Friday, January 26, 2007

More NCJRS Abstracts, January 26, 2007


NCJ 216765
Dag Leonardsen
Crime in Japan: Paradise Lost?
Journal of Scandinavian Studies in Criminology and Crime Prevention Volume:7 Issue:2 Dated:2006 Pages:185 to 210

Japan was previously lauded as a country that enjoyed low crime rates, which scholars had associated with cultural characteristics unique to Japanese society. The author points out, however, that when registered crime began growing steeply in Western countries, Japan had very low crime rates as well as very low employment rates, which was contrary to the employment situation in Western countries. The author argues that Japan’s low crime rate, therefore, could be a function of economic conditions rather than cultural characteristics alone. In 1990, Japan’s “economic bubble” burst, thrusting the country into its highest unemployment rates since the 1930s. In addition to climbing unemployment rates, Japan has also suffered rising crime rates during the past 10 years that have fed what some term a “moral panic” in Japan. An analysis of crime rates in Japan is presented along with other indicators of rising crime, such as the formation of neighborhood watch groups, increasing sales for personal and home security items, and opinion surveys about fear of crime and victimization. The author agrees that in the time period before the economic crisis, the low crime rate in Japan was at least partly driven by cultural factors. However, the cultural characteristics that contributed to low crime rates during economically prosperous times have not had the same criminal deterrent effect during times of economic decline. The result has been that Japanese criminal justice and social policy has adopted ever-more retributive practices. Figures, footnotes, references

NCJ 216770
Myrna Dawson
Intimacy and Violence: Exploring the Role of Victim-Defendant Relationship in Criminal Law
The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology Volume:96 Issue:4 Dated:Summer 2006 Pages:1417 to 1450

The findings revealed that, first, contrary to the widespread assumption that intimate partner violence is a crime of passion, evidence of premeditation and intent to harm was more frequent among the intimate partner homicides (41 percent) than among the non-intimate partner homicides (31 percent). Moreover, defendants who killed intimate partners were more likely to receive shorter sentences than those who killed other types of victims. Thus, even when there was evidence of premeditation, defendants who killed intimate partners were treated more leniently by the court than defendants who killed non-intimate partner victims. Data on 54 cases of intimate partner homicide and 54 cases of non-intimate partner homicide that were resolved by courts in Toronto, Ontario between 1974 and 1996 were drawn from coroner’s files, police records, crown attorney files, and newspaper archives. The two samples of homicide cases were compared according to the relative frequency of evidence of premeditation or intent. The author begins the analysis by identifying 10 perspectives about intimacy and violence found within the research literature. The 10 perspectives are divided into 3 focal concerns that have been emphasized by judges and other criminal justice decisionmakers: (1) defendant culpability; (2) protection of the public; and (3) practical constraints. For each perspective, the author offers a hypothesis about how such a perspective may lead to criminal justice leniency. The results of the current study should be considered preliminary. Future research should investigate how to systematically collect data on the non-legal variables that may impact criminal justice outcomes. Tables, footnotes, appendix

NCJ 216771
Benjamin Steiner ; Emily Wright
Assessing the Relative Effects of State Direct File Waiver Laws on Violent Juvenile Crime: Deterrence or Irrelevance?
The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology Volume:96 Issue:4 Dated:Summer 2006 Pages:1451 to 1478

The results indicated that direct file laws, which streamline the process of removing juvenile offenders from juvenile court jurisdiction to allow for prosecution in adult criminal court, had little significant effect on violent juvenile crime rates. The analysis revealed that direct file laws had a significant deterrent effect on violent juvenile crime in only one State: Michigan. All the remaining 13 States experienced either no effect of direct file laws on juvenile crime or actually experienced an increase in their arrest rate for violent juvenile crime. None of the 14 States observed a drop in their juvenile homicide/manslaughter rate following implementation of their direct file waiver law. The authors offer several explanations for why direct file laws did not provide a general deterrent effect, including arguments from developmental psychologists who highlight the different perceptions of risk held by juveniles in comparison to adults. Data under examination included monthly arrest data for juvenile violent crime for the years 1975 through 1993 and for the years 1994 through 2002 from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reports. Monthly arrest rates in the 14 States were analyzed using autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) techniques. States under analysis were Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming. Tables, footnotes, appendixes

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