Type of Document Dissertation Author Barrick, Kelle URN etd-11072007-171453 Title Being labeled a felon and its consequences for recidivism: An examination of contingent effects Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Criminology and Criminal Justice, School of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Ted Chiricos Committee Chair C. Aaron McNeece Committee Member William D. Bales Committee Member Keywords
- Felony Conviction
Date of Defense 2007-08-03 Availability unrestricted AbstractFlorida law allows judges to withhold adjudication of guilt for individuals who have been found guilty of a felony and are being sentenced to probation. This is accomplished if the judge chooses to sentence an individual to probation with “adjudication withheld.” Such individuals lose no civil rights and may lawfully assert they have not been convicted of a felony on employment applications and elsewhere. Labeling theory would predict that the receipt of a felony label could increase the likelihood of recidivism, and that this effect may vary across individual characteristics.
This research investigates this possibility by examining the reconviction experiences of the population of men and women found guilty of a violent, property, or drug felony and sentenced to probation between 2000 and 2003 in Florida (N=119,648). Logistic regression is used to assess whether applying the convicted felon label has negative consequences for reconviction within three years of sentencing. To assess the possibility that the effects of a criminal label may vary across groups of individuals, separate regression models are run for sub-samples (based on race/ethnicity, employment status, sex, criminal history, crime type) and slope difference tests are calculated to determine whether any of the differences in the impact of adjudication between groups are statistically significant.
Being adjudicated was significantly associated with reconviction for all groups examined except for Hispanics and violent offenders. The findings also demonstrate that, while being labeled is a relatively consistent predictor of re-offense, individuals with certain characteristics may be more likely to suffer negative consequences than others. The effect of adjudication on recidivism was significantly larger for black females than black males (and approached significance for females and males). Additionally, labeling appears to be more detrimental for naïve than for experienced offenders and for property than for either drug or violent offenders.
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