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.

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