Erin Tinney, a CCJS doctoral candidate, has recently published an article titled "The “STICKINESS” of stigma: Guilt by association after a friend’s arrest" in Criminology. The article explores the consequences of vicarious police contact, specifically through a friend's arrest, and expands on labeling theory and the concept of "stickiness."
Using a sample of rural youth, Tinney found that a friend's arrest is associated with an increased likelihood of one's first arrest the following year, even after accounting for other predictors of police contact. The study suggests that police contact may harm a youth's social network and that stigma can stick despite efforts to end associations with the arrested individual. In addition, ending relationships with friends who have been arrested does not significantly impact this relationship.
This study expands on preexisting research on adolescent police contact by introducing a friend's police contact as a way in which an individual may become involved in the justice system. Tinney's findings highlight the need for further research and policy development aimed at preventing the negative consequences of vicarious police contact.