Tuesday, January 23, 2007

More NCJRS Abstracts


NCJ 216730
Richard J. Wolitski
Relative Efficacy of a Multisession Sexual Risk--Reduction Intervention for Young Men Released From Prisons in 4 States
American Journal of Public Health Volume:96 Issue:10 Dated:October 2006 Pages:1854 to 1861

Results indicate that a multisession community reentry intervention can significantly reduce sexual risk behaviors for young men leaving prison. Evaluation results revealed that the men in the multisession intervention had significantly lower rates of unprotected intercourse at the 24-month follow-up than men in the single-session intervention. This difference between the two intervention groups remained after controlling for the amount of time since the last intervention contact. Prerelease data for the sample revealed high levels of unprotected sex and substance abuse, which represent major public health concerns. Enhanced interventions with men released from prison should focus on addressing sexual risk behaviors within the context of competing threats to health and well-being. Participants were 522 young (aged 18 to 29 years) male prisoners who were recruited in 2001 and 2002 from 8 State prisons in 4 States: California, Mississippi, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. Participants were assigned to the multisession or the single-session intervention based on their month of recruitment or their month of anticipated release. Participants were assessed before release and 1 week, 12 weeks, and 24 weeks following release. Assessments were performed using the Questionnaire Development System audio computer-assisted self-interview technology and focused on life circumstances, utilization of community resources and prevention services, substance use, sexual practices, HIV and STI beliefs, depression and coping, and demographic characteristics. Logistic regression models were used to assess intervention outcomes. Tables, references

NCJ 216739
Mark T. Berg ; Matt DeLisi
Correctional Melting Pot: Race, Ethnicity, Citizenship, and Prison Violence
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume:34 Issue:6 Dated:2006 Pages:631 to 642

Results indicate that the most violent inmates were Hispanics and Native Americans among males and African-Americans and Native Americans among females. Asian inmates were the least violent inmate group. Citizenship was found to be unrelated to prison violence among the sample in the study. The United States correctional population is becoming more diverse and comprised of increasingly more violent inmates. The enormity of the correctional population, its growth, and the racial and ethnic disparities that it conveys are upsetting. The question raised in this study is whether the racial and ethnic composition of the correctional population influences prison violence. Utilizing a sample of 1,005 inmates, this study explored the racial, ethnic, and citizenship correlates among male and female inmates. The results of this study contribute to an empirical base for an increasingly important research area, the intersections between criminal defendants, their racial and ethnic characteristics, and their effects on prison violence in an era of increasing variability between prison and community. Tables, references

NCJ 216768
Alice Ristroph
Desert, Democracy, and Sentencing Reform
The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology Volume:96 Issue:4 Dated:Summer 2006 Pages:1293 to 1352

The author proposes that external limitations, such as those imposed by a branch of government not itself responsible for exercising the power, will be the most effective means of placing restrictions on penal power. The main argument is that contrary to previous scholarly claims, the desert principle does not act as a limiting factor for the imposition of punishments but in fact operates in the opposite fashion to justify increasingly severe punishments. The principle of desert asserts that criminal punishments should be no more severe than what offenders deserve. Current advocates of this principle contend that desert operates as a limiting principle that sets the upper and lower limits of the range of punishments allowed in the pursuit of non-retributive criminal justice goals. The author analyzes this claim and argues that, on the contrary, desert operates more as an illimitable (unlimited) factor than a limiting factor. The author illustrates how desert is “elastic” in legal and political practice, which means that desert punishments remain difficult to define and are easily stretched to accommodate increasingly severe punishments. Evidence is presented that shows how increasingly severe punishments have been popularly justified and defended using the language of desert. The author further argues that desert punishments take on an “opaque” quality in which judgments of desert are influenced by extralegal considerations, such as racism. The extralegal factors impacting judgments of desert remain hidden (opaque), however, by the legal apparatuses that provide a moral authority to desert claims. Due to the opaqueness of their nature, judgments based on prejudice are shielded from meaningful scrutiny because of the moral authority provided by “just desert” claims. Footnotes

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