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RSF Bulletin

New Journal Issue: The Criminal Justice System as a Labor Market Institution

Inmate labor fuels prisons. Some of the incarcerated work in prison industries that collaborate with private corporations. But fair labor laws do not apply to prisons, where many inmates earn less than $1.00 per hour. Criminal justice involvement also hinders post-incarceration employment and earnings. In this new issue of RSF, edited by sociologist Sandra Susan Smith and legal scholar Jonathan Simon, an interdisciplinary group of scholars analyzes how the criminal justice system acts as a de facto labor market institution by compelling or coercing labor from the justice-involved.

The social and economic effects of criminal justice involvement are widespread, with almost seven million people under some form of direct supervision. The contributors examine how the criminal justice system affects the livelihood and families of both the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated. Cody Warner, Joshua Kaiser, and Jason Houle explore how "hidden sentences" – restricted access to voting rights, public housing, and professional licensing – negatively impact labor market outcomes for young adults with criminal records. Michele Cadigan and Gabriela Kirk examine how court fees and fines, or legal financial obligations, place a strain on the work commitments and resources of those with low-income. Joe LaBriola shows that parolees who find high-quality jobs, such as in manufacturing, are less likely to return to prison than those employed in low-quality jobs. Noah Zatz and Michael Stoll demonstrate how the threat of imprisonment for nonpayment of child support coerces labor among noncustodial fathers, particularly African-Americans. Allison Dwyer Emory and her coauthors show that previously incarcerated fathers are less likely to pay either formal or informal cash child support or offer in-kind assistance to their children’s mothers.

This issue of RSF illuminates how the criminal justice system functions as a labor market institution and the price it extracts from those involved with it.

Click here to access this issue of RSF.

New Funding Guidelines for May 21 Deadline for Letters of Inquiry

Because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on all facets of American life, the Russell Sage Foundation is changing its immediate priorities for letters of inquiry for the May 21, 2020, deadline. For this deadline, RSF will only consider LOIs that satisfy at least one of the following criteria:

(a) The research is so timely and time-sensitive that the project must start before April 1, 2021;
(b) the research analyzes social, political, economic, or psychological disruptions resulting from the coronavirus crisis that affect social and living conditions in the United States.

All LOIs must focus on issues related to the foundation’s core program areas and special initiatives: Behavioral Economics; Decision-Making and Human Behavior in Context; Future of Work; Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration; Social, Political, and Economic Inequality.

Please click here for more information on the revised funding guidelines.

Announcing New Computational Social Science Grants for Early Career Scholars

RSF is pleased to announce the winners of the second round of the computational social science grants competition for early career scholars. These grants fund research projects that bring new data and analytical methods to bear on questions of interest in the foundation’s core program areas.

Kevin Munger (Penn State) and James Bisbee (Princeton) will examine the salience of popular political beliefs online as well as the inequality in Twitter attention between higher- and lower-ranked institutions as well as early career and more advanced scholars.

Yu Ding (Columbia University) will explore the use of a method to leverage the input of the general population (crowdsourcing), algorithms (supervised learning), and experts (third-party checkers) to detect false information in news media.

May ElSherif and Diyi Yang (Georgia Tech) will work to define implicit discriminatory speech and design generic and scalable data-driven techniques to detect this speech on social media.

Nynke Niezink (Carnegie Mellon) will develop efficient methodology for wiki survey data and create an interactive web app that communicates wiki survey results.

Pierre-Luc Vautrey, Charlie Rafkin, and Advik Shreekumar (MIT) will study how fear and anxiety affect economic preferences, behavioral biases, and political preferences using online surveys and experiments administered during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read more about the selected research projects here.

Visiting Scholar Application Deadline

RSF's visiting scholar program, established over thirty years ago, is a unique opportunity for social scientists to pursue research projects that investigate essential questions on social, economic, and political life in the U.S. while in residence in New York City. The program fosters the exchange of ideas in a vibrant interdisciplinary environment and promotes collaborations between researchers. Applications are reviewed by outside experts; final selections are made by RSF trustees. Applications for the 2021-2022 academic year will be accepted until June 25, 2020.

View further information about the program, including eligibility requirements and application guidelines.

How to Apply for Funding at RSF

For more information on RSF’s grant making process, please visit our website to review our grant writing guidelines and view a 5-minute video on how to use our new grants management system.

RSF Research in the News on the COVID-19 Crisis

As the United States reacts to the COVID-19 crisis, RSF looks to its community of scholars for data, analysis, and policy recommendations that help us understand and address the public health, socioeconomic, and political implications of the pandemic while prioritizing the experiences and concerns of the most marginalized families and communities. Research by RSF visiting scholars, grantees, authors, and trustees has been featured in a wide range of national and international news coverage on the pandemic.

For ongoing information about RSF research and publications related to the social, political, and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit the RSF newsfeed.

RSF Trustees, Grantees, and Authors Named Members of AAAS

RSF trustees Jennifer Richeson (Yale University) and Mario Luis Small (Harvard University); author Mary Patillo (Northwestern University); former visiting scholar Victor Nee (Cornell University), and grantees Florencia Torche (Stanford University), Katharine Abraham (University of Maryland), and Lawrence Jacobs (University of Minnesota) have been named new members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. AAAS Fellows are selected annually and are leaders in academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.

Please click here for more information about the newest AAAS fellows with RSF affiliations.

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