A Closer Look at the Factors that Affect Misdemeanor Offenders

Date of Award


Document Type



College of Arts and Sciences


Sociology and Anthropology

Degree Name

Bachelor of Art in Sociology

Honors Thesis Director

Jennifer Solomon

Honors Thesis Reader 1

Brad Tripp

Honors Thesis Reader 2

Jonathan Marx


This study examines the common belief that misdemeanor offences are usually committed by individuals from lower socio-economic classes. 1 suggest that this is a misconception and that individuals from all classes commit misdemeanors. The data are from the Monitoring the Future: A Continuing Study of American Youth (12thGrade Survey), 2000-2008 (University of Michigan. Institute for Social Research Survey Research Center). I will focus on 12th grade students from the years 2000 to 2008. For the purposes of this study, a misdemeanor is less severe than a felony and includes such crimes as disorderly conduct, shoplifting, public drunkenness, or minor assault. In addition, conviction for a misdemeanor usually results in a fine or imprisonment in a jail for less than a year. I will examine evidence tor the common belief about the characteristics of misdemeanor offenders and explore other influences on those who commit misdemeanors. This research shows that family relationships, the importance of religion to the respondent, and race have an effect on whether an individual commits a misdemeanor. The results of this study »"~'-10'."""'~ that other factors, besides social class, may be important for understanding misdemeanor activity.

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