Wednesday, October 03, 2007

More NCJRS Abstracts, October 3, 2007


NCJ 219719
Jeremy Travis
Defining a Research Agenda on Women and Justice in the Age of Mass Incarceration
Women & Criminal Justice
Volume:17 Issue:2/3 Dated:2006 Pages:127 to 136

This paper briefly addresses the impact of the Nation’s justice policies on women living in communities that experience high concentrations of arrest, removal, incarceration, and reentry and the burdens born by women in connection with the reentry process. The issues of women involved in the criminal justice system, the impact incarceration of women has on children, and the specific issues formerly incarcerated women face upon reentry into their community are regarded as critical areas of research. This paper focuses on issues that lie at the heart of the broader discussion of women and justice and fall under the general heading of collateral damage experienced in the modern era of mass incarceration. A research agenda is needed that is woman-centered, not offender-centered, and not even woman-offender-centered. As important as it is to understand the consequences of the increase in women in prison, and the intersection of drug abuse and the war on drugs on women, the ripple effects of this social experiment are far reaching and the research agenda must be just as far reaching. References

NCJ 219689
Eric S. McCord; Jerry H. Ratcliffe; R. Marie Garcia; Ralph B. Taylor
Nonresidential Crime Attractors and Generators Elevate Perceived Neighborhood Crime and Incivilities
Journal of Research in Crime in Delinquency
Volume:44 Issue:3 Dated:August 2007 Pages:295 to 320

This study of the impacts of local nonresidential land uses on neighborhood residents' perceptions of crime and disorder tested Brantingham and Brantingham's (1981) geometry of crime model (environmental criminology), which suggests that people, offenders, and nonoffenders alike move through an activity space in their daily lives that shapes their perceptions of the quality of life in their neighborhoods. The study found that when controlling for resident characteristics and the structure and amount of reported crime in their neighborhood, the residents with more crime-generating or crime-attracting land uses nearby characterized their neighborhood as more crime ridden and disorderly. Crime generators are businesses, institutions, and facilities that bring large numbers of various kinds of people into a locale, including potential offenders and potential victims. For the current study, the three types of crime-generating land uses examined were high schools, subway stops, and expressway off ramps. The large volume of people using or passing through these locations generates opportunities for crime and physical and social disorder. Two processes, one behavioral and one cognitive, may assist in explaining the impact of these land uses on nearby residents' perceptions of disorder and crime. First, those living closer to the nonresidential land uses may encounter more strangers from outside their street block on a regular basis or may be closer to groups of people who congregate on nonresidential land. Second, the altered profile of activity on the street block may also be related to diminished expectations of resident-based surveillance over the nearby nonresidential outdoor areas. The multilevel models in this study employed land use, crime, census, and survey data from 342 Philadelphia heads of households. 3 tables, 20 notes, and 58 references

NCJ 219690
Jean Marie McGloin; Christopher J. Sullivan; Alex R. Piquero; Travis C. Pratt
Local Life Circumstances and Offending Specialization/Versatility: Comparing Opportunity and Propensity Models
Journal of Research in Crime in Delinquency
Volume:44 Issue:3 Dated:August 2007 Pages:321 to 346

This study examined the extent to which opportunity structures, as defined by local life circumstances, predicted offense specialization/diversity among individuals with an enduring propensity to offend. The study found that changes in local life circumstances (LLCs) significantly affected offending patterns; for example, offenders were relatively more specialized in their offending at times when they were married than when they were unmarried. Marriage may thus constrain opportunities for a diverse array of crimes. Findings also suggest that changes in LLCs toward higher levels of drug and alcohol use are likely to result in increased crime diversity. This may reflect exposure to broader groups of deviant peers. It is also possible that the substance use itself impacts offending behavior by altering individuals' perceptions of sanctions risks. Further, the study found that LLCs are not only related to the types of criminal acts committed in the short term but also the overall frequency of offending. The findings suggest that the dynamics of offending specialization/diversity require consideration of both the nature of situational contexts that pertain to crime opportunities and the strength of the individual's current motivation to commit crimes. Study data were based on a sample of 658 convicted male offenders incarcerated in Nebraska during 1989 to 1990. Study participants completed surveys during an interview that obtained information on LLCs in the months leading up to the arrest that resulted in their conviction and incarceration. The focus was on the calendar year of the arrests as well as the two calendar years prior to the arrest year. The measurement period ranged from 25 to 36 months. The dependent variable was the diversity index related to crime types. The independent variables pertained to LLCs and offending frequency. Control variables included age of crime onset, current age, and race. 2 tables, 15 notes, and 97 references

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