Friday, December 28, 2007

More NCJRS Abstracts, December 28, 2007


NCJ 220715
Jennifer L. Boothby; Lorraine Y. Overduin
Attitudes Regarding the Compassionate Release of Terminally Ill Offenders
The Prison Journal
Volume:87 Issue:4 Dated:December 2007 Pages:408 to 415

This study examined college students’ attitudes toward the compassionate release of terminally ill offenders and general attitudes toward prisoners and fear of AIDS. Results suggest that undergraduate students have an overall negative attitude toward compassionate release of offenders. Specifically, students reported only marginal agreement that dying prisoners should be treated with compassion and agreed with statements that community members should be notified if an offender is released to die at home. Also, students were neutral about the provision of medical care to prisoners that is comparable to treatment available to individuals in the community suggesting a lack of support for equal treatment for medically ill prisoners. Fear of AIDS, however, was not associated with negative attitudes toward compassionate release of offenders. The results suggest that undergraduate students have a negative attitude toward both compassionate release of prisoners and prisoners in general. Compassionate release, or medical parole, allows the early release of terminally ill offenders so that they may spend time with loved ones. Such programs have received little attention from researchers. This study examined attitudes of undergraduate students toward compassionate release and factors that affected these attitudes. A total of 163 participants completed questionnaires regarding attitudes toward compassionate release, attitudes toward prisoners, and fear of AIDS. Tables, references

NCJ 220716
Kevin E. O'Grady; Timothy W. Kinlock; Thomas E. Hanlon
Prediction of Violence History in Substance-Abusing Inmates
The Prison Journal
Volume:87 Issue:4 Dated:December 2007 Pages:416 to 433

This study examined the relationship of various developmental factors, drug abuse history, and current adjustment with history of violent criminal activity in 183 drug-abusing inmates. Results extend previous findings on the development and prediction of violent criminality among incarcerated offenders. The results suggest clear differences in the criminal behavior patterns of the three participant groups, with those involved in the most serious types of violence (murder and attempted murder) displaying the most precocious, varied, and frequent crime. In addition, those who had committed murder and/or attempted murder had a disproportionately high tendency to deliberately hurt animals during their formative years. Inmates who had attempted or committed murder committed their first crime, on average, as preadolescents, whereas inmates who had not committed violent crimes committed their first crime, on average, in their midteens. Inmates who attempted or committed murder were raised in families considerably more deviant than families of the other two groups. Lastly, commission of violent crimes is associated with a higher current level of anxiety. Proponents of the criminal career perspective emphasize that there are different dimensions of criminal activity, such as type, onset, participation, frequency, and seriousness and that each dimension may require a separate explanatory model. The purpose of this study of 183 drug-abusing inmates from Baltimore, MD was to determine factors that discriminate among offenders who (1) have no history of violent criminal behavior, (2) have a history of violent criminal behavior but have never attempted or committed murder, and (3) have attempted or committed murder. Specifically, three questions were addressed regarding violent criminal activity. First, what is the relationship between various early family and developmental factors and the adoption of a violent criminal lifestyle? Second, can a drug abuser’s drug use history predict violent criminal activity? Third, are there different patterns of psychological functioning in violent than there are in nonviolent criminals? Tables, references

NCJ 220665
Ann Rudinow Saetnan
Nothing to Hide, Nothing to Fear?: Assessing Technologies for Diagnosis of Security Risks
International Criminal Justice Review
Volume:17 Issue:3 Dated:September 2007 Pages:193 to 206

This article examines parallels and differences between the assessment of medical and forensic technologies. The article determined that when discussing forensic identification technologies, similar assessment procedures as those recommended for medical technologies should be followed. Amid the high demand for surveillance technologies, it is often assumed that these technologies would accurately identify only those guilty of crimes. In terms of measuring the accuracy of surveillance technologies as diagnostic tools, surveillance technologies have not been tested for accuracy in the manner that have come to be expected for medical diagnostic technologies. Medical technologies are designed to address sensitivity, or the number of those affected by a disease that the test can identify, and specificity, or the number of unaffected by the disease the test show as healthy. Even for medical tests with more than 90 percent sensitivity and specificity, the majority of test positive results are false. Using value estimates for the forensic identification technologies of facial recognition and DNA identification, this article estimates the vast majority of test positive results would be false. Following the procedures used for assessing medical technologies for the forensic technologies would allow for analysis of the consequences of the inevitable inaccuracies: the consequences for those falsely accused of crimes, the consequences if the guilty are not found, the determination for further investigation, exoneration of the falsely suspected, and the correct identification of the guilty. Assessments of forensic technologies have focused more on effectiveness than on protection of the innocent, more on sensitivity than on selectivity; assuming that the majority of citizens are law abiding, selectivity might be a more important issue as the possibility for mistakes could provoke those with “nothing to hide,” into a stance that promotes a reason to hide from surveillance. Tables, notes, references

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