Dear Dr Crime


Dr. Crime is a pseudonym for a social scientist holding a Ph.D. degree in sociology and in criminology. He has worked in all major parts of the criminal justice system. Drop him a note at the website if you or your child is in trouble, he may be able to help, give him a call (252-339-0000).

Dear Dr. Crime: My husband and I argue a lot about taking our children to church. I think it can help keep them out of trouble, and he says it won’t matter. Can you give us objective advice about this? Sara

Dear Sara. Sadly, religion seems to be having less of a role in our lives than in the past. The 10/19/16 Virginian Pilot reported that for the first time in US history, the largest category of religious affiliation is “none”. What impact will that have on the behavior of our youth? Our social science research is clear that the conditions and events of early life are powerful determinants of later behavior. A recent studyi of the force of family and of religion on later life tells us you and your husband should work together, in a religious family setting, to put your kids on the right track. The very powerful research in the American Sociological Review showed that kids raised in a religious home with BOTH parents had the best chance of doing well in life. The science says that family and religion interact to predict delinquency outcomes. Religion enhances parental affection in deterring delinquent behavior and mitigates the increased risk of high levels of delinquent behavior among youths in single-parent families. The research is clear, your position in the argument with your husband is correct.

I encourage you to discuss these issues with your friends, for the research showing the weakening of religion in American families is clear. And it is not simply a brief and inconsequential shift, it is big.

Dear Dr. Crime: It works to convict criminals doesn’t it? We can ignore crime but should jump on every offender and put them away, right? Hard Nose Harry

Dear Harry: Your question is perhaps the most important one facing us. A recent studyii of all 25,431 U.S. citizen federal offenders released in 2005 and followed for 8 years found that about half of them were rearrested. The most common re-arrest was for assault. And we know their criminal history predicted recidivism well. My belief is that we need to get beyond politics and do every more research on preventing crime before it happens.

Dear Dr. Crime: Will it help to take my kid out of public school and put him in a “charter” school? Worried Dad

Dear Dad: I do not know of research about the impact of charter schools on delinquency, but I will look. We do have research on other effectsiii, but more such research is needed and the effects are not totally clear. The research shows that students who attended charter high schools were more likely to receive a high school diploma. Also the charter school kids were more likely to enroll in college, and persist in college. The annual earnings in later life were higher for students who attended charter high schools. Let us look closer at what is going on with this important matter.
i Family and Religious Characteristics' Influence on Delinquency Trajectories from Adolescence to Young Adulthood Author(s): Richard J. Petts Source: American Sociological Review, Vol. 74, No. 3 (Jun., 2009), pp. 465-483
ii March 2016 Sentencing Partners Newsletter. Joaquin Duncan L.L.C Southridge Ct. Suite 105, Hurst, Texas 76053; .

iii Sass, T. R., Zimmer, R. W., Gill, B. P., & Booker, T. K. (2016). Charter schools’ effects on long-term attainment and earnings. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 35(3), 683–706. doi:10.1002/pam.21913
Dear Dr Crime Dear Dr Crime Reviewed by kensunm on 7:00:00 PM Rating: 5

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