Category Archives: Prisoners and punishment

Quick links for the last week

New issues:

  • Law and Human Behavior 34(5) http://is.gd/fhQvR Recidivism risk, psychopathy, informants, quality of forensic examiners and more
  • Criminal Justice Matters 81(1) Articles on pre-crime, masculinity & violence, probation, secure envts & more http://is.gd/fbBVC
  • Psychology, Crime & Law 16(8) http://is.gd/fhQqp Articles on execution, prisoners, rape myths, child abuse, eyewitness testimony

New research articles:

  • Murder–suicide: A reaction to interpersonal crises. Forensic Science International 202(1-3) http://is.gd/fhQjP
  • The role of perpetrator similarity in reactions toward innocent victims Eur J Soc Psy 40(6) http://is.gd/fhPZ3 Depressing.
  • Detecting concealed information w/ reaction times: Validity & comparison w/ polygraph App Cog Psych 24(7) http://is.gd/fhPMW
  • Eliciting cues to children’s deception via strategic disclosure of evidence App Cog Psych 24(7) http://is.gd/fhPIS
  • Can fabricated evidence induce false eyewitness testimony? App Cog Psych 24(7) http://is.gd/fhPDd Free access
  • In press, B J Soc Psy Cues to deception in context.http://is.gd/fhPcY Apparently ‘context’ = ‘Jeremy Kyle Show’. Can’t wait for the paper!
  • Narrative & abductive processes in criminal profiling http://is.gd/fgjH3 Free if u register for Sage trial http://is.gd/eUubM
  • Children’s contact with incarcerated parents: Research findings & recommendations American Psych 65(6) http://is.gd/fd45s
  • Comparing victim attributions & outcomes for workplace aggression & sexual harassment in J App Psych 95(5) http://is.gd/fd3Vb
  • Correctional Psychologist Burnout, Job Satisfaction, and Life Satisfaction. In Psych Services 7(3) http://is.gd/fbBKC
  • It’s okay to shoot a character. http://tinyurl.com/32u3w9v Paper on morals in video games
  • Perceptions about memory reliability and honesty for children of 3 to 18 years old – http://ht.ly/2z8O1

And some other links of interest:

Research reports round-up

ex libris gul law reports collectionSome of the criminal justice-related reports that have caught my eye in the last few weeks:

Communities

Crime and Communities Review (UK, published 18 June, Cabinet Office): A major review examining how to better engage communities in the fight against crime and raise public confidence in the Criminal Justice System – link to pdf downloads.

Gangs at the Grassroots: Community solutions to street violence (UK, published 17 July 2008, New Local Government Network) – pdf

Investigations

Witness and victim experience survey: early findings (UK, published 3 July 200, Ministry of Justice) – pdf

Enhancing Law Enforcement Response to Victims: A 21st Century Strategy (US, International Association of Chiefs of Police) – pdf (Hat tip Docuticker)

First Response to Victims of Crime (US, published April 2008, National Sheriffs Association) – pdf (Hat tip Docuticker)

Police Enforcement Strategies to Prevent Crime in Hot Spot Areas (US, Department of Justice) – pdf (Hat tip Docuticker)

Serial Murder: Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives for Investigators (US, FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit) – pdf (Hat tip Docuticker)

Prisons

International profile of women’s prisons (UK, published April 2008, Kings College London for HM Prison Service) – pdf (Hat tip Intute)

Prosecuting Sexual Violence in Correctional Settings: Examining Prosecutors’ Perceptions (US, published May 2008, American University, WCL Research Paper, via SSRN)

Juveniles

Violence by Teenage Girls: Trends and Context (US, published May 2008, US Department of Justice) – pdf (Hat tip Docuticker)

Differential Response to Reports of Child Abuse and Neglect (US, published February 2008, Child Welfare Information Gateway) – pdf (Hat tip Docuticker)

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A Confederate South effect in homicide rates, and other interesting articles from the Social Science Journal

My life’s a bit busy at the moment with not much time for considered blogging. Forgive me if, for a little while, I post interesting titbits without much commentary (better, I think, than posting nothing at all, or posting ill-considered commentary).

Three articles caught my eye in the latest issue of The Social Science Journal. The first is on homicide in the US South:

A significant literature has evolved in the last 40 years investigating regional variation in lethal violence, with most studies focusing on Southern homicide rates…. We investigate regional variations in the effects of resource deprivation on White homicide in rural areas—a context in which the Southern culture of violence should be most prominent….The results of our county-level analyses of census and homicide data around the year 2000 reveal that White homicide rates are higher in Confederate South states and that resource deprivation has a positive association with White homicide. The effect of resource deprivation also accounts for the Confederate South effect, and an interaction model indicates that the effect of this variable is significantly stronger in the non-South as predicted by the attenuation argument. Overall, these results suggest that both structural and cultural forces contribute to rural White homicide rates.

Next up, an article on “the degree to which individuals’ perceptions of concrete events of harassment and violence mirror the interpretive frameworks offered by proponents of hate crime legislation”:

… Specifically, the study examines the determinants of definitions of hate crime and perceptions of seriousness, focusing on both incident-level and respondent-level variables. Using data from a multilevel factorial survey gathered from a sample of undergraduates, I find a general alignment between the political construction of hate crimes and college student perceptions of incidents of harassment and violence, although sensitivity to hate crimes varies by witness demographic and attitudinal characteristic.

Finally, J. Keith Price and Gary R. Byrd attempt to answer the question of whether capital murderers (murderers who are executed) are “more likely to murder or commit other violent crimes again” if they had not been executed, compared to “other murderers or the average citizen”:

… To answer these questions, many states require a prediction of future dangerousness of a newly convicted murderer. To what extent has the judgment of future dangerousness matched actuarial data of subsequent murders and serious crimes? Using a secondary analysis, this investigation attempted to assemble available data of postconviction dangerousness of death sentenced capital murderers to create a more comprehensive actuarial account of subsequent dangerousness and to present the data in a common format used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Across 14 studies identified with relevant data, there were 13 instances of subsequent murder and 462 serious crime or prison rule violations.

Videos and podcasts

MP3onredRecently released video and podcasts on topics relevant to psychology and crime. Follow the links for access to the audio and visual material.

Advances in the History of Psychology recently alerted us to a 2005 PBS documentary The New Asylums, which examined the plight of mentally ill prisoners in the USA:

In “The New Asylums,” FRONTLINE goes deep inside Ohio’s state prison system to explore the complex and growing issue of mentally ill prisoners. With unprecedented access to prison therapy sessions, mental health treatment meetings, crisis wards, and prison disciplinary tribunals, the film provides a poignant and disturbing portrait of the new reality for the mentally ill.

All in the Mind (15 March) explores the psychological impact of being on Death Row: “…extraordinary first hand accounts from men who spent decades incarcerated on Death Row. And, psychologists investigating the state of the confined mind.”

An earlier AitM (23 Feb) focused on women offenders, including those convicted of infanticide, and asks if women offenders require different rehabilitation and treatment programmes to men.

Since the beginning of the year the Leonard Lopate show has featured several segments of forensic interest, including:

Photo credit: Focus_on_me, Creative Commons License

Sexual Victimization in Prisons: Moving Toward Elimination

Harvard University, via the National Institute of Justice, is holding an online discussion event on 7 February between 1400 and 1600 EST. The topic is Sexual Victimization in Prisons. Here’s the blurb:

One of every 22 men and women sentenced to imprisonment in the United States reported that they were assaulted sexually while incarcerated. Sexual victimization in prisons is the issue, elimination is the goal.

And:

This expert chat, sponsored by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Government Innovators Network and the National Institute of Justice, features a panel of experts who will discuss the state of Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) research — what data is available and what’s yet to come — and examine how we will move from better understanding to reliable prevention and eventual elimination. Ample time will be allocated for audience Q&A.

The event is free but registration is required. More here.

Seminar series from the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research

glasgowunicloistersThe Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research has announced an impressive series of seminars for January to March 2008.

Seminars take place at the University of Glasgow and the University of Edinburgh. More details on the SCCJR website.

  • 24 January – Ms Helen Baillot, Scottish Refugee Council: ‘Asylum in Scotland – a Human Rights perspective?’
  • 29 January – Professor Nicola Lacey, LSE: ‘From Moll Flanders to Tess of D’Urbervilles: Gender, Identity and Criminalisation in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century England’.
  • 31 January – Professor Johannes Feest, University of Bremen: ‘The future of prisons and prison abolitionism’.
  • 4 February – Charles Woolfson, School of Law, University of Glasgow: ‘The conventionalisation of safety crime in the Baltic New EU Member States: Neo-liberalism and the tolerance of non-compliance’
  • 7 February – Professor Thomas Feltes: ‘Police Reform in Countries in Transition – Experiences from Bosnia, Kosovo and South Africa’ (jointly organgised by the Scottish Institute for Policing Research).
  • 12 February – Jonathan Jackson, Methodology Institute & Mannheim Centre for Criminology, London School of Economics: ‘New directions in research on public confidence in policing: Trust, legitimacy and consent’
  • 20 February – Alistair Fraser, Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences, University of Glasgow: ‘Researching young people and violence in Glasgow’
  • 21 February – Professor Fiona Raitt, University of Dundee: ‘Re-Vulnerability in the Adversarial Process’
  • 28 February – Professor Linda Mulcahy, Birkbeck College, London: ‘An unbearable lightness of being? Movements towards the virtual trial’.
  • 6 March – Gavin Smith, Aberdeen University: ‘Re-thinking CCTV operation: interactions and ontologies’.
  • 13 March – Professor Tim Hope, Senior Visiting Research Fellow, Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research, University of Edinburgh and Keele University: ‘A Political Economy of Community Safety’.

Docuticker round up of criminal Justice-related reports

ex libris gul law reports collectionRound-up of reports featured on Docuticker in the last few weeks:

More Men, More Crime: Evidence from China’s One-Child Policy (published by Institute for the Study of Labor December 2007):

…This paper exploits two unique features of the Chinese experience: the change in the sex ratio was both large and mainly in response to the implementation of the one-child policy. Using annual province-level data covering the years 1988-2004, we find that a 0.01 increase in the sex ratio raised the violent and property crime rates by some 5-6%, suggesting that the increasing maleness of the young adult population may account for as much as a third of the overall rise in crime. [PDF available]

Law enforcement responses to trafficking in persons: challenges and emerging good practice (published by Australian Institute of Criminology, December 2007):

…This paper focuses on the challenges that may confront law enforcement officials in any country in their efforts to detect trafficking, identify victims, investigate offences and contribute to the successful prosecution of offenders. Drawing on international experience, this paper identifies some examples of emerging good practice that can help to overcome these challenges, and contribute to the effectiveness of the larger criminal justice response to trafficking. [PDF available]

Criminal justice responses to drug and drug-related offending: are they working? (published by Australian Institute of Criminology, December 2007):

…Over the past seven or eight years, almost every state and territory has implemented a range of so-called drug diversion programs that operate at different points along the criminal justice continuum. … If these initiatives are achieving their objectives, then such costs should be more than offset by the benefits accruing to the community through a reduction in illicit drug use and related offending, improved health and wellbeing for former drug dependent offenders and reduced case loads for the criminal justice system. The key question is ‘Are these programs working: are they, in fact, meeting their primary aims?’ This report attempts to provide some insight into these questions by giving an overview of key findings from national and state-based evaluations that have been undertaken of these initiatives. It will summarise the outcome-based results currently available, identify the knowledge gaps that still exist and point to areas where further work is required to provide a more definitive insight into the value of these programs. [PDF available]

Violent Crime in America: A Tale of Two Cities (published by Police Executive Research Forum, November 2007). From the Overview:

…early indications for 2007 suggest that the countermeasures are beginning to have an impact on crime, according to PERF’s latest survey. When the same sample of 56 jurisdictions used in PERF’s previous surveys are analyzed, aggregate crime levels reported by police agencies for the first six months of 2007 show overall reductions in homicides and other violent crimes. Importantly, however, there are still many jurisdictions reporting increases in violent crime. … We are calling this latest violent crime report “A Tale of Two Cities” to reflect this volatility of crime patterns. [PDF available.]

Sexual Victimization in State and Federal Prisons Reported by Inmates, 2007 (published by Bureau of Justice Statistics, December 2007):

An estimated 4.5 percent of state and federal prisoners reported a sexual victimization in a survey mandated by the Prison Rape Elimination Act, the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics announced today… The survey was conducted in 146 state and federal prisons between April and August 2007, with a sample of 23,398 inmates. [PDF available]

Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children: What Do We Know and What Do We Do About It? (published by National Institute of Justice, December 2007):

Much investigation remains to be done regarding the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). As with other “low visibility” crimes, there is a lurking “dark figure” of unreported cases. Moreover, little reliable information exists about the types of people who exploit children in this way. Research has revealed that CSEC takes place at three levels: local exploitation by one or a few individuals, small regional networks involving multiple adults and children, and large national or international sex crime networks where children are traded and sold as commodities. [PDF available]

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Understanding the Police Decision to Arrest People With Mental Illness

An interesting article in the latest issue of Psychiatric Services discusses police decision making when faced with people with mental illness. Here’s the abstract:

The criminalization hypothesis assumes that deinstitutionalization coupled with inadequate police training has led to the increased arrest of people with mental illness. Arrest is viewed as a means to manage the troublesome behavior that often results from mental illness. Supporting research has emphasized the contributing role that illness plays in the arrest decision. This assumption largely ignores an extant criminal justice literature on the factors that influence arrest. On the basis of a review of this criminal justice literature, beginning with Bittner’s 1967 seminal work, a framework is proposed that incorporates three contexts—manipulative, temporal, and scenic—surrounding the police encounter and the relationship of these contexts to mental illness. These three “horizons” incorporate the characteristics of the community, the offender, and the incident, all of which are recognized as influential in shaping police discretion. The scenic horizon is indicative of the features of the community. The temporal horizon includes police knowledge that stretches beyond the specific incident and officer characteristics. The manipulative horizon involves the current incident from the standpoint of the officer and includes considerations of safety for the community as well as the immediate concerns of the officer. Implications of this framework are then explored with respect to both police and mental health service mandates.

Reference:

Recent podcasts relevant to psychology and crime

MP3onred From the Leonard Lopate Show:

  • Are Sex Offender Laws Working? (20 December): “US sex offender laws may do harm than good, according to a recent report from Human Rights Watch. Strict notification laws and residency requirements don’t reflect the reality of the risks children face, may not protect victims, and violate the basic human rights of former offenders.”
  • Exonerated: Life After Wrongful Imprisonment (The Leonard Lopate Show: 19 December): “Barry Gibbs spent 19 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. David Shepard was wrongfully convicted of rape, and served 10 years of a 30-year sentence. Both were exonerated. But exoneration comes with its own set of challenges. Mr. Gibbs, Mr. Shepard, and Innocence Project attorney Vanessa Potkin explain why returning to the outside world is so difficult…and whether anything can make up for the years lost in prison.”
  • JFK’s Assassination, 44 Years Later (The Leonard Lopate Show: 23 November): “Today, 70 percent of Americans think Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone. Robert Stone’s new documentary about JFK’s assassination, “Oswald’s Ghost,” reviews what happened on November 22, 1963 and how that day’s events have become mythologized in American society.”
  • The Art of Political Murder (The Leonard Lopate Show: 15 November): Bishop Juan Gerardi was a Guatemalan human rights leader who was killed after he published a report on Guatemala’s army-led genocidal campaign in the 1980s and 90s. Francisco Goldman’s account of what happened is The Art of Political Murder: Who Killed the Bishop?

A couple of videos via Sandra Kiume’s Channel N Blog:

  • Clinical Reality of Violence Against Women (Emory University Regional Training Center): “…understanding the dynamics of domestic violence by enhancing their response and intervention skills with patients who are victims of domestic violence.”
  • Adolescent Sex Offenders (Yale Psychiatry): “In a Yochelson Lecture, Roy O’Shaughnessy, M.D., Head, Division Forensic Psychiatry of the University of British Columbia (UBC) discusses the psychopathy, treatment and management of adolescent sex offenders. Interesting, and challenging to pop culture assumptions and values.”

From the BBC:

  • Assignment – The internet chatroom murder (22 November): “This week on Assignment, a story of lust, deception and betrayal on the internet. It tells the extraordinary story of a middle-aged factory worker who undergoes a virtual and very real transformation after he goes online – a transformation which ends in murder.”

And finally, over at The Psych Files:

  • The Effects of Video Game and Media Violence (7 December): “What do psychologists think about the effects of violent video games and violence in the media on viewers? Does it lead people to be more aggressive? More violent? Or is it the other way around?”

Reports round-up: stop and search, persistent criminals, death penalty, judges and drugs

ex libris gul law reports collectionLatest criminal justice-related reports via Docuticker

Analysis of Racial Disparities in the New York Police Department’s Stop, Question, and Frisk Practices, published by RAND (full report and summary available via the link):

In 2006, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) stopped a half-million pedestrians for suspected criminal involvement. Raw statistics for these encounters suggest large racial disparities — 89 percent of the stops involved nonwhites…researchers analyzed data on all street encounters between NYPD officers and pedestrians in 2006. …They found small racial differences in these rates and make communication, recordkeeping, and training recommendations to the NYPD for improving police-pedestrian interactions.

Manuel Utset, in Hyperbolic Criminals and Repeated Time-Inconsistent Misconduct, (Houston Law Review via SSRN, full text available), uses economic models to try and understand why criminals become repeat offenders:

… even a relatively small preference for immediate gratification and over-optimism about their future self-control can lead hyperbolic criminals to repeatedly commit welfare-reducing crimes – i.e., those that (from a detached, long-term perspective) have negative expected returns. [The paper] develops a theory of repeated criminal misconduct that incorporates the findings of the growing behavioral economics literature on hyperbolic discounting and self-control problems; …identifies various deterrence implications of the theory; … explains a number of well-known empirical puzzles of neoclassical theory, including why policymakers punish repeat offenders more harshly and spend more on enforcement than the theory predicts…

Also via SSRN, The Heart Has its Reasons: Examining the Strange Persistence of the American Death Penalty by Susan Bandes (published in Studies in Law, Politics and Society, Vol. 42, No. 1, 2008, full text available):

The debate about the future of the death penalty often focuses on whether its supporters are animated by instrumental or expressive values, and if the latter, what values the penalty does in fact express, where those values originated, and how deeply entrenched they are. In this article I argue that a more explicit recognition of the emotional sources of support for and opposition to the death penalty will contribute to the clarity of the debate.

  • See also: a report from the American Bar Association which reported that “based on a detailed analysis of death penalty systems in eight sample states, the ABA Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project identified key problems common to the states studied, including major racial disparities, inadequate indigent defense services and irregular clemency review processes – making their death penalty systems operate unfairly” (released 29 Oct; key findings available in Word format).

Frederick Schauer at the Harvard University John F Kennedy School of Government attempts to answer the question Is There a Psychology of Judging?
(Working Paper Number:RWP07-049, full text available):

Psychologists have recently begun to study the psychological dimensions of judging, but to date almost all of the research has been on lay experimental subjects. Implicit in the research, therefore, is that the judge’s attributes as a human bring are more important than the judge’s attribute’s as lawyer and/or as judge in explaining judicial behavior. This may possibly be true, and it is relatively consistent with a Legal Realist understanding of judges and judging, but there remains a need for research directed specifically to the question whether judges by virtue of legal training, self-selection to judging, or judicial experience think and reason and make decisions differently from lay people…

The review paper Disrupting Street-Level Drug Markets (published by U.S. Department of State, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, pdf) finds that programmes that

involve strategic crime-control partnerships with a range of third parties are better than community-wide policing approaches that rely on partnerships to reduce drug and disorder problems across neighborhoods plagued with drug problems. Our review also finds that either type of partnership approach (i.e., geographically focused or community-wide approaches that use partnerships) is likely to be more effective at disrupting drug problems than law enforcement-only approaches (e.g., crackdowns, raids, directed patrols) that target drug hot spots. Unfocused law enforcement-only approaches to dealing with drug problems are a distant last.

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