Wednesday, May 09, 2007

More NCJRS Abstracts, May 8, 2007


NCJ 217980
Kathleen Auerhahn
Do You Know Who Your Probationers Are? Using Simulation Modeling To Estimate the Composition of California's Felony Probation Population, 1980-2000
Justice Quarterly Volume:24 Issue:1 Dated:March 2007 Pages:28 to 47

This study examined the changing dynamics of felony probation populations in California over two decades (1980-2000), using dynamic systems simulation modeling. The findings show that the probation population in California has aged over the last two decades, mirroring trends in other criminal justice populations. There was substantial growth in offenders ages 25-44 between 1980 and 2000. In contrast, probationers 18-25 years old declined from 53 percent to 38 percent. The racial and ethnic composition of the probation population remained stable between 1980 and 2000. Approximately 30 percent of probationers in 2000 had two or more prior convictions; only about half were first-time offenders. Even more striking was the gradual increase in probationers with convictions for violent offenses, with just over 20 percent of probationers in 2000 having a prior conviction for a violent offense. Although drug offenders composed the greatest proportion of the probation population over the two decades, the relative positions of property and violent offenders were reversed. The fact that California probation populations are composed of an increasing proportion of repeat and violent offenders indicates the importance of the empirical evaluation of the effectiveness of probation in preventing reoffending. Otherwise, public support for probation as an alternative to incarceration for repeat and violent offenders will be undermined. This article provides a detailed description of the study's application of "dynamic systems simulation modeling" in producing these findings. Structurally, such models are similar to those used for weather forecasting and climatology. In contrast to conventional statistical techniques, which generally require the assumption that observations are independent, dynamic systems simulation modeling is based on the integration of system flows over time. 3 figures, 4 tables, and 55 references

NCJ 217985
Beth M. Huebner
Racial and Ethnic Differences in the Likelihood of Marriage: The Effect of Incarceration
Justice Quarterly
Volume:24 Issue:1 Dated:March 2007 Pages:156 to 183

This study compared the effect of incarceration on the likelihood of marriage for a sample of White, Black, and Hispanic men. Although incarceration reduced the likelihood of marriage for all the men, it had a significantly stronger effect on the marital outcomes for Whites. Whites were most likely to be married overall, but incarceration was associated with a 59-percent decrease in the odds of marriage for Whites. For incarcerated Blacks, the odds of marriage decreased 30 percent; and for Hispanics, by 41 percent. The association between incarceration and marital outcomes persisted even after controlling for time-varying life-course events and static individual factors. The findings emphasize the importance of considering marital outcomes by race and ethnicity for incarcerated men. Also, the findings indicate that incarceration is linked to a reduced chance of marriage after release. Studies have shown marriage to be a significant factor in reducing criminal behavior for men. The study used a subset of data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY). The NLSY involved a nationally representative sample of young men and women between the ages of 14 and 22 in 1978. The original sample included 6,403 men and 6,283 women; however, women were excluded at the outset of the study because only 1 percent reported being incarcerated during the study period and also because research suggests that women may experience marriage differently than men. The total sample for analyses was narrowed to 4,395 men, of which 443 (10.1 percent) were incarcerated at some point during the study period. The sample consisted of 2,210 Whites, 1,289 Blacks, and 896 Hispanics. Marriage was the dependent variable, and independent variables pertained to life-course events, demographic influences, value orientation, and family history. 1 figure, 4 table, 89 references, and appended description of variables and time constant effects

NCJ 217988
Karen L. Cropsey ; Harry K. Wexler ; Gerald Melnick ; Faye S. Taxman ; Douglas W. Young
Specialized Prisons and Services: Results From a National Survey
Prison Journal
Volume:87 Issue:1 Dated:March 2007 Pages:58 to 85

This paper examines the results from the National Criminal Justice Treatment Practices survey to describe types of services provided by three types of prisons: those serving a cross-section of offenders, those specializing in serving offenders with special psychosocial and medical needs, and those specializing in serving legal status or gender specific populations. About half of the surveyed prisons were considered specialized and this group was divided into service-oriented (psychosocial, substance abuse, mental health, and medical) and more functional population specialization (other) related to structural and process aspects of incarceration, such as work release, parole violators, youth, and females. Most prisons report a surprising overall number and types of services, including assessment and treatment services offered. The services provided ranged from requisite medical to faith-based or spiritual services. In examining the survey data on substance abuse treatment services, it was determined that the nature of the services provided was inadequate compared to the needs of the offender. The study also found that the prisons reported offering assessments and physical health services to more than half of the inmates. However, fewer than half of the offenders received counseling. The challenge faced by prisons is trying to identify these needs and then having the resources to put in place programs and services that can assist the offender to be more productive when reentering society. The survey findings suggest that small implementation steps have been taken to advance prisons in that direction. A recent survey from the National Criminal Justice Drug Abuse Treatment Studies (CJ-DATS), National Criminal Justice Treatment Practices survey, which surveys prison administrators, sheds light on the capacity of a nationally representative sample of prisons to provide needed medical, psychological, and social services for offenders. The survey also allows for an analysis of the organizational factors that may affect whether a prison will provide the needed services. Tables, references

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