Thursday, April 12, 2007

More NCJRS Abstracts, April 12, 2007


NCJR 217634
Michael J. Gilbert ; Tanya L. Settles
Next Step: Indigenous Development of Neighborhood-Restorative Community Justice
Criminal Justice Review Volume:32 Issue:1 Dated:March 2007 Pages:5 to 25

This article explores the effect of blending the theoretical foundations of restorative justice and community justice as a product of neighborhood life. "Restorative justice" views crime as harm to individuals, their neighborhoods, the surrounding community, and the offender. It aims to promote healing for crime's harm through structured communication processes among victims, offenders, community representatives, and government officials. "Community justice" tends to be highly structured and controlled by criminal justice agencies and may result in punitive sanctions against offenders; however, its primary goals are to strengthen neighborhoods, promote social justice, and improve the quality of life for residents in their neighborhoods. Mostly, these goals are accomplished by organizing citizen participation in crime reduction through increased surveillance and the strengthening of residents' informal social controls. In order to review existing patterns in restorative and/or community justice programs, this article describes 10 programs that were selected because they have some degree of involvement of victims, offenders, communities, and governments. Each of the 10 programs is managed by a governmental entity. The programs are presented under the categories of police-administered programs, court-administered programs, and corrections-administered programs. The most significant feature of each of the programs is a reframing of the government's role so that it acts as the facilitator and supporter of the restorative justice process through the involvement of neighborhood residents. Each neighborhood identifies and structures responses to the harms that specific neighborhood crimes are causing. The goal is to produce public safety gains that not only resolve conflict and heal harms between victims and offenders but also contribute to the repair of neighborhoods by mitigating or eliminating crime causes, thus improving neighborhood safety and quality of life. 1 table and 66 references

NCJ 217610
Lila Kazemian
Desistance From Crime: Theoretical, Empirical, Methodological, and Policy Considerations
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice Volume:23 Issue:1 Dated:February 2007 Pages:5 to 27

This article critically assesses past crime desistance research and discusses unresolved issues in this area. The main limitations of past research on desistance from crime include: (1) a lack of an operational definition of desistance and no consensus on what desistance entails; (2) a lack of follow-up studies past the age of adolescence; (3) a lack of understanding that desistance may be more accurately perceived as a process rather than as a discrete state that occurs abruptly; and (4) the lack of dynamic (changing) as opposed to static (unchanging) models of the desistance process. Previous research has also failed to examine the role of criminal opportunities and situational factors in the desistance process. Other areas that deserve more research attention include the question of whether the impact of social bonds on desistance is maintained when accounting for cognitive predispositions to crime. The author recommends that three main issues be considered in the measurement of desistance: (1) the study of desistance should extend beyond between-individual comparisons to focus also on within-individual change, which may be more valuable for informing post-onset intervention strategies; (2) attention should be paid to the mechanisms that operate during periods in which offenders are in the process of desisting; and (3) in order to examine the changes that occur in the dynamics of offender, various criminal career parameters should be integrated when measuring desistance. Future research should focus on a number of issues, including how the predictors of desistance vary when adopting an extended, dynamic definition of desistance and how these predictors vary across different samples. Research should also examine whether the predictors of short-term desistance are similar to those of long-term desistance and whether it is possible to make long-term predictions about desistance. Table, references

NCJ 217612
Julien Morizot ; Marc Le Blanc
Behavioral, Self, and Social Control Predictors of Desistance From Crime: A Test of Launch and Contemporaneous Effect Models
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice Volume:23 Issue:1 Dated:February 2007 Pages:50 to 71

This study examined desistance from self-reported criminal activity among a sample of French-Canadian men involved in juvenile delinquency and interviewed a variety of times through midlife. Results indicated that almost all of the high-risk offenders desisted from crime by the age of 41 and, for the most part, they desisted at the same rate. Few self- or social control variables predicted patterns of desistance over the 25-year period. Only previous deviant behaviors significantly predicted crime desistance (the launch effect model). Findings revealed that some measures of self- and social control accelerated or restrained the crime desistance process (the contemporaneous effect model), but only during specific developmental periods. The most significant predictors of crime persistence were high levels of disinhibition and substance use. The findings suggest the importance of including personality traits in longitudinal studies of crime desistance. Two models were tested using latent trajectory modeling: (1) the launch effect model, accounting for the effects of deviance behavior; and (2) the contemporaneous effect model, accounting for the effects of self- and social control on crime desistance. Data were drawn from the Montreal Two-Samples Longitudinal Study (MTSLS), which included two samples of Caucasian, French-speaking men recruited during the mid-1970s. The sample under analysis in the current study was a group of 470 boys adjudicated during adolescence under either the Canadian Juvenile Delinquents Act or the Quebec Youth Protection Act. Participants, who were around age 15, completed self-administered questionnaires that focused on delinquent and anti-social behavior. Participants completed the questionnaire again three more time: 8 years later at roughly age 23, again at roughly age 31, and then once more at roughly age 41. The questionnaires measured self-reported criminal activity, substance use, personality traits, commitment to conventional social roles, prosocial interpersonal affiliation, and school and family experiences. The analysis employed a structural equation modeling approach to the latent trajectory modeling technique. Future research should investigate whether these findings extend to samples of female offenders. Figures, tables, notes, references

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