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On the Heritability of Criminal Justice Processing

Boutwell, Brian B.; & Connolly, Eric J. (2017). On the Heritability of Criminal Justice Processing. SAGE Open, 7(3).

Boutwell, Brian B.; & Connolly, Eric J. (2017). On the Heritability of Criminal Justice Processing. SAGE Open, 7(3).

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An impressive number of researchers have devoted a great amount of effort toward examining various predictors of criminal justice (CJ) processing outcomes. Indeed, a vast amount of research has examined various individual- and aggregate-level predictors of arrests, incarceration, and sentencing decisions. To this point, less attention has been devoted toward uncovering the relative contribution of genetic and environmental effects on variation in risk for CJ processing. As a result, the current study employs a behavioral genetic design to help fill this void in the existing literature. Using twin data from a national sample of youth, the current study produced evidence suggesting that genetic factors accounted for at least a portion of variance in risk for incarceration among female twins and probation among male twins. Shared and nonshared environmental influences accounted for the variance in risk for arrest among both female and male twins, probation among female twins, and incarceration among male twins. Ultimately, it appears that risk for contact with the CJ system and CJ processing is structured by a combination of factors beyond shared cultural and neighborhood environments, and appears to also include genetic factors. Moving forward, continuing to not use genetically sensitive research designs capable of estimating the role of genetic and nonshared environmental influences on CJ outcomes may result in misleading results.


behavioral sciences; criminology; social sciences; behavior genetic; legal system


JOUR



Boutwell, Brian B.
Connolly, Eric J.



2017


SAGE Open

7

3



July 27, 2017





10.1177/2158244017723408



7107