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  1. Minorities' Homicide Victimization Rates Fall Significantly Compared to Whites'

    A new study reveals that while homicide victimization rates declined for whites, blacks, and Hispanics in the United States from 1990-2010, the drop was much more precipitous for the two minority groups.

  2. What Does It Mean to Span Cultural Boundaries? Variety and Atypicality in Cultural Consumption

    We propose a synthesis of two lines of sociological research on boundary spanning in cultural production and consumption. One, research on cultural omnivorousness, analyzes choice by heterogeneous audiences facing an array of crisp cultural offerings. The other, research on categories in markets, analyzes reactions by homogeneous audiences to objects that vary in the degree to which they conform to categorical codes. We develop a model of heterogeneous audiences evaluating objects that vary in typicality.

  3. Prayers, Protest, and Police: How Religion Influences Police Presence at Collective Action Events in the United States, 1960 to 1995

    Do police treat religious-based protest events differently than secular ones? Drawing on data from more than 15,000 protest events in the United States (1960 to 1995) and using quantitative methods, we find that law enforcement agents were less likely to show up at protests when general religious actors, actions, or organizations were present. Rather than reflecting privileged legitimacy, we find that this protective effect is explained by religious protesters’ use of less threatening tactics at events.

  4. Orange Is Still Pink: Mental Illness, Gender Roles, and Physical Victimization in Prisons

    Although research has established a very strong relationship between the presence of a psychiatric disorder and victimization in prisons, some gaps remain in our understanding. This study considers the importance of gender differences in this relationship. Estimates based on the 2004 Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities show that psychiatric disorders have a stronger relationship with victimization among male inmates than among female inmates. Yet the size of the gender difference varies greatly depending on the specific disorder.

  5. Unburdening Stigma: Identity Repair through Rituals in Mental Health Court

    A growing trend in the criminal justice system is the move toward problem-solving courts, including mental health courts. Using case studies of two mental health courts in a West Coast city, this article seeks to explore how mental health courts may operate by reducing stigma among clients. From observations of the court process in mental health courts and qualitative interviews with mental health court professional staff and mental health court clients, ritual process emerged as a powerful theme that underscores the management of social stigma.

  6. Digital Punishment's Tangled Web

    Americans love crime. The criminal justice system is fetishized in popular culture and news media. We watch the news and scour the Internet to assess our own moral compass, take cues from others' digressions, and bear witness to justice and punishment. Historically, we learned about crime through news media and fiction. The Internet has dramatically changed this landscape: for the first time, mug shots and jailhouse rosters are available with a click.

  7. States With Punitive Justice Systems Have Higher Rates of Foster Care, Study Finds

    The number of children in foster care across the country is driven not solely by child abuse and neglect, but by states' varying politics and approaches to social problems, a new University of Washington (UW) study finds.

    States with more punitive criminal justice systems tend to remove children from their homes far more frequently than those with generous welfare programs — meaning that two states with similar rates of child abuse and neglect could have very different rates of foster care entry.

  8. Study Reveals Incarceration’s Hidden Wounds for African American Men

    There’s a stark and troubling way that incarceration diminishes the ability of a former inmate to empathize with a loved one behind bars, but existing sociological theories fail to capture it, Vanderbilt University sociologists have found.

  9. Gaps in White, Black, and Hispanic Violence

    Despite significant public, political, and media attention to the issue of criminal violence in the United States, we know surprisingly little about the trends in violent crime for different racial/ethnic groups in recent decades. For example, what are the disparities in homicide between whites, African Americans, and Hispanics? Have these disparities changed over the past 20 years? If so, why? This lack of knowledge is largely due to data limitations, as ethnic identifiers are rarely collected in many official crime statistics.

  10. Why Prisons Continue to Grow, Even When Crime Declines

    The U.S. prison population continued to rise even after the crime rate began declining in the mid-1990s because judges were faced with more repeat offenders, a new study suggests.

    Using data from Minnesota, an Ohio State University sociologist found that the U.S. criminal justice system felt the reverberations from the increase in violent crime and imprisonment that occurred from the 1960s to the early 1990s.