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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. Elements of Professional Expertise: Understanding Relational and Substantive Expertise through Lawyers' Impact

    Lawyers keep the gates of public justice institutions, particularly through their roles in formal procedures like hearings and trials. Yet, it is not clear what lawyers do in such quintessentially legal settings: conclusions from past research are bedeviled by a lack of clear theory and inconsistencies in research design. Conceptualizing litigation work in terms of professional expertise, I conduct a theoretically grounded synthesis of the findings of extant studies of lawyers’ impact on civil case outcomes.

  3. 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.

  4. When Too Much Integration and Regulation Hurts: Reenvisioning Durkheims Altruistic Suicide

    Durkheim’s model of suicide famously includes four types: anomic, egoistic, altruistic, and fatalistic suicides; however, sociology has primarily focused on anomic and egoistic suicides and neglected suicides predicated on too much integration or regulation. This article addresses this gap. We begin by elaborating Durkheim’s concepts of integration and regulation using insights from contemporary social psychology, the sociology of emotions, and cultural sociology.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Social Causes of Violence: Crafting a Science Agenda

    This Report shows the magnitude and complexity of violence in U.S. society, explicates the important ways that social science has already contributed knowledge, and sets forth a challenging set of research directions. The Report makes clear the need for a sustained violence initiative to produce fundamental research.  Federal support for a major initiative  requires an examination of priorities for allocating scarce resources. Across the landscape of serious issues where serious science must be done, research on violence should be enlarged.

  10. Relationships With Family Members, But Not Friends, Decrease Likelihood of Death

    For older adults, having more or closer family members in one’s social network decreases his or her likelihood of death, but having a larger or closer group of friends does not, finds a new study that was presented at the 111th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (ASA).