Category Archives: Drugs

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

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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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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New reports from the UK Home Office, November 2007


The UK Home Office has published several new reports in the last month.

Five reports deal with different aspects of illicit drug use. Home Office Research Report 02 provides results on a Drug Interventions Programme (DIP): addressing drug use and offending through ‘Tough Choices’ (pdf). Home Office Research Report 03 reports on a Drug Treatment Outcomes Research Study (pdf). Three further reports provide information on measuring the harm from illegal drugs (pdf); national and regional estimates of the prevalence of opiate use and/or crack cocaine use (pdf); and the illicit drug trade in the United Kingdom (pdf).

Prospective crime mapping in operational context by Shane D Johnson, Daniel J Birks, Lindsay McLaughlin, Kate J Bowers and Ken Pease reports on a trial of a tool to predict burglary hotspots. The full report (pdf) is here or you can access a shorter summary here (pdf).

Finally, three Statistical Bulletins:

  • Results from a survey of arrestees (pdf).
  • Statistics on attitudes, perceptions and risks of crime (pdf).
  • Asylum Statistics for the 3rd Quarter 2007 (pdf)

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The Construction of Truth and Lies in Drug Court

teendrugAn article in the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography reports on a long-term study of how drug-using offenders tell truth and lies in a US drug court. Mackinem (the paper’s first author) is a member of drug court staff, and the discussion of how he and his co-author negotiated the challenges of ‘participant observation’ is as interesting as the results of their observations.

In the course of a multiyear investigation of three drug courts in a southeastern state, we explored how drug-court staff decides whether clients are telling the truth or lying when the staff confronts them with a positive test for drugs… The drug-court staff’s construction of truths and lies is one occasion of many when staff members create moral identities for their clients and for those applying to be clients

They found that when confronted with a positive result, a third (32%) of clients responded with denials, while the other two thirds admitted to using drugs. A variety of excuses were put forward as mitigaiton, with personal stress and the influence of peers being the most common. The authors argue that the way in which drug court staff treat lies by drug-using offenders is bound up with the creation of ‘moral identities’ for the offenders:

The drug-court staff’s judgment as to whether clients are telling the truth or lying when confronted with a positive test for drugs is one occasion of many when the staff creates moral identities for its clients and for those applying to be clients. Are the drug-using offenders morally worthy drug addicts attempting to become sober, or are they unworthy criminals with no willingness to kick their habit? Staffers increasingly make these judgments as they evaluate the potential of drug-using offenders to participate successfully in drug court, as they monitor the progress of drug court clients in the program, and as they assess the performance of clients in deciding whether the clients will graduate or be removed from the program (page 244).

Sage Journals is currently offering open access to all journals, so you can read the article for free until the end of November 2007.

Reference :

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Continue reading The Construction of Truth and Lies in Drug Court

New issue: European Journal of Criminology 4(4)


European Journal of Criminology 4(4) , October 2007 is now online. Follow the link to the publisher’s website for abstracts and access to full text articles.

Contents include:

  • Birds of Different Feathers: School Networks of Serious Delinquent, Minor Delinquent and Non-delinquent Boys and Girls – Frank M. Weerman and Catrien C. J. H. Bijleveld
  • The Victimization of Dependent Drug Users: Findings from a European Study, UK – Alex Stevens, Daniele Berto, Ulrich Frick, Viktoria Kerschl, Tim McSweeney, Susanne Schaaf, Morena Tartari, Paul Turnbull, Barbara Trinkl, Ambros Uchtenhagen, Gabriele Waidner, and Wolfgang Werdenich
  • Trust in the Police in 16 European Countries: A Multilevel Analysis – Juha Tapio Kaariainen
  • The Europeanization of Human Rights: An Obstacle to Authoritarian Policing in Ireland? – Barry Vaughan and Shane Kilcommins
  • Crime and Criminal Policy in Italy: Tradition and Modernity in a Troubled Country – Stefano Maffei and Isabella Merzagora Betsos

Docuticker round-up

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

Public School Practices for Violence Prevention and Reduction: 2003–04 (National Center for Education Statistics): “This Issue Brief (1) examines principals’ reports of the prevalence of formal practices in public schools designed to prevent or reduce school violence and (2) describes the distribution of these practices by selected school characteristics.”

When Men Murder Women: An Analysis of 2005 Homicide Data (Violence Policy Center): “This annual report details national and state-by-state information on female homicides involving one female murder victim and one male offender.”

No Easy Answers: Sex Offender Laws in the United States (Human Rights Watch): “the first comprehensive study of US sex offender policies, their public safety impact, and the effect they have on former offenders and their families.”

Exploring the Drugs-Crime Connection within the Electronic Dance Music and Hip-Hop Nightclub Scenes (Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, University of Delaware / National Institute of Justice): “This report explores how the cultural ethos, behavioral norms, activities, and individual and group identities (subcultural phenomena), inherent to the electronic dance music … and the hip hop/rap nightclub scenes … impact the relationship between alcohol, drugs, and crime, with additional attention to victimization.”

Building an Offender Reentry Program: A Guide for Law Enforcement (International Association of Chiefs of Police): “In an effort to determine the state of law enforcement’s participation in offender reentry initiatives, the International Association of Chiefs of Police partnered with OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance to comprehensively examine law enforcement’s role in offender reentry initiatives.”

Suicide Trends Among Youths and Young Adults Aged 10–24 Years — United States, 1990–2004 (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC): “The report is an analysis of annual data from the CDC?s National Vital Statistics System”

Law Enforcement for Lawabiders (Police Foundation): “Why do people comply with the law? Professor Tracey Meares of Yale University explores the power of private social control in controlling and reducing crime.”

Violent Deaths and the National Violent Death Reporting System (CDC): “The National Violent Death Reporting System collects data on violent deaths from a variety of sources. Together, these sources offer a more comprehensive picture of the circumstances surrounding a homicide or suicide.”

Upward trend in racist crimes in at least 8 EU countries (European Parliament): “The report analyses discrimination in employment, housing and education across the 27 Member States.”

Minding Moral Responsibility (Engage, via SSRN): “… one of the most enduring areas of controversy in our criminal law involves questions about mitigation and the insanity defense.”

Fatal fires: fire-associated homicide in Australia, 1990-2005 (Australian Institute of Criminology)

2007 Annual Report on Organized crime in Canada (Criminal Intelligence Service Canada)

The British Gambling Prevalence Survey 2007 (Gambling Commission UK)

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New issues: Journal of Experimental Criminology 3(2) and 3(3)


The latest two issues of Journal of Experimental Criminology are now online. Follow the link to the publisher’s website for abstracts and access to full text articles.

Journal of Experimental Criminology 3(2), June 2007 is a special issue on Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Research in the Netherlands. Contents include:

  • Experimental and quasi-experimental criminological research in the Netherlands – Gerben J. N. Bruinsma and David Weisburd
  • Contextual determinants of juveniles’ willingness to report crimes: A vignette experiment – Heike Goudriaan and Paul Nieuwbeerta
  • Implementing randomized experiments in criminal justice settings: An evaluation of multi-systemic therapy in the Netherlands – Jessica J. Asscher, Maja Dekovic, Peter H. van der Laan, Pier J. M. Prins and Sander van Arum
  • Bridging the gap between judges and the public? A multi-method study – Jan W. de Keijser, Peter J. van Koppen and Henk Elffers
  • Newspaper juries: A field experiment concerning the effect of information on attitudes towards the criminal justice system – Henk Elffers, Jan W. de Keijser, Peter J. van Koppen and Laurien van Haeringe
  • Fare dodging and the strong arm of the law: An experimental evaluation of two different penalty schemes for fare evasion – Catrien Bijleveld

Journal of Experimental Criminology 3(3), September 2007, contents include:

  • The effects of an experimental intensive juvenile probation program on self-reported delinquency and drug use – Jodi Lane, Susan Turner, Terry Fain, Amber Sehgal
  • An experimental study of a therapeutic boot camp: Impact on impulses, attitudes and recidivism – Doris Layton MacKenzie, David Bierie, Ojmarrh Mitchell
  • Statistical inference and meta-analysis – Richard Berk
  • Unjustified inferences about meta-analysis – Mark W. Lipsey
  • A world without meta-analysis – William R. Shadish
  • The powerful seductions alchemy – Richard Berk

New issue: Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology 18(2)


The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology 18(2) is now online. Follow the link to the publisher’s website for abstracts and access to full text articles.

Contents include:

  • ‘Just Say No’: A preliminary evaluation of a three-stage model of integrated treatment for substance use problems in conditions of medium security – Helen Miles; Lisa Dutheil; Ian Welsby; Daniel Haider
  • Dialectical behaviour therapy as a treatment for borderline personality disorder in prisons: Three illustrative case studies – Claire Nee; Sarah Farman
  • Understanding change in a therapeutic community: An action systems approach – Lucy Neville; Sarah Miller; Katarina Fritzon
  • Older adult patients subject to restriction orders in England and Wales: A cross-sectional survey – P. C. J. O’Sullivan; L. P. Chesterman
  • ‘Getting into trouble’: A qualitative analysis of the onset of offending in the accounts of men with learning disabilities – Tom Isherwood; Mick Burns; Mark Naylor; Stephen Read
  • Risk assessment of child-victim sex offenders for extended supervision in New Zealand – Teresa Watson; James Vess
  • Applying a psychodynamic treatment model to support an adolescent sentenced for murder to confront and manage feelings of shame and remorse – Sinéad Marriott
  • Do forensic psychiatric inpatient units pose a risk to local communities? – Vicente Gradillas; Andrew Williams; Elizabeth Walsh; Tom Fahy
  • Custodial interrogation: What are the background factors associated with claims of false confession to police? – Gisli H. Gudjonsson; Jon Fridrik Sigurdsson; Bryndis Bjork Asgeirsdottir; Inga Dora Sigfusdottir

New issue: Criminology and Criminal Justice 7(3)


Criminology and Criminal Justice 7(3), August 2007 is now online. Follow the link to the publisher’s website for abstracts and access to full text articles.

Contents include:

  • Beyond public protection: An examination of community protection and public health approaches to high-risk offenders – Hazel Kemshall and Jason Wood
  • Consumer society, commodification and offender management – Trish McCulloch and Fergus McNeill
  • Borderline sentencing: A comparison of sentencers’ decision making in England and Wales, and Scotland – Andrew Millie, Jacqueline Tombs, and Mike Hough
  • Coerced drug treatment in the criminal justice system: Conceptual, ethical and criminological issues – Toby Seddon
  • `Too many chiefs and not enough chief executives’: Barriers to the development of PFI in the police service in England and Wales – Mark Button, Tom Williamson, and Les Johnston