Friday, August 21, 2015

Studying Deterrence Among High-Risk Adolescents
"...In this bulletin, the authors consider - based on their review of recent evidence from the Pathways to Desistance study, a multisite, longitudinal sample of adolescent (primarily felony) offenders... several questions regarding how juvenile offenders assess sanctions and the threat of sanctions.  Unlike most other research on serious adolescent offenders, the Pathways study draws from both interviews and official records from adolescence and early adulthood.  The authors examine several questions related to deterring juveniles:
  • Do their offending and punishment experiences mold offenders' perceptions of risks and consequences of offending (which relate directly to their propensity to be deterred from crimes)?
  • Does placing offenders in a correctional facility have any tangible deterrent effects?
  • Does longer placement have a more deterrent effect on juveniles?
The authors conclude with a discussion of directions for future applied research into deterrence and consider some broader implications for juvenile justice policy and practice."

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Is Harm-Focused Policing the Future?
"Police chiefs across the country are considering how new approaches to law enforcement could better serve the needs of their communities, according to a paper published in the Police Foundation’s journal, Ideas in American Policing.

Instead of continuing their traditional focus on combating violent crime, police departments are looking at methods to address other related community concerns such as behavioral health, drugs, environmental issues and gang recruitment, writes Jerry Ratcliffe, a professor of criminal justice at Temple University. He describes this approach as 'harm-focused policing.'"

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Police Foundation (UK): Safe as Houses?
"New research from the Police Foundation suggests that conditions in the private rented sector (PRS) are exposing tenants to an increased risk of crime. In Luton, where the PRS doubled between the last two Censuses, neighbourhoods with greater concentrations of private renting were found to have higher burglary rates, (and this remained the case when factors such as unemployment and deprivation were taken into account). Taken with other findings, this indicated that inadequate household security in the local rental sector (where high demand and low regulation provide little incentive for landlords to make improvements) was an important (and potentially fixable) driver of burglary. Additionally, high-burglary neighbourhoods tended to be places of ethnic diversity, transience and rapid population growth; suggesting that disparate, churning tenant population (and others who live alongside them) may be unable to develop the community resilience to resist criminal predation."

View the Report
 

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Professor Emeritus Anthony Doob on "The Harper Decade: The Conservative Take on Crime Policy
"There is no question that Harper’s Conservatives have talked tough about criminal justice, departing from the more moderate tone that has characterized Canada’s history on this topic. Before Conservative rule, Canada had a long tradition of allowing criminal justice experts – like judges and prosecutors – to make decisions in ways that were largely insulated from politics.  One result is that Canada has been able to sustain a stable, moderate rate of imprisonment. Even during decades when violent crime was much higher across North America – when the US was busy generating the policies that would deliver its current situation of ‘mass imprisonment’ –  Canada relied on imprisonment comparatively sparingly. Since 1950, imprisonment rates have varied between about 81 and 116 adults per hundred thousand Canadian residents. In 2005 the rate was about 104. Currently it appears to be about 115.

This tone of moderation in crime policy has changed. With the Conservative politicization of the field of criminal justice we have seen an uptick in rates of imprisonment, an increase in the severity of the punishment experience, and a new reliance on crime as a salient topic with which to mobilize political support. Harper’s Conservatives have overseen decisions to close prison farms, fire prison chaplains, strip judges of sentencing discretion, and increase the use of solitary confinement. The overrepresentation of indigenous people in our jails and prisons – already a problem under past governments – has also become worse during Conservative rule."

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015


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The War on Drugs and Prison Growth: Limited Importance, Limited Legislative Options
"The dramatic rise in imprisonment in the United States over the past forty years is hard to understate.  Decades of stable incarceration ended suddenly in the mid-1970s, as the U.S. prison population soared from about 300,000 to 1.6 million inmates, and the incarceration rate from 100 per 100,000 to over 500 per 100,000....

Not surprisingly, academics, policymakers, and journalists alike have attempted to ferret out the causes of this carceral explosion.  Though explanations differ, almost all analysts agree that a major cause has been the 'War on Drugs.'...

Yet despite its widespread popularity, the argument pinning prison growth to the War on Drugs oversimplifies the connection between the two.  This article starts to develop a more sophisticated analysis of how the War on Drugs shapes prison populations, and examines its implications for the options available to legislatures seeking to better manage prison growth.  My conclusions run contrary to the conventional wisdom and, when it comes to reform, will not be particularly optimistic: the role of the War on Drugs is greatly exaggerated, and the areas where it matters most are likely the ones over which legislatures have the least control."

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Facial Recognition Software Moves from Overseas Wars to Local Police
"Facial recognition software, which American military and intelligence agencies used for years in Iraq and Afghanistan to identify potential terrorists, is being eagerly adopted by dozens of police departments around the country to pursue drug dealers, prostitutes and other conventional criminal suspects. But because it is being used with few guidelines and with little oversight or public disclosure, it is raising questions of privacy and concerns about potential misuse."

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More than 80% of the Thousands Held at the Chicago Police's "Black Site" were Black
"The Guardian has uncovered arrest records revealing that 82% of the more than 3,500 Americans detained at a secret police facility in Chicago over the past decade were black.

About 8.5% of those held at the site were white. According to the 2010 census, Chicago's population is 32% non-Hispanic white, 33% black, and 29% Hispanic (of which 13.5% identify as racially white) .

In February, The Guardian reported that the Chicago Police Department was holding US citizens for days on end at the facility known as Homan Square. Suspects had no contact with the outside world and were treated and interrogated like terrorists at so-called US black sites."

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