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Law Enforcement and Corrections

Adolescents

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Police Contact And The Legal Socialization Of Urban Teens, Jeffrey A. Fagan, Amanda Geller Jan 2019

Police Contact And The Legal Socialization Of Urban Teens, Jeffrey A. Fagan, Amanda Geller

Faculty Scholarship

Contemporary American policing has routinized involuntary police contacts with young people through frequent, sometimes intrusive investigative stops. Personal experience with the police has the potential to corrode adolescents’ relationships with law and skew law-related behaviors. We use the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to estimate how adolescents’ experiences with the police shape their legal socialization. We find that both personal and vicarious police contact are associated with increased legal cynicism. Associations are present across racial groups and are not explained by teens’ behaviors, school settings, or family backgrounds. Legal cynicism is amplified in teens reporting intrusive contact but diminished …