Saturday, December 29, 2007

More NCJRS Abstracts, December 28, 2007


NCJ 220668
Murray Lee
Inventing Fear of Crime: Criminology and the Politics of Anxiety
Willan Publishing

This book examines how fear of crime has been created as a problem, how it has assumed an empirical validity and a social scientific respectability, and how it became normalized as a socio-cultural term. After a historical account, two propositions are made regarding the nature of the fear of crime. First is that crime fear increased as a result of escalating recorded crime rates and general political disorder, or at least the perception of increasing crime. The second proposition suggests that crime fear had always existed but that it was only through the development of new methods of detecting and calculating it, of the evolution of technological and social scientific innovation, that the problem was identified. This set of propositions suggests a historical rupture of monumental proportions. However, both of these propositions or interpretations are suggested to be flawed because the question of “what is fear of crime” remains unanswered. This book has attempted to apply a new approach and subsequently a new set of questions to the issue of crime fear. These questions are (1) through which forms of knowledge or power has fear of crime become an object of social scientific enquiry and criminological concept; (2) how has this discourse of fear of crime subsequently come itself to have power effects; and (3) through which rationalities and mentalities are the power effects of fear of crime able to be exercised and what are the consequences? In the past few years, the difficulty of reducing fear of crime and concerted critical attacks on its legitimacy have seen it become a slightly more marginal concern for criminology. This book asks how and why fear of crime retains this cultural, political, and social scientific popularity despite criticism of its utility. Part one of the book traces the historical emergence of the fear of crime concept, while part two addresses the issue of fear of crime and political rationality, and analyzes fear of crime as a tactic or technique of government. References and index

NCJ 220732
Paul J. McCusker
Issues Regarding the Clinical Use of the Classification of Violence Risk (COVR) Assessment Instrument
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Volume:51 Issue:6 Dated:December 2007 Pages:676 to 685

This article presents the results of a development study and a validation study on the Classification of Violence Risk (COVR) assessment instrument for classifying hospitalized psychiatric patients. The Classification of Violence Risk (COVR) assessment instrument, when applied to a new sample of subjects, was unable to demonstrate predictive power on a par with that shown in its development study. The results of the development study and the validation study reviewed here do provide some evidence that the COVR, when used to assess civilly hospitalized psychiatric patients in the United States, will provide a better estimate of violence risk than would be obtained by simply predicting to base rates. However, it is concluded that until additional research clarifies uncertainty about the instrument, clinicians would do well to be very cautious in utilizing COVR results to make judgments as to violence risk. The MacArthur Study of Mental Disorder and Violence undertook the Herculean task of examining 134 established or proposed risk factors for violence and identifying those factors or groups of factors that would most accurately classify the hospitalized psychiatric patients in the study sample into subgroups representing the patients’ levels of risk for future violence. The explicit goal was to create a risk-assessment scheme for clinicians. Hence, the MacArthur Study produced the COVR. The COVR has been computerized and is now commercially available to clinicians. The developers of the COVR conducted a validation study on a new sample of hospitalized patients from three facilities. This article presents issues related to both the development study and validation study and the clinical use of the COVR assessment instrument. References

NCJ 220733
Hung-En Sung; Linda Richter
Rational Choice and Environmental Deterrence in the Retention of Mandated Drug Abuse Treatment Clients
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Volume:51 Issue:6 Dated:December 2007 Pages:686 to 702

This study proposes a rational choice framework in which treatment retention for drug-abusing offenders is viewed as a decisionmaking process that involves calculation of costs and benefits of remaining in treatment. Results from the analysis corroborate the criminal sanction and employment hypotheses, suggesting that the potential penal costs and the prospect of economic hardships associated with dropping out of residential treatment might be effective deterrents against premature treatment termination. The broader social context in which the treatment of drug-abusing offenders took place mattered; it had a direct impact on clients’ decision to stay or leave treatment. This analysis represents the first step in the exploration of the utility of the rational choice model of retention among criminal justice clients of drug abuse treatment. Previous drug treatment retention research has been limited by a restricted range of explanatory variables. In this study, the analysis of treatment retention is cast within the tradition of a rational choice model and presents three environmental hypotheses that may help explain the potential influence of environmental factors on mandated clients’ treatment experiences. Retention data from 1,984 drug-abusing felons diverted for long-term residential treatment were analyzed to test the 3 hypotheses that criminal sanctions against drug offenses, violence in local drug markets, and lack of legitimate job opportunities act as deterrents against premature termination of treatment. Tables, references

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