Sunday, September 16, 2007

More NCJRS Abstracts, September 16, 2007


NCJ 219512
Lynn M. Clark
Landlord Attitudes Toward Renting to Released Offenders
Federal Probation: A Journal of Correctional Philosophy and Practice
Volume:71 Issue:1 Dated:June 2007 Pages:20 to 30

This study explored landlords’ perspectives toward renting to released criminal offenders. It is undisputed that finding housing is a significant hurdle for many released offenders. However, this survey shows that a criminal history may not be the most important issue for landlords in the city of Akron, OH. The analysis of the data shows that there are landlords willing to consider applicants with certain kinds of criminal backgrounds. The decision to lease is based upon many factors, including credit, income, employment, rental history, and criminal background. Each of these factors, as well as others, represents a basis for the landlord to develop a sense of trust in the applicant’s ability and willingness to comply with lease requirements and certain standards of behavior. While the survey shows that eviction history, employment, and income are the critical factors considered by landlords, for released offenders, rehabilitation is also important. Prior research has focused on the barriers offenders face in trying to find employment, housing, life stability, solutions for homelessness, or community reentry programs. Housing is often cited as a hurdle to successful reentry, but little research has been done to identify the actual boundaries of this hurdle. The results indicate the need to develop new approaches to reentry programs and to perform future research. Tables, references and exhibit

NCJ 219511
Joel M. Caplan
What Factors Affect Parole: A Review of Empirical Research
Federal Probation: A Journal of Correctional Philosophy and Practice
Volume:71 Issue:1 Dated:June 2007 Pages:16 to 19

This paper reviewed literature on parole release decisionmaking examining the areas of institutional behavior, crime severity, criminal history and incarceration length, mental illness, and victim input. This literature review highlights four important points regarding parole release decisionmaking. First, much of the scholarly research on parole release decisionmaking is more than 20 years old and may be irrelevant to contemporary parole board policies and practices in the United States. Second, institutional behavior, incarceration length, crime severity, criminal history, mental illness, and victim input are among the most influential factors affecting parole release for parole-eligible inmates. In particular, victim input against parole release remains highly significant in explaining denial of parole. Lastly, an inmate’s education, gender, and age may also have a significant influence on parole release dispositions. This review of empirical research is intended to improve understanding of the dynamics of parole release decisionmaking and to inform initiatives to make parole processes more effective and efficient by, for example encouraging evaluations and detailed assessments of current parole practices in the United States. Future research and evaluation is recommended regarding parole release decisionmaking at a general policy level which can result in a more clear and equitable system for both victims and inmates. References

NCJ 219510
Mark Jones; John J. Kerbs
Probation and Parole Officers and Discretionary Decision-Making: Responses to Technical and Criminal Violations
Federal Probation: A Journal of Correctional Philosophy and Practice
Volume:71 Issue:1 Dated:June 2007 Pages:9 to 15

This study explored probation and parole officers (PPOs) preferred responses or discretionary decisionmaking to probationers and parolees who breach the conditions of their community supervision by committing technical and/or criminal violations. Within the probation and parole officers’ (PPOs’) work environment, there were policies and social pressures that might have affected the making of discretionary decisions. For example, about 11 percent of all respondents reported that they worked in agencies that had policies to inhibit formal actions for certain violations. At the same time, a majority of respondents (63 percent) reported that their agencies had policies that required formal actions for certain violations. It would appear as if respondents were more likely to work in agencies that had policies to mandate rather than suppress formal action. Study findings also document a certain amount of social pressure that affected officers’ discretionary decisions. In addition, the vast majority of surveyed officers supported judicial interventions with offenders who directly disobeyed an officer’s verbal warnings and who picked up new charges that had merit. Human error is not the only reason found that the administration of justice is non-uniform in its application. A much larger factor is human discretion or the use of personal decisionmaking and choice when criminal justice professionals carry out their respective duties and responsibilities. This study focused on the preferred responses by PPOs to probationers and parolees who violated the conditions of their community supervision by committing technical and/or criminal violations. The survey targeted line officers and middle managers who supervised adult offenders under pretrial release, probation, parole, or post-release supervision. References, tables

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