SAGE Journal Articles
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Abstract: Although growth in the U.S. prison population over the past twenty-five years has been widely discussed, few studies examine changes in inequality in imprisonment. We study penal inequality by estimating lifetime risks of imprisonment for black and white men at different levels of education. Combining administrative, survey, and census data, we estimate that among men born between 1965 and 1969, 3 percent of whites and 20 percent of blacks had served time in prison by their early thirties. The risks of incarceration are highly stratified by education. Among black men born during this period, 30 percent of those without college education and nearly 60 percent of high school dropouts went to prison by 1999. The novel pervasiveness of imprisonment indicates the emergence of incarceration as a new stage in the life course of young low-skill black men.
Journal Article 2: Stevens, T., & Morash, M. (2015). Racial/ethnic disparities in boys’ probability of arrest and court actions in 1980 and 2000: The disproportionate impact of “getting tough” on crime. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 13(1), 77–95.
Abstract: This study was designed to examine whether the shift in juvenile justice policy toward punitive sanctioning disproportionately impacted racial and ethnic minority boys. Using a nationally representative sample derived from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth 1979 and 1997 (NLSY79, NLSY97), this study examines 1980–2000 differences in contact with the justice system, controlling for self-reported delinquency. Results confirmed that boys in 2000 were significantly more likely than those in 1980 to report being charged with a crime. Once charged, they were less likely to be diverted and more likely to be convicted and placed in a correctional institution. Consideration of interaction effects revealed these effects were magnified for Black and Hispanic males. These findings provide evidence of a general trend toward more punitive treatment of boys in the juvenile justice system, especially racial and ethnic minority boys.