historical Data (Program: Immigration; Grant Period: 12/1/2009-5/31/2012; $74,888)
Abstract: They will examine the relationship between immigration and crime at two points in time in an earlier era: the first two decades of the twentieth century and 1917-1930. They will assemble individual-level data from population and prison censuses for 1900 to 1930 for all male inmates in state correctional facilities in eight major immigrant destination states. For each prison they will enter data for all prisoners in that facility, and the resulting file will include detailed data on age, ethnicity, parentage, year of arrival for immigrants, and literacy. The PIs will then use modern statistical methods to conduct comparative analyses of the incarcerated and non-incarcerated populations during the thirty-year period, addressing such issues as: the effects of age distribution of the foreign-born and native-born on the probability of incarceration, how incarceration probabilities vary by country of origin, and whether or not predictors of incarceration vary by nativity. They will also be able to examine how the immigrant incarceration experience varies during the period, in response to a changing legal, economic, and social environment.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Moehling, Carolyn and Anne Piehl. 2014. “Immigrant Assimilation into US Prison, 1900-1930.” Journal of Population Economics 27(1): 173-200.

Arien Mack, The New School. Conference on Punishment in America (Program: Non-Program; Grant Period: 10/1/2006-9/30/2007; $35,000)
Abstract: Why have Americans adopted harsher attitudes on criminal justice issues? What explains the correlation between race and incarceration rates? What is the impact of incarceration on families and communities? What are the alternatives to mass incarceration? These and related questions will be considered at a conference titled “Punishment: The U.S. Record,” organized by psychologist Arien Mack. The conference is part of the Social Research Conference Series at New School University, a forum for scholars to discuss contemporary social issues from the vantage points of their respective disciplines. About 30 social scientists, legal experts, philosophers, journalists, and social workers will take part in the two-day conference. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy will deliver the keynote address.

Michael Murray and Michael Sargent, Bates College. Relationship Between Police Officers Racial Attitudes and Their On-the-Job Behavior (Program: Cultural Contact; Grant Period: 9/1/2006-8/31/2008; $230,424)
Abstract: They will study the relationship between police officers’ racial attitudes and their on- the-job behavior. They will ask whether the officers’ attitudes account for the racial distribution of drivers they pull over, as well as those they stop and search. In addition, the investigators will use a computer simulation of potentially life-threatening situations to test how individual officers respond when dealing with whites and blacks in potentially dangerous situations. The Kansas City Police Department has agreed to provide data on the race of drivers stopped and searched, including a record of the officer, the time and location of the stop, and the race and ethnicity of the stopped driver. In addition, Murray and Sargent will interview 500 Kansas City police officers, administering tests of explicit and implicit racial attitudes to see how they correlate with the officers’ decisions to stop and search the vehicles of black and white drivers.

Michael Stoll, University of California, Los Angeles and Steven Raphael, University of California, Berkeley. The Increasing Prison Population in the US: What has it Done For us and What has it done to us? (Program: Future of Work; Grant Period: 7/1/2006-12/31/2007; $140,668)
Abstract: Michael Stoll and Steven Raphael organized a conference that took stock of the effects of the prison boom. Reviewing previous research and discussing current work, a group of economists, sociologists, and criminologists considered the question of whether incarceration can be justified by the reduction in crime that it achieves. They examined how the decision to incarcerate varies with crime rates and offense severity, and the social and the way incarceration affects economic and social conditions, including employment, civic participation, public safety, and racial inequality. The results were published in the RSF volume, Do Prisons Make Us Safer?

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Raphael, Steven and Michael Stoll. Do Prisons Make Us Safer?: The Benefits and Costs of the Prison Boom. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2009.
  • Johnson, Rucker C. and Steven Raphael. 2009. “The Effects of Male Incarceration Dynamics on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome Infection Rates among African American Women and Men.” The Journal of Law & Economics 52(2): 251-293.

Bruce Western, Princeton University, and Loic Wacquant, University of California, Berkeley. Conference on the Penal State (Program: Social, Political, and Economic Inequality; Grant Period: 5/1/2006-10/31/2006; $15,040)
Abstract: Sociologists Bruce Western and Loic Wacquant will organize a conference examining the social, political, economic, and cultural correlates of the expansion of American criminal justice. Topics to be discussed include the impact on labor markets of the thousands of ex- convicts returning to society each year searching for legal work, the ramifications for American democracy of 4.7 million adults disenfranchised because of criminal histories, and the way criminal justice has been affected by national battles against terrorism.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Western, Bruce, Meredith Kleykamp, and Jake Rosenfeld. 2006. “Did Falling Wages and Employment Increase U.S. Imprisonment?” Social Forces 84(4): 2291-2311.
  • Western, Bruce. Punishment and Inequality in America. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2006.

Shawn D. Bushway, University of Maryland, College Park, and Michael A. Stoll, University of California, Los Angeles. The Effect of Criminal Background Checks on Hiring of Ex-Offenders (Program: Future of Work; Grant Period: 4/1/2005-3/31/2007; $30,394)
Abstract: They examine whether the recent availability of computerized background checks via the World Wide Web has hurt the employment prospects of ex-offenders. They compile a data set of firms in Los Angeles that they use to determine how many employers use background checks and how this figure has changed over time. They then explore the willingness of firms to hire ex-inmates.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Stoll, Michael and Bushway, Shawn. “The Effect of Criminal Background Checks on Hiring Ex-Offenders.” Criminology & Public Policy Volume: 7 Issue: 3 (2008): 371-404

Jennifer Eberhardt, Stanford University. Policing Racial Bias (Program: Cultural Contact; Grant Period: 9/1/2004-10/31/2007; $35,000)
Abstract: Jennifer Eberhardt is organizing a series of conferences in 2004 and 2005 that will bring researchers on racial profiling together with leaders in law enforcement. Besides providing law enforcement agencies with information on what is currently known about racial bias, the conferences will allow researchers the opportunity to propose studies that involve police officers as study participants. She hopes to fuel more cooperation between researchers and police, and encourage law enforcement agencies to participate in future studies. Presenters at the conferences will address topics such as racial bias in the decision to fire upon a suspect, and stereotype threat in policing. The papers from the conferences will result in an edited volume.

Bernadette Park and Charles Judd, University of Colorado, Boulder. Unconscious Racial Biases in Police Decision Making (Program: Cultural Contact; Grant Period: 10/1/2003- 10/31/2007; $172,524)
Abstract: They will study unconscious bias in police decision-making with an innovative computer program that sets participants in a simulated ‘life or death’ situation and asks them to quickly decide whether or not to ‘shoot’ a potentially dangerous target. They will subject 50 police officers and 50 civilians from the same community to the simulation, seeing if the subjects (especially the police officers) are more likely to ‘shoot’ an unarmed black suspect than an unarmed white subject. Previous research by Park and Judd indicated that civilians were more likely to choose to shoot blacks than whites, but when asked later, they were unaware of the race of the target, suggesting that the bias in their judgments was unconscious. This study will see if the same is true of police officers and compare their behavior to a control group of civilians. Support from the Foundation will also go to improving the simulation and expanding the testing to several U.S. cities representing different regions of the country, with different levels of racial diversity, and different correlations between ethnicity and crime.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Correll, Joshua, Bernd Wittenbrink, and Bernadette Park. 2007. “Across the Thin Blue Line: Police Officers and Racial Bias in the Decision to Shoot.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 92(6): 1006-1023.

Bruce Western, Princeton University and Mary Patillo, Northwestern University. Impact of Incarceration of Families and Communities (Program: Future of Work; Grant Period: 5/1/2002- 6/30/2003; $31,000)
Abstract: Pattillo and Western are editing a volume on the effects of incarceration on families, children of inmates, and local communities. The volume is based on papers from the May 2001 conference on this topic funded by RSF. An interdisciplinary group of researchers examines the connections between incarceration and family formation, labor markets, political participation, and community wellbeing.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • David Weiman, Bruce Western & Mary Patillo (editors). Imprisoning America: The Social Effects of Mass Incarceration. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2002.
  • Western, Bruce. 2001. “Bayesian Thinking about Macrosociology.” American Journal of Sociology 107(2): 353-378.
  • Western, Bruce. 2001. “Accounting for the Decline of Unions in the Private Sector, 1973-1998.” Journal of Labor Research 22(3): 459-485.

Becky Pettit, University of Washington, Seattle. Incarceration and Earnings Inequality: Evidence from Washington State (Program: Future of Work; Grant Period: 7/1/2001-9/30/2005; $81,750)
Abstract: This study examines patterns of employment and earnings following incarceration using administrative data for criminal offers in Washington. This project is a replication of studies that have shown declines in employment or earnings experiences by ex-inmates as a consequence of spending time in prison or jail.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Pettit, Becky. Invisible Men: Mass Incarceration and the Myth of Black Progress. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2012.
  • Pettit, Becky and Christopher J. Lyons. 2009. “Incarceration and the Legitimate Labor Market: Examining Age-Graded Effects on Employment and Wages.” Law & Society Review 43(4): 725-756.
  • Pettit, Becky and Christopher Lyons. “Status and the Stigma of Incarceration: The Labor Market Effects of Incarceration by Race, Class, and Criminal Involvement.” in Barriers to Re-Entry: The Impact of Incarceration on Labor Market Outcomes ed. David Weiman, Shawn Bushway, and Michael Stoll. (New York: Russell Sage Foundation), 2007, 203- 226.
  • Western, Bruce and Beck Pettit. “Mass Incarceration.” in Punishment and Inequality in America by Bruce Western (New York: Russell Sage Foundation), 2006, 11-33.
  • Pettit, Becky and Jennifer Hook. 2005. “The Structure of Women’s Employment in Comparative Perspective.” Social Forces 84(2): 779-801.
  • Western, Bruce and Beck Pettit. 2005. “Black-White Inequality, Employment Rates, and Incarceration.” The American Journal of Sociology 111(2): 553-578.
  • Pettit, Becky and Bruce Western. 2004. “Mass Imprisonment and the Life Course: Race and Class Inequality in U.S. Incarceration.” American Sociological Review 69(2): 151- 169.

Robert Sampson, Harvard University, and John Laub, University of Maryland. The Aftermath of Incarceration in the Lives of Disadvantaged Men: A Fifty-Year Follow-up Study (Program: Future of Work; Grant Period: 7/1/2001-6/30/2003; $57,852)
Abstract: They will examine the aftermath of juvenile incarceration and adult imprisonment in the lives of 500 disadvantaged men followed to age 70. In a previous study, they collected criminal and death records, both at the state and national levels, and conducted follow up interviews with 52 men who had previously been contacted 35 years ago.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Sampson, Robert, John Laub, and Christopher Wimer. 2006. “Does Marriage Reduce Crime? A Counterfactual Approach to Within-Individual Causal Effects.” Criminology 44(3): 465-508.
  • Eggleston, Elaine, John Laub, and Robert Sampson. 2004. “Methodological Sensitivities to Latent Class Analysis of Long-Term Criminal Trajectories.” Journal of Quantitative Criminology 20(1): 1-26.
  • Laub, John and Robert Sampson. Shared Beginnings, Divergent Lives: Delinquent Boys to Age 70. Cambridge: Harvard University, 2003.
  • Laub, John and Robert Sampson. “Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck’s Unraveling Juvenile Delinquency Study: The Lives of 1,000 Boston Men in the Twentieth Century.” in Looking at Lives: American Longitudinal Studies of the Twentieth Century. Ed. Erin Phelps, Frank Furstenberg, Jr., and Anne Colby. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2002, 61-86.
  • Sampson, Robert. 2003. “Life-Course Desisters? Trajectories of Crime Among Delinquent Boys Followed to Age 70.” Criminology 41(3): 555-592.

Bruce Western, Princeton University. Incarceration Effects and Data Quality in the Fragile Families Study (Program: Future of Work; Grant Period: 7/1/2001-6/30/2002; $33,900)
Abstract: He will analyze the impact of incarceration on the wages and employment of fathers in the Fragile Families Survey and the reliability of their self-reported incarceration status

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Western, Bruce, Leonard Lopoo, and Sara McLanahan. 2002. “Incarceration and the Bonds Among Parents in Fragile Families.” Bendheim-Thomas Center for Research on Child Wellbeing working paper #02-22-FF
  • Western, Bruce. 2004. “Incarceration and Invisible Inequality.” Russell Sage Foundation working papers
  • Western, Bruce. 2002. “The Impact of Incarceration on Wage Mobility and Inequality.” American Sociological Review 76(4): 526-546. DOI: 10.2307/3088944

Harry J. Holzer, Georgetown University. Ex-Offenders, Employers, and the Labor Market (Program: Future of Work; Grant Period: 6/1/2001-12/31/2001; $35,000)
Abstract: He will examine the determinants of employers’ attitudes about hiring ex-offenders. He hypothesizes that these preferences will depend on the characteristics of the firm (e.g., size, geographic and industrial location, and the characteristics of employees and of owners/managers) and of the job to be filled (e.g., skill requirements and the characteristics of the applicant pool). He will also analyze how employers responded to the tight market for low-skilled labor in the late 1990s. He hypothesizes that they could adjust in several ways: lowering their standards (or screening less effectively to enforce standards), reducing their discrimination against minorities, or intensifying their recruiting efforts.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Holzer, Harry. 2003. “Public Transit and the Spatial Distribution of Minority Employment: Evidence from a Natural Experiment.” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 22(3): 415-441.

Mary Pattillo, Northwestern University. The Effects of Incarceration on Families and Children (Program: Future of Work; Grant Period: 5/1/2001-4/30/2002; $10,000)
Abstract: A conference involving researcher and practitioners was held on May 5, 2011, at Northwestern University.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • David Weiman, Bruce Western & Mary Patillo (editors). Imprisoning America: The Social Effects of Mass Incarceration. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2002.

William Sabol and Neil Bania, Case Western Reserve University. Effects of Access to Jobs, Neighborhood Characteristics and Prison Experiences on Offender Employment and Recidivism Outcomes (Program: Future of Work; Grant Period: 1/1/2001-5/31/2003; $175,194)
Abstract: They examine the impacts of access to jobs, neighborhood conditions, and individual- level variables such as length of stay and participation in prison programs on the employment and recidivism outcomes of offenders released from Ohio state prisons. They will link their administrative prison records with employment records and merge their individual-level information with data on the social and economic characteristics of the neighborhoods into which they are released.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Sabol, William. “Local Labor Market Conditions and Post-Prison Employment: Evidence from Ohio.” in Barriers to Re-Entry? The Labor Market for Released Prisoners in Post- Industrial America. Ed. Shawn Bushway, Michael Stoll, and David Weiman, New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2007, 250-303.

Michael A. Stoll, University of California, Los Angeles, and Steven Raphael, University of California, Berkeley. The Determinants and Consequences of Employer-Initiated Criminal Background Checks (Program: Future of Work; Grant Period: 1/1/2001-3/31/2003; $112,373)
Abstract: They examine the determinants and consequences of employers’ use of criminal background checks. Using establishment-level data from the Multi City Survey of Urban Inequality, they will analyze the types of employers that use criminal background checks in screening their applicants and the effects of these checks on wages and other measures of compensation. They will also analyze the effects of employer-initiated background checks on the likelihood of hiring African-Americans.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Holzer, Harry, Steven Raphael, Michael Stoll. 2006. “Perceived Criminality, Criminal Background Checks, and the Racial Hiring Practices of Employers.” The Journal of Law & Economics 49(2): 451-480.
  • Holzer, Harry, Steven Raphael, Michael Stoll. The Effect of an Applicant's Criminal History on Employer Hiring Decisions and Screening Practices: Evidence from Los Angeles. Michigan: University of Michigan National Poverty Center, 2004.
  • Holzer, Harry and Michael Stoll. 2003. “Employer Demand for Welfare Recipients by Race.” Journal of Labor Economics 21(1): 210-241.

Jeffrey Fagan and Tamara Dumanovsky, Columbia University. The Effects of Incarceration on Crime and Work in New York City: Individual and Neighborhood Impacts (Program: Future of Work; Grant Period: 7/1/2000-12/31/2003; $225,461)
Abstract: They examine the impact of incarceration on both neighborhood conditions and on individual employment outcomes of prison releases in New York City. At the level of community, the research will explore the dual effects of incarceration: first, the social and economic impact of removing individuals from the community, and second, the effects on neighborhood conditions of inmates returning upon release. At the individual level, they will track employment history of prison inmates prior to incarceration and after release to evaluate the effects of incarceration on labor force participation and economic opportunity.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Fagan, Jeffrey, Valerie West, and Jan Holland. 2004. “Symposium on Race, Crime, and Voting: Social, Political, and Philosophical Perspectives on Felony Disenfranchisement in America: Neighborhood, Crime, and Incarceration in New York City” Columbia Human Rights Law Review. 36(71).

John Tyler, Brown University, and Jeffrey R. Kling, Brookings Institution. Offender Re- Integration into the Mainstream Labor Market (Program: Future of Work; Grant Period: 6/1/2000-8/31/2005; $253,962)
Abstract: They will examine various aspects of the re-integration of offenders into the labor market. They focus on participation in the mainstream economy, as measured by quarterly earnings information collected from firms covered by the Unemployment Insurance system. They will link these data to administrative records on arrests and incarceration from criminal justice agencies in Florida. The linked dataset will have over one million records on all individuals arrested since 1990, with a complete panel on arrests, convictions, incarceration spells, rehabilitative program participation, and earnings since 1994.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Ludwig, Jens and Jeffrey Kling. 2007. “Is Crime Contagious?” Journal of Law and Economics 50: 491-518.
  • Tyler, John H. and Jeffrey R. Kling. 2006. “Prison-Based Education and Re-Entry into the Mainstream Labor Market.” in Barriers to Re-Entry? The Labor Market for Released Prisoners in Post-Industrial America. Ed. Shawn Bushway, Michael Stoll, and David Weiman, New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2007, 227-256.
  • Turney, Kristin, Kathryn Edin, Susan Clampet-Lundquist, Jeffrey R. Kling, and Greg Duncan. “Neighborhood Effects on Barriers to Employment: Results from a Randomized Housing Mobility Experiment in Baltimore.” Brookings-Wharton Papers on Urban Affairs: 137-187.

Steven Raphael, University of California, Berkeley. Assessing the Effects of State Prison Sentences on Post-Release Earnings and Employment (Program: Future of Work; Grant Period: 6/1/2000-9/30/2005; $66,289)
Abstract: He will examine the effects of incarceration on recidivism and later labor market outcomes of inmates released from state prisons. He will link administrative data from the Department of Corrections in California to data on quarterly earnings from California’s Employment Development Department.

Publications (and work in progress):

  • Raphael, Steven. 2008. “The Employment Prospects of Ex-Offenders.” Focus 25(2): 21- 26.
  • Raphael, Steven. “The Socioeconomic Status of Black Males: The Increasing Importance of Incarceration.” in Public Policy and the Income Distribution ed. Alan J. Auerbach, David Card, John M. Quigley (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2006), 319-358.
  • Raphael, Steven and Michael Stoll. 2004. “The Effect of Prison Releases on Regional Crime Rates.” Brookings-Wharton Papers on Urban Affairs (1): 207-255.


Pipeline Grants

Nyron Crawford, Temple University. Strike from the Record: Administrative Burden in Take- up of Criminal Record Expungement (Grant Period: 6/1/2022-5/31/2023; $30,000)
Abstract: Too few people eligible for clearing their criminal record take-up the program. Although the policy is designed to mitigate the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction, only 6.5% of eligible record-bearers in Michigan petitioned for expunction. This perpetuates inequalities because an arrest and/or conviction are often accompanied by collateral consequences such as being disqualified from, or have restrictions placed on, receipt of public benefits and rights—e.g., voting, financial aid, admissions, and public housing. However, some evidence suggests that record clearance can boost employment rates and wages and is helpful at reducing re-offending. Why, then, don’t more of those eligible participate in expungement programs?

Shelley Liu, University of California Berkeley, and Tony Cheng, University of California Irvine. How Online Media Shapes Polarization Towards Policing (Grant Period: 6/1/2022- 5/31/2023; $30,000)
Abstract: Perceptions towards police are correlated with variables like race, but time invariant factors cannot sufficiently explain dynamic sentiments across time and space. This project asks: What dimensions of online content shape polarization towards police? We draw on three data sources: (1) novel community sentiment data collected by NYC, Chicago, and LA, (2) engagement data with media articles across online platforms, and (3) an original priming survey experiment. Initial analyses of community sentiments in NYC from 2016-2020 reveal that, as the 2018 midterm elections approached, polarization across precincts increased dramatically towards both police trust and community safety. We hypothesize that online media can drive moments of polarization during electoral cycles by amplifying politicization of criminal justice issues.

Ashley Muchow, University of Illinois Chicago. Assessing the Spillover Effect of Local Immigrant Detention on Police Arrests (Grant Period: 6/1/2022-5/31/2023; $30,000)
Abstract: Amid punitive shifts in criminal justice and immigration control in the 1980s and 1990s, Latinx individuals made up a growing share of the population confined to prisons and jails. These disparities intensified during the country’s “war on drugs.” This project considers whether a punitive turn in immigration control over this period – which featured the use of local jails to detain deportable noncitizens – aggravated ethnic arrest disparities. Using county-level arrest data from California between 1980 and 2004, this study examines whether the adoption of intergovernmental service agreements to detain immigrants in local jails increased rates of Latinx arrest. Findings will shed light on the arrest consequences of local cooperation in immigrant detention and contextualize disproportionate Latinx representation in the criminal justice system.

Francis Prior and Steven Farough, Assumption University. Debt Peonage: How Formerly Incarcerated Fathers Experience Child Support and Criminal Justice Debt (Grant Period: 6/1/2022-5/31/2023; $30,000)
Abstract: This study places the debts of formerly incarcerated fathers in the context of their broader economic lives and their attempts to socially reintegrate. I will interview 60 formerly incarcerated men about their economic lives with respect to work expenses and debt, as well as their social lives with respect to their roles as fathers. Interviewees will also provide basic demographic information. The study includes participant observation for interviewees that will be accompanied to legal bureaucracies to find out about their debts. The study also includes a criminal background check of interviewees after the interview. The study highlights the intersection of child support, debt, and reentry in the lived experience of these fathers.

Brielle Bryan, Rice University. Locked out of Place: How Felony Conviction History Shapes Residential Opportunity and Racial Segregation (Grant Period: 6/1/2021-5/31/2022; $28,869)
Abstract: Due to felony conviction, individuals can be denied housing, employment, and the right to vote for years after they complete their sentences. Researchers have examined the consequences of incarceration for subsequent life chances, but 2/3 of felons have never been imprisoned and their outcomes have been overlooked. Given that criminal background checks are a routine part of rental applicant screening, I propose an experimental study to uncover how felony conviction history shapes renters’ choice set in the housing market. This study will conduct a nationwide analysis of how much discrimination those with felony records face and, what types of neighborhoods they are channeled into as a result.

Rachel Ellis, University of Maryland, College Park. Punished in Plain Sight: Women’s Experiences on Probation (Grant Period: 6/1/2021-5/31/2023; $29,998)
Abstract: Over half of the total correctional population live under community supervision on probation, with. 73% of justice-involved women serving a probation sentence. We know little about the lived experiences of these women. Often dismissed as a slap on the wrist, probation is deeply punitive and hinders opportunities for mobility, especially among poor women and women of color. Drawing on 55 interviews (15 probation officers, 40 women on probation) and six sets of intensive observations, this study highlights the daily hardships associated with living under community surveillance, as they relate to race, class, and motherhood. The study examines state control and gendered surveillance, examining how punishment exacerbates instability among.

Hannah Walker, University of Texas at Austin. Intersecting (In)Justice: The Causes and Consequences of the Criminalization of Immigration (Program: Pipeline Grants; Grant Period: 12/1/2020-11/30/2022; $24,225)
Abstract: This project examines the role of the criminal legal system in shaping the racial and political socialization of the Latinx community. Scholars identify collaborative programs that deputize local police to act as ICE agents as a central mechanism to the rising Latinx share of federal convictions, yet the political causes and consequences of these programs are not well understood. This project will: 1) examine the political development of collaboration between immigration and local law enforcement, 2) assess the extent to which immigration policy is filtered through preemptive practices employed by local police to target the Latinx community, and 3) evaluate the impact of this targeting on the socio-political attitudes among Latinx people.

Aerika Loyd, University of California, Riverside. Pathways to Resilience: Understanding the Links between Contextual Stress, Behavioral and Cultural Assets, and Mental Health in Black Juvenile Justice-Involved Adolescents (Program: Pipeline Grants; Grant Period: 10/1/2020- 9/30/2022; $49,985)
Abstract: Black youth comprise 35% of youth in the juvenile justice (JJ) system and experience greater health disparities compared to their counterparts. The primary objectives of this pilot project are to 1) assess the types and frequency of contextual stressors that Black JJ-involved youth experience; 2) examine the relationships between contextual stress and youth’s mental health; and 3) examine how behavioral and cultural assets protect and promote Black youth’s mental health in the context of stress using quantitative and qualitative methods. A secondary goal of this project is to explore willingness, barriers, and facilitators to intervention participation among caregivers of Black JJ-involved youth. The data generated in this one-year project will begin to provide critical insight for developing more effective and culturally relevant prevention and intervention programs that promote resilience while addressing risk and eliminating health disparities in Black youth in juvenile justice.

Ericka Weathers, Pennsylavnia State University. Counter Effective? Truancy Laws and Educational Outcomes for Minoritized and Socioeconomically-Disadvantaged Students (Grant Period: 7/1/2020-6/30/2022; $28,001)
Abstract: Some states have adopted policies that take rehabilitative approaches to reducing truancy, whereas others imposed penalties on truant students and families. What constitutes truancy, the approaches for reducing truancy, and the associated penalties for truancy all vary across states. While penalties for truancy attempt to hold families and students accountable for attending school, they appear to criminalize truancy. Using student-level administrative data from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, I ask: Are there racial and socioeconomic differences in who receives punitive penalties for habitual truancy? What is the effect of habitual truancy on educational outcomes? Are these average effects different for minoritized students and socioeconomically disadvantaged students?

Nayoung Rim, United States Naval Academy and Bocar Ba, University of Pennsylvania. The Impact of Policing and Criminal Justice on Families (Program: Pipeline Grants; Grant Period: 5/1/2020-4/30/2023; $30,000)
Abstract: Interaction with the police is the first step to enter the criminal justice system. This interaction impacts arrestees, their family, the community, and society as a whole. Recent scandals and data availability have suggested that some police officers engaged in unlawful behavior when arresting suspects. Hence, there is interest in improving police accountability and the criminal justice system. Using a unique collection of administrative datasets, we evaluate a defendant’s journey in the criminal system justice from arrest to the court decision in Chicago. We also study the spillover effects of a conviction on the family of the defendants.


RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of original empirical research articles by both established and emerging scholars.


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