Crime & Justice Policy

Berg, Rogers, and Wo Present at ASC Meeting

Photo of James Wo presenting his work

Members of the PPC’s Crime and Justice Policy Research Program recently attended the American Society of Criminology annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. Director of the program, Mark Berg, Research Associate Ethan Rogers, and James Wo, whose appointment with the PPC will begin in January 2019, presented their research. Their titles and abstracts/summaries are listed below.

Mark Berg: 

Event: Adverse Health in Adulthood: Antisocial Behavior, Social Psychological Processes, & Risky Lifestyles 

Presentation Title: Rethinking the Health Burden of Antisocial and Criminal Behavior Through the Lens of Divergent Theoretical Perspectives: Adaptive Calibration, Vulnerability, Stress Proliferation, and the Life-course

Co-authors: Ronald L. Simons, University of Georgia, and Man Kit Lei, University of Georgia

Abstract: A wealth of research suggests individuals with lengthy histories of criminal and antisocial behavior report poorer physical health and compromised morbidity relative to their conventional counterparts. Similarly, emerging evidence finds that individuals who have been incarcerated suffer from elevated rates of chronic and serious illness, communicable diseases, and premature mortality. Most of the research on disease and morbidity, however, has relied on measures of self-rated health and illness or informant reports. By comparison, only a limited number of studies have examined health risk biomarkers, which are strongly correlated with objective indicators of disease and mortality. Moreover, precisely why criminal behavior and incarceration contributes to the clustering of compromised health in adulthood is only beginning to be understood conceptually and empirically. Several theoretical models suggest hypotheses about the mechanisms potentially responsible for these associations, each of which places differential emphasis on the role of early life experiences, the social environment in the life-course, health risk behaviors, and various lifestyle conditions. The current study explores these hypotheses using longitudinal data from the Family and Community Health Study. The results have implications for research on the physical health consequences of offending and incarceration.

Ethan Rogers: 

Title: Neighboring and Community Crime: Can You Have Too Much of a Good Thing? 

Summary: Ethan presented a piece from his dissertation research which focuses on the potential consequences of strong social bonds for violence. Specifically, he examined whether the frequency of community interaction in a community matters for violent crime rates. Results revealed that frequent community interaction is positively associated with violent crime rates. This suggests that when it comes to community interaction, you can have “too much of a good thing.”

James Wo:

Event: New Directions in Social Disorganization Theory 

Presentation Title: Distinguishing High-Crime Neighborhoods from Low-Crime Neighborhoods: A Spatial Examination Integrating a Diversity of Social and Ecological Factors

Co-authors: Caglar Koylu, University of Iowa, and Mark T. Berg, University of Iowa

Abstract: Crime events are not evenly distributed across a city, rather such events spatially concentrate in a small proportion of neighborhoods. Although the literature on communities and crime has posited that such neighborhoods are characterized by a multitude of social and ecological factors, previous studies typically choose a single factor (e.g., poverty), and then test whether it adversely impacts neighborhood crime, and if so, to what extent. The principal objective of the present study is to therefore identify the social and ecological factors of high-crime and low-crime areas. In particular, we produce models that examine a diversity of neighborhood effects on crime, including some motivated by (classical) social disorganization theory whereas others are inspired by the promise of social media data.