Beyond Race and SES: Understanding the Factors that Predict Arrests and Convictions

Lindsay M. Monte, Northwestern University
Dan A. Lewis, Northwestern University

Criminologists know that convictions and sentences are inextricably linked to the race and socio-economic status of the accused, such that two individuals of different races who commit the same crime are unlikely to face the same probability of conviction. However, we believe that there is more to be learned about the factors beyond race and poverty that lead to conviction. Taking advantage of a unique opportunity afforded by a highly homogenous sample, we propose to expand on criminological research by examining variations in arrest and conviction by a series of “secondary” characteristics. Using the Illinois Family Study dataset, a longitudinal survey of a representative sample of welfare recipients in Illinois and complemented by full arrest and conviction records, we will attempt to discern the factors outside of race, gender and income that affect whether or not women are arrested, and beyond that, what factors result in conviction.

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Presented in Poster Session 2