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Contemporary adolescents have considerable contact with police. This contact begins at young ages, can be physically aggressive, and in most cases, does not identify illegal activity and does not lead to formal processing by the criminal justice system. However, such encounters have the potential to attach a deviant label to the young people stopped, and signal to others that they should be approached with caution or suspicion. We use data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study to examine two potential ways that youth may react to this label: (1) anticipated and perceived social exclusion, and (2) legal cynicism. We also assess the extent to which adolescents’ reactions to their own experience with the police may vary based on their perception of police contact in their communities and among people they know. Preliminary findings suggest that police stops, when intrusive, are associated with greater exclusion and legal cynicism. This publication has two co-authors in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland, Assistant Professor Wade Jacobsen and PhD Candidate Xinyi Situ.

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