Social Ecology May 2017 E-Newsletter

May 2017

The May 2017 Social Ecology E-Newsletter has been published. Don't miss this issue's story on research by Associate Professor Nicholas Scurich about how death penalty juries could be tilting more in favor of capital punishment even as public opinion goes the opposite direction. Also, check out the latest report from Metropolitan Futures Initiative examining how access to everyday destinations like restaurants and grocery stories rises in older, denser neighborhoods in Southern California.

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Social media makes collaborative investigations possible

May 2017

Self-described internet investigators can collaborate far easier in the age of social media, Chancellor's Professor Emeritus Dan Stokols told the Baltimore Sun.

Internet sleuths uncovered information about a Maryland couple who posted videos of their children to their YouTube channel "DaddyOFive." Some people found the behavior in the videos abusive.

"The internet is a kind of mechanism of finding like-minded others and coordinating with them. ... So now people might react to something on DaddyOFive or some other channel, they can find other people who have similar views and they team up and get engaged with it and motivated and they make it kind of project," he said.

Countering the false narrative of immigrant-driven crime

May 2017

Every time there's a highly-publicized story of a person in the U.S. illegally committing a crime, the common narrative of immigrant-driven crime grows stronger. But that narrative is false, Criminology, Law and Society Professor Charis Kubrin told the Desert Sun.

"I can’t even begin to tell you the level of frustration that I and my colleagues who do research in this area are feeling,” Kubrin said. “There are very few areas in our field where the findings are so consistent and the immigration-crime relationship is one of them.”

Wendy Goldberg awarded Dean's Honoree Award for School of Social Ecology

April 2017

Wendy Goldberg, associate dean for academic programs and professor in the Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, was chosen as the Dean's Honoree Award for the School of Social Ecology.

Goldberg's research focuses on child development and the family context of children with autism and neurotypical children. She also studies work and family issues for young and middle-aged adults.

About 2,000 exonerations documented in registry hosted at UCI

May 2017

Roughly 2,000 people have been exonerated in the U.S. since 1989, as documented by the National Registry of Exonerations, which is hosted by the Newkirk Center for Science and Society at UCI's School of Social Ecology.

The Registry is compilation of all the known exonerations, and was recently mentioned in a Southern California Public Radio story about wrongful convictions.

What is causing the uptick in crime in Southern California?

May 2017

Even though cell phone videos make conflicts between police and certain communities feel more poignant, they're nothing new, Charis Kubrin, professor of criminology, law and society said on "Inside OC with Rick Reiff."

"There is a longstanding, challenging relationship between the police and community members in many communities across the United States. Now with social media we are seeing the effects of that… That’s coming to light and that’s being now put on the front page for everybody to see," Kubrin said.

How non-citizen federal arrest numbers obscure fact that immigration leads to less crime

May 2017

Charis Kubrin, professor of criminology, law and society, has conducted a meta-analysis of 51 studies on the relationship between immigration and crime, which will be published in the inaugural issue of the Annual Review of Criminology. Most of the studies Kubrin analyzed found no relationship. But among those that did, it was 2.5 times more likely that immigration caused a drop in crime, rather than a rise. Kubrin was featured in a story in the Washington Post.

"Where you have immigrants, you have less violent crime. Period," Kubrin told the Post.

Undergrad wins Upper Division Writing Award

May 2017

Hayden Thomas Sugg, a criminology, law and society undergraduate, has won a 2016-17 Upper Division Writing Award.

The UCI Office of the Campus Writing Coordinator issues awards for excellent academic writing in three categories: humanities and arts, social sciences, and science and technology. Sugg won in the social sciences category for his paper "Legal Financial Obligations in the United States Criminal Justice System: A Mechanism of Social Control," which he wrote under the guidance of Criminology, Law and Society Professor Mona Lynch.

Capital punishment juries in question in O.C.

Juries could increasingly favor the death penalty, despite declining public support, Social Ecology professor finds.

When the case of Scott Dekraai – who pled guilty to murdering eight people in a Seal Beach salon in 2011 – goes to the sentencing phase of the trial, more than one-third of potential jurors could be rejected based on their beliefs about the death penalty.

The consequence? A jury that could be tilted in favor of capital punishment, even as national polls show that fewer and fewer people support it, according to a recent paper published in the Yale Law Journal by Nicholas Scurich, an associate professor in the School of Social Ecology.