Dr.Charis Kubrin

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GWIPP Research: Charis Kubrin

This page features research funded through GWIPP and performed by Charis Kubrin.

Title Explaining Suicide among Blacks and Whites: How Socio-economic Factors and Gun Availability Affect Race-Specific Suicide Rates



Joyce Foundation

Charis Kubrin

Start Date December 2006   Social Policy
Status Completed  

What are the correlates of suicide among blacks and whites? One body of literature suggests that structural factors such as poverty, inequality, joblessness, and family disruption are the key contributors while another literature considers the availability of firearms to be the central factor. No studies have thoroughly explored both of these possibilities together and thus we know little about the relative contributions of motivation to commit suicide due to structural conditions and opportunity to commit suicide due to firearm availability. The current research addresses this issue. We examine the roles of motivation and opportunity in shaping suicide rates among young white and young black males in U.S. cities using suicide data from Mortality Multiple Cause of Death Records and 2000 Census data. We find racial differences in the predictors of suicide; although concentrated disadvantage directly affects suicide among young white males, it only raises levels for young black males by increasing their access to firearms. This finding is confirmed in additional analyses, which examine the effects of concentrated disadvantage on black and white gun and non-gun suicides separately. The findings have important implications for the study of race and suicide.

Title Back Home from Prison: Understanding Why Offenders Recidivate
Funding Smith Richardson Foundation
Start Date January 2004   Social Policy
Status Completed  

With more than 600,000 prisoners returning to society each year, the issue of prisoner reentry is at the forefront of domestic public policy. How many of these prisoners will reoffend, and which factors influence the likelihood of recidivating? Prior studies have focused exclusively on individual-level characteristics of offenders and their offenses to determine the correlates of reoffending. Notably absent from recidivism studies are measures reflecting the neighborhood contexts in which the individuals live. Few studies document the types of neighborhoods prisoners are released into or whether ex-offenders tend to disproportionately live in socially disorganized neighborhoods with high rates of poverty, joblessness, and residential mobility-factors that can facilitate recidivism. Neighborhood context is fundamental to our understanding of why people reoffend yet we know little about how ecological characteristics of communities influence the reoffending behavior of prisoners. Using data on a sample of released offenders in Washington, D.C., this study will examine both individual and neighborhood level correlates of recidivism. The questions that motivate this research are: 1) To what extent do neighborhood characteristics account for variation in the reoffending behavior of prisoners that is not explained by their individual-level characteristics?, 2) How do individual-level and neighborhood- level characteristics interact to influence rates of recidivism?, and 3) Does neighborhood context help explain why minorities are more likely to reoffend than whites once released