Friday, August 17, 2007

More NCJRS Abstracts, August 17, 2007


NCJ 219122
Heith Copes; Lynne Vieraitis
Identity Theft: Assessing Offenders’ Strategies and Perceptions of Risk
US Dept of Justice, National Institute of Justice

Semistructured interviews with 59 identity thieves incarcerated in Federal prisons determined the methods they used to obtain information on the victims whose identities they used to steal money and/or goods, their motivations for identity theft, perceptions of risk, justifications for their crimes, and how their crimes might have been prevented. The most common method used to obtain the information needed to assume the identities of their victims was to buy personal information (social security numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, etc.) from employees of various businesses and government agencies that maintain key information on customers/clients and citizens. Many offenders obtained information from mail stolen from residential and business mailboxes and trashcans. It was also common for the thieves to use information on people they knew. A variety of methods were used to convert identity information to cash and/or goods. Many offenders used the identity information to make their own checks or have someone else make them. Information was also used to order new credit cards and cash checks. Stolen information was sometimes used to apply for various loans, most often mortgages. Among the countermeasures recommended are controlled access to business and residential mailboxes and dumpsters, monitoring the disposition of documents, limiting the number of employees with access to sensitive information, background checks of employees, requiring passwords to withdraw money, and advertising the legal consequences of identity theft. The motivations and justifications for their crimes were to upgrade their lifestyles quickly under the perceptions that there was low risk of being detected and identified and that they were not actually harming anyone. The knowledge and personal characteristics that facilitated their crimes were good social skills; technical knowledge about producing fraudulent documents; and knowing how banks, credit agencies, and retail businesses operate. 1 table, 71 references, and appended interview guide

NCJ 219227
Nancy Wolff ; Douglas Gerardi
Building Evidence on Best Practices Through Corrections-Academic Partnerships: Getting to Successful (and Efficient) Practice
Crime & Justice International
Volume:23 Issue:98 Dated:May/June 2007 Pages:13 to 21

This paper examines how corrections-academic partnerships can facilitate the growth of evidence-based practice, with attention to the conditions that foster and hinder these partnerships. A case study is used to explore these issues, drawing on the 5-year collaboration experience between an academic research center and a department of corrections. Over the past 5 years, the Center for Mental Health Services & Criminal Justice Research and the New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJDOC) have developed a partnership designed to create, adapt, and diffuse knowledge pertinent to practice related to how people with mental illness who contact the criminal justice system are engaged, treated, and affected by their interactions with criminal justice personnel and procedures. The conditions that favor the success of such a partnership must exist prior to the first contact between the potential partners. The leadership of the practice organization (NJDOC) must value research and the expertise of researchers as a critical element of planning, policy, and practice. Researchers, on the other hand, must appreciate that research topics, designs, and findings must be tailored to the interests and objectives of the practice agency. In the case of the Center, its mission was to study NJDOC practices and policies that influenced the welfare of people with mental illness within the criminal justice setting. The prison setting became a significant laboratory for the Center's research. Personal meetings between respective leaders of the Center and the NJDOC facilitated their willingness to trust each other. This paper discusses the details of the first direct experience between the partners as well as repeat experiences following a positive first experience. The dynamics of the partnership in the course of the growth of the evidence base produced by research are also discussed. 10 references

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