Sunday, October 28, 2007

More NCJRS Abstacts, October 28, 2007


NCJ 219944
Bryan R. Garner; Lora L. Passetti; Matt G. Orndorff; Susan H. Godley
Reasons for and Attitudes Toward Follow-Up Research Participation Among Adolescents Enrolled in an Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment Program
Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse
Volume:16 Issue:4 Dated:2007 Pages:45 to 57

This study examined the reasons why 145 adolescents (ages 12-18) who had completed outpatient treatment for substance-use problems chose to participate in followup interviews about the outcome of their treatment. The study found that financial compensation was one of the primary reasons for continued participation in followup outcome interviews. Other reasons given for continued participation in outcome assessment were the fulfillment of a commitment; wanting to help others with substance-use problems; and the perception that the research was credible, important, or useful. An unexpected finding was that only 5 percent of the adolescents said that they continued participation due to pressure from their parents. Another unexpected finding was the relatively high percentage (40 percent) of the adolescents who stated they would have participated in followup interviews even if there had been no financial compensation. Still, financial compensation for research participation is apparently critical for ensuring high followup rates with adolescents. The study sample consisted of the 145 adolescents (out of an original sample of 151) who agreed to participate in a followup outcome evaluation of an outpatient treatment program for alcohol and other drug-use problems. Most met DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for cannabis dependence (54 percent), cannabis abuse (30 percent), and/or alcohol abuse (28 percent). The majority were from single-parent families (52 percent) and lived in a home their parents rented or owned (91 percent). Forty-four percent were referred to treatment by the criminal justice system. Participants were asked to complete an interview at intake and then again at followup periods of 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after intake. They were compensated $40.00 for their time and transportation to each research interview. They could also earn an additional $10.00 for completing the interview within 1 week of their assigned interview date. 3 tables and 34 references

NCJ 219915
Richard B. Felson; Paul-Philippe Pare
Does the Criminal Justice System Treat Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Offenders Leniently?
Justice Quarterly
Volume:24 Issue:3 Dated:September 2007 Pages:435 to 459

This study examined whether men who physically assaulted their female partners or who committed sexual assault received more lenient treatment than offenders who committed other types of assaults. Results of the study suggest that the criminal justice system is not particularly lenient toward men who assault their intimate partners or who sexually assault people they know. However, evidence suggests that the police show leniency toward offenders who assault their partners under two conditions. First, the police are particularly unlikely to arrest women who assault their male partners. Second, the police are less likely to arrest offenders who engage in minor assault against their partner or other people they know (versus strangers). Offenders who assaulted their partners before the 1980s were much less likely to be convicted than other offenders, regardless of gender. Leniency in conviction, however, largely disappeared in the 1980s and 1990s. This trend supports the idea that public concerns affected the response of the courts. It was not found that offenders who assaulted partners were particularly likely to avoid incarceration. No evidence was found to support the hypothesis that offenders who sexually assault people they know are particularly likely to avoid conviction. In general, the evidence does not support the idea that the response of the courts depends on the gender of the offender or victim. The results demonstrate the importance of a comparative approach in studying legal outcomes. Some scholars and activists have criticized the criminal justice system for being too lenient in its response to assaults on wives and female partners. These criticisms have had a major impact on the criminal justice system. It is important to know if the criminal justice system avoids legal sanctions more often for certain crimes than others. This study examined three legal outcomes: arrest, conviction, and incarceration. Table, references

NCJ 219916
Rodney F. Kingsnorth; Randall C. MacIntosh
Intimate Partner Violence: The Role of Suspect Gender in Prosecutorial Decision-Making
Justice Quarterly
Volume:24 Issue:3 Dated:September 2007 Pages:460 to 495

Utilizing a sample of thousands of cases involving heterosexual intimate partner violence and four decision points, this study examined the role of suspect gender in prosecutorial decisionmaking. The data reported in this study confirm previous research findings which assert the importance of prior record and offense severity in criminal court processing. This is true for both male and female defendants, although there are also some important exceptions to this pattern. These exceptions are discussed. In addition, suspect gender was found to be statistically significant in relation to all four outcomes in favoring female over male suspects. The study suggests that prosecutors distinguish between male and female suspects across the variables of prior arrest and offense severity on the decision to file, dismiss, and reduce charges. It is suggested that these data provide some support for recent research suggesting that court personnel are responsive to the gendered asymmetry of intimate partner violence, and may view female intimate violence perpetrators more as victims than offenders. Efforts to conceptualize the role of gender in criminal court decisionmaking have undergone continuous revision in recent decades. Research evidence indicates that female offenders receive not more punitive, but more lenient responses than male offenders from the criminal justice system. This study assessed the multiple perspectives on this issue in the context of prosecutorial decisionmaking in cases involving intimate partner violence. This study used a sample of 8,461 cases involving heterosexual intimate partner violence to examine the role of suspect gender in prosecutorial decisionmaking. Four decision points are assessed: the decision to file charges; to dismiss for insufficient evidence; to file as a felony; and to reduce felony charges to a misdemeanor or violation of probation. Tables, references, appendixes A-C

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