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Here’s what criminologists are missing when they predict crime rates

PhD student Eileen Kirk poses for a portrait in the ISEC building on Jan. 4, 2019. Kirk has received a 2018 Gene Carte Student Paper Award from the American Society of Criminology for her research paper on mass incarceration. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Criminologists have long contended that the prevalence of poverty, unemployment, and low-wage jobs in disadvantaged communities can help predict crime rates there. In recent years, they have also begun to explore the relationship between prison cycling, or the flow of people in and out of the prison system, and crime.

Eileen Kirk, a doctoral student at Northeastern, says it is now time to examine these factors together to get a better picture of crime and its effects on communities. Prison cycling, she says, has become embedded in disadvantaged communities in much the same way as poverty and unemployment have. And her research has found that examining all these factors together can help predict with greater accuracy the rate of violent crimes such as murder, rape, and robbery.

“This study provides a different way to explore prison cycling and its effect in the community,” Kirk wrote in a paper for which she recently received an award from the American Society of Criminology.

Read the full story on News at Northeastern. 

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