Saturday, July 07, 2007

More NCJRS Abstracts, July 7, 2007


NCJ 218728
Per Lindqvist; Anders Leifman; Anders Eriksson
Mortality Among Homicide Offenders: A Retrospective Population-Based Long-Term Follow-Up
Criminal Behavior and Mental Health
Volume:17 Issue:2 Dated:2007 Pages:107 to 112

This study investigated whether the mortality rate, cause, and manner of death of homicide offenders was significantly different from the general population. Results indicated an increased risk of premature death for homicide offenders in Sweden. Specifically, findings revealed that half of the study participants had died by 2002 and the overall mortality rate for homicide offenders was three times higher than that of the general population. Additionally, the risk and rate of suicide was higher for the offenders than for the general population. The authors suggest that since homicide offenders in Sweden tend to kill those with whom they have a close relationship, the offenders’ self-contempt, coupled with public and professional views of homicide offenders, may predispose homicide offenders to suicide and early death. The findings further suggest that homicide offenders in Sweden may benefit from professional support for their grief, guilt, and shame. Future research might examine how much of the increased mortality risk for homicide offenders is related to the consequences of the homicide itself. Participants were an incidence group of 153 Swedish homicide offenders from 1970 to 1980. Data were drawn from the National Cause-of-Death Register for the period between the offenders’ trials and October 2002, which was approximately 22 to 32 years following participants’ homicide offense. Death certificates were also analyzed. Data analysis involved the standard procedures for calculating Standard Mortality Rate (SMR) and survival analysis. Tables, references

NCJ 218726
Carolin Kroner; Cornelis Stadtland; Matthias Eidt; Norbert Nedopil
Validity of the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide (VRAG) in Predicting Criminal Recidivism
Criminal Behavior and Mental Health
Volume:17 Issue:2 Dated:2007 Pages:89 to 100

This study evaluated the validity of the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide (VRAG) in predicting criminal recidivism in a sample of mentally ill German individuals. The study found that the VRAG, which was developed in Canada to estimate the probability of recidivism among mentally ill offenders, exhibited good predictive accuracy for the German sample. The VRAG predicted probability of recidivism was significantly correlated with the observed rates of actual recidivism for the sample. The validity of the VRAG with the German sample was consistent with the high predictive accuracy of the VRAG previously described in other international studies. One interesting finding to emerge from the research was that with the VRAG, schizophrenia was considered a protective factor against future recidivism, which is considered a highly controversial finding. Future research should examine the finding that schizophrenia was a protective factor against future offending. Participants were 113 individuals accused of crimes who were under evaluation for criminal responsibility at the Department of Forensic Psychiatry at the University of Munich between 1994 and 1995. The research involved assessing the risk profiles of each individual at the time of evaluation in 1994-1995 using the file data, which included one German risk assessment instrument and three internationally recognized risk assessment instruments, including the VRAG. Data analysis involved calculating the area under the curve of the receiver operating characteristics and using the Kaplan-Meier analysis to assess the distribution of time periods between the beginning and the end of the time-at-risk period (in this case it was 58.06 months). Tables, figures, references

NCJ 218731
Jeremy Travis; Kirsten Christiansen
Failed Reentry: The Challenges of Back-End Sentencing
Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law & Policy
Volume:13 Issue:2 Dated:Summer 2006 Pages:249 to 260

This essay discusses the issues pertaining to back-end sentencing and recommends a framework for subjecting the practice of back-end sentencing to empirical and legal study. The main argument is that the widespread use of back-end sentencing, which is defined as the practice of sending paroled offenders back to prison for parole violations, has had a significantly negative impact on communities, particularly poor communities of color. Imprisonment for often administrative parole violations, followed by short periods of prison confinement with few services or discharge planning, has the undesirable effect of damaging or disrupting prosocial ties to the community, to families, and to employment. The result is often a former parolee whose level of anger and cynicism has been increased and, as a result, is even less inclined to obey the law. The authors submit that it is critically important that the practices of back-end sentencing be subjected to empirical and legal study. The authors make their argument by showing that while the prison population increased fourfold between 1980 and 2000, the number of parole violators sent back to prison for violations of their parole increased from 27,000 to 200,000. Despite these significant numbers, little is known about the practice of sending parole violators back to prison. Researchers have uncovered the fact that at the local level, incarceration as a response to crime has mainly been concentrated in poor communities of color that are already struggling with substantial economic deprivation. State efforts to analyze and guide back-end sentencing are reviewed and reveal important variations at the State level that include significant differences in revocation rates over time within the same State. Footnotes

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