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NCJ Number: 140444 Find in a Library
Title: Labor Surplus and Punishment: A Review and Assessment of Theory and Evidence
Journal: Social Problems  Volume:39  Issue:4  Dated:(November 1992)  Pages:421-446
Author(s): T G Chiricos; M A Delone
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 26
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Since the pioneering work of Rusche and Kirchheimer in 1939, theoretical links between labor surplus and punishment have seen extensive development.
Abstract: The authors mediate several of these links by economic, political, and ideological factors, such as the value of labor, systemic needs of capitalism, and the ideology of judges and their communities. The sophistication of theorizing about labor surplus and punishment is matched with skepticism about the corresponding empirical evidence which has been termed elusive and contradictory at best. Results from 44 empirical studies suggest that, independent of the effects of crime, labor surplus is consistently and significantly related to prison population and to prison admissions when time-series and individual-level data are used. The relation between labor surplus and punishment appears to be slightly stronger when age, race, and gender specific measures are employed. Further study is recommended on measures of labor surplus and punishment, the interaction between punishment and other mechanisms for controlling labor surplus, and mediating roles of community intolerance and punitive ideology. Limitations of existing research are discussed in light of theoretical developments. Statistical data provided in an appendix summarize aggregate studies involving labor market conditions and imprisonment. 72 references, 16 footnotes, and 2 tables
Main Term(s): Punishment
Index Term(s): Crime control theory; Criminology theory evaluation; Incarceration; Labor force analysis
Note: Paper presented at the State of the Art Conference on Inequality, Crime, and Social Control, 1992, University of Georgia
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