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Dr. Darren Wheelock received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and is an Assistant Professor of Social and Cultural Sciences at Marquette University. His research interests include racial and ethnic stratification, criminology, sociology of law, punishment and social control.
His dissertation research examines whether theories of racial conflict can account for the historical emergence and expansion of felon jury exclusion. It also explores the degree to which felon jury exclusion might systematically remove otherwise eligible racial minorities from the jury system thereby exacerbating current racial gaps in juror service.
Darren's broader research agenda involves two lines of investigation. The first examines the impact of criminal punishment on racial inequality. He focuses specifically on the role of collateral consequences (laws which disqualify individuals with felony convictions from engaging in important social institutions such as civic participation, work, and education) in maintain or worsening racial gaps across a broad range of indicators such as rates of college attendance and employment. His recent publications concerning these topics include, "Collateral Consequences and Racial Inequality: Felon Status Exclusions as a System of Disadvantage," appearing in the Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice (2005) and "Race, Poverty and Punishment: The Impact of Criminal Sanctions on Racial, Ethnic, and Socioeconomic Inequality," a chapter forthcoming in The Colors of Poverty: Why Racial and Ethnic Disparities Persist, coauthored with Dr. Christopher Uggen.
The second line of research investigates the role of race in shaping criminal justice policy and punitive attitudes. Darren examines the way in which racial attitudes impact punitive support for punitive policies. His work, co-authored with Dr. Ryan King entitled, Group Threat and Social Control: Race, Perceptions of Minorities, and the Desire to Punish, is forthcoming in Social Forces. He also examines the role of race in politics and political discourses concerning crime and punishment. Research concerning the symbolic use of midnight basketball, a sports-based outreach program, in the 1994 crime bill debates explores these issues and is also forthcoming in The Sociological Quarterly.
Darren Wheelock teaches courses on criminal behavior and the criminal justice system. In the near future, he plans to teach a course on race, crime and punishment that will examine racial disparities in rates of criminal offending and racial discrimination in the criminal justice system.