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Julian V. Roberts; Nicole Crutcher; Paul Verbrugge
Public Attitudes to Sentencing in Canada: Exploring Recent Findings
Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice Volume:49 Issue:1 Dated:January 2007 Pages:75 to 107
Findings are presented from two representative public-opinion surveys that solicited Canadians' attitudes toward three sentencing issues: the severity of sentencing, the purposes of sentencing, and mandatory sentences of imprisonment. Findings from surveys over the past 30 years, including one conducted in 2005 show that Canadians believe that sentencing in Canada was too lenient. In the 2005 survey, 74 percent of respondents believed that sentencing is too lenient. Regarding the purposes of sentencing, the strongest public support was for the restorative sentencing objectives of promoting a sense of responsibility in the offender and securing reparation for the crime victim. There was less support for the more traditional purposes of deterrence and incapacitation. This finding differed from findings from the last survey (1987) that solicited public attitudes toward sentencing purposes. Slightly more than half the sample in the 2005 survey supported mandatory sentencing; however, there was strong support for mandatory sentencing legislation that allows a limited degree of judicial discretion. Apparently the public is aware of the dangers of an inflexible mandatory sentence of imprisonment, which explains support for the courts being able to impose a lesser sentence under exceptional circumstances. The 1987 survey was conducted over the telephone and consisted of 1,501 respondents 18 years old and older drawn from the general public. The second survey (2005) was an Internet poll that included a sample of 2,343 Canadian Internet users age 18 and over. 4 tables, 1 figure, 22 notes, 43 references, and appended crime scenarios used in mandatory sentence survey questions
Natasha H. Williams
Prison Health and the Health of the Public: Ties That Bind
Journal of Correctional Health Care Volume:13 Issue:2 Dated:April 2007 Pages:80 to 92
This article examines the current prison population, its health status, the implications for public policies and the linkage between the prison populations’ health and the health of society. To stop the unnecessary human suffering and death among the incarcerated for health and social justice reasons and to end the alienation magnified by factors such as race, gender, and poverty, policymakers and practitioners must expand health care coverage, eliminate co-payments, include oral health care, increase mental health training of health care providers, increase the number of providers, encourage collaboration, increase systematic and ongoing collection of data, promote the usage of national standards, and address other barriers to reentry for those released. The social, economic and health consequences of incarceration should not be ignored. Disparities were experienced by individuals in U.S. jails and prisons which reflected the human and social consequences of political policies and cultural biases. Increasing rates of incarceration and the disproportionate impact on African-Americans have resulted in the destruction of entire families and urban communities and increasing health disparities. The proportion of people of color in U.S. prisons and jails reflects the prevailing economic, health, and educational disparities. These conditions, the lack of resources, and the barriers inmates face when they return to the community are national problems which need to be addressed through policy decisions and collaboration and coordination at the local, State and Federal levels. References
Martin A. Andresen
Homicide and Medical Science: Is There a Relationship?
Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice Volume:49 Issue:2 Dated:April 2007 Pages:185 to 204
This study examined data on homicides, attempted homicides, and aggravated assaults in Canada and the United States in order to test the hypothesis that advances in medical science had reduced the number of criminal attacks that would have resulted in death (homicide), leading to an increase in cases of attempted homicide and aggravated assault. The study found no support for the argument that increases in the technology and resources of medical science over the past 30 years had decreased crime-related deaths (homicides) when aggravated assaults were distinguished as attempted homicide from the Canadian offense of aggravated assault. One explanation for medical science's lack of impact on the homicide rate is that homicide victims have died or are irreversibly near death when they contact medical services. This is likely to be the case in the United States, where the ownership of automatic handguns is prevalent. Canada does not have a gun culture similar to that in the United States, so the explanation of more lethal instruments for homicide is less compelling. In Canada, it is likely that the effects of advances in medical technology have been relatively evenly distributed across violent crimes. Some medical advances have saved lives; whereas, others have reduced or eliminated the severity of the effects of nonlethal criminal assaults. The Canadian data used in the analysis (homicides, aggravated assaults, attempted murders, and total population) were obtained from Statistics Canada's Canadian Socioeconomic Information Management System. Data on U.S. homicides and aggravated assaults were obtained from the FBI's 2006 Uniform Crime Reports. The total population for the United States was obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau 2006. 1 table, 6 figures, 9 notes, and 14 references