Saturday, June 30, 2007

Law and Human Behavior Abstracts

Via Psychology and Crime News, some of the many current Law and Human Behavior articles you might like:

Incarceration and Recidivism among Sexual Offenders
Law and Human Behavior
Volume 31, Number 3 / June, 2007

Kevin L. Nunes, Philip Firestone, Audrey F. Wexler, Tamara L. Jensen, and John M. Bradford


The relationship between incarceration and recidivism was investigated in a sample of 627 adult male sexual offenders. Incarceration for the index offense was unrelated to sexual or violent recidivism. This was the case whether incarceration was examined as a dichotomous variable (incarceration vs. community sentence) or as a continuous variable (length of incarceration). Risk for sexual recidivism was assessed with a modified version of the Rapid Risk Assessment for Sexual Offense Recidivism. There was no evidence that the relationship between incarceration and recidivism was confounded or moderated by risk or that length of incarceration and recidivism were non-linearly associated. Sentencing sexual offenders to terms of incarceration appears to have little, if any, impact on sexual and violent recidivism following release.

Race-Based Judgments, Race-Neutral Justifications: Experimental Examination of Peremptory Use and the Batson Challenge Procedure
Law and Human Behavior
Volume 31, Number 3 / June, 2007

Samuel R. Sommers and Michael I. Norton
Practically speaking, the peremptory challenge remained an inviolate jury selection tool in the United States until the Supreme Court's decision in Batson v. Kentucky. 476 U.S. 79 (1986). Batson‘s prohibition against race-based peremptories was based on two assumptions: (1) a prospective juror's race can bias jury selection judgments; (2) requiring attorneys to justify suspicious peremptories enables judges to determine whether a challenge is, indeed, race-neutral. The present investigation examines these assumptions through an experimental design using three participant populations: college students, advanced law students, and practicing attorneys. Results demonstrate that race does influence peremptory use, but these judgments are typically justified in race-neutral terms that effectively mask the biasing effects of race. The psychological processes underlying these tendencies are discussed, as are practical implications for the legal system.

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