The Effect of Spatial Concentration of Arrest on Neighborhood Economic Outcomes
Kim, Sage J
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This study explored the spatial organization of criminal justice practices, racial residential segregation, neighborhood economic outcomes. Income inequality has been growing since the 1980s. One of the contributing factors is that the US wage structure has been increasingly polarized. Social arrangements, such as specific labor and employment relations, uneven spatial distributions of wages and occupations determine labor market outcomes. Law enforcement policies and criminal justice practices are important structural factors that contribute to differential patterns of labor market participation among different groups and places. The unprecedented expansion of the U.S. penal system during the same period may have been one of the primary causes of the increasing racial/ethnic gap in labor market participation, employment, and wages. Because of the existing racial residential segregation, arrests as well as economic outcomes are also spatially organized. As a result, highly racialized arrest practices have become collective experiences of poor minority neighborhoods. Because of excessive arrest, a large proportion of working age individuals, particularly men, are frequently moving in and out of detention/jail. This coercive mobility, induced by the revolving door between jail and disadvantaged neighborhoods, weakens neighborhood stability, and, ultimately impairs neighborhood social capital. Poor and predominantly black community areas were shown to have high arrest rates and high unemployment and not-in-labor force rates. Among workers who were employed, low-wage workers were clustered in high arrest areas. However, controlling for the unemployment rate and the not-in-labor force rate, high rates of low-wage workers were clustered in low-arrest and predominantly Hispanic areas. This finding indicates that workers in high arrest areas are more likely to work in low-wage jobs, if they are employed. However, the proportion of low-wage workers among all working age individuals is smaller in high arrest areas, because significantly fewer working age individuals are actually in the labor force. Generally, more women than men work in low-wage care work jobs, but the gender gap was smaller in higher arrest areas. Similarly, the unemployment rate and the not-in-labor force rate are both higher for women than for men. However, the gender difference in the not-in-labor force rate was smaller in higher arrest areas, while the gender gap in the unemployment was larger in higher arrest areas. This finding suggests that male advantage in the labor force diminishes in high arrest areas. This study explored spatial organizations of hyper-arrest, racial segregation, and labor market outcomes. Racialized criminal justice practices contribute to social and economic exclusion of black workers, creating highly concentrated disadvantage in these urban poverty areas. Hyper-arrest weakens neighborhood social capital, by imposing coercive residential mobility. Racial division of labor interacts with gendered work. Low-wage jobs are, for the most part, care work jobs, which are highly gendered. As a result, these jobs are devalued, and under-paid. And now these low-wage care work jobs are performed by low-skilled minority women and men. Finally, Labor market processes and economic outcomes are shaped by specific local context. At the same time, however, the spatial organization of work and social control produces a type of neighborhood context, which allows inequality to persist.
SubjectHyper-arrest, Neighborhood economic outcomes, Racial inequality, Spatial concentration