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Multiple identities and the effect of social stability on time until rearrest.

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Dawn Cecil

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In order to have a complete understanding of criminal behavior, it is important to consider how people’s experiences vary based on their identity. At the most basic level this means considering how the experiences of males and females differ and how this in turn influences criminal behavior. At a more complex level this means considering the various ways people differ (e.g., gender, race and social class) or multiple identities, with the belief that not all females or all males will have similar experiences. Drawing from this belief and the literature on the lives of offenders, this study takes an intersectional approach in examining factors believed to contribute to desistance from crime. Using data on white-collar criminals convicted in federal court (N=549), survival analysis is used to examine whether the impact of social stability on time to rearrest is conditional on the offender’s identity. More specifically, it examines whether the influence of marriage, parenthood, employment, and educational attainment on time to rearrest is conditional on gender, race, and social class standing. The findings indicate that the effect of marriage, parenthood, and educational attainment on time until rearrest are each conditional on gender and/or race, while employment history is not. Social class standing interacted with gender and race in some of the models; however, overall it was not a consistent factor in explaining time until rearrest in this study. While many of the findings can be best understood from a social control perspective, other findings are in need of additional theoretical consideration and empirical examination. Overall, these results reinforce the importance of this type of analysis in the field of criminology and also stress the need for future research that combines quantitative and qualitative methods to better capture and explain gender, race, and social class differences in criminal behavior and its causes.




University of Maryland

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