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

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