Acculturation and Perceptions of the Law in Chicago Neighborhoods

Carmen Gutierrez, University of Texas at Austin
David S. Kirk, University of Texas at Austin

Despite demonstrating lower levels of criminal behavior and greater reverence for the U.S. justice system, both the civil and criminal legal systems in the U.S. often treat immigrants more harshly than native-born citizens. Our study addresses the paradox between immigrants’ views of and treatment from the law using 2001-2003 data from the Chicago Community Adult Health Study (CCAHS). Specifically, we examine the extent to which immigrant generations differ in their normative orientations to the law, net of individual and neighborhood correlates. Our results suggest that both ethnic origin and immigrant generation status significantly predict cultural attitudes toward the law as measured by legal cynicism, tolerance of deviance, and police dissatisfaction.

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 Presented in Session P2. Data and Methods/Applied Demography/ Spatial Demography/ Demography of Crime