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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. 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. 

  3. 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. 

  4. Review Essays: Is Low-Level Conflict Different from Violent Conflict?

    Everyday Troubles is the long-awaited synthesis of several decades of research by Robert Emerson and colleagues. The focus on troubles is a classic one in Garfinkel’s ethnomethodology. Emerson’s design is more in the Goffman and Jack Katz style of micro-ethnography, and Emerson builds his own theoretical frame, driven to a considerable extent by the effort to organize his extensive empirical materials.

  5. Desperation and Service in the Bail Industry

    by Joshua Page, Spring 2017 Contexts

  6. On Air: Sociologists Discuss Freedom of Speech on College Campuses

    The fight over campus speech has a long history, but recent events suggest it is at least as vitriolic as ever. Headlines are illustrative of how volatile campuses can be with mass protests leading to cancellations of speeches by invited speakers and threats made against academics such as Johnny Williams, a sociology professor at Trinity College. What constitutes acceptable speech on campus? When does it become hate speech? What rights should and do professors, students, and invited speakers have?

  7. Review Essays: Mass Incarceration and Its Discontents

    The contours of mass incarceration are, by now, broadly familiar. The U.S. incarceration rate began an unprecedented ascent in the 1970s. This trend continued through 2007, when 760 of every 100,000 U.S. residents—nearly 1 in 100 adults—lived behind bars, five million others were on probation or parole, more than ten million were booked into jail, and nearly one in three U.S. residents had a criminal record (Kaeble and Glaze 2016, Table 4; PEW Center on the States 2008; Sabol 2014; Subramanian et al. 2016).
  8. Traditional, Modern, and Post-Secular Perspectives on Science and Religion in the United States

    Using General Social Survey data, we examine perspectives on science and religion in the United States. Latent class analysis reveals three groups based on knowledge and attitudes about science, religiosity, and preferences for certain religious interpretations of the world. The traditional perspective (43 percent) is marked by a preference for religion compared to science; the modern perspective (36 percent) holds the opposite view. A third perspective, which we call post-secular (21 percent), views both science and religion favorably.

  9. Complicating Colorism: Race, Skin Color, and the Likelihood of Arrest

    Both conventional public beliefs and existing academic research on colorism presuppose that variation in skin color predicts social outcomes among minorities but is inconsequential among whites. The authors draw on social psychological research on stereotyping to suggest that in quick, low-information decisions such as an arrest, the opposite may be true.
  10. Paternal Incarceration and Teachers’ Expectations of Students

    In the past 40 years, paternal imprisonment has been transformed from an event affecting only the most unfortunate children to one that one in four African American children experience. Although research speculates that the stigma, strain, and separation resulting from paternal incarceration cause the poor outcomes of children of incarcerated fathers, evidence regarding these mechanisms is lacking.