Criminal Justice

High Stakes in the Classroom, High Stakes on the Street: The Effects of Community Violence on Students’ Standardized Test Performance

High Stakes in the Classroom, High Stakes on the Street: The Effects of Community Violence on Students’ Standardized Test Performance
Sociological Science, forthcoming

Ingrid Gould Ellen, Amy Ellen Schwartz, Patrick Sharkey, and Johanna Lacoe
03/06/2014

This paper examines the effect of exposure to violent crime on students’ standardized test performance among a sample of students in New York City public schools. To identify the effect of exposure to community violence on children’s test scores, we compare students exposed to an incident of violent crime on their own blockface in the week prior to the exam to students exposed in the week after the exam. The results show that such exposure to violent crime reduces performance on English Language Arts assessments, and no effect on Math scores. The effect of exposure to violent crime is most pronounced among African Americans, and reduces the passing rates of black students by approximately 3 percentage points.

Partisan Priorities: How Issue Ownership Drives and Distorts American Politics

Partisan Priorities: How Issue Ownership Drives and Distorts American Politics
Cambridge University Press.

Egan, Patrick J.
07/22/2013

Americans consistently name Republicans as the party better at handling issues like national security and crime, while they trust Democrats on issues like education and the environment – a phenomenon called “issue ownership.” Partisan Priorities investigates the origins of issue ownership, showing that in fact the parties deliver neither superior performance nor popular policies on the issues they “own.” Rather, Patrick J. Egan finds that Republicans and Democrats simply prioritize their owned issues with lawmaking and government spending when they are in power. Since the parties tend to be particularly ideologically rigid on the issues they own, politicians actually tend to ignore citizens' preferences when crafting policy on these issues. Thus, issue ownership distorts the relationship between citizens' preferences and public policies.

American Murder Revisited: Do Housing Vouchers Cause Crime?

American Murder Revisited: Do Housing Vouchers Cause Crime?
Housing Policy Debate 22(4):1-22

Ellen, Ingrid, Katherine O’Regan and Michael C. Lens
04/01/2012

Potential neighbors often express worries that Housing Choice Voucher holders heighten crime. Yet, no research systematically examines the link between the presence of voucher holders in a neighborhood and crime. Our article aims to do just this, using longitudinal, neighborhood-level crime, and voucher utilization data in 10 large US cities. We test whether the presence of additional voucher holders leads to elevated crime, controlling for neighborhood fixed effects, time-varying neighborhood characteristics, and trends in the broader sub-city area in which the neighborhood is located. In brief, crime tends to be higher in census tracts with more voucher households, but that positive relationship becomes insignificant after we control for unobserved differences across census tracts and falls further when we control for trends in the broader area. We find far more evidence for an alternative causal story; voucher use in a neighborhood tends to increase in tracts that have seen increases in crime, suggesting that voucher holders tend to move into neighborhoods where crime is elevated.

Do Foreclosures Cause Crime?

Do Foreclosures Cause Crime?
Furman Center

Ellen, Ingrid, Johanna Lacoe and Claudia Sharygin
02/01/2012

Foreclosures affect not only individual homeowners, but also the crime levels of the surrounding neighborhood. This study found that neighborhoods with concentrated foreclosures see an uptick in crime for each foreclosure notice issued. These effects are pronounced in hardest hit neighborhoods; that is, those with concentrated foreclosures. The report suggests that policing and community stabilizing efforts should prioritize areas with concentrated foreclosures, especially those where crime rates are already moderate to high.

A Look at SB 1070 and State-Level Immigration Efforts

A Look at SB 1070 and State-Level Immigration Efforts

Women of Color Policy Network
04/01/2011

Arizona's far-reaching anti-immigration bill, SB 1070, sparked a trend of copycat legislation introduced in 30 states. While most efforts were unsuccessful, SB 1070 and copycat laws have severe negative implications for undocumented people and their families, including American children. SB 1070 and similar legislation create barriers for undocumented individuals to report unsafe working conditions and domestic abuse, separate U.S. citizen children from their parents through deportations, and impose undue fiscal burdens on both law enforcement and overall state budgets in economic recession. This brief highlights state policy responses that strengthen economic security through measures that support immigrant families and enrich communities.

A world without prisons: Improving prisoners' lives and transforming the justice system

A world without prisons: Improving prisoners' lives and transforming the justice system
Justice Now Teaching Case. The Electronic Hallway and Research Center for Leadership in Action, 2004. Available from https://hallway.org.

Foldy, E. G. & Walters, J.
01/01/2010

Cassandra Shaylor and Cynthia Chandler founded Justice Now in 2000. They push hard for prison abolition while advocating for better health care and conditions for prisoners in California's two largest women's prisons. They prioritize the leadership of prisoners, and offer interns the opportunity to work and meet with women inside prisons to learn firsthand about prisoners' human struggles as well as the policy implications of state sponsored violence. Their strategies include the following:

  • Conduct Legal Visits Inside Prisons to Expose and Challenge Human Rights Abuses: Shaylor, Chandler and the Justice Now interns spend as much time as possible inside prisons to uncover human rights abuses and organize to challenge them. They build relationships with women inside and become the eyes and ears to the outside.
  • Build Leadership Among Prisoners: Justice Now engages people in prison in the organization's work at every level. They also assist women who are already working as activists within the prisons.
  • Push the Prison Abolition Frontier: While Justice Now helps to improve health care and other conditions, they oppose prison reformation efforts. Instead they push for prison abolition.
  • Spread a Vision of a World Without Prisons: Through plays, music, oral histories and toolkits, the organization helps envision and promote a new approach to building lives, not locking people away.

In this leadership story Shaylor and Chandler, along with Justice Now interns and activists, describe their experiences in this case example.

'Forever Worthy of the Saving': Lincoln and a More Moral Union

'Forever Worthy of the Saving': Lincoln and a More Moral Union
Lincoln's American Dream Edited by in Joseph Fornieri & Kenneth Deutsch. Potomac Books.

Kersh, R.
01/01/2005

Countering the claim that there is nothing new to be said about the 16th US president, political scientists Deutsch (State U. of New York-Geneseo) and Fornieri (Rochester Institute of Technology) introduce 33 diverse perspectives on his views and legacy. Lincoln scholars and political commentators examine such still-relevant themes as race, equality, the Constitution, executive power, war crimes, religion, and Federal vs. state rights. The last essay assumes the Lincolnian position on current debates over multiculturalism and abortion.

Changing Children's Trajectories of Development: Two-Year Evidence for the Effectiveness of a School-Based Approach to Violence Prevention

Changing Children's Trajectories of Development: Two-Year Evidence for the Effectiveness of a School-Based Approach to Violence Prevention
National Center for Children in Poverty, New York, NY.

Aber, J.L., Brown, J.L., Gershoff, E.T., Jones, S.M. & Pedersen, S.F.A.
01/01/2003

Awareness of youth violence has increased in recent years, resulting in more interest in programs that can prevent violent and aggressive behavior. Although overall rates of violence among young people have declined since the mid-1990s, rates of some forms of youth aggression, violence, and crime remain high. National data reveal that, each year, about 15 percent of high school students are involved in a physical fight at school and 8 percent are threatened or injured with a weapon. 1 Urban youth are at particular risk for exposure to violence and victimization.

This report describes one of the largest and longest running school-based violence prevention programs in the country-the Resolving Conflict Creatively Program (RCCP)-and discusses the results of a rigorous evaluation conducted by the National Center for Children in Poverty (NCCP) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. The evaluation provides concrete evidence that early, school-based prevention initiatives such as the RCCP can work and should be included in communities' efforts to prevent violence among children and youth.

 

Has Falling Crime Driven New York City’s Real Estate Boom?

Has Falling Crime Driven New York City’s Real Estate Boom?
Journal of Housing Research, Volume 14, Issue 1, pages 101-135.

Schwartz, A.E., Susin, S. & Voicu, I.
01/01/2003

New York City experienced a dramatic decrease in crime over the past decade. This article examines whether this drop has driven the city's post-1994 real estate boom. Using data that include detailed information about properties sold in New York City-including actual transaction prices-as well as information about crime, schools, and housing investment between 1998 and 1999, the authors employ both hedonic and repeat-sales house price models to analyze the relative impact of these factors on the city's property values.

The results demonstrate that falling crime rates are responsible for roughly one-third of the total post-1994 real price appreciation of property. Education quality and subsidized housing investment were each responsible for roughly 20 percent of the increase. The authors also point out that during the earlier property value bust, crime and education played a relatively small role, while subsidized housing investment seems to have played a large role.

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