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Criminal Justice Professors Win ‘Paper of the Year’ Award

April 1, 2013
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

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Scott Menard and Willard Oliver holding their plaque
Criminal justice professors Scott Menard (left) and Willard Oliver, with their plaque for "Paper of the Year," presented for their work published in Criminal Justice Review in 2012. —Submitted photo

Willard M. Oliver and Scott Menard, professors of criminal justice at Sam Houston State University, and their former graduate student Wendi Pollock have been named the recipients of the James L. Maddex Jr. 2012 Paper of the Year Award.

Their research, “Measuring the Problem: A National Examination of Disproportionate Police Contact in the United States,” was selected from among all of the articles published throughout last year in the academic peer-reviewed journal Criminal Justice Review. The award is sponsored by Sage Publication and the Georgia State University Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology.

The James L. Maddex Jr. Paper of the Year Award is named for the supporter and professor emeritus of the department of criminal justice and criminology at GSU. Maddex also is a former editor of the journal.

Pollock, Oliver and Menard were honored with a commemorative plaque and shared honorarium for the article during a reception last month in Dallas at the annual meeting of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, where they received the distinguished award.

“This award is truly significant for the journal of Criminal Justice Review receives numerous high quality journal articles each year and only publishes a small percentage of those,” Oliver said. “The award is also a testament to the high quality of criminal justice doctoral students we have, for Wendi Pollock (now assistant professor of criminal justice at Stephen F. Austin University) was the student who saw the importance of looking at disproportionate police contact, one aspect being racial profiling, nationally and across time.

“Measuring the Problem” was published in the volume 37, No. 2 issue of the journal.

The research deals with the issue of racial profiling in America and “takes a different approach to measuring the presence of such predictors of police contact,” examining socioeconomic variables, offending behavior and prior police contact as predictors of self-reported police contact (questioning or arrest), according to Oliver.

Utilizing multilevel models and eight waves of National Youth Survey Family Study data, the predictors were examined in a national sample of individuals over 24 years old.

“Results indicated that police contact is predominately predicted by sex, delinquent peers, and offending behavior,” Oliver said. “This suggests that several of the variables commonly discussed in police contact literature, including race (racial profiling), are not predictors of police contact at the national level in the United States.”

“The journal Criminal Justice Review recognized the importance of the work, for most of the studies on disproportionate police contact surveys people now, whereas this research was unique in that it used data that has surveyed the same people since the 1970s and it surveyed them nationally,” he said. “Most of these studies are a moment in time and tend to be local or at best at the state level.”



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