Handbook of Quantitative Criminology

pp 615-648


Multilevel Analysis in the Study of Crime and Justice

  • Brian D. JohnsonAffiliated withCriminology and Criminal Justice, University of Maryland

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The study of crime and justice often involves the nesting of individual observations within larger social contexts of interest – juveniles are nested within schools, offenders within neighborhoods, police within precincts, judges within courts, inmates within prisons and so on. In these and related instances, multilevel models provide a useful extension of ordinary regression models that allow for the simultaneous inclusion of data across multiple units of analysis. This chapter provides a general introduction to the use of multilevel models, discussing the different forms they take and illustrating their basic application through the example of convicted offenders sentenced within federal district court contexts. The chapter concludes with a introduction and overview of some common difficulties and more complex modeling issues that sometimes arise in multilevel analysis.