Multiple Identities and the Effect of Social Stability on Time Until Rearret

Dawn K. Cecil, University of Maryland at College Park

In order to have a complete understanding of criminal behavior, it is important to consider how people's experiences vary based on their personal identity. At the most basic level this means considering how the experiences of males and females differ and how this in turn influences criminal behavior. At a more complex level this means considering the various ways people differ (e.g., gender, race and social class) or multiple identities, with the belief that not all females or all males will have similar experiences. Drawing from this belief, literature on the lives of offenders, and social control theories, this study uses data on white-collar criminals convicted in federal court (N=549) to examine whether the impact of social stability on time until rearrest is conditional on identity. More specifically, it examines whether the influence of marriage, parenthood, employment, and educational attainment on time until rearrest is conditional on gender, race, and social class. The findings indicate that while social class is not an important factor, gender and/or race modify the impact of several of these factors on time until rearrest; although, not always in the expected manner. While many of the findings can be best understood from a social control perspective, other findings are in need of additional theoretical consideration and empirical examination.

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Updated 05/20/2006