The great decoupling: The disconnection between criminal offending and experience of arrest across two cohorts

Vesla M. Weaver, Andrew V Papachristos, Michael Zanger-Tishler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Our study explores the arrest experiences of two generational cohorts—those entering adulthood on either side of a large shift in American policing. Using the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (1979 and 1997), we find a stark increase in arrest odds among the later generation at every level of offending, suggesting a decoupling between contact with the justice system and criminal conduct. Furthermore, this decoupling became racially inflected. Blacks had a much higher probability of arrest at the start of the twenty-first century than both blacks of the generation prior and whites of the same generation. The criminal justice system, we argue, slipped from one in which arrest was low and strongly linked to offending to one where a substantial share of Americans experienced arrest without committing a crime.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-123
Number of pages35
JournalRSF
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • Carceral state
  • Criminal justice contact
  • Criminal offending
  • Generational change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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