Saturday, March 31, 2007

More NCJRS Abstracts, March 31, 2007


NCJ 217434
R. Barry Ruback ; Stacy N. Hoskins ; Alison C. Cares ; Ben Feldmeyer
Perception and Payment of Economic Sanctions: A Survey of Offenders
Federal Probation Volume:70 Issue:3 Dated:December 2006 Pages:26 to 31

This survey of 122 offenders in 2 Pennsylvania counties examined various explanations for high rates of offender nonpayment of financial sanctions. The study found that indicators of motivation to pay financial sanctions were not significantly related to missing a payment; however, indicators of ability to pay were significantly related to missing a payment. There was strong evidence that offenders did not understand how fines, fees, and costs were imposed. Although offenders, particularly property offenders, reported they understood how restitution decisions were made and imposed, they did not agree with the rationale for economic sanctions. They did not rate any of the goals of financial punishment very highly. Also, offenders did not understand where the money they paid went. The problem was even greater when offenders owed multiple amounts for many cases. Future research might examine how best to convey this information to offenders and whether this information gives offenders a better understanding of the penalties imposed on them, makes them feel more responsible for their crimes, and reduces their likelihood of reoffending. The self-report survey mailed to the offenders was divided into 4 sections that included 41 questions. The first section asked questions about the respondent's offense and punishment. The second section asked about the economic sanctions imposed in the case, including the amounts for costs, fees, fines, and restitution, as well as the payments they had made. This section also asked how well they understood how the amounts for payment were determined. The third section focused on their specific case, including perceived responsibility for the crime, the fairness of the financial sanctions, and the procedures used to determine the amounts. In addition, respondents completed a scale that assessed their understanding of various punishment goals in their cases. 2 tables and 18 references

NCJ 217436
Heather Barklage ; Dane Miller J.D. ; Gene Boham, Jr., Ph.D.
Probation Conditions Versus Probation Officer Directives: Where the Twain Shall Meet
Federal Probation Volume:70 Issue:3 Dated:December 2006 Pages:37 to 41

This article examines recent trends in case law that address the extent to which probation, parole, and other community-supervision personnel may impose additional or modified conditions of supervision. The Federal and State court cases reviewed show that the root of this problem is the extent to which the probation officers' instructions or directives require the defendant to adhere to new supervision requirements without receiving reasonable prior notice. Too many restrictions on the supervising officer's discretion would impede his/her ability to respond to changing conditions in an offender's circumstances. On the other hand, the courts must retain their constitutional and statutory sentencing role. Correctional personnel should not be granted the power of essentially revising sentencing conditions. Some middle ground must be defined. Guidance is provided by the following cases: Holterhaus v. State, 417 So.2d 291 (Fla, App., 1982); and Dordell v. State, 850 A.2d 302 (Delaware Sup.2004). Based on these cases, this article recommends a procedure for any circumstance in which the corrections agent gives formal instructions to an offender and plans to impose modified conditions of supervision. First, all instructions from the corrections agent to the offender should be thoroughly documented. Further, adequate measures should be taken to ensure that the offender understands these instructions. The authors recommend using acknowledgment forms that detail the instructions and the reasons for their imposition. Second, if the instructions impose new and different "conditions," the offender should be informed that his/her "acceptance" of the new condition is temporary, pending the exercise of his/her right to have the new condition reviewed by the sentencing court.

NCJ 217438
Richard Tewksbury ; Matthew B. Lees
Sex Offenders on Campus: University-Based Sex Offender Registries and the Collateral Consequences of Registration
Federal Probation Volume:70 Issue:3 Dated:December 2006 Pages:50 to 56

This survey of the experiences and perceptions of a sample of offenders (n=26) listed on university-based sex offender registries is intended to assist policymakers and the public in assessing the usefulness of such registries. The sample was mostly male (96.2 percent), White (92.3 percent), and older than the typical college student. The sample included college students, college employees, and individuals who were both students and employees. The survey findings show that one-third of the registered sex offenders (RSOs) did not know that their college maintained a sex offender registry with their name listed. This calls into question the deterrent value of such registries. The RSOs reported a variety of consequences related to their listings on both a university-based registry and a statewide registry. These consequences included housing and employment difficulties, problems in social relationships, instances of harassment, and concern for their safety and well-being. University student RSOs reported more consequences of being on the registry than did RSOs who were university employees. Student registrants were significantly younger than employee registrants and reported a mean of 4 years more experience with registration. This suggests that RSOs develop more effective means of coping with being registrants over time, such that they experience fewer impacts from being listed. The findings of this study closely correspond with the existing literature on the consequences of sex offender registration. Study data were collected in January 2006 through anonymous questionnaires mailed to all individuals listed on a sex offender registry maintained by a 4-year public college or university in the United States. A total of 39 university-maintained sex offender registries were identified. They listed 113 individuals. Twenty-six completed questionnaires were returned, representing registrants from 10 States. The questionnaire was designed specifically for this study. 3 tables and 41 references

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