Criminal Justice Review

Published by SAGE Publications
Print ISSN: 0734-0168
This pilot study (N = 30) experimentally examined the effects of an adaptive intervention in an adult misdemeanor drug court. The adaptive algorithm adjusted the frequency of judicial status hearings and clinical case-management sessions according to pre-specified criteria in response to participants' ongoing performance in the program. Results revealed the adaptive algorithm was acceptable to both clients and staff, feasible to implement with greater than 85% fidelity, and showed promise for eliciting clinically meaningful improvements in drug abstinence and graduation rates. Estimated effect sizes ranged from 0.40 to 0.60 across various dependent measures. Compared to drug court as-usual, participants in the adaptive condition were more likely to receive responses from the drug court team for inadequate performance in the program and received those responses after a substantially shorter period of time. This suggests the adaptive algorithm may have more readily focused the drug court team's attention on poorly-performing individuals, thus allowing the team to "nip problems in the bud" before they developed too fully. These preliminary data justify additional research evaluating the effects of the adaptive algorithm in a fully powered experimental trial.
In this paper, we examine the relative contribution of four domains of predictors that have been linked to adult criminal involvement: (1) socio-demographic characteristics, (2) family-of-origin factors, (3) proximal processes developed during adolescence, and (4) current lifestyle and situational factors. Cross-sectional data were collected through face-to-face interviews with 242 community-recruited adults. Data analysis involved negative binomial regression. Being male, family size, juvenile delinquency, aggression, living with someone involved in illegal activity and recent violent victimization were independently associated with non-violent criminal involvement. Aggression, association with deviant peers, and recent violent victimization were independently associated with violent criminal involvement. Juvenile delinquency and aggression mediated the affect of multiple family-of-origin characteristics on non-violent criminal involvement and aggression mediated the effect of childhood physical abuse on violent criminal involvement. The results emphasize the importance of investigating both antecedents and proximal risk factors predictive of different types of criminal involvement, which, in turn, will assist in developing risk-focused prevention and intervention programs.
The main aim of this research was to investigate changes in scholarly influence by identifying the most-cited scholars in twenty journals: five American criminology journals, five American criminal justice journals, five international criminology journals, and five international criminal justice journals. The most-cited works of the most-cited scholars were also reported. Results obtained in 2000 were compared with previous findings in 1995 and 1990, and with results obtained from analyzing nine journals in 1996–2000. In 2000, the most-cited scholars were Robert J. Sampson in American criminology journals, Francis T. Cullen in American criminal justice journals, John Braithwaite in international criminology journals, and Robert D. Hare in international criminal justice journals. The expansion from nine to twenty journals benefited international scholars such as John Braithwaite and Richard V. Ericson and scholars in less mainstream areas such as Murray A. Straus. Overall, Robert J. Sampson was the most-cited scholar in these twenty journals in 2000, compared with Lawrence W. Sherman in 1995 and Marvin E. Wolfgang in 1990. The prevalence of citations (the number of different articles in which a scholar was cited) and specialization (where a scholar's influence was based on one or two highly-cited works) were also studied.
Peer Reviewed
It is hypothesized that attorneys with more experience and attorneys with a more favorable opinion of the usefulness of competency to stand trial evaluations will adopt a more paternalistic approach in the application and use of competency evaluation. The criteria by which attorneys adopting the paternalistic approach decide to have certain defendants evaluated for their competency to stand trial is focused more on the client’s best interests, such as mental welfare, rather than strictly on case outcome, or the least restrictive measures. This study surveys criminal defense attorneys in a large, urban, North Texas county as to which decisional approach, paternalism or pure advocacy, they follow. The study finds that attorneys with a more favorable opinion of the usefulness of competency evaluations express a greater degree of support of the use of both paternalistic and pure-advocacy items as solitary criteria for seeking a competency evaluation.
Book Review, Who Deserves to Die: Constructing the Executable Subject by Austin Sarat and Karl Shoemaker (2011). Publication in Criminal Justice Review; 37-4 December 2012; and on-line first; August 14, 2012. By Sage Publications, Georgia State University.
The primary objectives of this analysis are to: articulate clearly the central premises of each of the theories of punishment (retribution, deterrence, incapacitation, and rehabilitation) and, to explore the policy implications that flow from each of the justifications. The differences among the theoretical justifications of punishment range from obvious to extremely subtle. This analysis clearly delineates the differing premises of the theories that underlie criminal justice. Attention then turns to the policies that would be pursued if any one of the justifications of punishment were used as the primary basis of the criminal justice system. The major conclusion is that the poli cies derived from the competing theories lead in divergent and often contradictory directions. Finally, bureaucratic accommodations such as plea bargaining are explored in terms of their relationship to the theories of punishment. It is contended that plea bargaining and failure to prosecute multiple charges tend to run counter to all of the justifications of the criminal sanction. The failure to address the policies of criminal justice with reference to the theories of punishment means that the system will have great difficulty achieving any particular goals. Peer Reviewed
Drug Courts are a fundamental change to trial courts. They are considered less adversarial and may alter past notions of treatment for offenders. One goal of drug courts is to provide defendants the opportunity to alter their drug-addicted lifestyles through intense supervision, feedback, treatment, and graduated sanctions and rewards for behavior. This study uses logistic regression to examine measures of failure such as termination from drug court and two measures of offender recidivism. Although the literature on drug courts has been developing for several years, the reality is that universal templates for explanation do not yet exist in the juvenile arena. This paper examines correlates that explain the above measures of failure. The study also proposes the creation of new measures that may assist future research. Findings indicate that participant experiences within the drug court program are the strongest predictors of termination and recidivism.
There is an abundance of studies that examine judicial discretion in the final sentencing stages; however, few have examined discretion in the early stages of court decisions. Pretrial release is especially concerning as it has been strongly correlated with a final sentence of incarceration and deprives defendants of their freedom. This study examined whether race, gender, and age influence judges’ decisions to detain or release a defendant prior to trial. The results indicate that females and younger defendants were less likely to be detained. Race was not significant after economic variables were included. When examining males and females separately, race was significant for females, with Black females being the least likely to be detained. For White females, White males, and Black males, offenders aged 30—39 were more likely to be detained than their younger counterparts. Younger and older White females were not significantly more likely to be detained than their Black female counterparts.
Reform within the bail system has received much attention in recent years. Much of this attention has been focused on the substitution of interviews designed to determine a prisoner's likelihood of returning for trial for the traditional setting of bail After a brief account of the bail system's framework, a review of certain problem areas, and a description of a successful experiment in releasing prisoners without bail, this paper presents an analysis of prisoners’ characteristics for use in predicting which prisoners, if released without bail, will become fugitives and which will return for trial.
Recent descriptions of Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) by senior U.S. government officials suggest that the gang is highly organized, has significant transnational capacity, and is heavily involved in violence. Arguably, these depictions have created moral panic among the public and have fed xenophobic attitudes toward Latin American immigrants. However, little is known from empirical research about the nature and structure of MS-13 in the United States. In this article, we draw on data from interviews with incarcerated MS-13 members in Los Angeles County, the birthplace of MS-13. We examine three key aspects of MS-13: its organizational characteristics, its transnational capacity, and its involvement in criminal behavior, including violence. Our findings provide a useful descriptive summary of MS-13 in Los Angeles County, where the gang originated. Our findings also suggest that while there are good reasons to take MS-13 seriously as a threat to public safety, much of the public discourse on the gang is based on inaccurate assumptions.
By the early twentieth century the modernization of American criminal law had become an issue of widespread public concern, both in professional circles and in the popular press. Bar leaders, such as Roscoe Pound and William Howard Taft, proposed to improve the machinery of criminal justice by tightening procedural rules and enhancing the authority of trial judges. Their efforts at "scientific" law reform led to the creation of the American Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology in 1909. Creative writers, on the other hand, influenced by the rise of literary realism, tended to produce popular novels and plays that sympathized with the powerless defendant caught up in a dehumanizing bureaucratic process. This essay explores the interplay of legal norms and imaginative literature as it affected two subjects of great public interest in the Progressive Era: (a) changes in the substantive law of crimes and (b) the problem of the criminal corporation.
Although often left out of public health efforts and policy decisions, prisons, jails, and detention centers are integral to community health. With an average of 650,000 citizens returning home from prison each year in the United States, and thousands of correctional staff members returning home every night, there are millions of touchpoints between outside communities and carceral settings. For this reason, carceral communities should be central to planning and policy making in response to the spread of the COVID-19 illness. As social workers and clinicians, we are urgently concerned that efforts to prevent COVID-19 infections in prisons are underdeveloped and inadequate in the face of a fast-spreading virus. In this commentary, we outline a set of public health, policy, and clinical recommendations based upon the existing literature to mitigate various risks to the well-being of carceral communities.
In 2020, the COVID-19 global pandemic forced probation departments to change their practices overnight. The phenomenon presented many challenges for probation departments but also opened avenues for innovation and changes in attitudes toward supervision practices. We surveyed adult and juvenile probation departments in the entire state of Texas, specifically targeting management and supervisory personnel, officers with caseloads, including court officers, and information technology personnel ( N = 1,353). Our goals of this research included not only obtaining information about operational changes made because of the pandemic but also gauging attitudes toward these changes and the future of probation. We understood operational changes were inevitable, thus findings of significant operational changes were not surprising. We found that probation personnel were open to changes in operational procedures and that the pandemic spurred innovation and widespread acceptance in the use of technology for a variety of activities going forward that may not have been accepted prior to the pandemic.
The purpose of this research was to examine the effect of COVID-19 on four outcomes including calls for service for domestic violence, calls for service for assaults, arrests for domestic violence, and arrests for assaults in Burlington, Vermont. The data for each outcome collected over the time periods January 2012 through May 2021 were obtained from the Burlington Police Department website and then a monthly time-series data set were created. The analyses including an independent samples t-test, a Poisson regression test, and a monthly interrupted time-series analyses (ITSA) were employed to test the effects of COVID-19 on the previously mentioned outcomes. The results of the ITSA showed that in the first month following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic violence calls statistically significantly increased, but no statistically significant change was observed in domestic violence arrests, while assault calls and assault arrests statistically significantly decreased. In addition, during COVID-19, there was a statistically significant decreasing trend in domestic violence calls and domestic violence arrests, while there was no statistically significant change in the trends of assault calls and assault arrests. The results suggest that COVID-19 had an immediate as well as a persistent effect on the numbers of domestic violence and assaults. The results and limitations of this study were also discussed.
COVID-19 may affect police activities (i.e., traffic stops, arrests, and use of force) due to public compliance with COVID-19 restrictions, changes in individuals’ daily activities, and health threats posed by COVID-19. The purpose of this research is to examine the effects of COVID-19 on police activities and the trends in these activities in Burlington, Vermont. The data that measured arrests, traffic stops, and use of force were obtained from the Burlington Police Department website and covered the period from December 10, 2018 through June 14, 2021. Then, the daily time-series data for arrest rate, use of force rate, and traffic stop rate were created (N = 918; 459 days pre-COVID-19 and 459 days during COVID-19). The results showed that COVID-19 statistically significantly increased traffic stops and arrests, but not use of force on the day immediately following the implementation of the COVID-19 restrictions and then remained stable over time. However, no significant change was detected in the trends of arrests, traffic stops, and use of force before and during the COVID-19 period. COVID-19 had a significant immediate and lasting effect on traffic stops and arrests, but not use of force.
Little is known about the social correlates of serial rape or about trends in offending across time and space in the United States. Furthermore, the limited serial rape scholarship that exists was largely generalized from small, captive samples. The current study aims to amplify our understanding of serial rape by pursuing three fundamental objectives. First, guided by theory and research we propose a new, more precise, and comprehensive conceptualization of serial rape. Next, we draw from media representations of serial rape published in five major American newspapers from 1940 to 2010 to develop an offender social profile and to identify patterns in attack style. Our analysis of a broad and diverse sample of serial offenders described in media accounts (N = 1,037) produced the following profile estimates—age: 27 years; race/ethnicity: African American, 46%; Caucasian, 29%; Latino, 19%; Asian, 5%. Most offenders were employed in unskilled or semiskilled occupations and the most common attack strategy was the surprise approach (47%). Finally, our data allow us to estimate and interpret historical trends as depicted in media accounts. Our analysis revealed low levels of serial rape in newspaper accounts during the 1940s to 1950s, followed by a steady increase (with periodic decreases) leading to a peak in 1991. This peak is followed by a steady and dramatic decline from 1992 to 2010.
This article reports the results of our census of standard conditions of parole throughout the United States in 2020. Using in vivo qualitative content analysis, we coded standard conditions of parole for each of the United States’ 52 jurisdictions into categories that follow the model of the previous five censuses. Comparing our census with the previous five, we outlined the ways the standard conditions of parole have expanded significantly across the last 7 decades. Through this analysis, we identified four trends in the evolution of parole: the ever-expanding reach of technology in parole management, the increasing prevalence of fees and restitution imposed upon people on parole, a dramatic rise in the overall number of standard conditions, and an emergence of conditions related to reentry and rehabilitation.
Top-cited authors
Eric Lambert
  • Wayne State University
Ching-Chi Hsieh
  • Shih Hsin University
Nancy Hogan
  • Loyola University Chicago
George E Higgins
  • University of Louisville
John Kilburn
  • Texas A&M International University