Criminal Justice Policy Review

Sage Publications, Inc.
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Latest documents

  • Measuring Procedural Justice Policy Adherence During Use of Force Events: The Body-Worn Camera as a Performance Monitoring Tool

    This study capitalizes on a successful researcher–practitioner partnership to conduct a systematic social observation (SSO) of police body-worn camera (BWC) footage in Newark, NJ. To demonstrate the utility of BWCs as performance monitoring tools, we measure officer adherence to procedural justice standards throughout use of force events as mandated in the Newark Police Division’s updated policies pursuant to an ongoing federal consent decree. Overall, a slim majority of use of force events are procedurally just. However, results indicate several instances of policy noncompliance. Results are discussed, and policy recommendations related to procedural justice policy violations and BWCs for performance monitoring are provided.

  • County-Level Context and Sentence Lengths for Black, Latinx, and White Individuals Sentenced to Prison: A Multi-Level Assessment

    This article examines the relationship between race, ethnicity, county-level contextual variables, and sentence lengths for Black, Latinx, and White individuals sentenced to prison. Hierarchical linear modeling is used to examine the focal concerns perspective, the racial/ethnic threat thesis, socioeconomic inequality across racial/ethnic groups, political climate, and individual-level factors and sentence lengths. Data come from the National Corrections Reporting Program and other sources to examine sentences for over 500,000 individuals admitted to U.S. prisons between 2015 and 2017, from 751 counties. Results indicate that Black and Latinx individuals receive longer sentences than their White counterparts, even after controlling for relevant variables. The racial/ethnic threat thesis is not supported. Black individuals are sentenced longer than their White counterparts in counties with larger shares of Republican voters. Findings indicate that race and ethnicity continue to be salient predictors of punishment, with Black and Latinx individuals facing harsher outcomes than their White counterparts.

  • Public Opinion About Police Weapons and Equipment: An Exploratory Analysis

    Despite debates about the “material militarization” of the police, relatively little information on mass public opinion about police weapons, equipment, and gear currently exists. We analyze data from a national, opt-in panel of survey participants to assess public opinion regarding police use of 10 different types of weapons and equipment for use in confrontations with citizens. We find that public opinion defies easy classification into “militarized” versus “routine” equipment categories. Multivariate analyses indicate that perceptions of (a) police efficacy and (b) the frequency with which officers experience physical assaults on the job are the most consistent predictors of support for a range of weapons and gear, whereas perceptions of police misconduct and bias predict opposition to some types of tools. Partisan differences in attitudes between Democrats, Republicans, and Independents are less consistent predictors than broader perceptions about policing, but the effects of partisanship that are evident are substantively large.

  • Youth in Adult and Juvenile Correctional Facilities: Comparison of Services and Behavioral Management

    Given contemporary efforts to prevent adolescents from experiencing the negative consequences of incarceration, it is critical to assess the impact of juvenile transfer. Relative to a potential deterrent effect on the recidivism of transferred juveniles, empirical evidence regarding their institutional experience is lacking. Drawing on record data from those admitted to adult and juvenile systems in a Midwestern state from 2011 to 2014, this study compared the correctional experience of teenage males housed in an adult prison with young adults and teenagers housed in juvenile residential facilities. After controlling for individual profiles using the propensity score analysis, youth in adult facilities had similar or more access to institutional programs but also exhibited relatively higher involvement in misconduct based on official reports. The implications for correctional policies and practices for transferred and incarcerated youth are discussed.

  • Building Collaborative Evidence-Based Frameworks for Criminal Justice Policy

    Researcher–policymaker/practitioner partnerships (RPPs) have emerged as a successful tool for translating research into policy and practice. However, the available research has focused on RPPs with law enforcement and correctional agencies. Notably absent are studies that describe and evaluate RPPs between researchers and legislative bodies. Specifically, questions remain about the establishment, unique constraints, best practices for effective implementation, and sustainability of partnerships between researchers and policymakers. This study contributes to the literature by describing a unique RPP between a university and a state legislature. Through this retrospective case analysis, we describe the steps taken to initiate the partnership, its implementation, and outcomes. Importantly, in the context of the prior research, we describe the lessons learned, next steps, and implications for partnerships with policymakers.

  • Work–Family Conflict’s Association With the Work Attitudes of Job Involvement, Job Satisfaction, and Organizational Commitment Among Southern Prison Staff

    Prisons depend on their employees, and staffing a prison is expensive. Approximately 80% of a prison’s budget is for staff wages and benefits. Prisons are not generally viewed as desirable places to work, thus recruiting and retaining correctional officers can be difficult. Work-related stress can negatively affect staff members’ home lives, and home stress can make an employee distracted and endangered at work. Time-, strain-, behavior-, and family-based work–family conflicts were hypothesized to impact three work attitudes (job involvement, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment) negatively. Time-based conflict had no significant effects on any of the work attitudes. Strain-based conflict had significant negative effects on job satisfaction and organizational commitment but not job involvement. Behavior-based conflict had significant negative effects on all three work attitudes. Contrary to our hypotheses, family-based conflict had significant positive effects on all three. Work–family conflict is a significant work attitude-associated stressor for correctional staff; therefore, policy recommendations to address it are made.

  • Investigative Outcomes of CODIS Matches in Previously Untested Sexual Assault Kits

    A 2011 Texas statute required that police agencies submit to the state all unanalyzed sexual assault kits between 1996 and 2011. Cases where a match was made with DNA from an individual or case were returned to local agencies for additional investigation. This article examines outcomes of these cases. Consistent with other studies, we found that the ratio of arrests to all kits submitted was below 1%, and the ratio of arrests to Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) hits was 5.5%. A cost analysis concluded that the cost per court filing was US$132,000. We argue that the small number of arrests was partially due to the age of the cases, based on 8- to 23-year-old crime reports. We further contend that the program could have produced better results if the state had provided funding more quickly for testing and investigations.

  • The Effectiveness of a Coordinated Response Toward Nonfatal Strangulation in Facilitating Evidence-Based Prosecution

    Many states’ laws now classify nonfatal strangulation as part of domestic violence as a felony offense, but prosecution of offenders remains challenging due to the nature of this type of violent offense. This study evaluates a coordinated effort designed to improve one county’s response to nonfatal strangulation. The impact of law enforcement training and specialized forensic medical examinations on facilitating evidence-based prosecution of nonfatal strangulation offenders is examined. Preliminary support is found for the effectiveness of the coordinated effort, highlighting the importance of comprehensive law enforcement training and detailed medical evidence in facilitating evidence-based prosecution.

  • A Multisite Evaluation of Prosecutor-Led Pretrial Diversion: Effects on Conviction, Incarceration, and Recidivism

    Recent years have witnessed a resurgence of interest in prosecutor-led pretrial diversion programs, yet up-to-date research on the effectiveness of these programs is lacking. Participants in four prosecutor-led diversion programs, Cook County, IL (separate analyses for misdemeanor and felony participants), Milwaukee County, WI (two distinct programs varying in participant risk level and treatment intensity), and Chittenden County, VT, were propensity-score matched to comparison defendants (total n = 5,040). All programs yielded a significant decrease in instant case conviction (mean odds ratio = .12) and use of jail sentences (mean odds ratio = .33). There was also a trend toward reduced re-arrest at 2 years (mean odds ratio = .79). Three of four diversion programs significantly delayed onset of first re-arrest. Taken together, results support the effectiveness of a diverse set of prosecutor-led pretrial diversion programs that varied in charge severity, participant risk level, and program duration and intensity.

  • Administrative Segregation: A Review of State and Federal Policies

    The use of administrative segregation in prison is a controversial correctional policy. Proponents argue this type of housing is necessary for maintaining institutional safety and order, whereas critics contend it is damaging to inmate mental health. Despite the increase in academic attention over the last decade, there is much that remains unknown about the uses and effects of this practice. This study addresses this gap in knowledge by content-analyzing the administrative segregation policies of 48 state and federal prison systems. The results provide evidence of consistency and discrepancy across key elements of these policies, including placement criteria and review procedures. Findings further highlight how basic information regarding mental health provisions and conditions of confinement are missing from a substantial number of policies. This investigation emphasizes a need for more governmental accountability and transparency in the use of this correctional policy and identifies several areas for future research.

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