Saturday, December 22, 2007

More NCJRS Abstracts, December 22, 2007


NCJ 220604
Kevin N. Wright; Laura Bronstein
Creating Decent Prisons: A Serendipitous Finding About Prison Hospice
Journal of Offender Rehabilitation
Volume:44 Issue:4 Dated:2007 Pages:1 to 16

This study originally explored the organizational factors associated with locating hospice programs into prison settings, but evolved into a study which examined the contributions of hospice to the creation of decent prisons. Findings suggest that prison hospice programs had a transformative influence not only on the prisoners who volunteered for the program, but also on the overall institutional climate. In community hospice programs, volunteers play a vital role by visiting with individuals who are dying, and remain at the individual’s side throughout much of the dying process. In prisons, the function of the volunteer is performed by other prisoners; volunteers received extensive training before becoming part of the prison hospice team. While the terms “compassionate and caring” are not usually associated with prisoners, those participating as hospice volunteers developed and portrayed such qualities in their interactions with dying prisoners and with members of the prison hospice team. Respondents interviewed spoke of the transformational impact on the volunteering prisoners, and described the transformations in terms of increased sense of self-worth, self-esteem, feelings of empowerment, enhanced capacity to feel compassion for others, ability to see the value of their lives in a different way, and caring about another person in a profound way. Regarding the impact on the overall prison environment, respondents observed that humane treatment of dying inmates made the overall feel of the facility change; the entire institution gained a sense of compassion from the hospice program, promoting an idea that caring could occur within a prison setting, as well as profoundly altering staff behavior and perceptions. Further research with includes respondents in other roles (correctional staff, administrators, and the prisoners) would broaden the perspective and provide a check on the view of the program coordinators. The data were collected during interviews with 14 hospice directors/coordinators and represented 11 Federal and State prison systems. References

NCJ 220605
Michael J. Engle; Joseph A. McFalls Jr.; Bernard J. Gallagher III
Attitudes of Members of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers Towards Treatment, Release, and Recidivism of Violent Sex Offenders: An Exploratory Study
Journal of Offender Rehabilitation
Volume:44 Issue:4 Dated:2007 Pages:17 to 24

This study assessed the attitude of members of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) towards treatment, release, and recidivism of sexual predators. The findings suggest that the popular belief that sex offenders cannot be cured is shared by professionals who work with and/or study these offenders. A large majority (63 percent) of the professional respondents reported little hope for a cure, and 88 percent reported a fear of recidivism after treatment. No differences in opinion were found between respondents when grouped by age, sex, political orientation, years in occupation, or occupation. The study’s strongest element was the response rate of the ATSA members. ATSA is a national organization of professionals from a variety of fields, including psychiatry, psychology, social work, corrections, and parole. Fifty-two percent of the professionals responded (out of 1,040 members) to the mail survey; the high response rate was attributed to the fact that the group had never before been surveyed on the subject and the respondents welcomed the opportunity to convey their frustrations and concerns. Although research on treatment efficacy and recidivism remains controversial and is plagued with methodological problems, knowing what the attitudes of ATSA members are concerning cure and recidivism will add to the empirical knowledge regarding offender rehabilitations. Data were obtained through responses to a confidential mail survey sent to members of the ATSA. The survey included seven issues which addressed treatment effectiveness, causality, recidivism, release programs, and the criminal justice system’s role in dealing with this type of offender. Future definitive work should be undertaken. Tables, references

NCJ 220612
Jeffery T. Ulmer; Megan C. Kurlychek; John H. Kramer
Prosecutorial Discretion and the Imposition of Mandatory Minimum Sentences
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency
Volume:44 Issue:4 Dated:November 2007 Pages:427 to 458

The study presents a multi-level analysis of the prosecutorial decision to apply a mandatory minimum among mandatory eligible offenders sentenced for drug crimes, or as repeat, three strikes offenders. Given a pool of offenders who were convicted of crimes for which the prosecutor could choose to apply the mandatory minimum, the outcome of whether or not those offenders received a mandatory minimum was solely a product of prosecutorial discretion. The analysis found those prosecutors’ decisions to apply the mandatory minimum were significantly affected by the type and characteristics of offenses, guideline sentence recommendations, prior record, mode of conviction, and gender. Legally relevant factors, such as case processing concerns (rewarding guilty pleas) and social statuses (gender, ethnicity, and age) shaped prosecutors’ perceptions of blameworthiness, community protection, and their decisions to apply mandatories. Although mandatory minimums target offenses were disproportionately committed by minorities, the prosecutor’s discretion to apply mandatory minimums might be biased against minorities; Hispanic males were more likely to receive mandatory minimums and that Black-White gap in mandatory applications increased as the county percentage of Blacks increased, even though race did not have a significant main effect , and even though the odds of Blacks and Whites getting mandatory minimums decreased with percentages of Blacks. The data were collected from a subset of cases of the PCS for the years 1998 to 2000. Cases in the analysis were limited to the most serious offenses per judicial transaction and to those cases sentenced under the most recently revised Pennsylvania sentencing guidelines. The limitations of the data are discussed. Tables, figures, notes, references

No comments: