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Justice Policy Journal - Volume 14, Number 2 - Fall 2017


Arson in Chicago: Patterns and Correlates

By James C. McCutcheon, Amanda D. Johnson and K.B. Turner

Arson involves the criminal willful act of setting fires. Previous arson research has been more common in the discipline of psychology, while the topic has not been a serious focus in the areas of sociology and criminology. The purpose of this study is two-fold. First, we take individual-level data from cases of arson in Chicago from a three-year period and analyze specific details from these cases, including types of arson that were committed and location. Second, we aggregate the data to the census-tract level (N=795) and test if arson holds any relationship with social disorganization centered and previously tested measures from previous research. Through these methods, the current study takes a detailed and comprehensive approach as we both analyze patterns and test correlates of arson rates in Chicago. Our findings show that the most frequent arson targets in Chicago include motor vehicles and residences. Furthermore, utilizing measures from previous studies and common social disorganization measures, we find both socioeconomic and demographic relationships with arson rates are uncovered at the census tract level for Chicago.


Adult Juvenile Justice System Involvement and Relationship Outcomes in Adulthood

By Kristan N. Russell and Melanie Taylor

Youth’s interactions with the criminal justice system are associated with various negative outcomes in adulthood (e.g., poor educational and income attainment; violent death; and functional impairment). However, it is unclear if contact with the juvenile justice system harms relationship outcomes in adulthood, as has been seen amongst adult offenders. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (1997), the current study assessed how contact with the juvenile justice system was related to a variety of relationship outcomes. Findings suggest that system-involved juveniles are less likely to enter into marriage, but are more likely to enter into a cohabitating relationship. These findings suggest that juvenile justice contact may prevent marriage formation and ultimately serve as another barrier to reentry. The present study has important policy implications for fostering marriages of former delinquents.


Voces de la Esquina: Migrant Workers Counteracting Wage Theft, Wage Deduction, and Underpayment

By J. Adrian Castrejón

The National Day Labor Survey, the most comprehensive study with day laborers, reports that day labor working conditions are rife with abuse and violations of worker rights. But, the exploitation of this predominantly undocumented migrant workforce would not be possible if this workforce had the same rights as U.S. citizen workers in the primary labor market, and to some extent in other sectors of the secondary labor market. Undocumented migrant workers from Mexico and Central America comprise 75% of the labor force in this labor market. This paper examines the manner in which day laborers in Las Vegas negotiate their wages and other terms of employment and how these terms conflict and/or coincide with labor laws. Also, this paper explores wage theft, which occurs in many different ways, and the impact on the livelihood of day laborers. This study employs testimonio and ethnographic methodologies at an informal hiring site, la esquina, in Southeast Las Vegas where jornaleros gather daily to seek work. The National Day Labor Survey, Critical Race and Latino Critical Theory, and Chicana feminist thought inform this study.


Keywords: Arson, immigration, Justice Policy Journal, Juvenile justice, migrant workers, relationships, Volume 14, wage theft

Posted in Volume 14

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