Tuesday, October 23, 2007

More NCJRS Abstracts, October 23, 2007


NCJ 219903
Lauren O'Neill; Doris Layton MacKenzie; David M. Bierie
Educational Opportunities Within Correctional Institutions: Does Facility Type Matter?
Prison Journal
Volume:87 Issue:3 Dated:September 2007 Pages:311 to 327

This study examined the differences between education programs offered within various correctional institutions, specifically two Maryland State correctional facilities. The overall conclusion from this research is that the inmates at the boot camp facilities made significantly more advances in educational achievement compared to those at the traditional prison facility. Two major conclusions were drawn from the study. The first major conclusion is that there were major differences in opportunity for education between these two facility types and inmates at the boot camp had significantly greater access to education. The second conclusion is that when equivalent groups between the facilities were compared by controlling for access, there was also an increased likelihood of obtaining a GED for inmates at the boot camp facility over the traditional facility. It appears that the small therapeutic boot camp was more successful at handling both issues, making education more accessible and producing greater educational gains. Years of research examining the effectiveness of educational programs during incarceration have made it apparent that these programs are effective in reducing later recidivism. However, research has noted that running successful educational programs in prisons is a challenging task. This research study examined a group of offenders recognized by the criminal justice system as offenders who could be successful in a short-term incarceration program emphasizing treatment and rehabilitation. Offenders were randomly assigned to a boot camp or traditional prison. The study examined the effect of a short-term incarceration program where inmates serve time in a small facility with a military atmosphere and a strong focus on rehabilitation and treatment. The comparison inmate group, also serving a short term were sent to a large facility where they were integrated into the prison population. The study sample consisted of 228 inmates who were randomly assigned between the Herman L. Toulson Boot Camp (TBC) and the Metropolitan Transitional Center, both in the State of Maryland. Tables, references

NCJ 219905
Sara Steen; Tara Opsal
"Punishment on the Installment Plan": Individual-Level Predictors of Parole Revocation in Four States
Prison Journal
Volume:87 Issue:3 Dated:September 2007 Pages:344 to 366

This study analyzed parole release data from the National Corrections Reporting Program to identify individual-level predictors of parole success in four States and to assess the relative impact of demographic and legal factors on different offender groups (by race). Result highlights include: (1) race has a significant impact on the likelihood of revocation- African-American offenders are 19 percent more likely than White offenders to have their parole revoked for a new offense; (2) the size of both legal and demographic effects on the likelihood of revocation varies; (3) time on parole is a significant predictor of parole success- the longer offenders spend on parole, the more likely they are to succeed; (4) the magnitude of many of the effects uncovered differs between White and African-American offenders- the significantly larger effect of gender on African-American offenders is entirely because of a higher likelihood of revocation for African-American males than White males; (5) the significant differences found between the States strongly suggest the importance of looking at parole revocation decisionmaking in the context of jurisdictions rather than trying to look at them in aggregate. The parole revocation decision is extremely important, as important, one might argue, as the original incarceration decision. This study was interested in why some people are sentenced to spend time behind bars while others are not. It identifies predictors of reincarceration for individuals who have been in prison and subsequently released on parole. Of particular interest is the role of race in the decisionmaking process. The study sample consisted of individuals exiting parole in four States in 2000. The four States, Kentucky, Michigan, New York, and Utah, were selected according a set of criteria. Table, references

NCJ 219913
Richard D. Hartley; Sean Maddan; Cassia C. Spohn
Prosecutorial Discretion: An Examination of Substantial Assistance Departures in Federal Crack-Cocaine and Powder-Cocaine Cases
Justice Quarterly
Volume:24 Issue:3 Dated:September 2007 Pages:382 to 407

This study sought to identify the factors that affect prosecutorial decisionmaking regarding substantial assistance departures for crack-cocaine and powder-cocaine defendants prosecuted in United States District Courts in 2000. Decisions to file a motion for a departure for substantial assistance in Federal criminal cases in which the offender is charged with drug offenses involving powder or crack cocaine were found to be affected by both legally relevant case characteristics and legally irrelevant offender characteristics. Prosecutors were less likely to file substantial assistance departure motions for offenders charged with offenses involving crack cocaine rather than powder cocaine. They were more likely to file motions for offenders facing mandatory minimum sentences. Offenders charged with more serious crimes and with more substantial criminal histories had a greater likelihood of receiving departures, as did female offenders, White offenders, and more educated offenders. In addition, the analysis revealed that African-American and Hispanic drug offenders were less likely than White drug offenders to receive departures for substantial assistance. Recently there has been a call for research that explores decisionmaking at stages prior to sentencing in the criminal justice process. Particularly, research is needed under a determinate sentencing system where judicial dispositions are usually restricted by guidelines, which increases the importance of earlier decisionmaking stages. As an answer to this call and in an attempt to build on current studies on the effects of departures as an intervening mechanism, and a source of unwarranted disparity, this study explored Federal sentencing data on offenders convicted of crack-cocaine and powder-cocaine offenses. Tables, references

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