Tuesday, January 30, 2007

More NCJRS Abstracts, Tuesday, January 30, 2007


NCJ Number: 216785
Jeffrey A. Bouffard ; Lisa R. Muftic
Program Completion and Recidivism Outcomes Among Adult Offenders Ordered to Complete a Community Service Sentence
Journal of Offender Rehabilitation Volume:43 Issue:2 Dated:2006 Pages:1 to 33

The study found that offenders who exhibited several potential indicators of "seriousness" (e.g., those with prior arrest histories and those concurrently under parole/probation supervision) were more likely to fail during or be rearrested after their participation in the CS program. This suggests that a valid screening tool should be used in screening candidates for a CS sentence. Such a tool should expose offenders' risks and needs. The study also found that among those receiving a CS sentence, program completion reduced the risk of rearrest, controlling for the underlying propensity to complete the sentence. The study involved an analysis of the case files of 810 adult offenders ordered to complete community service hours during the period January 1, 2003, through December 31, 2003. All of the offenders were served by RESTORE, Inc., a nonprofit, community-based corrections agency committed to a restorative justice philosophy in the small metropolitan area of Fargo, ND. A smaller sample of 200 offenders was randomly selected from the larger sample for a preliminary recidivism analysis. During the period under study, 560 offenders (69.1 percent) had successfully completed their CS sentence. On average, the offenders were ordered to complete 57.6 hours of CS and had been given an average of 93 days to complete their CS order. 5 tables, 3 figures, and 25 references

NCJ Number: 216787
Lori Suzanne Golden ; Robert J. Gatchel ; Melissa Anne Cahill
Evaluating the Effectiveness of the National Institute of Corrections' "Thinking for a Change" Program Among Probationers
Journal of Offender Rehabilitation Volume:43 Issue:2 Dated:2006 Pages:55 to 73

Although reoffending differences were not statistically significant for program completers compared with offenders not assigned to the program, there was a trend toward a reduced number of offenses by program completers. There was a 33-percent reduction in the new offense rate among program completers compared to the control group. Differences in reoffending for new technical violations of probation conditions were statistically significant, with program drop-outs having dramatically higher rates of technical violations than either program completers or the control group. Certain factors significantly increased the likelihood of an offender receiving a new technical violation. These factors included being classified as "high risk" on an objective risk assessment instrument, being a program drop-out, and having poorer interpersonal problem-solving skills as measured by the Interpersonal Problem Solving skills Assessment (IPSSA). "Thinking for a Change" is currently used with adult offenders nationwide. It is based in cognitive-behavioral principles and consists of a scripted manual that states the content and objectives of each of its 22 sessions. Most sessions include instruction, role-play illustrations of concepts, a review of previous lessons, and homework assignments in which participants practice skills learned in group sessions. The program aims to identify and change the deficient interpersonal problem-solving skills that underlie offending behaviors. Participants in the evaluation were 142 adult men and women on probation and classified as medium risk, high risk, or high need by their probation officer. The control group consisted of offenders who met admission criteria for the program but who had not yet been referred to it. The drop-out group was composed of those who entered the program but had three to four absences. 2 figures and 32 references

NCJ Number: 216816
Kent R. Kerley ; Marisa C. Allison ; Rachelle D. Graham
Investigating the Impact of Religiosity on Emotional and Behavioral Coping in Prison
Journal of Crime and Justice Volume:29 Issue:2 Dated:2006 Pages:69 to 93

The results highlight an interesting relationship between religion and prison coping. For first-time offenders, as well as chronic offenders, the prison context forces inmates to deal with a range of negative emotions. Many inmates develop methods for negotiating the rules and regulations of the facility and will find ways to deal with the isolation, loneliness, and powerlessness of the situation. However, when inmates are not able to cope adaptively with incarceration, there exists the possibility of interpersonal aggression ranging from arguments to the use of lethal violence. Strong evidence was found suggesting a suppressing effect of religion on negative interpersonal relations. Religiosity appeared in both its cognitive and behavioral dimensions, to serve as a positive coping mechanism for inmates by directly reducing the likelihood of frequent inmate arguments. Study findings were consistent with a large body of research suggesting that religion might reduce anti-social behaviors and promote prosocial behaviors. Given the significant rise in incarceration rates over the past 30 years and the uniquely stressful context of prison life, many researchers have explored the degree to which individuals are able to cope with incarceration. Over the years, many factors have been explored for their potential impact on inmate coping. Using data from a representative survey of inmates (N=386) at a large prison facility in the Southeastern region of the United States, this study explored the degree to which religiosity impacted both the emotional and behavioral forms of prison coping. Tables, references

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