Thursday, December 13, 2007

More NCJRS Abstracts, December 13, 2007


NCJ 220485
Paul J. Biermann
Improving Correctional Officer Safety: Reducing Inmate Weapons
John Hopkins University, Applied Physics Laboratory

This report describes the work and achievements of a working group from Johns Hopkins University that identified the materials and objects being used by inmates as weapons against corrections officers and then developed prototype redesigns of the prison commissary items most commonly used to make weapons. Based on data from 70 prisons throughout the United Sates that responded to a survey on the prevalence and characteristics of inmate weapons, the working group determined that common items possessed by inmates have been converted into weapons that have maimed and killed corrections officers. Examples include toothbrushes, locks, safety razors, metal torn from ventilators, and paper that has been hardened with toothpaste. These items have been modified into daggers, shanks, and garrotes. Common misuses of toothbrushes include sharpening them for stabbing and reshaping them to hold sharp metal blades. Items from which weapons are made may be purchased from the commissary, taken from prison industries, received from visitors, or salvaged from prison facilities. Club-type weapons used by inmates include pieces of furniture, broom handles, and dustpans. Based on the prioritized list of items used as weapons, the working group developed proposed solution designs for razors, including both blade and handle material changes; toothbrushes; mop/broom handles; and fencing ties. A separate study focused on hard-plastic-stock detection. The working group then assessed the effectiveness of the new designs in preventing their use as weaponry. Multiple prototypes have been fabricated for most of the proposed solutions for razors, toothbrushes, and mop/broom handles. Efforts continue to obtain licensing of the technology for insertion into the corrections system. Appended supplementary data and information

NCJ 220509
Melinda Tanner; Dillon Wyatt; Douglas L. Yearwood
Pretrial Service Programs in North Carolina: A Process and Impact Assessment
North Carolina Governor's Crime Commission

This report presents findings that assess the impact of North Carolina’s pretrial service programs, specifically program processes and the perceived impact that these programs exert on the community, program clientele, jail populations, and judicial processing. The findings show that pretrial service programs offer a safe alternative for minor and first time nonviolent offenders, as well as members of selected special populations, to remain free in the community pending court appearances. Members of the local detention and judicial systems view the impact of these programs in a positive manner and do believe that they assist in improving the speed at which the courts operate and contribute to lowering detention populations. Constituents surveyed viewed the operations and process of their respective pretrial programs as performing at an above average level. The programs also received strongly favorable ratings for their ability to supervise defendants, who are released into their custody, and for offering adequate services to their clientele. Given the cost savings associated with these programs, their ability to significantly reduce detention populations and avert overcrowding, as well as their effectiveness in ensuring that arrestees comply with all program requirements and attend all relevant court appearances, the following recommendations are offered: (1) increase the number of pretrial programs across the State; (2) increase the use of pretrial service programs; (3) increase the use of research findings on effective practices and evidence-based programs; and (4) increase the use of administrative data to include tracking client recidivism and outcomes upon release or termination from the program. The Governor’s Crime Commission conducted a study to assess the impact and effectiveness of North Carolina’s pretrial service programs. Pretrial service program directors and members of constituent agencies were surveyed to evaluate the processes associated with program operation and to obtain their opinions regarding the impact and perceived effect of these programs. This report presents the findings of that study. Figures, tables and references

NCJ 220524
Mary Ann Farkas; Richard S. Jones
Community Partners: "Doing Doors" as a Community Crime Prevention Strategy
Criminal Justice Studies
Volume:20 Issue:3 Dated:September 2007 Pages:295 to 312

Evaluation results are presented for the Community Partner Program in Milwaukee, WI, which uses intermediaries known as Community Partners to motivate, organize, and build relationships for crime prevention efforts through personal contacts ("doing doors") with residents of 20 high-crime areas. Community Partners reported considerable success in their efforts to mobilize residents in crime prevention activities. Many neighborhoods are now forming their own block watches and resident associations; however, there are still neighborhoods in which the Community Partners are having difficulty in motivating residents to change their behaviors and attitudes toward involvement in community-based crime prevention. The Community Partners report that for many residents, fruitful interactions will take time to build. Their approach to "doing doors" has required a thorough knowledge of their neighborhood, including an assessment of criminal activity, problem residents, and physical and social disorder. In neighborhoods with "hot spots" of crime, Community Partners have learned to be more safety conscious when going door to door. Problems in sustaining the initial commitment to partnering for crime prevention and with ongoing communication have surfaced among some of the neighborhoods. Most Community Partners acknowledge that they need to develop personal relations with neighborhood agencies and organizations as well as with neighborhood residents. Further research is required to investigate the most effective use of intermediaries in the development of crime prevention partnerships. These findings are based on interviews with 22 community partners who are working in targeted, high-crime urban neighborhoods in Milwaukee. This was part of a larger evaluation of Milwaukee's Safe & Sound Initiative, which was conducted between 1998 and 2001. 3 notes and 20 references

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