Incarceration Rates and Poverty

Research question and hypothesis

Is there a correlation between incarceration rates and poverty? If incarceration rates are related to poverty, then states that has a high number of people being incarcerated will have a correlation to the number of families being in poverty. My research will show that being incarcerated will have an adverse effect on society and the social economical factors that lends to family households being in poverty which causes a systemic problem across the nation. Using prior researcher’s data that can reveal similar studies to show a correlation to incarceration and poverty (Braman, 2009, (DeFina & Hannon, 2009). Dishion & Tipsord, 2011, Geller, Garfinkel & Western, 2011, Sugie,2015, Travis, 2014, Western, (2013) Wildeman, & Western, 2010 Western & Muller (2013). According to Lainer, Henry & Anastaia (2015) Howards Becker’s labeling theory can attest to my conclusion that being incarcerated will lead to poverty. Why? In the labeling theory it explains how one who is deemed as being deviate or a felony becomes that of the title which has been placed on that person. This leads to being incarcerated and ending up being in poverty after getting out of the institution that person is placed in and not being able to obtain ligament gainful employment.

Research design

I will be conducting my research by using quantitative data that I have collected from two secondary sources due to the lack of time to use qualitative data which will yield a more accurate depiction of my research on my two variables.

I will use a research design involving a quantitative, correlational analysis of secondary data. Quantitative research is numerical data and the process of quantification that allows my research to be clear; also, it allows me to collect and summarize data that has been gathered previously (Maxfield & Babbie, 2005).

Furthermore, quantitative data uses longitudinal data that has been collected, to describe data varying from simple to complex testing of relationships between multiple variable (Maxfield & Babbie, 2005). Correlational or more specifically the Pearson’s product-moment correlation describes the ratio and interval variables that are to analyzed. It is an index used to measure correlation.

The Pearson’s r may variously be thought as a special type of mean, a special type of variance, the ration of two means, the ration of two variances, the slope of a line, the cosine of an angle, and the tangent to an ellipse, and may be looked at from several other interesting perspectives.

Maxfield & Babbie (2005) stated that the use of exploratory study will be to determine the frequency and or the nature of a selected problem. There are several benefits of using the exploratory study which include: the capability to satisfy a researcher’s curiosity, when applied to their studies (Babbie, 2001, 92). Also, research can be done with fewer issues (Babbie, 2001, 92).

The sample size for any given study depends on type of study and the population being observed. The sample size for my study will involve 50 states. A benefit of using a non random sampling strategy is the sample would not target any one particular sample group, thus hopefully including multiple samples. Also, non-random sampling is convenient, inexpensive and simple to utilize (Maxfield & Babbie, 1995, 210) However, there are a few problems with random sampling as well. There is little or very little dependability with using non random sampling (Maxfield & Babbie, 1995, 210). In addition, it is hard to determine the identifying group because the sample used us umknown (Walker & Maddan, 2005, 333).

Decriptive statistics summarizes or describes data or shows relationships between variables (Hogan, 2014).


Maxfield, M. G. and Babbie, E. (2005). Research methods for criminal justice and criminology.

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