Christopher Uggen

Christopher Uggen
University of Minnesota Twin Cities | UMN · Department of Sociology

BA, MS, PhD Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

About

117
Publications
50,903
Reads
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Introduction
Christopher Uggen (pronounced You-Gun) is Regents Professor and Martindale Chair in Sociology and Law at the University of Minnesota and a Fellow of the American Society of Criminology. Current projects include a comparative study of reentry from different types of institutions, employment discrimination and criminal records, crime and justice after genocide, and the health effects of incarceration.
Skills and Expertise
Additional affiliations
August 1995 - March 2016
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Position
  • Distinguished McKnight Professor of Sociology and Law
Education
May 1990 - May 1995
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Field of study
  • Sociology
August 1988 - May 1990
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Field of study
  • Sociology
September 1982 - May 1986
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Field of study
  • Behavioral Science and Law/Criminal Justice

Publications

Publications (117)
Article
Full-text available
This article considers whether employment is a "turning point" in the lives of criminal offenders. We present a brief overview of research on the relationship between work and crime. Our review suggests that work programs appear to be more effective for adult offenders than for adolescents and young adults. The quality of employment also appears to...
Article
Full-text available
Criminal offenders in the United States typically forfeit voting rights as a collateral consequence of their felony convictions. This article analyzes the origins and development of these state felon disenfranchisement provisions. Because these laws tend to dilute the voting strength of racial minorities, we build on theories of group threat to tes...
Article
Full-text available
Universal suffrage is a cornerstone of democratic governance. As levels of criminal punishment have risen in the United States, however, an ever-larger number of citi- zens have lost the right to vote. The authors ask whether felon disenfranchisement constitutes a meaningful reversal of the extension of voting rights by considering its political im...
Article
Full-text available
Power is at the core of feminist theories of sexual harassment, though it has rarely been measured directly in terms of workplace authority. While popular characterizations portray male supervisors harassing female subordinates, power-threat theories suggest that women in authority may be more frequent targets. This article analyzes longitudinal su...
Article
Ban the Box (BTB) laws are an anti-discrimination policy intended to promote employment for persons with criminal records. However, research on law and organizations shows that firms often fail to comply with legal directives or engage in symbolic compliance that fails to alter day-to-day business practices. We consider whether BTB contributed to a...
Article
Public attention to sexual harassment has increased sharply with the rise of the #MeToo movement, although the phenomenon has sustained strong scientific and policy interest for almost 50 years. A large and impressive interdisciplinary scholarly literature has emerged over this period, yet the criminology of sexual harassment has been slow to devel...
Article
In the wake of the 1994 genocide, Rwanda’s government created the Gacaca courts to hold suspected perpetrators accountable. Although much has been written about these courts, researchers know comparatively less about the 250,000 individuals who served as Gacaca court judges (inyangamugayo). We draw upon 135 interviews to explore how the inyangamuga...
Article
In this article, we consider the effect of criminal records on college admissions. Nearly 72 percent of colleges require criminal history information during their application processes, which indicates that an applicant's criminal history could be a significant impediment to achieving the benefits associated with higher education. We conducted a mo...
Preprint
This paper considers the effect of criminal records on college admissions. Our review of more than 1,400 U.S. college applications finds more than 70 percent of four-year colleges require criminal history information as part of their application processes, suggesting that an applicant’s criminal history could be a significant impediment to achievin...
Chapter
In audits, as in all experiments, researchers are confronted with choices about whether to collect and analyze repeated measures on the unit of analysis. In typical social science practice, this decision often involves consideration of whether to send single or multiple auditors to test for discrimination at a site that represents the unit of analy...
Article
We argue in this article that the study of genocide would benefit from the application and use of theoretical tools that criminologists have long had at their disposal, specifically, conception and theorization surrounding the life course. Using the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi as a case study, we detail how the building blocks of life-course cr...
Article
The steep rise in U.S. criminal punishment in recent decades has spurred scholarship on the collateral consequences of imprisonment for individuals, families, and communities. Several excellent studies have estimated the number of people who have been incarcerated and the collateral consequences they face, but far less is known about the size and s...
Article
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Following the 1994 Rwandan genocide, many defendants on trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) testified on their own behalf. This article analyzes transcripts of their testimonies to learn (1) how defendants discuss the grave crimes of which they are accused, and (2) how their explanatory styles allow them to rationalize th...
Article
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Many working women will experience sexual harassment at some point in their careers. While some report this harassment, many leave their jobs to escape the harassing environment. This mixed-methods study examines whether sexual harassment and subsequent career disruption affect women’s careers. Using in-depth interviews and longitudinal survey data...
Article
Research Summary This study examines three central questions about criminal record inquiries on job applications, which is a rapidly developing area in criminology and public policy. We find the following: (1) Among the 78% of employers who ask about records, specific application questions vary greatly regarding the severity and timing of offenses....
Article
This article asks whether genocide follows the age and gender distributions common to other crime. We develop and test a life-course model of genocide participation to address this question using a new dataset of 1,068,192 cases tried in Rwanda's gacaca courts. Three types of prosecutions are considered: 1) inciting, organizing, or supervising viol...
Article
This commentary highlights some of the key lessons from the preceding articles by Sarah Lageson on online criminal histories and Robert Apel on cohabitation and marriage. To provide additional perspectives on institutions and families, it draws briefly on interview data from the Minnesota Exits and Entries Project, comparing the reentry experiences...
Article
In many states, young people today can receive a “blended” combination of both a juvenile sanction and an adult criminal sentence. We ask what accounts for the rise of blended sentencing in juvenile justice and whether this trend parallels crime control developments in the adult criminal justice system. We use event history analysis to model state...
Article
Unlabelled: Policy Points: The steady increase in incarceration is related to the quality and functioning of the health care system. US states that incarcerate a larger number of people show declines in overall access to and quality of care, rooted in high levels of uninsurance and relatively poor health of former inmates. Providing health care to...
Article
Full-text available
Given their capacity to identify causal relationships, experimental audit studies have grown increasingly popular in the social sciences. Typically, investigators send fictitious auditors who differ by a key factor (e.g., race) to particular experimental units (e.g., employers) and then compare treatment and control groups on a dichotomous outcome...
Article
Ample experimental evidence shows that the stigma of a prison record reduces employment opportunities (Pager, 2007). Yet background checks today uncover a much broader range of impropriety, including arrests for minor crimes never resulting in formal charges. This article probes the lesser boundaries of stigma, asking whether and how employers cons...
Article
More than one million people participated in the 1994 genocide against the Rwandan Tutsi. How did Rwanda, whose criminal justice infrastructure was decimated by the genocide, attempt to bring the perpetrators to justice? In this article, we provide the first analysis of the outcomes of the gacaca courts, a traditional community-based justice system...
Article
Full-text available
Analyzing interview data from 33 women and men, we examine how perceptions of sexual harassment are linked to age, experience, and historical context. Participants described workplace experiences from adolescence into their late twenties. Three themes emerged. First, as adolescents, respondents perceived some of the sexualized interactions they exp...
Article
As the introduction to a series of articles, this Article summarizes the state of the art in a field that has advanced enormously in the past ten years: parental incarceration. On the heels of a summer 2013 workshop held in the White House Executive Office Building, entitled “Parental Incarceration in the United States: Bringing Together Research a...
Article
In an age of widespread background checks, we ask how managers in different organizational contexts navigate legal ambiguity in assessing applicants' criminal history information, based on interview data obtained in a recent field experiment. The study builds on institutional analyses of the social sources of workplace legality to describe how empl...
Article
Full-text available
From the Works Progress Administration of the New Deal to the Job Corps of the Great Society era, employment programs have been advanced to fight poverty and social disorder. In today's context of stubborn unemployment and neoliberal policy change, supported work programs are once more on the policy agenda. This article asks whether work reduces cr...
Article
This article examines taste clusters of musical preferences and substance use among adolescents and young adults. Three analytic levels are considered: fixed effects analyses of aggregate listening patterns and substance use in US radio markets, logistic regressions of individual genre preferences and drug use from a nationally representative surve...
Article
Most accounts of organizations and law treat law as largely exogenous and emphasize organizations' responses to law. This study proposes a model of endogeneity among organizations, the professions,and legal institutions. It suggests that organizations and the professors strive to construct rational responses to law, enabled by "rational myths" or s...
Article
La transición desde la adolescencia a la edad adulta es una de las etapas más importantes del curso de la vida. Rindfuss, Swicegood y Rosenfeld (1987) se han referido a ella como un período "demográficamente denso", debido a que comporta transformaciones en las principales trayectorias vitales, incluyendo los ámbitos de la educación, el trabajo, la...
Chapter
Full-text available
The meaning and social significance of both work and crime change dramatically over the life course. This chapter considers the connection between employment and criminal behavior at different life-course stages. We briefly discuss theories suggesting a general link between work and crime, and then take up the question of how work affects crime in...
Chapter
Adolescents spend their time in a broad range of work and leisure activities (Larson & Verma, 1999). Adolescent work activities occur in various contexts—in home, school, and volunteer settings, as well as in paid jobs. Adolescent leisure activities take place in similarly diverse locales; they include both passive media use (watching television, l...
Article
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Psychiatric disorders are unusually prevalent among current and former inmates, but it is not known what this relationship reflects. A putative causal relationship is contaminated by assorted influences, including childhood disadvantage, the early onset of most disorders, and the criminalization of substance use. Using the National Comorbidity Surv...
Article
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Mental health parity laws require insurers to extend comparable benefits for mental and physical health care. Proponents argue that by placing mental health services alongside physical health services, such laws can help ensure needed treatment and destigmatize mental illness. Opponents counter that such mandates are costly or unnecessary. The auth...
Article
Drug crime often is viewed as distinctive from other types of crime, meriting greater or lesser punishment. In view of this special status, this article asks whether and how illegal earnings attainment differs between drug sales and other forms of economic crime. We estimate monthly illegal earnings with fixed‐effects models, based on data from the...
Article
Incarceration as a Political InstitutionWhy Prison?Consequences of IncarcerationConclusion Further Reading
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter discusses the current theoretical models that have been developed to explain criminal offending during the transition years between adolescence and adulthood. The chapter first identifies the key aspects of offending that typify the transition years, including desistance from delinquency, persistence in offending from adolescence to ad...
Article
Full-text available
This study documents and explains historical variation in U.S. criminal deportations. Results from time-series analyses suggest that criminal deportations increase during times of rising unemployment, and this effect is partly mediated by an elevated discourse about immigration and labor. An especially strong association between deportations and un...
Conference Paper
The steep rise in U.S. criminal punishment in recent decades is spurring new research on the collateral consequences of imprisonment for labor markets, civic engagement, and community health. Yet little is known about the size and scope of the ex-prisoner and ex-felon populations beyond prison walls. We develop state-level estimates for these popul...
Article
The survey results described in Chapter 5 provide useful information about the political orientations of people who have had contact with the criminal justice system. Yet those results also suggest new questions: why offenders hold the political views they do, and how those views are driven by underlying values or dispositions, how they are not wel...
Article
This article studies "invisible punishment" or the "collateral" consequences that follow convictions. It notes that these collateral consequences are sometimes caused by charges or arrests that do not result in conviction. It first studies the relevant legal consequences of being involved with the criminal justice system. It then tests the impact o...
Article
Researchers have turned their attention to prisoner reentry and reintegration as more and more people are released from prison and placed back into their communities each year. This scholarship details the problems that felons face in attempting to restart their lives, as well as the factors influencing whether they commit further crimes. Is voting...
Article
This chapter considers how many disenfranchised felons would participate nationally and how they would vote if they were eligible. It shows that a significant share of the disenfranchised felon population would vote if they were given the opportunity. To be sure, their turnout rates would fall far below those of the rest of the electorate. In presi...
Article
This chapter examines public attitudes toward disenfranchisement. It shows that there is little public support for stripping the right to vote from all people convicted of felonies. Instead, the public appears to view disenfranchisement as a harsh penalty in a democratic society with universal suffrage. The public endorses disenfranchisement for cu...
Chapter
Chapters 1 and 2 endeavored to describe and analyze the origins of modern felon disenfranchisement laws, as well as highlight the peculiarities of the American case. This chapter now asks who these disenfranchised citizens are. How many are there? How and when are their rights restricted? When are they restored? And do the laws have a disproportion...
Article
Full-text available
Sexual harassment has been theorized as a stressor with consequences for the physical and mental health of its targets. Though social scientists have documented a negative association between sexual harassment and mental health, few longitudinal studies have investigated the association between sexual harassment and depressive symptoms. Using longi...
Article
Full-text available
This article reviews evidence linking incarceration and health, with a particular focus on African Americans, who are disproportionately affected by the incarceration system. Although inmates generally suffer from worse health than comparable, non-institutionalized adults, this comparison is not uniformly the case, and some of the strongest negativ...
Article
Full-text available
Research SummaryPublic scholarship aspires to bring social science home to the individuals, communities, and institutions that are its focus of study. In particular, it seeks to narrow the yawning gap between public perceptions and the best available scientific evidence on issues of public concern. Yet nowhere is the gap between perceptions and evi...
Article
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Conceptions of adulthood have changed dramatically in recent decades. Despite such changes, however, the notion that young people will eventually "settle down" and desist from delinquent behaviors is remarkably persistent. This article unites criminology with classic work on age norms and role behavior to contend that people who persist in delinque...
Article
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In the past three decades, incarceration has become an increasingly powerful force for reproducing and reinforcing social inequalities. A new wave of sociological research details the contemporary experiment with mass incarceration in the United States and its attendant effects on social stratification. This review first describes the scope of impr...
Article
Recent scholarship and public discourse highlight an apparent waning of civic engagement in the United States. Although the welfare state is generally thought to support democracy by reducing economic inequality, it may paradoxically contribute to political disempowerment of some groups. We examine the effects of state interventions on civic partic...
Article
Studies of legal mobilization often focus on people who have perceived some wrong, but rarely consider the process that selects them into the pool of potential "mobilizers." Similarly, studies of victimization or targeting rarely go on to consider what people do about the wrong, or why some targets come forward and others remain silent. We here int...
Article
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In recent years, a range of new nonlethal weapons have been introduced for use by police officers, military personnel, and other consumers. This article examines how manufacturers are employing ideals of masculinity as both physical dominance and technical expertise in marketing these weapons to police officials. Based on a case study of a major we...
Article
Public consciousness of sexual harassment, or sekuhara, emerged much later in Japan than in the United States. This article, the first comparative study of sexual harassment in the two nations, explores how consciousness of a new legal category diffuses across nations and begins to take root in younger cohorts. Analyses of the U.S. General Social S...
Article
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As Sidney Verba and colleagues have noted, “casting a ballot is, by far, the most common act of citizenship in any democracy.” Although universal suffrage represents the democratic ideal, many nations have historically withheld the franchise from women and racial and ethnic minority groups. Even with the gradual incorporation of these groups, howev...
Article
Young disadvantaged workers are especially vulnerable to harassment due to their age and social class position. As young people enter the workforce, their experiences of, and reactions to, harassment may vary dramatically from those of older adult workers. Three case studies introduce theory and research on the relationship between social class and...
Chapter
Full-text available
This review paper considers the connection between employment and criminal behavior. We first examine theories that suggest a link between work and crime at different life course stages. Next, longitudinal studies and statistical approaches to specifying the relationship are discussed. Results of existing studies are organized into discussions of w...
Article
The association between crime, punishment, and poverty has long been the subject of sociological and criminological investigation. Recent work has shifted attention to the role of criminal punishment in explaining contemporary trends in inequality (Clear 2007; Clear, Rose, and Ryder 2001; Pager 2003; Petersilia 2003; Pettit and Western 2004; Wester...
Article
This paper introduces two new conceptualizations of desistance based on individuals' personal assessments of their own movement away from crime. Drawing from qualitative accounts of changes in offending, we develop survey items indexing subjective desistance and reference group desistance. We then use a representative community sample of young adul...
Chapter
Full-text available
The centrality of race for American political development is by now well understood. Social scientists have traced the interaction between race and the construction of federal political institutions, the class/race (or gender/race) nexus in public policymaking, and the effect of racial attitudes and racism on the political beliefs and policy prefer...
Book
5.4 million Americans-one in every forty voting age adults-are denied the right to participate in democratic elections because of a past or current felony conviction. In several American states, one in four black men cannot vote due to a felony conviction. In a country that prides itself on universal suffrage, how did the United States come to deny...
Chapter
This chapter analyzes the sources of rising rates of felon disenfranchisement and outlines some explanations for the growth of American correctional populations. The largest part of this growth is due to larger changes in the criminal justice system. The chapter explores the contours of growing rates of punishment in America, and notes how the nati...
Chapter
This chapter considers the impact of felon disenfranchisement on election outcomes. It begins with an overview of the implications of incomplete suffrage rights for democratic practice. It is particularly important to note that felon disenfranchisement constitutes an unusual issue in the post-Voting Rights Act era, in which the question of group im...
Chapter
This chapter considers a range of policy and political proposals for reenfranchisement. It suggests that the key long-term reforms require reconsideration of all voting restrictions on disenfranchised felons. The issue can be broken down into three separate questions: restoring voting rights for people who have completed their entire sentence (exfe...
Chapter
This chapter develops a broad historical overview, subjecting race-based theories about the adoption and development of felon disenfranchisement laws to scrutiny. It develops a systematic quantitative analysis that uses detailed information on the social and political makeup of individual states over a long historical period to examine how various...
Chapter
This chapter begins by reviewing arguments that supporters of felon disenfranchisement have used to frame the public debate. But the contemporary arguments in support of felon disenfranchisement do not help us understand how these laws came into existence in the first place. We must instead look to the legal, political, and historical record to und...
Article
Full-text available
Convicted felons face both legal and informal barriers to becoming productive citizens at work, responsible citizens in family life, and active citizens in their communities. As criminal punishment has increased in the United States, collateral sanctions such as voting restrictions have taken on new meaning. The authors place such restrictions in c...
Article
Full-text available
Felon disenfranchisement has recently emerged as an issue of intense public concern and scholarly interest. This review highlights the broad range of socio-legal issues implicated by the practice of denying convicted felons the right to vote by considering the history, impact, and contemporary legal and scholarly debates surrounding the practice. A...
Article
Employment and marriage play central roles in standard analyses of recidivism, and a long line of research suggests that ex-offenders who find good jobs and settle down in stable marriages threaten public safety much less than those who remain single and unemployed. Successful prisoner reentry thus involves the linked processes of reintegration int...
Article
Full-text available
As levels of criminal punishment have risen in the United States, more and more citizens have been disenfranchised because of a felony conviction. This paper provides an overview and analysis of the unique practice of felon disenfranchisement in the United States today. We focus in particular on the political impact of disenfranchising large number...