Sunday, February 25, 2007

More NCJRS Abstracts, February 25, 2007


NCJ 217009
Aaron Kupchik
Decision To Incarcerate in Juvenile and Criminal Courts
Criminal Justice Review Volume:31 Issue:4 Dated:December 2006 Pages:309 to 336

The study found that the more severe sentencing options available to criminal courts and criminal courts' limited options for noncustodial sentences compared to juvenile courts produced a higher incarceration rate for juveniles processed in criminal courts compared with those processed in juvenile courts. The study did not find, however, that offense-relevant variables had greater influence in the dispositions of criminal court than in juvenile court. In both types of courts, similar offense-related factors predicted incarceration. This suggests that offender-oriented factors make incarceration less likely in juvenile courts compared with criminal courts when offense-related variables are similar. Juvenile courts are more likely than criminal courts to use procedures designed to identify the offender-related factors that contributed to the offense, regardless of the severity of the offense, and then tailor dispositions to addressing those needs. In order to compare sentencing criteria across juvenile and criminal courts, this study analyzed quantitative data for 2 subsamples: a sample of juvenile court cases in New Jersey (n=556) and a sample of criminal court cases in New York (n=914). All sampled cases involved 16-year-old defendants processed in 1992 or 1993 who were charged with aggravated assault (first and second degree), robbery (first and second degree), or burglary (first degree). The study assessed whether the sentencing predictors had different influences across court types and how particular variables shaped sentencing differently in juvenile and criminal courts. 5 tables, 21 notes, and 100 references

NCJ 217023
Rachel Wyatt
Male Rape in U.S. Prisons: Are Conjugal Visits the Answer?
Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law Volume:37 Issue:2 & 3 Dated:2006 Pages:579 to 614

The analysis indicates that many countries, including the United States, have successfully used conjugal visit programs to reduce male prisoner rape. Preliminary evidence suggests that conjugal visit programs decrease the tension and stress of prison life, which in turn reduces the amount of violence, including sexual assault, within prison walls. The article begins with an analysis of the prevalence of male prisoner rape in the United States, which is difficult to estimate based on the covert nature of the crime and the nature of incarceration conditions. The impact of rape on prisoners is reviewed, including psychosocial, health, and financial costs. Factors that contribute to the occurrence of rape in prison are considered, such as overcrowding, the unisex nature of U.S. prison systems, and inadequate legal responses. Next, the case for conjugal visit programs is made, with many experts claiming that such programs can reduce and prevent male sexual assault by diminishing the negative effects of a unisex prison environment. Critics of conjugal visit programs as a solution to male prisoner rape claim that these programs will not work because rape is about power and control, not sex. However, the conjugal visit programs currently implemented around the country are more about giving inmates quality time with their families than about giving inmates sexual access to their spouses. The prevalence of male rape in other countries that have conjugal visit programs is offered as evidence that these programs indeed have an impact on the reduction and prevention of male prisoner sexual assault. Other arguments against conjugal visit programs are presented and include security concerns and concerns for prisoners who have no family. More research is needed to lay such arguments to rest and to demonstrate through empirical data that conjugal visit programs can reduce male prisoner rape. Footnotes

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