Sunday, September 20, 2015

Criminology & Public Policy 14(3)

Criminology & Public Policy, August 2015: Volume 14, Issue 3


Toward a Criminology of Prison Downsizing
Todd R. Clear

Pathways to Prison in New York State
Sarah Tahamont, Shi Yan, Shawn D. Bushway and Jing Liu
Research Summary: In this study, we use a novel application of group-based trajectory modeling to estimate pathways to prison for a sample of 13,769 first-time prison inmates in New York State. We found that 12% of the sample was heavily involved in the criminal justice system for 10 years prior to their first imprisonment. We also found that less than one quarter of the sample had little contact with the criminal justice system prior to the arrest that resulted in imprisonment.
Policy Implications: Slightly less than one quarter of first-time inmates are not known to the criminal justice system prior to the commitment arrest. For these inmates, crime-prevention interventions that identify participants through criminal justice processes will not be effective. However, the arrest rates for a substantial portion of the sample over the 10-year period before imprisonment suggest a staggering number of opportunities for intervention as these individuals churn through the system.

Altering Trajectories Through Community-Based Justice Reinvestment
Carlos E. Monteiro and Natasha A. Frost


Focused Deterrence and the Promise of Fair and Effective Policing
Anthony A. Braga

Most Challenging of Contexts
Nicholas Corsaro and Robin S. Engel
Research Summary: The use of focused deterrence to reduce lethal violence driven by gangs and groups of chronic offenders has continued to expand since the initial Boston Ceasefire intervention in the 1990s, where prior evaluations have shown relatively consistent promise in terms of violence reduction. This study focuses on the capacity of focused deterrence to impact lethal violence in a chronic and high-trajectory homicide setting: New Orleans, Louisiana. Using a two-phase analytical design, our evaluation of the Group Violence Reduction Strategy (GVRS) observed the following findings: (a) GVRS team members in the City of New Orleans closely followed model implementation; (b) homicides in New Orleans experienced a statistically significant reduction above and beyond changes observed in comparable lethally violent cities; (c) the greatest changes in targeted outcomes were observed in gang homicides, young Black male homicides, and firearms violence; and (d) the decline in targeted violence corresponded with the implementation of the pulling levers notification meetings. Moreover, the observed reduction in crime outcomes was not empirically associated with a complementary violence-reduction strategy that was simultaneously implemented in a small geographic area within the city.
Policy Implications: The findings presented in this article demonstrate that focused deterrence holds considerable promise as a violence prevention approach in urban contexts with persistent histories of lethal violence, heightened disadvantage, and undermined police (and institutional) legitimacy. The development of a multiagency task force, combined with unwavering political support from the highest levels of government within the city, were likely linked to high programmatic fidelity. Organizationally, the development of a program manager and intelligence analyst, along with the use of detailed problem analyses and the integration of research, assisted the New Orleans working group in identifying the highest risk groups of violent offenders to target for the GVRS notification sessions. The impacts on targeted violence were robust and consistent with the timing of the intervention.


Focused Deterrence and Improved Police–Community Relations
Rod K. Brunson

Something That Works in Violent Crime Control
Kenneth C. Land

To Shoot or Not to Shoot; Gang Decisions, Decisions
James C. Howell

Changing the Street Dynamic
Andrew V. Papachristos and David S. Kirk
Research Summary: This study uses a quasi-experimental design to evaluate the efficacy of Chicago's Group Violence Reduction Strategy (VRS), a gun violence reduction program that delivers a focused-deterrence and legitimacy-based message to gang factions through a series of hour-long “call-ins.” The results suggest that those gang factions who attend a VRS call-in experience a 23% reduction in overall shooting behavior and a 32% reduction in gunshot victimization in the year after treatment compared with similar factions.
Policy Implications: Gun violence in U.S. cities often is concentrated in small geographic areas and in small networks of group or gang-involved individuals. The results of this study suggest that focused intervention efforts such as VRS can produce significant reductions in gun violence, but especially gunshot victimization, among gangs. Focused programs such as these offer an important alternative to broad-sweeping practices or policies that might otherwise expand the use of the criminal justice system.


With Great Methods Come Great Responsibilities
Jason Gravel and George E. Tita

Considering Focused Deterrence in the Age of Ferguson, Baltimore, North Charleston, and Beyond
Elizabeth Griffiths and Johnna Christian

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Crime & Delinquency 61(8)

Crime & Delinquency, October 2015: Volume 61, Issue 8

Do Parole Technical Violators Pose a Safety Threat? An Analysis of Prison Misconduct
Erin A. Orrick and Robert G. Morris
We examined records of males incarcerated in a large southern state to assess the risk technical violators would pose to public safety by exploring their likelihood of engaging in prison misconduct. Data from official prison records provided by a large southern state’s primary corrections agency were examined using multiple counterfactual analytic techniques. Based on the official disciplinary records from male inmates readmitted to prison for technical violations and new offenses, technical violators were found to be significantly less likely to engage in any form of prison misconduct. Implications for research and policy are discussed, including the potential for recidivism research and prison reduction policies.

Investigating the Impact of Custody on Reoffending Using Propensity Score Matching
Darrick Jolliffe and Carol Hedderman
Although a range of opinions about the impact of incarceration on later offending have been articulated, there have been very few studies of sufficient methodological quality to allow the effect to be examined empirically. Drawing on a sample of 5,500 male offenders from 1 of 10 regions in the United Kingdom, propensity score matching was used to balance the preexisting differences between two groups of offenders: those who had been incarcerated for their index offense and those who had received community orders involving supervision. Both methods of balancing the group differences (matching/stratification) suggested that 1 year after release, offenders who had been incarcerated were significantly more likely to have committed another (proven) offense. These offenders also tended to commit more offenses and started reoffending earlier than those supervised in the community. Moreover, offenders who had originally been incarcerated were much more likely to be reincarcerated. In line with other emerging evidence, it was concluded that incarceration tends to slightly increase rather than decrease the chances of future offending. Limitations of the research are considered and directions for future research are explored.

Measuring the Intermittency of Criminal Careers
Thomas Baker, Christi Falco Metcalfe, and Alex R. Piquero
The intermittency, or time gaps between criminal events, has received very little theoretical and empirical attention in developmental/life-course criminology. Several reasons account for lack of research on intermittency, including limited data sources containing information on the time between events and the prioritization of persistence—and especially desistance—in developmental/life-course criminology. This article sets out to provide a descriptive portrait of intermittency and in so doing aims to understand and explain intermittency within and between individuals, how it varies with age over the life course, and how it covaries with the seriousness of offending. Longer intermittency is characteristic of offenders with earlier onset as well as those who offend less frequently, whereas high-frequency/early-onset offenders have less intermittency. Findings suggest that intermittent gaps between offenses relate to offense seriousness. As offenders age, the gaps between offenses increase. Each of these effects is disaggregated among chronic and nonchronic (recidivist) offenders to demonstrate the intermittent patterns of different criminal careers. Implications for theoretical and empirical research on intermittency are highlighted.

Adolescent Virtual Time Spent Socializing With Peers, Substance Use, and Delinquency
Ryan C. Meldrum and Jim Clark
This study tests Osgood, Wilson, O’Malley, Bachman, and Johnston’s extension of the routine activity theory of individual deviant behavior by considering adolescent time spent socializing with peers in virtual settings in relation to estimates of delinquency and substance use. The growth in digital communication has significantly changed the ways that youth commonly communicate with one another, and such changes may therefore provide a specification of newly emerging situational inducements that precipitate antisocial behavior during adolescence. Using data from a school-based survey of adolescents, the analyses reveal that the amount of virtual time adolescents spend socializing with peers is positively related to the frequency of alcohol use, marijuana use, and a variety index of delinquent behavior. Less support was found for an association between virtual time spent with peers and individually separated property/violent offending behaviors. The implications of these findings are discussed.

The Deterrent Effect of the Castle Doctrine Law on Burglary in Texas: A Tale of Outcomes in Houston and Dallas
Ling Ren, Yan Zhang, and Jihong Solomon Zhao
From 2005 through 2008, 23 states across the nation have enacted laws generally referred to as “castle doctrine” laws or “stand your ground” laws. A castle doctrine law gives a homeowner the legal right to use force (even deadly force) to defend himself or herself and the family against an intruder. No study, however, has been conducted to evaluate its deterrent effects. The State of Texas enacted its castle doctrine law on September 1, 2007, and the subsequent Joe Horn shooting incident in Houston in November, 2007, served to publicize the Texas law to a great extent. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the deterrent effect of the Texas castle doctrine law and the subsequent Horn shooting on burglary in the two largest cities in Texas, Houston and Dallas. Daily data of residential and business burglary, over the period from January 1, 2007, to August 31, 2008, were obtained from the Houston Police Department and the Dallas Police Department. Interrupted time-series designs were employed in the study to analyze the intervention effects. The findings reported suggest a place-conditioned deterrent effect of the law and the Horn shooting; both residential and business burglaries were reduced significantly after the shooting incident in Houston, but not in Dallas.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Journal of Quantitative Criminology 31(3)

Journal of Quantitative Criminology, September 2015: Volume 31, Issue 3

An Experimental Evaluation of a Comprehensive Employment-Oriented Prisoner Re-entry Program
Philip J. Cook, Songman Kang, Anthony A. Braga, Jens Ludwig & Mallory E. O’Brien
Objectives: While the economic model of crime suggests that improving post-prison labor market prospects should reduce recidivism, evaluations of previous employment-oriented re-entry programs have mixed results, possibly due to the multi-faceted challenges facing prisoners at the time of their release. We present an evaluation of an experiment that combines enhanced employment opportunities with wrap around services before and after release. Methods: This paper presents what we believe is the first randomized controlled trial (RCT) of a re-entry program that combines post-release subsidized work with “reach-in” social services provided prior to release. The sample was 236 high-risk offenders in Milwaukee with a history of violence or gang involvement. Results: We observe increased employment rates and earnings during the period when ex-offenders are eligible for subsidized jobs, and these gains persist throughout the year. The intervention has significant effects (p < 0.01) in reducing the likelihood of rearrest. The likelihood that the treatment group is re-imprisoned during the first year after release is lower than for controls (22 vs. 26 %) but the difference is not statistically significantly different from zero. Conclusions: The results of our RCT suggest that “reach-in” services to help improve human capital of inmates prior to release, together with wrap around services following release, boosts employment and earnings, although whether there is sufficient impact on recidivism for the intervention to pass a benefit-cost test is more uncertain. Average earnings for both treatment and control groups were very low; legal work simply does not seem that important in the economic lives of released prisoners.

Investigating the Applicability of Macro-Level Criminology Theory to Terrorism: A County-Level Analysis
Joshua D. Freilich, Amy Adamczyk, Steven M. Chermak, Katharine A. Boyd & William S. Parkin
Objectives: This exploratory study examines if causal mechanisms highlighted by criminology theories work in the same way to explain both ideologically motivated violence (i.e., terrorism) and regular (non-political) homicides. We study if macro-level hypotheses drawn from deprivation, backlash, and social disorganization frameworks are associated with the likelihood that a far-right extremist who committed an ideologically motivated homicide inside the contiguous US resides in a particular county. To aid in the assessment of whether criminology theories speak to both terrorism and regular violence we also apply these hypotheses to far-right homicide and regular homicide incident location and compare the results. Material and methods: We use data from the US Extremist Crime Database (ECDB) and the FBI’s SHR to create our dependent variables for the 1990–2012 period and estimated a series of logistic regression models. Conclusions: The findings are complex. On the one hand, the models we estimated to account for the odds of a far-right perpetrator residing in a county found that some hypotheses were significant in all, or almost all, models. These findings challenge the view that terrorism is completely different from regular crime and argues for separate causal models to explain each. On the other hand, we estimated models that applied these same hypotheses to account for the odds that a far-right homicide incident occurred in a county, and that a county had very high regular homicide rate. Our comparison of the results found a few similarities, but also demonstrated that different variables were generally significant for each outcome variable. In other words, although criminology theory accounts for some of the odds for both outcomes, different causal mechanisms also appear to be at play in each instance. We elaborate on both of these points and highlight a number of important issues for future research to address.

A Synthetic Control Approach to Evaluating Place-Based Crime Interventions
Jessica Saunders, Russell Lundberg, Anthony A. Braga, Greg Ridgeway & Jeremy Miles
Objective: This paper presents a new quasi-experimental approach to assessing place based policing to encourage the careful evaluation of policing programs, strategies, and operations for researchers to conduct retrospective evaluations of policing programs. Methods: We use a synthetic control model to reduce the bias introduced by models using non-equivalent comparison groups to evaluate High Point’s Drug Market Intervention and demonstrate the method and its versatility for evaluating programs retrospectively. Results: The synthetic control method was able to identify a very good match across all socio-demographic and crime data for the intervention and comparison area. Using a variety of statistical models, the impact of High Point Drug Market Intervention on crime was estimated to be larger than previous evaluations with little evidence of displacement. Conclusions: The synthetic control method represents a significant improvement over the earlier retrospective evaluations of crime prevention programs, but there is still room for improvement. This is particularly important in an age where rigorous scientific research is being used more and more to guide program development and implementation.

Gun Carrying Among Drug Market Participants: Evidence from Incarcerated Drug Offenders
Eric L. Sevigny & Andrea Allen
Objectives: The decision to carry a gun by drug market participants involves consideration of the potential for conflict with other market actors, the need for self-protection, and the desire for reputation and status, among other factors. The objective of this study is to investigate the motives, contingencies, and situational factors that influence criminal gun possession among drug market participants. Methods: Using data on drug offenders from the 2004 Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities, we estimate design-based logistic regression models within a multiple imputation framework to investigate the influence of drug market features and participant characteristics on gun carrying behavior. Results: Overall, 7 % of the drug offenders in our sample carried a firearm during the offense for which they were incarcerated. Our multivariate findings indicate that a number of factors condition drug market participants’ propensity for gun carrying, including individual psychopharmacological, economic-compulsive, and systemic factors as well as broader features of the marketplace, including the type of drug market, the value of the drugs, and certain structural characteristics. Conclusions: Our findings have a number of implications for designing drug market interventions. Directing enforcement resources against emerging, expanding, or multi-commodity drug markets could deter lethal violence more than interventions targeting stable, single-commodity markets. In addition to open-air street markets, targeting higher-level and closed market segments could realize meaningful gun violence reductions. Finally, the expansion of promising focused deterrence strategies that combine deterrence and support initiatives could further deescalate gun violence.

Support for Balanced Juvenile Justice: Assessing Views About Youth, Rehabilitation, and Punishment
Daniel P. Mears, Justin T. Pickett & Christina Mancini
Objectives: The juvenile court was envisioned as a system of justice that would rehabilitate and punish young offenders. However, studies have not directly measured or examined support for “balanced” juvenile justice—that is, support for simultaneously employing juvenile rehabilitation and punishment to sanction youth—or how beliefs central to the creation of the court influence support for balanced justice. Drawing on scholarship on juvenile justice and theoretical accounts of views about sanctioning, the study tests hypotheses about such support. Methods: The study employs multinomial logistic regression, using data from 866 college students enrolled in criminology and criminal justice classes, to examine support for different approaches to sanctioning violent juvenile offenders. Results: Analyses indicate that a majority of respondents supported balanced justice for violent delinquents, approximately one-third supported a primarily rehabilitation-focused approach to sanctioning, and the remainder supported a primarily punishment-oriented approach. Individuals who believed that youth could be reformed and deserved treatment were more likely to support balanced justice or a primarily rehabilitation-oriented approach to sanctioning youth. Conclusions: The findings underscore the nuanced nature of public views about sanctioning youth, the salience of philosophical beliefs to support different sanctioning approaches, and the importance of research that accounts for beliefs central to the juvenile court’s mission.

Examining the Relationship Between Road Structure and Burglary Risk Via Quantitative Network Analysis
Toby Davies & Shane D. Johnson
Objectives: To test the hypothesis that the spatial distribution of residential burglary is shaped by the configuration of the street network, as predicted by, for example, crime pattern theory. In particular, the study examines whether burglary risk is higher on street segments with higher usage potential. Methods: Residential burglary data for Birmingham (UK) are examined at the street segment level using a hierarchical linear model. Estimates of the usage of street segments are derived from the graph theoretical metric of betweenness, which measures how frequently segments feature in the shortest paths (those most likely to be used) through the network. Several variants of betweenness are considered. The geometry of street segments is also incorporated—via a measure of their linearity—as are several socio-demographic factors. Results: As anticipated by theory, the measure of betweenness was found to be a highly-significant predictor of the burglary victimization count at the street segment level for all but one of the variants considered. The non-significant result was found for the most localized measure of betweenness considered. More linear streets were generally found to be at lower risk of victimization. Conclusion: Betweenness offers a more granular and objective means of measuring the street network than categorical classifications previously used, and its meaning links more directly to theory. The results provide support for crime pattern theory, suggesting a higher risk of burglary for streets with more potential usage. The apparent negative effect of linearity suggests the need for further research into the visual component of target choice, and the role of guardianship.

The Effect of Police Body-Worn Cameras on Use of Force and Citizens’ Complaints Against the Police: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Barak Ariel, William A. Farrar & Alex Sutherland
Objective: Police use-of-force continues to be a major source of international concern, inviting interest from academics and practitioners alike. Whether justified or unnecessary/excessive, the exercise of power by the police can potentially tarnish their relationship with the community. Police misconduct can translate into complaints against the police, which carry large economic and social costs. The question we try to answer is: do body-worn-cameras reduce the prevalence of use-of-force and/or citizens’ complaints against the police? Methods: We empirically tested the use of body-worn-cameras by measuring the effect of videotaping police–public encounters on incidents of police use-of-force and complaints, in randomized-controlled settings. Over 12 months, we randomly-assigned officers to “experimental-shifts” during which they were equipped with body-worn HD cameras that recorded all contacts with the public and to “control-shifts” without the cameras (n = 988). We nominally defined use-of-force, both unnecessary/excessive and reasonable, as a non-desirable response in police–public encounters. We estimate the causal effect of the use of body-worn-videos on the two outcome variables using both between-group differences using a Poisson regression model as well as before-after estimates using interrupted time-series analyses. Results: We found that the likelihood of force being used in control conditions were roughly twice those in experimental conditions. Similarly, a pre/post analysis of use-of-force and complaints data also support this result: the number of complaints filed against officers dropped from 0.7 complaints per 1,000 contacts to 0.07 per 1,000 contacts. We discuss the findings in terms of theory, research methods, policy and future avenues of research on body-worn-videos.

Journal of Marriage and Family 77(5)

Journal of Marriage and Family, October 2015: Volume 77, Issue 5

Special Section on Asian Families in Context edited by Yingchun Ji

Asian Families at the Crossroads: A Meeting of East, West, Tradition, Modernity, and Gender
Yingchun Ji

Contingent Work Rising: Implications for the Timing of Marriage in Japan
Martin Piotrowski, Arne Kalleberg and Ronald R. Rindfuss

Between Tradition and Modernity: “Leftover” Women in Shanghai
Yingchun Ji

Women's Attitudes Toward Family Formation and Life Stage Transitions: A Longitudinal Study in Korea
Erin Hye-Won Kim and Adam Ka Lok Cheung

Reprivatized Womanhood: Changes in Mainstream Media's Framing of Urban Women's Issues in China, 1995–2012
Shengwei Sun and Feinian Chen

Single and the City: State Influences on Intimate Relationships of Young, Single, Well-Educated Women in Singapore
Karlien Strijbosch

Gender and Children's Housework Time in China: Examining Behavior Modeling in Context
Yang Hu

Brief Reports

The Great Recession, Fertility, and Uncertainty: Evidence From the United States
Daniel Schneider

Gender Composition of Children and the Third Birth in the United States
Felicia F. Tian and S. Philip Morgan

The Changing Association Among Marriage, Work, and Child Poverty in the United States, 1974–2010
Regina S. Baker

Stepfather–Adolescent Relationship Quality During the First Year of Transitioning to a Stepfamily
Valarie King, Paul R. Amato and Rachel Lindstrom

Dimensional Latent Structure of Relationship Quality: Results of Three Representative Population Samples
Sören Kliem, Heather M. Foran, Johannes Beller, Kurt Hahlweg, Yve Stöbel-Richter and Elmar Brähler

Of General Interest

Nonmarital Relationships and Changing Perceptions of Marriage Among African American Young Adults
Ashley B. Barr, Ronald L. Simons and Leslie Gordon Simons