Monday, December 03, 2007

More NCJRS Abstracts, December 3, 2007


NCJ 220376
Jessica Woodhams; Clive R. Hollin; Ray Bull
Psychology of Linking Crimes: A Review of the Evidence
Legal and Criminological Psychology
Volume:12 Issue:Part 2 Dated:September 2007 Pages:233 to 249

In an attempt to offer a better understanding of the process of linking crimes, this review draws together diverse published studies by outlining what the process involves, critically examining its underlying psychological assumptions and reviewing the empirical research conducted on its viability. Available research gives some support to the assumption of consistency in criminals’ behavior. It also suggests that in comparison with intra-individual variation in behavior, inter-individual variation is sufficient for the offenses of one offender to be distinguished from those of other offenders. Thus, the results of this review support the two fundamental assumptions underlying the practice of linking crimes, behavioral consistency, and inter-individual variation. However, not all behaviors show the same degree of consistency, with behaviors that are less situation-dependent, and hence more offender-initiated, showing greater consistency. In summary, the limited research regarding linking offenders’ crimes appears promising at both a theoretical and an empirical level. Case linkage is a form of behavioral analysis involving crime analysts making predictions about whether offenses have a common offender based on their assessment of behavioral similarity across crimes. With analysts making predictions about the stability of an offender’s behavior across situations, theories underlying case linkage can be grounded in personality psychology in contrast to other forensic psychological practices. In contrast, the preliminary research conducted thus far on case linkage is directly testing the validity of the assumptions of behavioral consistency and inter-individual behavioral variation. With a concern for a better understanding of the case linkage process, literature searches were completed on the electronic databases, PsychInfo and Criminal Justice Abstracts, to identify theoretical and empirical papers relating to the practice of linking crimes and to behavioral consistency. References

NCJ 220377
Emma J. Palmer; James McGuire; Juliet C. Hounsome; Ruth M. Hatcher; Charlotte A.L. Bilby; Clive R. Hollin
Offending Behaviour Programmes in the Community: The Effects on Reconviction of Three Programmes with Adult Male Offenders
Legal and Criminological Psychology
Volume:12 Issue:Part 2 Dated:September 2007 Pages:251 to 264

This study examined the effect on reconviction of three general offending behavior programs run within a probation setting in England and Wales. Analysis findings indicate that, controlling for salient population factors, the offenders who had completed a program had a lower rate of reconviction as compared with noncompleters and comparison groups. In addition, non-completers had a higher rate of reconviction than the comparison group. The study provides cautious evidence for a completion effect as far as is possible within the confines of a high-quality, quasi-experimental design. Offending behavior programs attempt to reduce reoffending by changing offenders’ behavior through cognitive skills training. This approach is supported by the results of meta-analytic reviews of offender treatment. Employing a quasi-experimental design, this study presents findings of an evaluation of the effect on reconviction of three general offending behavior programs in the English and Welsh Probation Service with adult male offenders: Think First--addressing offenders’ social cognitive skills, Reasoning and Rehabilitation (R & R)--addressing the thinking styles commonly associated with offending, and Enhanced Thinking Skills (ETS)--a shorter alternative to the R & R program. Tables, references

NCJ 220443
Bryan R. Garner; Kevin Knight; Patrick M. Flynn; Janis T. Morey; D. Dwayne Simpson
Measuring Offender Attributes and Engagement in Treatment Using the Client Evaluation of Self and Treatment
Criminal Justice and Behavior
Volume:34 Issue:9 Dated:September 2007 Pages:1113 to 1130

This study examined psychometric properties of the Criminal Justice Client Evaluation of Self and Treatment (CJ CEST). The study concluded that Criminal Justice Client Evaluation of Self and Treatment (CJ CEST) is a comprehensive instrument to effectively and efficiently measure client needs and functioning at intake. The CJ CEST is also appropriate for use in corrections-based drug-treatment programs to monitor progress over time. Monitoring drug abuse treatment delivery and progress requires the use of validated instruments to measure client motivations, psychosocial and cognitive functioning, and other treatment process dynamics. This study examined psychometric properties of the CJ CEST as part of the National Institute on Drug Abuse Criminal Justice Drug Abuse Treatment Studies project with a focus on examining client performance indicators for treatment of correctional populations. Analyses were conducted to address reliability of the CJ CEST scales at both the client level and program level. The sample included 3, 266 offenders from 26 corrections-based treatment programs located in 6 States. Consistent with earlier findings from community-based treatment settings, this study showed that the CJ CEST scales demonstrated good reliabilities at the client and program level as well as high test and retest reliability. Though results from confirmatory factor analyses indicated that some of the scales might represent more than one factor, evidence for construct validity was favorable. The findings support applications of the CJ CEST and Criminal Thinking Scales (CTS) within correctional treatment settings. Moving from clinical impressions to having objective scores for these client needs and functioning domains offers an empirically based progress monitoring tool. In an effort to maximize their role in practice, future efforts will examine their integration using automated scoring procedures into larger correctional information systems for the purpose of examining their combined use as a longitudinal measure and as a predictor of in-treatment and followup outcomes. Tables, references

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