An important concept related to official bias in intergenerational transmission is labeling. The current paper extends the findings of Besemer et al. This label can be a critical factor to a more persistent criminal life course for individuals who might just be experimenting with delinquent activity. Previous studies have shown a considerable impact of convictions on subsequent criminal behavior [ 17 — 25 ].
Revised versions of labeling theory distinguish two major theoretical perspectives of how labeling works [ 26 — 28 ]. As a result of conforming to the criminal stereotype, these individuals will amplify their offending behavior. Also, people might identify more with deviant social groups after receiving a criminal label [ 29 ]. Second, people might be pushed into a criminal lifestyle as a result of the potential blockage of conventional and non-criminal pathways. Raphael [ 32 ] describes several challenges faced by former inmates who try to find stable jobs, including stigma against ex-offenders by potential employers, less extensive work histories, or behaviors unsuitable for workplaces outside prison, developed while incarcerated.
Moreover, a conviction might have a negative impact on educational attainment, which in turn might increase offending, as revealed in the Rochester Youth Development Study [ 17 , 33 ]. For example, labeling might have a stronger effect with younger offenders, for whom personality and behavior are presumably more malleable [ 17 , 29 ], and Cullen and Jonson [ 34 ] hypothesize that labeling is stronger when sanctions are punitively oriented. Related to this is the concept of cumulative disadvantage where labeling effects are stronger for those who are already socially and economically disadvantaged [ 21 , 35 — 38 ].
Foster and Hagan [ 36 ] describe how labeling excludes children of convicted parents from society, emphasizing the specific accumulation process for children of convicted parents throughout the life course. This also connects to research showing how the current culture of mass incarceration seems to generate social inequalities [ 39 — 41 ]. Sherman stresses the importance of emotions and legitimacy for effectiveness of a sentence. According to Sherman, defiance occurs when four conditions are present: 1 the offender perceives a punishment as unfair, 2 the offender feels alienated or is poorly bonded to the person or sanctioning agency, 3 the offender perceives the sanction as stigmatizing and targeted at his person instead of at his law-breaking act, and 4 the offender does not acknowledge the shame that the punishment caused him to suffer.
Below we first discuss previous research on the combination of labeling and intergenerational transmission of criminal behavior. Hagan and Palloni [ 46 ] were the first to link these two processes with their paper on the reproduction of a social class. They demonstrated that labeling effects were stronger for people with a convicted father compared with people whose fathers had not been convicted. Unfortunately, their design suffered from methodological flaws. They treated several measures of self-reported offending as independent, when this was not actually the case.
For example, they treated self-reported offending at ages 16—17 as independent of self-reported offending at ages 14—15 and used self-reported offending at ages 16—17 to predict self-reported offending at ages 18— This is problematic, because self-reported offending at ages 16—17 is measured up to that age and therefore includes offences at ages 14— Similarly, self-reported offending at ages 16—17 overlaps with self-reported offending at ages 18—19 which referred to the previous three years and therefore it is not possible to treat them as independent variables.
Because of these flaws, it is important to replicate this study using independent measures to investigate whether the effect found by Hagan and Palloni [ 46 ] is valid. We extend the previous research by Hagan and Palloni [ 46 ] and by doing so, we add to the emerging literature of the impact of the social context in labeling processes by focusing on the social context of the family and investigating the cumulative effect of labeling when one has a convicted parent.
Moreover, most studies examining labeling effects have investigated this only up to the age of 22, whereas this study will look at offending behavior until age Most studies have focused on contact with the criminal justice system during the teenage years, and few studies followed respondents to age where adult roles should be established [ 21 ]. An exception is the study by Murray et al. It is important to look at offending behavior into adulthood since offending after the early twenties might indicate a more serious offending pattern.
Deviant behavior peaks in adolescence [ 47 , 48 ] and it is quite common to display some antisocial behavior during this period. It is, however, a sign of greater deviance if such behavior continues after adolescence or starts in adulthood. It is vital to examine how labeling impacts offending in the long run.
The current paper improves upon the narrow focus on short-term effects of official intervention often found in previous research on labeling by investigating labeling effects up to age More importantly, when studying labeling effects, it is crucial to observe the temporal sequence of the labeling event and subsequent deviant behavior, while controlling for differences in deviant behavior before the labeling event occurred.
The majority of previous studies investigating labeling effects [ 17 — 19 , 29 , 49 , 50 ] have failed to clearly distinguish these periods. Kaplan and Johnson [ 51 ] and Johnson et al. Murray et al. However, Bernburg and Krohn [ 17 ], for example, measured official intervention at ages Another example is West and Farrington [ 18 , 25 ] who compared people with and without a conviction between ages 14—18 on their self-reported offending between these same ages while controlling for self- reported offending before the age of They show some evidence of worsening behavior after a conviction; their self-reported offending only started to deteriorate after age sixteen and not between fourteen and sixteen.
By not separating these periods in time, it is unknown whether the self-reported offending behavior measured has not already increased because of a conviction during this period. This study improves on previous research into labeling by clearly separating these periods in time. At the time they were first contacted in —, these males were all living in a working-class inner-city area of South London. The sample was chosen by taking all of the boys who were then aged 8—9 and on the registers of six state primary schools within a one-mile radius of a research office that had been established.
Hence, the most common year of birth for these males was In nearly all cases 94 percent , their family bread- winner in — usually the father had a working class occupation skilled, semi-skilled, or unskilled manual worker. Most of the boys were white and of British origin. Donald J.
Martin also enjoyed making jokes on Twitter about street culture , and posted YouTube excerpts from films like Friday and Next Friday , which both made fun of street culture. A parent may request and must be provided with a list of the kinds of information being stored and who to contact to retrieve them for review. Archived from the original on March 30, There are many unanswered questions about the effectiveness and long-term impacts of video surveillance. Martin's former football coach said he was a shy child and always walked with his hoodie and headphones on listening to music. Eisenberg, 49, recalled.
West originally directed the study and David P. Farrington, who has worked on it since , has directed it since The males have been studied at frequent intervals between the ages of eight and fifty. Information about convictions and self-reported delinquency was collected over the course of these years. Additionally, police records of the parents of these males have been collected. For more information and major findings see West [ 53 ], West and Farrington [ 25 , 54 ], Farrington and West [ 55 ], Farrington [ 56 , 57 ], Farrington et al.
Self-reported offending was measured at ages 18 and 32 and referred to the periods between ages 15—18 and 27— Males who did not have an interview at both ages were excluded from the current analyses. Eighty-nine per cent of men were interviewed at both ages, which resulted in a sample of males. See [ 58 ] for more information on data collection of the self-reported data. The self-report offenses were presented on cards, and the males were initially asked to sort the cards according to whether or not they had committed each act during a specified reference period.
Where the men had reading difficulties, the cards were read out to them. More detailed questions were then asked about the offences reported, such as how many times the person had done it, the age he had first done it, and the age he had last done it. The exact wording of the items at the different ages are shown in [ 61 ]. Ten types of offences were enquired about: burglary, theft of motor vehicles, theft from motor vehicles, shoplifting, theft from machines, theft from work, fraud, assault, drug use and vandalism.
For the current analyses, a sum of the total number of self-reported offences was used. Drug use and fraud were not included in the sum variable, since drug use had a different scale and distribution up to 1, while the others had a scale up to and previous analyses showed that the ratio between self-reported and official convictions for drug use and fraud is high: the chances of being caught for these offences are low [ 58 ]. If drug offences had been included, they would disproportionately dominate the sum variable for self-reported offending.
Official offending of both parents and offspring was measured using official criminal records. Convictions were searched in the Criminal Record Office in London [ 62 ]. The date when the offence was committed was used to time the delinquency. If no commission date was known, the conviction date was used.
Offences were defined as acts leading to convictions, and only one offence per day was counted. This rule was adopted so that each separate behavioral act could yield only one offence; if all offences had been counted, the number of offences would have been greater than the number of criminal behavioral acts, resulting in an overestimation of criminal behavioral acts [ 58 ]. Convictions were counted for relatively serious offending ranging from theft, burglary, fraud to robbery, sexual offences and murder. Minor offences such as drunkenness and traffic offences were excluded.
Self-reported offending was measured between ages 15—18 and 27— For both hypothesis 1 and 2, labeling effects were examined and thus the level of self-reported offending was measured between ages 27 and The independent variables for hypotheses 1 and 2 were whether people had been convicted during time 2 19—26 years and their level of self-reported offending for time 1 15—18 years. We included several three sets of control variables in the analyses: impulsive behavior by the son, socioeconomic status of the family and parenting variables.
For a more detailed description and earlier use of these variables see [ 63 ] and [ 64 ]. The three variables were correlated. Therefore, these risk factors were summarized by taking their mean value if one variable was missing, the mean of the remaining variables was automatically calculated. The CSDD has several dichotomous risk factor variables that measure low socio-economic status of the parent when the boy was aged eight to ten: low occupational prestige, low family income, poor housing, large family, low education of father, and low education of mother.
Low occupational prestige indicated that the family breadwinner usually the father had an unskilled manual job. Low family income and poor housing were rated by the study social workers who interviewed the families; poor housing indicated dilapidated premises [ 58 ]. Similar to the impulsivity variables, the six SES variables correlated with each other and were summarized by taking the mean value. Similar to the combined impulsivity variable, if one variable was missing, the mean of the remaining variables was automatically calculated.
Finally, we included a variable indicating poor child rearing, which was a combination of harsh-erratic discipline and parental conflict, rated by psychiatric social workers based on interviews with parents at age 8. First, we examined whether there was a significant relationship between a conviction between ages 19 and 26 time 2 and the level of self-reported offending between ages 27 and 32 time 3 , while controlling for the level of self-reported offending between ages 15 and 18 time 1.
We chose to control for the self-reported offending during time 1, since the self-reported offending during time 2 might have been impacted already by a conviction during that period. Negative binomial regression was used because the dependent variable self-reported offending between ages 27 and 32 was highly skewed. With such a skewed distribution it was inappropriate to run a linear regression analysis. Negative binomial regression analysis suitably deals with skewed distributions.
Furthermore, the predictor variable self-reported offending between ages 15 and 18 was similarly skewed and therefore log-transformed in the analysis. Second, to investigate whether the impact of a conviction was stronger for people whose parents have been convicted, the interaction between the variables of having a conviction between ages 19—26 and having a convicted parent was investigated.
The predictor variables were centered around the mean before analyzing them in the regression analysis. Centering variables around the mean is recommended when investigating interaction effects in multiple regression analysis [ 65 ]. Third, we investigated whether the seriousness of offspring offending impacted the relationship between labeling and having a convicted parent. To examine this, the sum of self-reported burglary and violence measured at age 18 was used self-reported offending measured at age 32 was the outcome variable.
This seriousness variable was added to the regression analysis to test the interaction between a parental conviction and offspring conviction on offspring self-reported offending. A dichotomous variable was used that was coded 1 when parents had been convicted for burglary, robbery, assault, wounding, insulting or threatening behavior, sexual offences, murder, manslaughter, drug or weapon offences. Two hundred and seventy individuals did not have a conviction before their 19th birthday.
Thirty-one of these were convicted between their 19th and 27th birthday and these were compared with the people who had not been convicted in either of these periods. The results in Table 1 model 1 demonstrate that having a conviction between the 19th and 27th birthday time 2 and the level of self-reported offending between the 15th and 19th birthday time 1 were both significant predictors of the level of self-reported offending between the 27th and 32 nd birthday time 3.
These results support the idea of labeling. Model 2 in Table 1 demonstrates the result of the negative binomial regression analysis where the interaction between having a convicted parent and a conviction on subsequent self-reported offending was added. There was a strong interaction effect of a convicted parent and an offspring conviction on self-reported offending. Furthermore, the impact of a conviction at time 2 became an insignificant predictor when the interaction with a convicted parent was taken into account. This interaction effect is also visible in Fig 1 and Table 2 , which gives the average number of self-reported offences at the two ages for each of the four groups.
Traditionally, when portraying an interaction effect, one would only report the outcome self-reported offending between ages 27—32 for the four groups. However, since the outcome is heavily influenced by the previous level of self-reported offending, it is more appropriate to show the difference between the current and previous level of offending.
The number of self-reported offences decreased between time 1 and time 3 for the first three groups, but the group who had a convicted parent and has been convicted at time 2 shows a sharp increase in self-reported offending between time 1 and time 3. Apparently, there was no labeling effect for the group whose parents have not been convicted, while there was a strong effect for children whose parents have been convicted. The results support hypothesis 2 and similarly show that hypothesis 1 is only supported for the group whose parents have been convicted and not for people whose parents have not been convicted.
We next added the control variables to the regression analysis. Table 3 displays the regression models, where each of the control variables was added separately. Table 4 displays the model including all variables. In each of the models, the interaction between a convicted parent and an offspring conviction remained significant. We see the same pattern when all the predictors are combined in one big model. This paper investigated the interaction between labeling and intergenerational transmission. In other words, we investigated the impact of a conviction on subsequent offending behavior and the interaction of a conviction and a convicted parent on subsequent offending.
It appears that labeling theory only applies to people who are already disadvantaged by a convicted parent. There is a cumulative effect of having a convicted parent and being convicted yourself. The current study demonstrates strong support for this idea of differential labeling effects, supports the previous findings of Hagan and Palloni [ 46 ] and demonstrates that these differential labeling effects are present when one measures offspring offending up to age How can we explain this interaction between labeling and a convicted parent?
Undoubtedly, intergenerational transmission stems from complex, reciprocal, and transactional forces spanning these different theoretical perspectives, leading to cumulative disadvantage for those children with criminal parents. If children also experience labeling because of a conviction, this basically adds additional burden to already disadvantaged individuals.
These children seem to be more susceptible to labeling effects.
Self-reports of criminal offending face challenges such as concealing, exaggerating or simply forgetting offending behavior [ 66 ], which are particularly problematic with long-term retrospective self-reports [ 67 , 68 ]. Furthermore, attributes of the respondent and of the crime might influence the willingness to admit, forget, and exaggerate offences. For example, people are less inclined to report sexual and fraud offences and more likely to exaggerate violent offences. This phenomenon could explain discrepancies between and official records and self-reports.
Also, individuals who feel they have much to lose might be more inclined to present a pro-social image compared with offspring of convicted parents, who might feel stigmatized and labeled and will not hold back on self-reporting criminal behavior [ 66 ]. This scenario, however, would predict a smaller discrepancy between self-reported offending and official records for offspring of convicted parents, which was not found in the CSDD see also [ 16 ].
It is important to realize that we might never know the true extent of offending behavior, even though numerous studies have shown that validity is high for prospective self-reports of white males as investigated in this sample. However, the respondents did not know that the researchers checked their criminal histories, therefore it seems unlikely that this knowledge could have influenced them.
More importantly, previous analyses with the CSDD showed that, in general, the first self-report of an offence preceded the first conviction for it [ 61 ]. This implies that it is unlikely that the relationship found between a conviction and a subsequent increase in self-reported offending could be attributed to the tendency for convictions to make people more willing to admit offences in self-reports.
An important limitation of this study is the low number of people involved in the analyses to investigate labeling. The group of offspring with a conviction and a convicted parent consists of only nine people. Hitherto the CSDD is the only study used to examine the topic of labeling in combination with a convicted parent. This highlights the need to replicate these analyses with large longitudinal data sets over multiple generations.
This sample of men was born in London around and their offending behavior was measured until age 32 roughly Changing the way a massive bureaucracy has done business for decades is no small task. Above all, it entails convincing families who, for generations, have viewed ACS as a threat, to give it another chance.
If successful, though, ACS could create a more benevolent model for child welfare that would be followed in other cities and states. Its size alone guarantees that whatever happens here becomes a national model. Instead of a government bureaucracy that is widely perceived as punitive and biased against the poor, ACS could transform itself into the type of agency that it wants to be: a resource families can turn to in times of trouble. George GABI center. For more than years, child welfare policies have swung back and forth between two polarized notions of how best to serve vulnerable children: Should they be removed from troubled homes, or should their families be helped?
Where society lands on these issues has always depended on prevailing attitudes toward poverty. Reformers have long argued that taking children from poor families does nothing to address the root problem of poverty.
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From the mids through , New York City and other Eastern cities arrived at a draconian solution, shipping as many as , children from impoverished tenement families West to the expanding U. To modern eyes, many of those adoptions more closely resembled indentured servitude. But the focus on child abuse, which might seem a positive, child-oriented development, resulted in demonizing parents—most often parents of color—whose children suffered because of the environments they were born into.
By the early s, there were nearly 50, children in the system—almost all of whom were black. Politics at the national level only made matters worse, as the political establishment turned against welfare and began to argue explicitly that parents who needed support to raise their children had no business keeping them. The force of the pendulum swing between child protection and family preservation is often driven by high-profile tragedies. The case became a national scandal. But the need to intervene more is the wrong lesson to take from tragedy.
Indeed, NCCPR notes, three years after the foster care panic began in Illinois, child deaths in the state had increased by 17 percent. Moreover, the focus on child protection creates perverse incentives for caseworkers and welfare agencies. In , a similar panic flared again , following the deaths in New York of two children whom ACS had left in their homes. Two months later, three-year-old Jaden Jordan of Gravesend, Brooklyn, died.
The ensuing public outcry was tremendous. Since then, ACS has been eager to repair its image. It leads the child welfare agency to be reactive and defensive and to be more draconian. Yet from to , the number of children placed in foster care in the city increased 13 percent. Hansell attributed the increase not to caseworker reactiveness but to a rise in public reporting—up 7 percent since Mass incarceration has created a giant churn: The more people we lock up now, the more people we will have to lock up in the future.
Norblad, who died in , did not know how to do that. But in recent years, criminologists are starting to figure it out—paving the way for possible solutions that are more humane and cost-effective than prison. One such program came about by accident. Several years after their release, the former prisoners who left for Texas had lower rates of recidivism than did those who stayed behind in New Orleans, because they had broken their social networks.
Based on his findings, Kirk created a volunteer program for prisoners in Baltimore to receive housing allowances from the state of Maryland on the condition that they move to another part of the state after their release. Another innovative program known as multisystemic therapy , developed by the Medical University of South Carolina professor Scott Henggeler, focuses on helping young delinquents by treating their whole family.
In graduate school, Henggeler worked with children who had been reprimanded by a court but were seemingly stuck in their criminal ways. One day, he decided to visit them in their homes. He realized he needed to treat the children in the full context of their lives, to see them with their families in their homes.