Get a Job: Labor Markets, Economic Opportunity, and Crime

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NYU Press, May 2, 2014 - Political Science - 291 pages

Are the unemployed more likely to commit crimes? Does having a job make one less likely to commit a crime? Criminologists have found that individuals who are marginalized from the labor market are more likely to commit crimes, and communities with more members who are marginal to the labor market have higher rates of crime. Yet, as Robert Crutchfield explains, contrary to popular expectations, unemployment has been found to be an inconsistent predictor of either individual criminality or collective crime rates. In Get a Job, Crutchfield offers a carefully nuanced understanding of the links among work, unemployment, and crime.

Crutchfield explains how people’s positioning in the labor market affects their participation in all kinds of crimes, from violent acts to profit-motivated offenses such as theft and drug trafficking. Crutchfield also draws on his first-hand knowledge of growing up in a poor, black neighborhood in Pittsburgh and later working on the streets as a parole officer, enabling him to develop a more complete understanding of how work and crime are related and both contribute to, and are a result of, social inequalities and disadvantage. Well-researched and informative, Get a Job tells a powerful story of one of the most troubling side effects of economic disparities in America.

 

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About the author (2014)

Robert D. Crutchfield is Professor of Sociology at the University of Washington. He has served as a juvenile probation officer in Mercer County Pennsylvania and as a Parole Agent for the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole.