Document Type



Justice Studies Program


Examines Donald Black's (1976) theory of pure sociology with data from traffic stops collected over eight months during seventy hours of "ride alongs" with eight different police departments in Rhode Island. Posits that the social structure of each traffic stop is predictable based on observable characteristics of the parties involved and that distance in social space increases the likelihood of a police officer issuing a citation to a driver, while social characteristics similar to that of the police officer reduces the likelihood of a driver receiving a citation. Twenty-one variables throught to impact a police officer's discretion are analyzed. As a result of a small sample size, only age is seen to be weakly correlated in support of Black's theory.

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