Thursday, September 14, 2017

New Labeling Theory Research

New Labeling Theory Research 

Kroska, A., Lee, J. D., & Carr, N. T. (2017). Juvenile delinquency and self‐sentiments: Exploring a labeling theory proposition. Social Science Quarterly, 98(1), 73-88.

Lee, J. (2017). Contextualizing Informal Labeling Effect on Adolescent Recidivism in South Korea. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 0306624X17722785.

Lee, J. S., Tajima, E. A., Herrenkohl, T. I., & Hong, S. (2017). Effects of Formal and Informal Deviant Labels in Adolescence on Crime in Adulthood. Social Work Research, 41(2), 97-110. 

Besemer, S., Farrington, D. P., & Bijleveld, C. C. (2017). Labeling and intergenerational transmission of crime: The interaction between criminal justice intervention and a convicted parent. PloS one, 12(3), e0172419.

Kavish, D. R. (2017). Book Review of "Labeling theory: empirical tests." Contemporary Justice Review, 20(3), 395-397.

Kavish, D. R. (2017). Policy Implications of Contemporary Labeling Theory Research. Critical Issues in Justice and Politics, 10(1), p. 45-54.

Caudill, J. W., Diamond, B., Karas, S., & DeLisi, M. (2017). Decoupling the Labeling Tradition: Exploring Gang Affiliation and the Application of Law. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 15(4), 343-358.
Andress, M. B. (2017). The Impact of Court Ordered Sobriety: A Test of Labeling Theory. Honors Research Projects. 503.

Mesters, G., van der Geest, V., & Bijleveld, C. (2016). Crime, employment and social welfare: an individual-level study on disadvantaged males. Journal of quantitative criminology, 32(2), 159-190.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

What I Did This Summer

What I Did This Summer

Summer break has ended. It is back to the normal routine for educators and students. Some people seem to think that professors just spend their summers lounging around and being lazy (one student suggested that I was likely spending time on my yacht and vacationing across the nation). This could not be further from the truth. 

I spent my summer teaching summer courses online, prepping syllabi for Fall 2017, and most importantly, I wrote a lot of papers. The bread and butter of my profession is teaching and getting published (preferably in peer-reviewed academic journals). Thus, teaching and research is what I did with my additional summer free time. I taught a host of online courses: introductory level criminal justice course, a course on race and ethnicity, and a course on criminal violence.

I also sought to get published. I am happy to say I was quite successful. I was able to publish my first book review ever in the Contemporary Justice Review. My book review of Labeling Theory: Empirical Tests, edited by David P. Farrington and Joseph Murray was published online in early July and in print early in August.

Another publication that was submitted and accepted was an entry for the Encyclopedia of Racism in American Cinema, edited by Salvador Jimenez Murguia. My entry will discuss the film entitled "C.S.A: The Confederate States of America."

Most recently, I published a paper on the policy implications of recent labeling theory research findings. Policy Implications of Contemporary Labeling Theory Research, by Daniel Ryan Kavish, was published in the journal Critical Issues in Justice and Politics midway through August.    

These are just the projects I worked on that have been successfully completed and published already. I am also working on two more book reviews for scholarly journals and two entries for the Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia

To be fair, I did not just lock myself in my office and write all summer. I did get to have some fun and enjoy the nice summer weather. I visited Atlanta early in the summer and attended a great Fourth of July celebration. That being said, I was definitely eager for the semester to begin so that I could go back to my daily teaching routine.

I hope everyone had a great summer. Good luck with your Fall 2017 studies.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


School is out for the summer. If you are in summer school, then please remember to stay on top of your studies. Summer classes can be intense since they do not have as many weeks to cover the material. Many of these summer courses will be offered online. One thing to remember about online courses is that they require more self-discipline. For instance, my online courses are reading-intensive and students need to make time to read the assigned material. Also, do not be afraid to ask other students or the professor for help if you are confused about any material. The more proactive you are with your studies, the more success you should have in your courses.

Enjoy the summer, and be safe.

Monday, April 24, 2017

White-Collar Crime: More Local than you Think

White-Collar Crime: More Local than you Think

When people think of "White-Collar Crime" they think of giant banks, stock markets, Enron, and millions of dollars. While this is not far from the truth, there are smaller forms of white-collar crime that cause huge problems for local communities. One issue routinely discussed in newspapers is the punishment associated with white-collar crimes. Some people wonder why so few white-collar criminals see the inside of a prison, despite the fact that their crimes caused greater social harm to society than many people currently in prison. Still, others note that the same racial disparities that exist in street crimes can be observed when analyzing white-collar offenses. Worse yet, these racial disparities persist throughout the criminal justice process that deals with white-collar offenders. For example, a 2006 article in the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology found that race was significantly associated with white-collar offense sentencing. The research specifically found that whites were more likely than blacks to receive lesser sentences, and that this relationship was tied closely to one's ability to pay fines. 
Downward departures from sentencing guidelines in white-collar cases is quickly becoming a hot topic for media outlets, especially local cases that can have significant impacts for small communities. For instance, I was recently featured in the Greenwood Index-Journal answering questions about that very topic. Greenwood had sentenced multiple white-collar offenders to pay fines, rather than prison, but allowed payments that would take each offender hundreds of years to pay back. In essence, these men will never see the inside of prison, and will likely never pay back what they fully owe or stole from their community. Many community members responded on social media about the meager sentences. Their comments highlight a debate the society and politicians seem unwilling to have. If they are able to forego prison sentences with the hopes of collecting restitution, then realistic payment schedules should be established and suitable punishments afforded for not sticking to these payment schedules. Likewise, social media comments the need for debate concerning our general philosophy towards dealing with white-collar offenders. If we are not likely to see a great deal of restitution, then should we simply imprison these offenders (retribution)? Why is it that we are more punitive towards  drug-users than individuals that steal millions of dollars?
I will not pretend to know the answers to these questions, but I do urge society, citizens and lawmakers alike, to think about the questions I have posed.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Cellphones, Internet, and the Classroom

Cellphones, Internet, and the Classroom

Monday, April 10, 2017

Criminology Graduate Programs

Criminology Graduate Programs

Since the bulk of my readers appear to be from Illinois and Upstate South Carolina. This post will outline some options criminology students may consider when thinking about applying for graduate school. One thing to remember, you don't just want to be accepted into a program, you want the program to offer you an assistantship. I will make another post at a later date outlining the steps and tips for applying to graduate programs. This post will focus on simply highlighting the graduate school options for criminology students in the aforementioned regions. Below is a list of colleges I strongly suggest graduating criminology and criminal justice undergraduates from Illinois and South Carolina should consider. I have also listed a few top-tier programs that you may also want to consider. That being said, receiving funding from a more local university may be more beneficial than attending a "top-tier" program. Furthermore, many of these programs are growing. Southern Illinois University and UMSL, for example, have great faculty and smaller cohorts. This allows for more one-on-one attention between faculty advisors and graduate students. Myself, I strongly recommend the MA/PhD Criminology and Criminal Justice programs at  Southern Illinois University.

Upstate South Carolina & Surrounding Areas


Top Tier Graduate Programs

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Importance of Attending Professional Conferences

The Importance of Attending Professional Conferences

There are many types of professional conferences in the fields of criminology and criminal justice. These conferences are sponsored by professional organizations. Two of the biggest organizations are the American Society of Criminology (ASC) and the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). These are both international conferences with members from all over the world. ACJS is further organized into five different regions: Midwestern Criminal Justice Association, Northeastern Association of Criminal Justice Sciences, Southern Criminal Justice Association, Southwestern Association of Criminal Justice, and the Western Association of Criminal Justice. These regional organizations also host smaller regional conferences. ASC does not have regional conferences, but they do have interest-specific divisions within the organization that helps students and faculty members better network with other scholars that share similar research interests. Other organizations that host professional conferences for students and faculty to attend are the National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice, Alpha Phi Sigma (The National Criminal Justice Honor Society), and the Western Society of Criminology.

These conferences provide many opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. The most obvious advantage these conferences provide for students are the networking opportunities they provide. Conferences provide opportunities for students to interview for jobs or graduate school. I strongly encourage students to attend regional conferences to present their research papers, especially if they have conducted original research. I have noticed that students are often hesitant to attend or present at these conferences. This intimidation possibly stems from their own expectations of who will be at theses conferences, their perceptions of the high quality of work that others will be presenting at the conferences (students can be their own worst enemies), and sometimes simply because of their fear of public speaking. However, these are all perfect reasons why students should attend professional conferences. In my experience, especially at regional conferences, faculty and practitioners are largely supportive of student presenters and do their best to support and motivate students. I have personally attended some spectacular student presentations at ASC, MCJA, and the Southern Sociological Society (SSS). I was extremely nervous at my first presentation as a graduate student, and it was far from perfect, but I learned a great deal from that experience and it greatly boosted my confidence for future presentations. I firmly believe that students will quickly overcome their fears of public speaking after a student presents for the first time.

Professional conferences also look great on a CV for students about to enter the job market or for undergraduates thinking about applying for graduate school. Graduate schools consider many things when evaluating applicants for their programs. Most students think about GRE scores and their GPA. However, membership with a few of the aforementioned professional organizations, a record of presenting at professional conferences, or a scholarly publication will make you significantly stand out among other applicants because these things show professional engagement and highlight that you are capable of independent original research. If you start presenting at conferences early, then your CV will be stronger than many of your peers when you enter the job market (Yes, graduate school does eventually end, believe it or not). These professional memberships can even allow you to stand out among other applicants when applying for positions immediately after completing your undergraduate studies.

I strongly suggest looking into attending or presenting at a regional conference because these are often located within driving distance of the colleges students attend and are more financially feasible for students living on a typical graduate student budget. Many universities will even provide funding for students to present original research. I am proud to say that the Political and Social Sciences Department at Lander University has provided exceptional undergraduate students with opportunities to present their original research at various regional research symposiums and conferences sponsored by SSS. The great news is that we are not alone. Check with your dean, department chair, or faculty advisor to inquire about any potential funding opportunities that may exist for students to present or attend these conferences. In conclusion, students, push past your fears and go attend a conference near you. You will not regret it, and you will likely have a lot of fun. What can be more fun than a gathering of deviants that all study deviance?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Intergenerational Transmission of Crime

Intergenerational Transmission of Crime

A few days ago in class we discussed the intergenerational transmission of crime. I was not able to get into as much detail as I would have liked due to time restrictions and our use of a textbook, but I wanted to provide additional reading materials for those interested in this topic. These could be useful sources if you need to write a research paper on this topic or just have a genuine interest in the topic.

The Need for Higher Pay for Law Enforcement...with a Catch

The Need for Higher Pay for Law Enforcement...with a Catch

 This post is going to make the case for increasing pay for law enforcement officers...with a catch. The catch is that increased pay for law enforcement must be accompanied for increased public scrutiny, accountability, and a concerted push to hire law enforcement that are college educated. We cannot simply increase the pay of law enforcement without simultaneously increasing our expectations. The public must continue to scrutinize their local law enforcement to ensure they are upholding their stated missions and purpose, new measures of police performance must be created that extend beyond the volume of arrests they make, and poor performing officers (some might say "bad apples") must be promptly removed from their positions or switched into non-patrol positions.

Empirical examinations have consistently found that college educations are correlated with improved police performance. Police performance can be measured using a number of indicators such as communication skills, report writing abilities, the number of citizen complaints, receptiveness to new training standards, and even decision-making abilities (See Smith & Amodt, 1997 for example). Many departments have made efforts to increase their recruitment of college educated individuals by offering pay incentives, but this does not go far enough. Some research has even suggested using federal funding to increase the education levels of police officers (See Roberg & Bonn, 2004).

I must point out that individual departments and police administrators should not be blamed for a lack of college educated officers in departments. Like K-12 teachers, police have been undervalued in society for far too long. This means that society must come together and push for increased pay for the entire occupation of policing. That being said, police must realize that with increased pay and benefits comes increased scrutiny and accountability. Training should begin to focus more on deescalation tactics, and community policing should be embraced and practiced in every department.

Another shift needed to aid police departments nationwide would be to change from a crime control model to a treatment model for dealing with drugs in the United States. All it takes is one look at the newspaper's crime section to see that a bulk of arrests are for drug possession and distribution. If heavy handed policing is to be used for drugs, then the target offenders should be large-scale suppliers, not users or low-level dealers. The war on drugs has contributed to more women in prison (See fact sheet), more children with parents in prison (See fact sheet), and racial disparities across the American criminal justice system (Bobo & Thompson, 2006). All of the negative financial and social costs of the war on drugs, but essentially no positive outcome of the so-called war waged. Instead, it could be argued that police are feared and not trusted because of their role in enforcing failed polcies associated with the war on drugs.

It is time to let police officers be heroes to all of the community, and not the enforcers of failed policies rooted in political propaganda. It is time police officers are expected to have a college degree. It is time we start holding police accountable for poor performance. Finally, it is time we start paying law enforcement officers what they deserve. It is a tough job, with tough hours, and they deserve to be better compensated for their public service.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Peer-reviewed Open-Access Journals

Peer-reviewed Open-Access Journals

One of the favored outlets for scholarly work among criminologists, whether they are faculty or graduate students, are peer-reviewed journals. Many of them exist, and many of them do not have submission fees in the field of criminology. I will write another post at a later date addressing journal submission fees in more detail. Likewise, I will provide my own perception of journal rankings in a later post too. This entry will specifically talk about open-access journals in the fields of criminology and criminal justice. Open-access journals are journals that make their articles available online to the general public as soon as they are published. While some open-access journals charge extreme submission/publication fees or have questionable review processes, there are others that have prestigious editorial boards, stringent review process, and do not charge extreme submission/publication fees. This post will focus on some interesting criminology and criminal justice journals that make valuable contributions to the discipline. 

Open-access journals became more readily available because journals can now be published in their entirety online, without the need of ink, paper, or printing services. Another thing that makes open-access journals attractive to scholars is that they often fill niche areas of interest. Areas of interest that may not receive the attention they deserve in larger journals might find a home in these types of journals that cater to specific areas or methods of research.

Here is a list, in no particular order, of open-access journals relevant to criminology and criminal justice. Brief descriptions of their value or contribution to the discipline are discussed. If anyone cares to add one I may have missed, do not hesitate to comment, and I will be happy to add it to the list. After all, the internet is a large place and I might have missed something.

  • Journal of Qualitative Criminal Justice and Criminology - As the name implies, this journal caters to criminal justice and criminology articles that use qualitative research methods. Arguably, this was desperately needed in the discipline because many journals seem to favor accepting articles that use advanced quantitative methods. I strongly recommend this journal.
  • Internet Journal of Criminology - This might be the most interesting journal on the list. It is an intriguing option because it uses an "open" peer review process to review articles. I have yet to see this type of review process with any other criminology or criminal justice journal.
  • International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy - This blind peer-reviewed journal is free to download and also does not charge publication fees. It's website boasts that it provides an outlet for critical studies concerning the challenges confronting criminal justice systems all over the world.
  • The Journal of Criminology,Criminal Justice, Law & Society - This interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal seeks to publish papers about the causes of crime, crime prevention, crime control, as well as papers about the social institutions and individuals involved in the criminal justice system.
  • Crime Science - Crime Science is an interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal that publishes research articles, theoretical articles, systematic reviews, and even short contributions about current policy issues, crime trends, and justice practices. I stumbled across this journal because they have many articles that have been examining the crime decline nationally and internationally.
  • Health & Justice - As the name implies, this interdisciplinary journal bridges the gap between criminal justice research and health studies. It also publishes shorter scholarly contributions as well as meta analyses, as well as original research.
  • Law, Crime & History - This might be one of the most interesting journals I have stumbled across because of how it seeks to bridge the gap between history, law, and criminal justice studies.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Mass Incarceration's Toll on America

Mass Incarceration's Toll on America

Mass Incarceration is one of the most important issues discussed in criminology and criminal justice classrooms. What have been the effects of mass incarceration? Did it lower crime? How much does it cost? These are just minor examples of the basic questions a student will be thinking about. So, let's try to address some of these questions and dig deeper into the issue of mass incarceration. 

Firstly, in very basic terms, what explains America's push towards mass incarceration? While many explanations are available to explain mass incarceration United States, the most basic explanation is that policy makers, the media, and the public have strong beliefs that incapacitation and deterrence reduce crime. That is, many believe that the rate at which we imprison people is related to reductions in crime rates. However, in Alfred Blumstein and Joel Wallman's book "The Crime Drop In America," William Spelman clearly points out that violent crime reductions would have occurred without expanding the use of prison. Furthermore, Graham Farrell published a study in 2013 on the crime drop in which he argued that theories of crime drops must pass five basic tests. Of the five criteria for suitable explanations of the crime drop, Farrell noted that rising prison populations only satisfied one. Many scholars have also pointed out that crime dropped in many nations across the world, and prison populations seemed to have not played a role in this trend. For instance, Finland actually reduced their prison population while the United States was busy expanding its own prison population. Other nations had stable prison populations but saw similar crime drops as witness in the United States. The point is that there seems to be strong evidence suggesting that conventional thought concerning incapacitation and deterrence philosophies is wrong. Mass incarceration's relationship with reduced crime rates is nowhere near as significant as conventional thought leads us to believe.

So, deterrence and incapacitation philosophies acted as a catalyst and fuel for mass incarceration. Mass incarceration did not contribute greatly to the United States' decline in crime. Then, what have been the effects of mass incarceration? Well, according to the sentencing project, there are 2.2 million people currently in jail or prison in the United States and incarceration has increased by over 500% in the last four decades. This makes the United States, commonly referenced as "the land of the free," the nation with the highest incarceration rate in the world. No other nation incarcerates at a higher rate than the United States. We incarcerate individuals at a rate over 6 times greater than our neighbor to the north, Canada. 

Worse yet, we do not incarcerate on equal terms. As you can see in the graphic below (thank you Sentencing Project), the lifetime likelihood of imprisonment for black men is 1 in 3 compared to 1 in 17 for white men. 

The increasing prison population in America does correlate nicely with something though -- The War on Drugs. As the war on drugs gained steam, prison populations increased.

The public often forgets that many people in prison will reintegrate into society. These individuals will need jobs to actively contribute to society, and their prison records will create additional employment hardships. Likewise, according to the sentencing project, the felony convictions that coincide with prison sentences has resulted in 5.8 million individuals not being legally allowed to vote. Furthermore, mass incarceration in the United States now means that 1 in every 50 children has a parent in prison. This is the very real impact of the combined impact of the war on drugs and mass incarceration -- increased women in prison, racial disparities in incarceration rates, many citizens without voting rights struggling with a multitude of collateral consequences associated with felony convictions, and an substantial amount of children with parents in prison.

Monday, March 20, 2017

APA Citation


One of the most common issues I deal with as a teacher is students needing help with APA citation. APA is the citation style used by the American Psychological Association. APA citation is commonly required in many undergraduate and graduate social science programs. I was lucky and had professors that taught me APA early, and they regularly reinforced the importance of properly citing sources. Truly, APA citation is not as difficult as it appears. All it really takes, is practice and repetition. Occasionally, there will be some harder to cite sources that you come across (citing court cases immediately comes to mind), but those are rare and there are resources to help give you quick answers. I will review those resources shortly.

First, I want to warn against using websites or applications that cite material for you. I will not provide links to these sites because they are unreliable and consistently have errors. Plus, any little change in APA style might not be quickly reflected in these applications. In fact, there are some applications that have easy to spot problems that "out" the students using them when I am reading their papers. Plus, you go to college to learn, so you might as well learn APA citation.

So, where can you go for help?

  • The best overall source for help with APA citation is without a doubt, the APA Purdue OWL (Purdue Online Writing Lab). I consider the Purdue OWL to be the best source of help for APA citation questions. They provide a user-friendly menu to find solutions for your problems, and also provide a "sample APA paper" that is very useful for comparing to your own research paper.
  • Another decent source for help is the APA Style Help page. They also have their own blog.
  • A third resource I have found is provided at Baker College's website. They have a useful APA Guide that includes links to APA tutorials and other resources. Again, I warn against using the links they provide for automatic citation applications.

 To conclude, APA may seem difficult to learn, but it is not ac scary as it may initially seem. While you may not ever truly master the citation style, you can easily learn the basics. As always, practice makes perfect. Thank you for reading.

For more information on my education, research interests, and publications, please check out Daniel Kavish on the web. you can also check out a short biography page for Daniel Kavish here.

Labeling Theory Research

What sparked my interest in criminology was the 2009 ASC (American Society of Criminology) article of the year - "The Labeling of Convicted Felons and Its Consequences for Recidivism"by Ted Chiricos, Kelle Barrick, William Bales, and Stephanie Bontrager about labeling theory and deferred adjudication. It challenged me to think about the deficiencies of conventional theories of crime, the possibilities of different alternatives to incarceration, and the consequences of felony convictions on future educational and occupational success.

Other noteworthy labeling theory research:
 Labeling theory is one of the most interesting theories in criminology and criminal justice. Politicians, the media, and general public tend to believe in a philosophy of deterrence. Thus, labeling theory challenges conventional thought and reasoning concerning the criminal justice system. I encourage readers to check out the labeling theory research listed above. These articles provide a great foundation for undergraduate research papers and serve well as assigned reading for courses about juvenile delinquency and criminal justice sanctioning.

Introducing Daniel Kavish, the criminology blogger!

Hello, my name is Daniel Kavish and this is my criminology blog. You can learn more about me at my personal website. This blog will highlight recent criminology and criminal justice research, provide discussion concerning recent noteworthy findings, and provide critical interpretations of statistics and research. Politicians and the media often cite criminal justice research with little regard for context. It is my hope that this blog will help dispel crime myths, promote critical thinking, and hopefully foster a new wave of interest in criminology and criminal justice. 

This blog will specifically feature posts that highlight resources that will help undergraduate and graduate students properly conduct research. This may include, but is not limited to, providing links to data that may benefit young scholars, sharing and critiquing relevant news stories, highlighting recent criminology research published in academic journals, or providing links to other criminology and criminal justice resources such as conference events, professional organizations, victim advocacy groups, and more!

I look forward to the future of this blog and hope that others find it to be a useful and entertaining resource.