Exploring Society By The Numbers

Correlates of Desistance

Jason Ford, University of Central Florida

Summary

Research has shown that marital status and employment are correlates of desistance. That is, adolescents involved with crime were more likely to discontinue offending in adulthood if they were married and had a good job. Most of what criminologists know about the process of desistance from crime is based on a sample of adult males in the 1950's. There is no question that life in America has changed drastically in the past fifty years. Given the importance of examining historical change inherent in the life course perspective, it is important to determine how changes in the social structure over time impact individuals. Therefore, the goals of this data analysis exercise are to examine changes in marriage and employment over the last fifty years. The purposes are to identify the changes that have taken place, and to hypothesize how these changes may affect the process of desistance from crime today.

Learning Goals

Skill
  • Using software to access and analyze census data
  • Identifying independent and dependent variables
  • Learning how to construct, read, and interpret bivariate tables displaying frequencies and percentages
  • Creating visual tools representing quantitative data in the form of charts or graphs
  • Identifying population trends over time
  • Using real world data to enhance and support key course concepts
Substance
  • The goals of this data analysis exercise are to examine changes in marriage and employment over the last fifty years.
  • The purposes are to identify the changes that have taken place, and to hypothesize how these changes may affect the process of desistance from crime today.

Context for Use

This activity is used in a Criminology class for undergraduate students. This activity looks as trends in marital status and occupation over time in the United States.

Description and Teaching Materials

Exercises: PDF (Acrobat (PDF) 107kB Mar24 09)
Exercises: DOC (Microsoft Word 54kB Mar24 09)
Worksheet: PDF (Acrobat (PDF) 54kB Mar24 09)
Worksheet: DOC (Microsoft Word 58kB Mar24 09)

Teaching Notes and Tips

This activity uses two customized data sets made from combining census information from 1950-2000. It guides students through data manipulation using WebCHIP software found at DataCounts!. To open WebCHIP with the dataset for the activity, please see instructions and links in the exercise documents under teaching materials. For more information on how to use WebCHIP, see the How To section on DataCounts!

Assessment

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References and Resources

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