School truancy, particularly in primary and secondary schools, represents a serious issue deserving attention in communities across the nation. Most often treated as a management and disciplinary problem, serious attention to the underlying causes of truancy is usually given after the youth's absence from school becomes frequent or chronic. Truant youths are at considerable risk of continuing their troubled behavior in school, experiencing psychosocial difficulties, and entering the juvenile justice system. Unfortunately, with few exceptions, truancy has not received significant attention by criminologists. This paper addresses three questions: (1) What kinds of truancy programs exist in the U.S? (2) What evidence do we have regarding their effectiveness? (3) What system and programmatic issues present obstacles to implementing successful truancy programs, and need to be considered in establishing effective programs? Finally, we discuss efforts that are underway in Hillsborough County, Florida in implementing an effective continuum of service for truant youths and their families.
We consider the problem of estimating the incidence of residential burglaries
that occur over a well-defined period of time within the 10 most populous
cities in North Carolina. Our analysis typifies some of the general issues that
arise in estimating and comparing local crime rates over time and for different
cities. Typically, the only information we have about crime incidence within
any particular city is what that city's police department tells us, and the
police can only count and describe the crimes that come to their attention. To
address this, our study combines information from police-based residential
burglary counts and the National Crime Victimization Survey to obtain interval
estimates of residential burglary incidence at the local level. We use those
estimates as a basis for commenting on the fragility of between-city and
over-time comparisons that often appear in both public discourse about crime
It is frequently reported by the media and public officials that 100,000 registered sex offenders (RSOs) in the United States are “missing.” This policy note first describes the origin of this figure, which was initially derived from a 2003 informal survey of state registries conducted by a grassroots advocacy organization. Then, we explore the definitional ambiguities that complicate the process of calculating the national number of fugitive sex offenders. Finally, we present emerging research efforts to develop reliable estimates of the number and proportion of RSOs officially recorded by states as absconded, whereabouts unknown, or noncompliant with registration requirements. While such data remain limited, we find little evidence to support that 100,000 sex offenders are “missing,” using even the most inclusive definitions. Implications for policy and practice are discussed.
New statutory schemes enacted to support the “War on Drugs” policies of the 1980s are being enforced in a manner which is increasing the likelihood of a greater number of wrongful convictions. This study examines these new anti-drug statutes by analyzing how and when the American criminal justice system may be incarcerating marginally culpable and even innocent defendants due to the easier convictability of those prosecuted under the new statutes. One new crime created by these statutes is “trafficking in controlled substances.” An accused can be convicted under this powerfully sanctioned crime whenever the prosecution proves that he or she is only in “constructive possession” of a statutorily designated amount of a controlled substance. The significant change embodied in the new crime of “trafficking” is that it has reduced the amount of proof which used to be necessary to convict an accused person of the old drug dealer's crime, “possession of drugs with the intent to distribute.” In “trafficking” statutes, the seminal element of the older crime has been omitted. This omission has facilitated convictions. Additionally, this study uncovers statutorily built-in sentencing disparities among the punishments which judges are forced to impose on those convicted of “trafficking” versus the punishments which judges have the discretion to impose for other equally serious felonies.
Proposition 36 (aka SACPA) radically changed how the criminal justice system in California deals with drug offenders—from a crime control model to an addiction-treatment model. Although it was anticipated that the diversion-to-treatment law would have a significant impact on drug offenders, courts, and corrections in the state of California, it was not anticipated to have a noticeable effect on law enforcement. Contrary to expectations, the current study found very high levels of frustration among law enforcement officers. The frustration altered the way some officers exercised discretion and led many to actively circumvent the legislation. Specifically, officers reported that they now seek out additional charges to disqualify offenders from being diverted through Proposition 36, and they are less likely to arrest offenders for being under the influence. These results are consistent with findings from other street-level bureaucracy studies of police response to new policies and programs.
In an attempt to reduce the number of adjudicated juveniles being committed to the state for placement, the juvenile court in Wayne CountyMichigan implemented three intensive supervision programs to serve as alternatives to commitment. A four-year, randomized evaluation of the programs found them to be cost-effective. An analysis of court processes, however, suggested that the programs gradually came to supplement rather than to displace commitments as intended. The results of this study illustrate how juvenile justice organizations adapt to the presence of alternative programs in ways that dilute their impact. Peer Reviewed http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/68050/2/10.1177_088740349000400204.pdf
The Georgia Statistical Analysis Bureau (SAB), a joint effort of Georgia State University and state criminal justice agencies, was established to integrate and analyze criminal justice data. Its research effort is aimed at providing timely, practical information regarding the criminal justice system to policy analysts, the Governor, legislators, other elected officials, and members of the public interested in criminal justice issues. The SAB's first goal was to develop an empirically-based systematic agenda for criminal justice research in Georgia.
To achieve this initial goal, the SAB conducted a mail survey of criminal justice practitioners. Across criminal justice agencies, there was a consensus regarding the research areas that the SAB should address in its initial years. This survey served as a basis for a systematic research agenda defined by the long-term interests of the entire criminal justice community. The research approach and the results reported here are valuable for criminal justice planners, policy makers, and researchers who are interested in making empirically grounded professional decisions.
Extant research on the effects of judicial background characteristics suggests minimal influence from the race or gender of the sentencing judge in criminal cases. This raises at least two possibilities: 1) the combined influence of judicial recruitment, indoctrination and socialization into the judgeship results in a homogenous body of criminal court judges, or 2) current approaches to identifying judge effects in criminal sentencing have methodological and conceptual flaws that limit their ability to detect important influences from judicial background characteristics. The current paper argues that the mode of conviction shapes the locus of sentencing discretion in ways that systematically underestimate judge effects for pooled estimates of incarceration and sentence length. The empirical results support this interpretation, especially for incarceration in trial cases, where older, female, and minority judges are substantially less likely to sentence offenders to jail or prison terms.
The Affordable Homes Program (AHP) is a prison work crew program managed by the Minnesota Department of Corrections (MNDOC). To examine whether AHP has increased postrelease employment, lowered recidivism, and reduced costs to the State of Minnesota, this study uses a retrospective, quasi-experimental design in which propensity score matching was used to control for observable selection bias. The results show that during the 1998-2008 period, AHP (a) built 285 affordable homes, (b) significantly increased offenders’ odds of obtaining postrelease employment in the construction field, and (c) produced US$13.1 million in costs avoided. It did not, however, significantly reduce recidivism.
This article addresses our endeavors and experiences conducting a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) to evaluate a promising aftercare intervention in the Netherlands. New Perspectives Aftercare Program (NPAP) is an intensive reentry program for serious juvenile and young adult offenders, aged 16 to 24, starting in the last phase of their detention or secure care and lasting for 9 months. Implementing the experimental study was a challenge, because it covered both the juvenile and adult justice system, with offenders receiving aftercare mandated under criminal and civil law, resulting in complex referral pathways complicating the system and moment of randomization. Other matters were related to resistance to random assignment and unforeseen conflicts between administrative and evaluation priorities of the different stakeholders, such as the city council and youth care organizations. Our experiences may be helpful to other researchers who encounter similar problems to fruitfully conduct experimental research in criminal justice settings.
Although scholars have recognized the utility of conductive energy devices as less-than-lethal force tools, there have been concerns over the misuse of the device and the adverse health effects associated with its use in the field. In an attempt to improve policy, scholars and policing organizations, such as the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), have developed “model” written CED policies as guidelines. It is expected that adherence to these policies can improve the overall effectiveness of the device as well as reduce many negative outcomes. This study reviews and compares the written CED policies of 124 municipal policing agencies to the model policies set forth by PERF. The findings indicate that municipal police agencies have done a rather poor job meeting these recommendations. Implications and recommendations for making broad improvements to CED policies are discussed.
This article describes the nature and importance of wrongful conviction as a criminal justice policy issue, the development of an innocence movement to litigate on behalf of potential exonerees and to promote policy issues, the innocence movement’s policy and research agenda, and the very small amount of criminal justice research on the issue in comparison to legal and psychological inquiry. A research agenda for criminal justice policy scholars is proposed to explore the innocence movement and its research agenda. Research models from political science and sociology regarding the study of public policy, social movements, and interest groups offer themes and methods that would allow criminal justice researchers to expand their understanding of the criminal justice system’s capacity for reform. Network analysis and the diffusion of innovation research are suggested as approaches to examine the context and spread of innocence reforms.
Scholarly interest in self-protective behaviors is demonstrated in studies examining victimization; these behaviors are presumed to reduce the likelihood of experiencing crime. Protective behaviors are not taken by all citizens equally, however, so it is critical to explain these behaviors within the population. The current study extends existing works, most of which were based on urban samples, by examining the determinants of protective behaviors in a sample of rural residents in the United States. Predictors are derived from a modified risk interpretation model (Ferraro, 1995) and include risk, fear, victimization experiences, and perceived collective efficacy. Results show that household protective behaviors are influenced by perceptions of risk and, indirectly through risk, by perceived collective efficacy and victimization experiences.
Role stress is an important aspect of the prison workplace that impairs organizational functioning and can have negative effects for correctional staff. While the effects of role stress on correctional workers are largely known, few studies have examined the causes of role stress. The current study explores potential antecedents of role stress among 160 correctional staff at a private Midwestern prison. Multivariate OLS (ordinary least squares) regression analysis identified five statistically significant predictors of role stress: instrumental communication, supervisory support, formalization, job autonomy, and race. The results suggest that correctional managers and supervisors can reduce role stress substantially by clarifying the roles, responsibilities, and expectations of employees, creating a supportive atmosphere for workers, and identifying areas where staff can have greater control over their jobs.
A sample of NCS personal victimization incidents was analyzed in order to identify the correlates of victims' armed resistance to attack. In order to assess whether the correlates of victims' use of a gun were different from those of victims' self-protective use of another weapon, two dependent variables were employed: (1) use of a gun, and (2) use of weapon other than a gun. A separate analysis of the correlates of self-defensive weapon use for males and females, whites and non-whites was conducted. The results of the logistic regression suggest that gender and presence of an offender's weapon were related to self-defensive weapon use. Additional significant predictors were distance from home and victim income for gun use only; number of recent moves, whether the attack took place in the dark or during daylight, and time of day that incident took place for other weapon use only. Furthermore, the predictors for whites and non-whites, females and males varied, suggesting the need for continued exploration of separate models for these specific subgroups.
While numerous studies have examined the causes, correlates, and control of police use of force, many questions remain. This study contributes to the literature on police use of force by examining the role of officers’ background characteristics, job characteristics (patrol area and shift assignment), and arrest activity in explaining variation in the frequency with which officers use force. Analyses were conducted on 1,084 police officers employed in a large municipal police department. Use of force data were obtained from 477 official departmental reports from 2010. Results suggest that a small proportion of officers are responsible for a large proportion of force incidents, and that officers who frequently use force differ in important and significant ways from officers who use force less often (or not at all). Policy implications and directions for future research are discussed.
The percent of offenders arrested for murder in the United States has declined in all reporting cities from 92% in 1960 to 66% in 1997. This paper evaluates three sources of evidence that account for the decline in homicide arrests: police-based programs; changes in the character of homicides; and community and social factors. In the final section we suggest a view of homicide as self-help and explore third party behavior in relation to police cooperation, fear of retaliation, and type of homicide.
The problem of violence within police families has been increasingly recognized as an important sociolegal issue, but there is a lack of empirical data on what has commonly been referred to as officer-involved domestic violence (OIDV). There are no comprehensive statistics available on OIDV and no government entity collects data on the criminal conviction of police officers for crimes associated with domestic and/or family violence. Prior self-report officer surveys are limited by the tendency to conceal instances of family violence and the interests of officers to maintain a “code of silence” to protect their careers. The purpose of the current study is to provide empirical data on OIDV cases. The study identifies and describes cases in which police were arrested for criminal offenses associated with an incident of family and/or domestic violence through a content analysis of published newspaper articles. Data on these cases is presented in terms of the arrested officer, employing agency, victim, charged offense(s), and criminal case dispositions. The paper includes a discussion regarding OIDV and policy implications.
As the discovery of wrongful convictions grows, so does concern in the legal community and public sphere about actual innocence. Though research on miscarriages of justice has grown tremendously, most has focused on the factors contributing to wrongful convictions, with relatively little attention paid to the post-release struggles of exonerees. Specifically, social scientists have not yet examined policies designed to assist the exonerated in their return to society. This study provides a content analysis of existing compensation statutes for the wrongly convicted. Results show that just more than half of American states have compensation statutes for exonerees, and the assistance offered varies tremendously from state to state. Assessing current statutes in comparison to a model standard indicates that whereas some jurisdictions provide fairly comprehensive packages, others offer little in the way of reentry assistance. The importance of such statutes and implications for the wrongly convicted are discussed.
Despite being created and validated in the 1970s and 1980s, and widely adopted by many agencies in the United States, including Texas, the Wisconsin Risk Need Assessment Instrument has yet to be examined with a contemporaneous Texas probationer sample. Due to the majority of previous research reporting poor utility, the instrument’s authors proposed a new scoring system for the risk portion of the instrument in 2009 in an attempt to increase the predictive utility. This study examines the original instrument and is the first to examine the proposed reweighted risk scale’s relationship to recidivism with an independent sample of 194 male probationers. Findings revealed that the original risk/need sections and proposed reweighted risk items failed to explain significant variance in recidivism with very few items relating to reoffense. The current results provide further evidence that the Wisconsin Risk Need Assessment should be replaced by other empirically validated risk/need instruments.
As an artifact of the war on terror, local law enforcement agencies have been asked to serve as the “eyes and ears” of federal intelligence agencies. The federal Office of Domestic Preparedness (ODP) has assembled a set of guidelines to assist agencies in terrorism prevention and weapons of mass destruction identification. However, there is a dearth of metrics and measurement tools available to assess preparedness. Based on ODP guidelines, a methodology to tap preparedness levels is defined. Additionally, preliminary findings from an assessment of a large law enforcement agency are presented. Application of this methodology will enhance the preparedness of local agencies by identifying areas of strength and those areas which require attention. Once these deficit areas are defined, policy makers can define appropriate training and programmatic changes.
This study examined whether sex offender residence restriction policies were associated with the clustering of registered sex offender (RSO) residences in 3,056 upstate New York block groups. RSO clustering was measured as the average distance between an RSO and the five closest RSO neighbors, and was aggregated to the block group level. Controls were included for structural characteristics of block groups as well as regional differences within the study area. Results indicate that block groups with relatively newer residence restrictions had decreased RSO clustering (i.e., RSOs living farther apart from each other) compared to block groups without such policies. However, block groups that had residence restrictions for longer than about 2 years had similar RSO clustering levels to block groups without such policies. Results suggest a nonlinear relationship between how long a residence restriction is in place and RSO clustering levels. Implications for future research and policy are discussed.
Finding legitimate employment upon release from prison is an important, yet daunting, aspect of offender reentry. Researchers have argued that negative employer attitudes toward hiring ex-offenders act as a barrier during the job search process. This study explored existing attitudes of employers in their willingness to hire ex-offenders in the current labor market and determined whether these attitudes were dependent on the concentration of ex-offenders in the surrounding geographical community. Mail surveys and follow-up telephone contacts with a random sample of businesses that typically employ ex-offenders within 12 Texas zip-codes (six high parolee concentrations, six low parolee concentrations) were conducted. Respondents indicated a general willingness to hire ex-offenders, which did not vary by concentration of parolees in the surrounding area but was found to vary by the conviction offense. Other significant predictors included the respondent’s age and arrest history, whether their business was currently hiring, and whether the business had previously hired an ex-offender.
The role of defense counsel in criminal cases constitutes a topic of substantial importance for judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, scholars, and policymakers. What types of defense counsel (e.g., public defenders, privately retained attorneys, or assigned counsel) represent defendants in criminal cases and how do these defense counsel types perform in terms of securing favorable outcomes for their clients? These and other issues are addressed in this article analyzing felony case processing data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). Specifically, this paper examines whether there are differences between defense counsel type and the adjudication and sentencing phases of criminal case processing. Results show that private attorneys and public defenders secure similar adjudication and sentencing outcomes for their clients. Defendants with assigned counsel, however, receive less favorable outcomes compared to their counterparts with public defenders. This article concludes by discussing the policy implications of these findings and possible avenues for future research.
Although it appears that there is growing interest in early childhood intervention as an effort to reduce crime, resources continue to be funneled toward punishment and incarceration. Considering this and acknowledging earlier cost-based empirical research, the question still remains as to the cost incurred by a lifetime of involvement in crime and experiencing a host of adverse noncrime outcomes. This study provides a review of the literature in search of well-designed early childhood interventions that address a series of socials ills, such as crime and delinquency, educational attainment, drug and alcohol abuse, smoking, child abuse and neglect, poor health outcomes, and teen pregnancy. Furthermore, building on the earlier framework and basic methodology developed by Cohen and recently updated by Cohen and Piquero, this study offers calculations of the present value of lifetime costs imposed on society for each of these various social ills—discounted to the date of birth to put them on comparable terms. The largest cost is imposed by the career criminal (US$2.1-US$3.7 million). Next, the present value costs associated with both drug abuse and alcohol dependence/abuse are roughly the same—about US$700,000 each—whereas child abuse and neglect costs an estimated US$250,000 to US$285,000. Health-related outcomes range from a low US$10,300 for the estimated present value cost of low birth weight to US$127,000, US$144,000, US$187,000, and US$260,000 for coronary heart disease, asthma, diabetes, and smoking, respectively. Finally, the present value cost of teen pregnancy is estimated to range from US$120,000 to US$140,000. Thus, properly designed programs and policies that focus on early childhood intervention have the potential to produce significant social benefits. Study limitations and suggestions for future research are also discussed. Yes Yes
Following recent studies in Florida and Canada, we examine the effects of prison visitation on recidivism among 16,420 offenders released from Minnesota prisons between 2003 and 2007. Using multiple measures of visitation (any visit, total number of visits, visits per month, timing of visits, and number of individual visitors) and recidivism (new offense conviction and technical violation revocation), we found that visitation significantly decreased the risk of recidivism, a result that was robust across all of the Cox regression models that were estimated. The results also showed that visits from siblings, in-laws, fathers, and clergy were the most beneficial in reducing the risk of recidivism, whereas visits from ex-spouses significantly increased the risk. The findings suggest that revising prison visitation policies to make them more “visitor friendly” could yield public safety benefits by helping offenders establish a continuum of social support from prison to the community. We anticipate, however, that revising existing policies would not likely increase visitation to a significant extent among unvisited inmates, who comprised 39% of our sample. Accordingly, we suggest that correctional systems consider allocating greater resources to increase visitation among inmates with little or no social support.
As an anomaly of extant literature that maintains Blacks as a collective are less supportive of racial profiling than other ethnic groups, this article explores the backgrounds of Blacks who support the practice of racial profiling (referred to as Black Supporters). This study analyzed a national Gallup poll that included measures on profiling and had a significant number of Black respondents (N = 534). Black Supporters tended to be female; live in the Southern United States; and be politically conservative. Although multivariate analyses revealed few differences between Black Supporters and nonsupporters, the study represents an earnest attempt to explore Black support for a policing strategy that has both historically and contemporarily had negative effects on Black communities. We conclude the article by discussing the benefits of studying Black Supporters.
The emergence of hate crime legislation in Great Britain and the United States has generated public debate and has increasingly been the focus of academic work. Relatively little research has examined how and why certain victim categories might be considered and then dismissed from the hate crime policy domain. Drawing on original qualitative research, this article aims to fill that gap by focusing specifically on the exclusion of age and gender from hate crime policy in Britain by exploring the ways in which decisions are made about the characteristics of hate crime victim groups by policy makers and activists. This article asks important questions about how different forms of violence are conceptualized and understood by practitioners and theorists alike. It also addresses how claims for victims’ rights are framed to make changes to the criminal justice system.
The linkages between social disorganization theory, community empowerment, and coalition building are explored in the present article in an effort to address alcohol and other drug problems within communities. Social disorganization is explained and the conceptualization and operationalization of the dimensions of social disorganization are discussed. Both community empowerment and coalition building, two processes used to reorganize a socially disorganized community, are explained. Specific examples from the police literature focusing on community empowerment are also discussed.
To say that the Internet has impacted pedagogy is probably the understatement of the millennium. The professoriate is now faced with the additional challenges of mastering the Internet and concomitant technology while taking advantage of this vast information domain by incorporating its components in the classroom. My own experience with using the Internet to facilitate learning in a death penalty seminar underscores the problems of enticing students to go beyond classroom discussions and assigned readings while keeping pace with technological changes and their impact on pedagogy.
In the following sections, a number of capital punishment Internet sites are listed along with brief discussions of the content and their possible utility in the classroom. This list is by no means exhaustive, but is intended to assist anyone with an interest in capital punishment in minimizing their time spent searching the Web.
A longstanding debate in criminology and criminal justice has focused on whether white-collar offenders are sentenced more leniently than other types of offenders. This study uses a sample of approximately 1,200 adjudicated offenders who were employed in various types of health care professions at the time of their offenses—including both high-status and low-status positions—to explore whether the formal response to these types of occupational offenders are based on the status of the offender. The results show that certain types of high-status white-collar offenders appear to be punished more severely than lower status offenders from the health care field. Implications for policy, theory, and future research are provided.
Despite significant rates of psychopathology, less than 10% of court-involved youth are connected to appropriate care on release from detention. The majority are mandated to probation on release, providing the juvenile probation officer (PO) a unique opportunity to facilitate connection to mental health care. The current study supported this notion through analysis of qualitative interviews with recently detained youth, and their caregivers, who were identified with mental health concerns in detention. The juvenile PO was evaluated as a gateway provider (GP) in the pathway to mental health care. Results supported previous research discussing the conflicting roles inherent in juvenile probation: law enforcement and rehabilitation. A number of individual- and system-level factors specific to juvenile POs improved or impaired likelihood of connection to care. Further research should investigate how the interaction of the individual juvenile PO’s law enforcement orientation, and departmental culture and climate, affects youth’s connection to mental health care.
The Federal Probation Office and the Board of Judges for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania initiated a pilot reentry court program, called the Supervision to Aid Reentry (STAR) program in 2007. The impact evaluation used a quasi-experimental research design to compare the reentry success of the first 60 STAR participants to a matched comparison group of 60 probationers in the 18 months postrelease. While logistic regression results indicated that STAR participants were no less likely to be arrested than the comparison group, STAR participation was associated with a significant reduction in the likelihood of supervision revocation. With insight from a previous process evaluation of the STAR program, implications of these findings for the STAR program and other reentry programs are discussed.
Past research on presidential and gubernatorial rhetoric related to crime shows that both presidents and governors use symbolic statements in their crime rhetoric. To date, no research has analyzed how mayors employ political language related to crime. As mayors are politically closer to the people and have a greater impact on local crime policy, it is important to understand the nature of how mayors use symbolic language about crime. The current study draws on hypotheses derived from research related to presidents and governors and applies them to the top 50 city executives. A content analysis of 6 years (2005-2010) of mayors’ State of the City speeches was conducted to assess how mayors employ the issue of crime in their political communication. Overall, the results suggest that mayors employ crime rhetoric in a different manner from other executives when speaking to their constituents about crime.
Ensuring police use their authority justly is a persistent concern. Yet, there is little agreement on the most effective mechanisms for promoting accountability. The present study seeks to contribute to a growing body of research on mediation of police disputes by assessing variation in levels of satisfaction among officers and citizens. Using data collected by the Denver Office of the Independent Monitor, the study assesses the degree to which mediation produced differential levels of satisfaction. The study finds that both police and civilian participants in the mediation program were significantly more satisfied than individuals who participated in traditional complaint processing. In addition, the study finds that mediation is likely to have even stronger effects on satisfaction for Latino complainants, and female police officers. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.
There is increasing evidence of the effectiveness of continued care after reentry for those who have participated in prison-based substance abuse treatment. This article presents results from analyses of program and comparison group data from two community-based programs that implemented a culturally adapted version of the Creating Lasting Family Connections (CLFC) curriculum. Both programs sought to strengthen individuals (and their families) recently reentering the community after incarceration. Results suggested that the first program had effects on increasing HIV knowledge and spirituality, while reducing intentions to binge drink and recidivism. The second program similarly showed effects on recidivism, and participants also showed an increase in nine separate relationship skills. The policy implications of the results are discussed.
The past three decades have seen police agencies move toward the adoption of community policing. However, since 9/11, the policing focus has appeared to shift toward homeland security. Whether this represents a shift to a new policing philosophy or a modification to an existing one is unclear. Are community policing and homeland security policing compatible? Or does the move toward homeland security policing signal the demise of community policing? This study investigates these questions with data from Virginia police chiefs. Results suggest that police chiefs with 4-year degrees, chiefs from smaller departments, and chiefs from departments with higher levels of community policing implementation are less likely to believe that the emphasis on community policing is waning. Furthermore, police chiefs with 4-year degrees and those from departments with higher levels of community policing implementation are more likely to see community policing and homeland security policing as complementary strategies. Implications of the findings and directions for future research are discussed.
In the face of budgetary constraints, legislative discussions in Iowa have focused on fiscal savings through an increased probation/parole supervisor to officer ratio, resulting in a reduced number of supervisory staff. Ramifications of this change, given the concurrent implementation of evidence-based practices (EBP), are unknown, given the lack of existing research on rubric for span of control decisions within community corrections agencies. Interviews with stakeholders in both Iowa and a national convenience sample led to a development of factors that should be considered in the future, including an agency’s level of task complexity, the workforce skill level, and the work environment, such as the dynamic nature of assigned tasks. Participants perceived high span of control ratios in a typical community corrections environment would challenge the initial implementation of an effective EBP approach. Policy and practical implications are discussed.
This paper presents an analysis of the way Danish community police officers talk about and label citizens. It is shown how these labels, (customers, clientele, good Danish citizens, and the general public) function as guidelines for police discretion, and how officers interpret and treat similar acts quite differently depending on the label of the actor. The crucial distinction here is whether the citizen is “known” to the police, and even though police officers mainly deal with “known customers”, leniency seems to be reserved for the “unknown” citizens. Thus, by judging the man more than the act, police practice and discourse maintains and reinforces a distinction between lawful and unlawful people rather than between legal and illegal acts.
The dramatic growth in the incarceration rate since the mid-1970s has unintentionally resulted in massive numbers of people being released from prison each year. Consequently, prisoner reentry initiatives are receiving greater attention than ever before. At this point few studies have looked at public support for reentry initiatives, and the existing ones have taken a rather general and atheoretical approach. The current study explores public opinion toward a wide range of reentry policies and practices through a value conflict framework. Results from a randomly selected, statewide sample in Missouri indicate that people take into account such values as social welfare, retribution, and self-interest when assessing their support for reentry measures. As reentry initiatives may struggle to attain legitimacy and resources without public support, a number of policy implications are discussed. These implications include informing the public of the need for servicing those with prior prison terms and communicating the value of housing assistance during reentry.
The purpose of this study is to examine the structure of a measure of work stress. More specifically, the research investigated whether six items properly identified a latent measure of work stress for correctional staff. Using data from a nonrandom sample of correctional staff, the results of the structural equation model analysis supported the view that the six items form one latent construct. The implications of these results are presented as well.
The economic collapse of 2008 has forced states to reconsider their priorities in punishment and corrections. States have exhibited a wide range of responses to the fiscal crisis. Using data from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), this article reviews briefly the types of correctional policies enacted by states in 2009. This research then evaluates quantitatively the relationships between state-level economic, political, and crime control conditions in 2009 and variable rates of state-level policy enactments in that same year that reduce reliance on incarceration. Findings from a cross-sectional negative binomial model suggest that three factors were associated with state enactments in 2009 that reduce reliance on incarceration: percentage of seats held by the Republican Party in state legislatures, amount of state revenue, and percentage of federal funds used for corrections expenditures.
Since the development of homeland security, scholars have debated the relationship between community-oriented policing and homeland security innovations in local police departments. Most of the literature that assesses this relationship has been “conjecture or anecdotal,” and few studies have systematically measured these impacts. Few studies have examined the influence that organizational structures and administrative factors have on terrorism response preparedness among local law enforcement agencies. To fill these gaps, this study evaluates a national sample of local police agencies drawn from the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ 2003 Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) Survey. Results show that community policing efforts are positively correlated with terrorism preparedness efforts. Results also show that a number of organizational factors including organization size, budget per capita, and functional differentiation were positively correlated with terrorism preparedness, whereas formalization and spatial differentiation were negatively correlated.
Numerous evaluations have documented that drug court programs can and do work (Belenko, 1998, 1999, 2001; Gottfredson, Najaka, & Kearly, 2003); however, to date, less attention has been paid to specific issues such as how well drug courts work for certain types of offenders. In particular, there has been a lack of attention paid to the personal characteristics that may be thought of as “risk factors” among participants, especially their drug of choice. Of particular interest in this study are the following questions: First, are drug courts equally effective for offenders charged with methamphetamine-related crimes versus other types of drug offenders? Second, is the drug court model equally effective for offenders charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) compared to other types of drug-involved offenders? Data from a hybrid drug court operating in a small urban area in the upper Midwest was used to examine the above questions. Information on 87 individuals who had participated in this drug court program and 124 similar offenders who were sentenced to prison followed by traditional parole were analyzed. Results indicated that the drug court reduced recidivism for methamphetamine-involved and other types of drug-using offenders; however, among DWI offenders, drug court graduation was not related to reduced recidivism, as it was among non-DWI offenders. Implications for drug court programming and future research are discussed.
Drug courts emerged in the late 1980s as a solution to the mutual person-processing needs of the criminal justice and substance abuse treatment systems. In this article, the author draws on a rich body of observational data gathered during a 2-year period to illustrate the ways in which drug courts process program participants. I focus on the challenges faced by a drug court work group in shepherding new program participants into treatment. Specific processing activities include (a) locating appropriate eligible participants, (b) discovering an adequate diagnosis, (c) aligning resources necessary for placement, and (d) monitoring placements. The article identifies ways in which the interdisciplinary drug court model is optimally designed to address people-processing objects and simultaneously limited by conceptual and organizational ambiguities. The author concludes with a discussion of the unintended policy consequences of the drug court model and suggestions for future research.
A growing body of research indicates that the majority of juveniles in the justice system have a diagnosable mental health disorder. With juvenile justice systems typically inadequately equipped to meet the treatment needs of these juveniles, increasing reliance is being placed on intersystem cooperation between the juvenile justice and adolescent mental health systems. The system of care (SOC) model has become a popular strategy for fostering intersystem coordination and collaboration and for diverting youth from the justice system to the mental health system. Local-level data from the first state to implement a SOC model on a statewide basis are analyzed. Interrupted time series analysis is used to assess whether implementation of an SOC is associated with a decrease in out-of-home placements ordered by the juvenile justice system. In 11 of 14 court jurisdictions no significant decreases in court-ordered out-of-home placements associated with SOC implementation are observed. The implications of the findings from this study for juvenile justice policy implementation are discussed.
Aaron Cicourel conducted research in the 1960s on youths processed by the juvenile justice system, including the referral stage. His work described complex relationships and influences that affected juvenile justice decision making. Juvenile court data from the state of Missouri are used to conduct a partial replication of Cicourel’s work, focusing on the referral stage. The present study also extends the literature by examining the influence of legal and extralegal factors on disposition decisions for five referral sources (i.e., Social Service, School, Family, Juvenile Court, and Law Enforcement). The results suggest that the referral source is related to sentence outcome. The findings are supportive of contemporary theory and highlight the importance of studying context, role responsibilities, and stereotypes that may develop out of human experiences and affect decision making at the referral and disposition stages.
For about the last twenty years, policy dealing with crime and administration of justice has been heavily permeated with the systems perspective. This was particularly true during the 1970s. Since then such emphasis has waned. This essay profiles both the events which led to the enthusiastic application of the systems framework to crime and justice policy and the events which led to its decline. The latter is attributed to the failure of the criminal justice system's concept to properly take into account fundamental political and operational realities involved in the administration of justice.
Sex crime laws seemingly have proliferated recently as part of a national “get tough” shift in criminal justice policy. However, to date, there exists no systematic account of these state-level legislative changes. Accordingly, the “tough on sex crime” characterization of states may be understated or incorrect. It may also gloss over variability in the types of laws enacted and the implications such variability has for the generalizability of assessments of these laws. Drawing on an analysis of state laws, we identify considerable variation in the type, intensity, and design of sex crime laws among states. Results suggest that not all states have uniformly embraced these reforms, that considerable caution is warranted when generalizing from evaluations of particular laws, and that the continuing expansion of sex crime policy making will make it increasingly difficult, especially in the absence of a commensurate body of empirical research, to identify the effects of specific policies.
Urbanism and criminal crime control ideology are important correlates to state legislators' attitudes and positions on criminal justice policy issues. Three characteristics of New York state lawmakers—party affiliation, urbanism and crime control ideology—were consistently related to legislators' positions on capital punishment, handgun control, and expansion of the parole system. These findings are based on a survey of members of the New York State legislature conducted in 1991, and affirm the conclusion of a similar survey conducted in 1985.
We argue that better understanding of the relationship between ideology and criminal justice policy has important and practical benefits, including improved public policy development, more effective monitoring of criminal justice legislation in legislatures, and fuller communication between lawmakers and their constituents. In addition, knowledge of the attributes of lawmakers that are related to crime control ideology may foreshadow changes in crime control policy over time.