Sunday, August 30, 2015

Criminology & Public Policy 14(2)

Criminology & Public Policy, May 2015: Volume 14, Issue 2


Examining the “Life Course” of Criminal Cases
Brian D. Johnson

Is the Impact of Cumulative Disadvantage on Sentencing Greater for Black Defendants?
John Wooldredge, James Frank, Natalie Goulette and Lawrence Travis III
Research Summary: We examined race-group differences in the effects of how felony defendants are treated at earlier decision points in case processing on case outcomes. Multilevel analyses of 3,459 defendants nested within 123 prosecutors and 34 judges in a large, northern U.S. jurisdiction revealed significant main and interaction effects of a defendant's race on bond amounts, pretrial detention, and nonsuspended prison sentences, but no significant effects on charge reductions and prison sentence length. Evidence of greater “cumulative disadvantages” for Black defendants in general and young Black men in particular was revealed by significant indirect race effects on the odds of pretrial detention via type of attorney, prior imprisonment, and bond amounts, as well as by indirect race effects on prison sentences via pretrial detention and prior imprisonment.
Policy Implications: The consideration of cumulative disadvantage is important for a more complete understanding of the overincarceration of Blacks in the United States. Toward the end of reducing racial disparities in the distribution of prison sentences, courts might (a) reduce reliance on money bail, (b) consider bail amounts for indigent defendants more carefully, and (c) increase the structure of pretrial decision making to reduce the stronger effects of imprisonment history and type of attorney on the odds of pretrial detention for Black suspects.


Evolution of Sentencing Research
Cassia Spohn

Attenuating Disparities Through Four Areas of Change
Traci Schlesinger


Police Encounters with People with Mental Illness
Robin S. Engel

Is Dangerousness a Myth? Injuries and Police Encounters with People with Mental Illnesses
Melissa Schaefer Morabito and Kelly M. Socia
Research Summary: This study examined all “use-of-force” reports collected by the Portland Police Bureau in Portland, Oregon, between 2008 and 2011, to determine whether their encounters with people with mental illnesses are more likely to result in injury to officers or subjects when force is used. Although several factors significantly predicted the likelihood of injury to either subjects or officers, mental illness was not one of them.
Policy Implications: Police consider interactions with people with mental illnesses to be extremely dangerous (Margarita, 1980). Our results question the accuracy of this belief. As such, this “dangerousness” assertion may result in unnecessary stigmatization that may prevent people with mental illnesses from accessing needed services (cf. Corrigan et al., 2005) as witnesses or victims of crime. Policies that reduce stigma may help increase police effectiveness. Furthermore, efforts should be made to increase the availability and accuracy of data on this issue.


Police Use of Force and the Suspect with Mental Illness
Geoffrey P. Alpert

Building on the Evidence
Allison G. Robertson


Implementation and Outcomes in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Among Female Prisoners
Gary Zajac

Importance of Program Integrity
Grant Duwe and Valerie Clark
Research Summary: We used a quasi-experimental design to evaluate the effectiveness of Moving On, a gender-responsive, cognitive-behavioral program designed for female offenders. Between 2001 and 2013, there were two distinct periods in which Moving On was administered with, and without, fidelity among female Minnesota prisoners. To determine whether program integrity matters, we examined the performance of Moving On across these two periods. By using multiple comparison groups, we found that Moving On significantly reduced two of the four measures of recidivism when it was implemented with fidelity. The program did not have a significant impact on any of the four recidivism measures, however, when it operated without fidelity.
Policy Implication: The growth of the “what works” literature and the emphasis on evidence-based practices have helped foster the notion that correctional systems can improve public safety by reducing recidivism. Given that Moving On's success hinged on whether it was delivered with integrity, our results show that correctional practitioners can take an effective intervention and make it ineffective. Providing offenders with evidence-based interventions that lack therapeutic integrity not only promotes a false sense of effectiveness, but also it squanders the limited supply of programming resources available to correctional agencies. The findings suggest that ensuring program integrity is critical to the efficient use of successful interventions that deliver on the promise of reduced recidivism.


Program Integrity and the Principles of Gender-Responsive Interventions
Emily J. Salisbury

Rethinking Program Fidelity for Criminal Justice
J. Mitchell Miller and Holly Ventura Miller


Changing the Knowledge Base and Public Perception of Long-Term Prisoners
Marc Mauer

Imperative for Inclusion of Long Termers and Lifers in Research and Policy
Lila Kazemian and Jeremy Travis
Research Summary: Although numerous studies have highlighted the negative consequences of mass incarceration, life-course and criminal career research has largely failed to document psychological, social, and behavioral changes that occur during periods of incarceration. This oversight is particularly noteworthy in the case of individuals serving long sentences, as they spend a significant portion of the life course behind bars. The policies and programs targeting prisoners are seldom tailored to long termers and lifers, and we know little about effective interventions, or even how to measure effectiveness, for this population. By drawing on the relevant empirical research, this article underlines the importance of reorienting some research efforts and policy priorities toward individuals serving life or otherwise long prison sentences.
Policy Implications: During the last 20 years, the prevalence of life sentences has increased substantially in the United States. We argue that there are various benefits to developing policies that consider the challenges and issues affecting long termers and lifers. In addition to the ethical and human rights concerns associated with the treatment of this population, there are several pragmatic justifications for this argument. Long termers and lifers spend a substantial number of years in prison, but most are eventually released. These individuals can play a key role in shaping the prison community and potentially could contribute to the development of a healthier prison climate. Investment in the well-being of individuals serving long sentences may also have diffused benefits that can extend to their families and communities. It would be advantageous for correctional authorities and policy makers to consider the potentially pivotal role of long termers and lifers in efforts to mitigate the negative consequences of incarceration.


Reducing Severe Sentences
Jessica S. Henry

Effects of Life Imprisonment and the Crisis of Prisoner Health
Benjamin Fleury-Steiner


Target Suitability and Terrorism Events at Places
Nancy A. Morris

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