Friday, May 11, 2007

More NCJRS Abstracts, May 11, 2007


NCJ 217998
Cassia Spohn
Deterrent Effect of Imprisonment and Offenders' Stakes in Conformity
Criminal Justice Policy
Review Volume:18 Issue:1 Dated:March 2007 Pages:31 to 50

Utilizing data from Jackson County in Kansas City, MO, this study examined the recidivism rates of offenders sentenced to prison compared with those offenders sentenced to probation. The overall results of the study provide no support for the deterrent effect of imprisonment, either for all offenders or for offenders with stronger bonds to conventional society. The results revealed that offenders who were sentenced to prison had significantly higher recidivism rates than offenders placed on probation. The crime control policies sought during the past three decades rest largely on the philosophy of deterrence. Deterrence theory suggests that increasing the penalties for crime will lead to a reduction in crime. The question then is whether the increased penalties have produced the predicted reduction in crime. This study sought to test the validity of assertions that imprisonment is a more effective sanction than probation, particularly for offenders with high stakes in conformity and strong bonds to conventional society. The deterrent effect of imprisonment was evaluated by comparing recidivism rates for offenders sentenced to prisons with those offenders placed on probation. The overall objective of the study was to answer three questions: (1) are offenders who are sentenced to prison less likely to recidivate than offenders place on probation; (2) does imprisonment affect the timing of recidivism or do offenders who are sentenced to prison delay their return to crime longer than offenders who are placed on probation; and (3) is imprisonment a more effective deterrent for offenders with higher stakes in conformity? The study was conducted in Jackson County (Kansas City), MO with a final data file for the study of 1,077 offenders convicted of felonies in Jackson County Circuit Court in 1993. Tables, figure, notes, and references

NCJ 218006
Jo Deakin ; Hannah Smithson ; Jon Spencer ; Juanjo Medina-Ariza
Taxing on the Streets: Understanding the Methods and Process of Street Robbery
Crime Prevention and Community Safety
Volume:9 Issue:1 Dated:February 2007 Pages:52 to 67

This paper reviews existing research and presents findings related to the “decisions” involved in the commission of street robbery from the perspective of the offenders. Study findings indicate that street robbers fall into two distinct groups based on their underlying reasons for committing the offense: older drug users and young street-savvy offenders. From these two groups it is clear that robbery is an offense that can be perpetrated in a variety of ways, using varying degrees of intimidation and force. The type of victim selected appears to have a significant impact on the use of violence in the offense, and the violence employed can be explained in a variety of ways. For the younger respondents, violence was used as a method of ensuring victim compliance, as well as a way of gaining respect from peers. The older, drug-using respondents were more likely to use and view violence as a necessary part of their interactions with criminal targets, and as a method of self-preservation in a hostile environment. The research in this paper indicates that there is a displacement of robbery offenses to areas where there is less of a police focus on the offense, where there are victims who are less likely to report the offense or a straight displacement into other crimes, such as burglary. The recent increase in street robbery suggests that when targeted funding is removed and the political pressure eased there is a tendency for such crimes to increase. Street robbery offenses can be perpetrated in a variety of ways. Offenders adopt a particular method of conducting the offense that appears to be closely related to the underlying purpose of the offense and the type of victim that is targeted. This paper is based on interviews with 20 recently convicted street robbers within 1 police division. References

NCJ 217981
Graham C. Ousey ; Matthew R. Lee
Homicide Trends and Illicit Drug Markets: Exploring Differences Across Time
Justice Quarterly
Volume:24 Issue:1 Dated:March 2007 Pages:48 to 79

This study tested the theory that the decline in homicide rates since the early 1990s has been due partially to declining levels of drug-market activity, as well as the alternative explanation that the strength of the drug market-lethal violence link has weakened over time. The findings suggest that although the decline in homicide rates may partly reflect a decrease in the amount of drug-market activity and/or the zealousness of drug law enforcement, it also may be linked to a weakening relationship between drug market activity and violence. There was little evidence that the drug market-homicide link was moderated by the age of a city's drug market. Support was fairly limited for the theory that within-city change in structural disadvantage impacted the strength of the time-period variation in the relationship between the drug market and homicide rates. The findings suggest that the focus on the variation in the impact of drug markets on violence over time is too narrow. Future studies should develop and test conceptual models that assist in explaining when and why the impact of various large-scale predictors of homicide rates may be altered. The study collected data that repeatedly measured homicide rates, drug markets, and sociodemographic characteristics for a sample of 132 U.S. cities with a minimum total population of 100,000 persons in the 1980, 1990, and 2000 decennial census years and a minimum of 12 out of 17 years of data for the dependent variable (homicide rate per 100,000 persons) and the key drug market measure (arrest rate for the sale, distribution, or manufacture of cocaine, opiates, or derivatives) during the 1984-2000 period. 2 tables, 89 references, and appendix

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