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  1. 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.

  2. Does Owning a Well Foster Environmental Citizenship? A New Study Provides Evidence

    Kansans who own water wells show more awareness of state water policy issues than those who rely on municipal water supplies, according to a study that could have implications for groundwater management and environmental policies. 

    Brock Ternes, a University of Kansas doctoral student in sociology, found that well owners prioritized issues related to the depletion of the High Plains Aquifer — which is the underground reservoir of freshwater beneath much of the western half of the state. 

  3. Ramen Noodles Supplanting Cigarettes as Currency Among Prisoners

    Ramen noodles are supplanting the once popular cigarettes as a form of currency among state prisoners, but not in response to bans on tobacco products within prison systems, finds a new study. 

    Instead, study author Michael Gibson-Light, a doctoral candidate in the University of Arizona School of Sociology, found that inmates are trying to figure out ways to better feed themselves as certain prison services are being defunded. 

  4. Private Detention of Immigrants Deters Family Visits, Study Finds

    Immigrants detained in a privately run detention facility while awaiting deportation decisions are far less likely than those held in county or city jails to receive visits from their children, a new study finds. 

  5. Access to health care strengthens communities: JHSB study

    A new Journal of Health and Social Behavior study shows that access to health insurance can help hold a community together socially, and lack of it can contribute to the fraying of neighborhood cohesion.

    The study, Beyond Health Effects? Examining the Social Consequences of Community Levels of Uninsurance Pre-ACA, published by the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, is an effort by researchers Tara McKay and Stefan Timmermans to “broaden the conversation” about the effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

  6. Lessons in Finding Consensus (Environmental Sociology)

    The work of a non-profit in rural Montana, Blackfoot Challenge (BC), to coordinate a community response to threats posed by carnivores, can provide insight on how to manage the social dynamics of the pandemic. A grizzly bear and a coronavirus are quite different, but collective action is needed to handle both, requiring agreement on the definition of the problem and enough participation in the solutions that they are effective.