Justice Research and Policy

Sage Publications, Inc.
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Latest documents

  • Assessing Cross-Sector Stakeholder Perspectives on Oakland (CA)’s Juvenile Reentry System

    We surveyed 75 staff and administrators involved in Oakland (CA)’s Second Chance Initiative from diverse agencies (e.g., probation, behavioral health, public health/medical, education, community-based service providers) to assess the local juvenile reentry system. Sharing and using data across partner agencies, mutual trust, opportunities for interagency collaboration, system-level youth and family engagement, shared governance, and limited resources repeatedly arose as areas for improvement. Many defined reentry success using positive youth developmental outcomes. Government and community perspectives around barriers and effectiveness often differed with some similarities.

  • State-Level Firearm Transfer Policy

    The aim of the present study was to determine whether latent class analysis (LCA) could obtain a measure of the aggregate firearm transfer law environment. LCA, analysis of variance, and multinomial logistic regression were used to analyze state-level firearm transfer laws. Results indicated that a three-class solution fit the data better than a two- or four-class solution. These classes were associated with the two covariates in patterns consistent with hypotheses. Results suggest that LCA is a useful technique for classifying states based on the restrictiveness of firearm transfer laws. This classification may be useful in intervention and prevention planning.

  • Prevalence, Form, and Function of Consolidated Public Safety Departments in the United States

    Most communities in the United States provide fire and police services through separate departments, but some operate a single consolidated one for police, fire, and, frequently, emergency medical services. The number of such public safety departments has grown in recent years, but little systematic research has been done on them. This article presents results of a census and subsequent survey of public safety departments in the United States to examine their prevalence, form, and function. It reviews characteristics of their distribution, capabilities and structure, staffing and management, budget, and approach to community policing. It concludes by identifying future research needs.

  • State Implementation of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act

    The 2006 Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), Title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, established federal standards related to the content and operation of sex offender registration and notification systems across the United States. As of early 2017, over a decade following passage, 18 of 50 states had been designated by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) as having substantially implemented SORNA—figures that might be initially interpreted as indicators of a failed policy. Yet a closer analysis suggests that SORNA implementation is complex and multifaceted and that viewing the policy’s “success” through such a binary prism may be inherently limited. In this context, the current study offers a multidimensional analysis of state-level SORNA implementation based on data abstracted from DOJ records. Findings indicate that many aspects of SORNA have been universally or widely implemented, that most states have adopted policies that are consistent with a majority of SORNA standards, and that barriers to SORNA implementation are concentrated among a limited subset of issues, notably those related to retroactive application, registration of juveniles, and means of classifying registrants. Implications for state and federal policy governing sex offender registration are discussed.

  • What Factors Influence an Officer’s Decision to Shoot? The Promise and Limitations of Using Public Data

    We analyze a set of 207 Dallas Police Department officer-involved shooting incidents in reference to 1,702 instances in which officers from the same agency drew their firearms but did not shoot at the suspect. We find that situational factors of whether the suspect was armed and whether an officer was injured were the best predictors of the decision to shoot. We also find that African Americans are less likely than Whites to be shot. It is important to collect data on encounters in which weapons are and are not discharged. Analyses examining only shootings is fundamentally limited in assessing racial bias.

  • Do Domestic Violence Courts Work? A Meta-Analytic Review Examining Treatment and Study Quality

    Domestic violence courts (DVCs) have become an increasingly popular model in the problem-solving court system. To date, there have been no efforts to summarize the extant literature regarding the impact of DVCs on recidivism. The present study is a meta-analysis of 20 DVC outcome studies reporting on 26 unique DVC samples. The results indicated that DVCs are having a positive impact (i.e., lower odds) on general recidivism (odds ratio [OR] = .81, 95% CI [0.68, 0.98], k = 18) as well as domestic violence recidivism (OR = .81, 95% CI [0.67, 0.97], k = 21), compared to domestic violence offenders processed through the traditional court system. These results, however, became nonsignificant when considering studies of sound methodological quality (as assessed by the Collaborative Outcome Data Committee guidelines). The study also conducted a preliminary investigation of treatment quality (adherence to risk, need, and responsivity [RNR] principles) in the DVC literature. The results indicated that adherence to the RNR principles was low but significantly related to greater treatment effects. Future research should aim to increase the quality of evaluation designs and the courts should look to existing offender rehabilitation literature to inform best practices with domestic violence offenders.

  • A Longitudinal Examination of Veterans Treatment Courts’ Characteristics and Eligibility Criteria

    Although the number of Veterans Treatment Courts (VTCs) has been growing at a rapid rate, thus far, VTC components have not been standardized, due in part to a lack of empirical evidence on the extent to which components vary across VTCs nationwide and change over time. This study analyzed data collected by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Veterans Justice Program, on VTCs in 2012 (n = 173 Courts), 2013 (n = 266), and 2014 (n = 351), to describe Court characteristics, participant eligibility criteria, and Courts’ mentoring component. Despite growth in VTC numbers, the survey found consistency over time in these aspects of VTCs. Regarding characteristics, the majority of Courts had jurisdiction at the county level. Across survey years, the range of means was 22–24 for veteran participant census, 10–14 for number of months spent in the Court for misdemeanors, and 18–19 for number of months spent in the Court for felonies. Eligibility requirements suggested openness to veterans of different backgrounds and status. Less than two thirds of Courts had the mentoring component; Courts with the mentoring component had a higher participant census and a longer duration of participants’ time under Court supervision than Courts without this component. Existing mentoring programs were organized mainly by volunteers. VTCs’ adherence to policies supportive of veterans may benefit from having paid mentor coordinators in order to further ensure this hallmark of VTCs.

  • Contraband Cell Phone Usage Patterns

    Contraband cell phones pose significant challenges for correctional administrators and policy makers. Data to examine the nature of the contraband cell phone problem remains elusive, rendering much of the debate about how these issues have arisen and what can be done to resolve challenges informed by anecdotes. Using a data collection of 425,443 contraband cell phone-attempted transmissions, the present study provides important empirical evidence of contraband cell phone user behavior. Findings indicate that the calling patterns of contraband cell phone users mirror those of the general public. Phones are most likely used to maintain in-state contact with an intimate network of up to six partners, to entertain oneself, to manage personal finances, or a combination of these motivations.

  • Utilizing Incident-Based Crime Data to Inform Strategic Interventions

    A public health approach to violence prevention involves the empirical identification of groups and communities at the highest risk for violence to inform targeted interventions. We demonstrate the utility of complete incident-level crime data toward this end. Data for 32,056 unique incidents involving homicide, aggravated assault, and robbery were extracted from the 2013 Michigan Incident Crime Reporting system, a statewide National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) data system. Differential victimization rates were calculated across demographic subgroups and jurisdictions to identify patterns in risk. Two-stage least squares regression models were estimated to examine correlates of variation in excess risk. Analyses identified young Black males and females at relatively high risk for violent victimization, and that this risk was amplified within cities with disproportionately high crime rates. Multivariate models suggested concentrated disadvantage as the most stable correlate of variation in excess risk across Michigan cities and towns. The results highlight the importance of expanding NIBRS adoption and the deployment of focused interventions involving both short-term enforcement and long-term social reinvestment.

  • Classifying Prisoner Returns

    Scholars often use administrative corrections data to identify the reasons that offenders return to prison, though such data usually obscure more complex processes underlying the cause of a return. This article describes the procedural nuances that make it difficult to record prison return paths and discusses these limitations. We focus on data elements and recording practices commonly found in administrative databases and discuss whether and how researchers may use these data to reliably identify/classify returns. We provide empirical demonstrations of these arguments using publicly available data and conclude that more extensive data are often needed to accomplish this objective.

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