AMONG THE LATEST RESEARCH POSTED AT http://www.ncjrs.gov/. CHECK FOR OTHER ARTICLES OF INTEREST THERE AS WELL.
Wayne N. Welch
Multisite Evaluation of Prison-Based Therapeutic Community Drug Treatment
Criminal Justice and Behavior: An International Journal Volume:34 Issue:11 Dated:November 2007 Pages:1481 to 1498
A quasi-experimental study examined multiple postrelease outcomes up to 2 years for inmates who participated in therapeutic community (TC) drug treatment programs or comparison groups at five State prisons. Results support previous findings regarding significant reductions in recidivism because of participation in prison therapeutic community (TC) drug treatment. However, in contrast to previous studies, prison TC exerted strong, significant treatment effects independently of community aftercare. The effects of prison TC drug treatment were not unqualified. TC significantly lowered the likelihood of re-incarceration and rearrest but not drug relapse. Postrelease employment emerged as the strongest predictor of reincarceration and rearrest, whereas rearrest was reduced only for older offenders who were employed fulltime or unemployed but able to work. Future research should explore how both individual and programmatic variations influence treatment outcomes and explore why prison-based drug treatment seems to have stronger effects on criminal behavior than drug-using behavior. It has been argued that prison TC does not produce significant treatment effects unless the continuum of care is completed by community aftercare treatment. One objective of this study was to examine the effects of prison TC drug treatment in a sample that did not receive mandatory community aftercare. A second objective was to examine to what degree outcomes varied across different measures and sites. It was predicted that the level of outcomes would be better for the treatment group than the comparison group and that treatment effects would be consistent across different prisons in the same State using the same TC framework and philosophy. Tables, figure, notes, and references
Using Group Statistics to Sentence Individual Criminals: An Ethical and Statistical Critique of the Virginia Risk Assessment Program
Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology Volume:97 Issue:3 Dated:Spring 2007 Pages:699 to 730
Although not appearing dramatic, the Virginia Risk Assessment Program’s assumptions reflect a monumental change in how criminals are sentenced yet it has been implemented with dangerously little public discussion. A review of the reports and the Virginia data leave one unconvinced that Virginia has adopted an appropriate procedure for sentencing nonviolent criminals. There is strong reason to support vesting sentencing discretion in judges. This method can limit the considerations to factors related to crime deemed deserving of punishment. Virginia’s Risk Assessment Program uses predictions of recidivism to recommend which nonviolent felons should be incarcerated. Virginia’s sentencing scheme depends on a statistical study commissioned by the legislature that purports to match offender characteristics with future behavior. New offenders are given recidivism scores that depend on gender, employment status, marital status, and age, all factors seemingly unrelated to the criminal conduct itself. It is suggested that the program presents serious issues regarding the ethical propriety of predictive techniques in criminal sentencing. This paper evaluates Virginia’s Risk Assessment Program as a means to probe a sense of discomfort with the use of predictive group statistics on individual criminals and to determine whether the statistical techniques adopted in Virginia are suitable for this important task. The paper also provides a history of risk assessment in Virginia, discusses the ethics of predictive sentencing of this type and critiques the methodology of Virginia’s approach and the errors that come about.
Ellen S. Podgor
Challenge of White Collar Sentencing
Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology Volume:97 Issue:3 Dated:Spring 2007 Pages:731 to 760
This article questions the sentencing practices of nonviolent first offenders who commit white collar crimes and the evolution of a system that fails to recognize the unique qualities of white collar offenders. All of criminal law revolves around punishment theory. Laws are created in order to punish conduct that society finds abhorrent. Sentencing of offenders is the last stat of punishment theory. It is the one portion of the criminal process when the court can examine individual culpability in relation to the offense committed. De-emphasizing this consideration because of concerns that class may play a factor in the sentence works to eliminate considerations unique to many corporate white collar offenders. Sentencing needs to remain fluid to account for all considerations. Most importantly, there is the need to infuse into the sentencing process some of the sociological teachings that started the discussion of white collar crime. Sentencing white collar offenders is difficult in that the economic crimes committed clearly injured individuals, but the offenders do not present a physical threat to society. White collar sentences need to be reevaluated. The mathematical computations that form the essence of sentencing in the Federal system fail to recognize the sociological roots of white collar crime. This article examines the necessity of giving too harsh of sentences, in some cases in excess of 25 years, to nonviolent first offenders who commit white collar crimes.