- Ph.D. Sociology, The University of Iowa
Research and Teaching Interests
My research covers a variety of areas but they center on (i) criminal behaviors and (ii) responses to crime. My published work "on crime" addresses gender and crime, age and crime, race and violence, burglary and the trade in stolen goods, organized crime, communities and crime, criminal careers, effects of broad societal changes on crime rates, and a gendered paradigm for explaining female offending and the gender gap. My published work "on responses to crime" addresses citizen reporting of crime, effects on criminal sentencing of defendant's gender, age, race/ethnicity, effects of judge's gender and judge's race on sentencing, and a "focal concerns" perspective on case-process and judicial decision making. Two recurrent themes through much of my published work concern the effects of stratification processes on criminal offending and its sanctioning, and the impact of social change on patterns of crime and on variability in criminal sanctioning.
My research applies a variety of methodologies, including field and case studies (burglary, fencing stolen goods, bookmaking and racketeering), survey (interviews with female offenders, lower-court judges), experimental (citizen reporting of "staged" shoplifting) and quasi-experimental designs (trends in the Nation's Crime Rate), archival (organized crime), and demographic and social-ecological(sex, age, and race/ethnicity differences in crime, communities and crime). One hallmark of my research involves the combined application of quantitative and qualitative techniques for analyzing and writing up the results.
Teach undergraduate and graduate courses relating to criminological theories, criminal careers, communities and crime, sociology of law, courts and sentencing, organized crime and racketeering, and demography of crime (gender, race-ethnicity, and age).
Currently (i) completing a monograph, titled: Confessions of a Dying Thief – an in-depth life history of "Sam Goodman,"a longtime thief and quasi-legitimate businessman who died in the 1990s following a four-month bout with lung cancer. The interview material are used to assess and illustrate nuances and details of crime and criminal careers, including how career criminality is a process that can be marked by amplification spirals, shifts, and oscillations, and waxing and waning commitments to crime and criminal others. (ii) Prevalence, trends, and correlates of the intersection of gender and race/ethnicity (and age) effects on criminal offending.
Professional Awards and Achievements
- Book on trade in stolen property, The Fence: In the Shadow of Two Worlds, received the Outstanding Scholarship Award from the Society for the Study of Social Problems (1988)
- Recipient of Distinction in the Social Sciences award, The Pennsylvania State University (1989).
- Project director and principal writer of: The 1990 Report on Organized Crime in Pennsylvania, a 500-page report on patterns and trends in organized crime, a study conducted on behalf of the Pennsylvania Crime Commission (a government agency charged with investigating organized crime and corruption in Pennsylvania).
- Elected president of the International Association for the Study of Organized Crime (19992-94).
- Named a Fellow of the American Society of Criminology (1996).
- Recipient of three NSF awards for funded research since 1990.
- CONFESSIONS OF A DYING THIEF: UNDERSTANDING CRIMINAL CAREERS AND ILLEGAL ENTERPRISE. 2004 (fall). Aldine de Gruyter.(with Jeffery Ulmer)
- THE FENCE: IN THE SHADOW OF TWO WORLDS. 1986. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield. (Recipient of the 1987 Award of Outstanding Scholarship of the Crime and Delinquency Division of the Society for the Study of Social Problems.)
- EXAMINING DEVIANCE EXPERIMENTALLY. 1976. Port Washington, NY: Alfred Press. (with Robert M. Terry).
- "The Impact of Gender and Race-Ethnicity in the Pretrial Release Process." 2004. Social Problems (May). (with Stephen Demuth)
- "Confessions of a Dying Thief: A Tutorial on Differential Association." 2003. Chapter 10, pp. 227-264 in Advances in Criminological Theory: A Guide for the New Century. Social Learning Theory and the Explanation of Crime (edited by Ronald Akers and Gary Jensen). New Brunswick and London: Transaction Publishers. (with Jeffery Ulmer)
- "Female Offending: Trends and Patterns." . 2003 in WOMEN, CRIME, AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE (Edited by Barbara Raffel Price and Natalie Sokoloff). Clark Boardman. (with Jennifer Schwartz)
- Darrell Steffensmeier and Fred Martens. 2002. "Organized Crime." In INTERNATIONAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES (edited by Smelser and Baltes), Volume 3.15 Article 33. Elsevier Science Ltd.
- "Judges’ Race and Judicial Decision Making: Do Black Judges Sentence Differently?" 2001 Social Science Quarterly 82:750-765. (with Chester Britt)
- "Ethnicity and Sentencing Outcomes in U.S. Federal Courts: Who is Punished More Harshly?" 2000 American Sociological Review 65:705-729. (with Stephen Demuth)
- "Gender, Structural Disadvantage, and Urban Crime: Do Macrosocial Variables Also Explain Female Offending Rates?" 2000 Criminology38:403-438. (with Dana Haynie)
- "Men and Women Decisionmakers: Does the Judge's Gender Affect the Sentencing of Criminal Defendants." 1999 Social Forces 77:1163-1196. (with Chris Hebert)
- "Making Sense of Recent U.S. Crime Trends, 1980-98:Age Composition Effects and Other Explanations." 1999 Journal of Research in Crime & Delinquency 36:235-274. (with Miles Harer)
- "The Interaction of Race, Gender, and Age in Criminal Sentencing: The Punishment Cost of Being Young, Black, and Male." 1998 Criminology36(4):763-798. (with Jeffery Ulmer, and John Kramer)
- "Race and Prison Violence." 1996 Criminology 34:323-356. (with Miles Harer)
- "Gender and Crime: Toward a Gendered Paradigm of Female Offending." 1996 Annual Review of Sociology 22:459-87. (with Emilie Allan)
- "Understanding Black Urban Violence: Communities as Units of Stratification and Social Control." 1994 Social Forces 73:729-752. (with Ed Shihadeh)
- "Cohort Size and Crime Rates Over the Life Course: The Easterlin Hypothesis Reconsidered." 1992 American Sociological Review 57:306-314. (with Cathy Streifel, and Ed Shihadeh)
- "Differing Effects of Income Inequality on Black and White Offending Rates." 1992 Social Forces 70:1035-1054. (with Miles D. Harer)
- "The Distribution of Crime by Age and Gender Across Three Historical Periods--1935, 1960, and 1985." 1991 Social Forces 69:869-894. (with Cathy Striefel)
- "Causes of white-collar crime revisited: an assessment of the Hirschi and Gottfredson assertions." 1989 Criminology 27:345-358.
- "Age and the distribution of crime."1989 American Journal of Sociology 94:803-831. (Emilie Allan, Miles D. Harer and Cathy Streifel)
- "Modernization and female crime: a cross-national test of alternative Explanations." 1989 Social Forces 68:262-283. (with Emilie Allan, and Cathy Streifel)
- "Youth, underemployment, and property crime: effects of the quantity and the quality of job opportunities on juvenile and young adult arrest rates." 1989 American Sociological Review 54:107-123. (with Emile Allan)
- "Relative cohort size and youth crime in the United States, 1953-84." 1987 American Sociological Review 52:702-710. (with Cathy Streifel, and Miles Harer)
- Darrell Steffensmeier. 1983 "An organizational perspective on sex-segregation in the underworld: building a sociological theory of sex differences in crime." Social Forces 61:1010-1032.
- "Deviance and respectability: an observational study of reactions to shoplifting."1973 Social Forces 51:417-426. (with Robert Terry)