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Justice Policy Journal - Volume 17, Number 1 – Spring, 2020


Remanded in Custody and Punished Without Trial: The Criminal Justice System and Remand Populations in Trinidad and Tobago

By: Wendell C. Wallace, Burton Hill, and Anthony R. Rosales

In Trinidad and Tobago, inordinate trial delays coupled with a frustratingly immobile criminal justice system have caused numerous individuals to remain remanded in custody for five to ten years and in some instance, upwards of fifteen years. Quite surprisingly, few scholars in Trinidad and Tobago have focused their research attention on the pervasive issue of remand incarceration which the authors of this article cogitate is akin to ‘punishment without trial’ and ‘the criminalization of the presumption of innocence’. This article fills an existing void by examining pre-trail detention on the island. The study was conducted from a rightsbased, socio-legal, sustainable development and small state multidisciplinary perspective and utilizes quantitative data obtained from the statistical department of the Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service (TTPrS). The results indicate that male inmates spend on average four to ten years and females two to four years on remand due to the state’s inability or inefficiency in bringing these ‘presumably innocent individuals’ to trial. In sum, this article highlights problems at remand facilities, remand trends and reasons for the concerns with remanded inmates. Recommendations to reduce the current level of pre-trial detention on the island are discussed.


Enhancing Community Safety through Urban Demolition: An Exploratory Study of Detroit, Michigan

By: Joshua M. Regan and David L. Myers 

During the past several decades, the population of Detroit, Michigan declined. This decrease resulted in an increase in the number of vacant buildings. Today, an estimated 100,000 structures in Detroit are abandoned. One potential consequence of abandoned properties is higher reported crime. To reduce the number of vacant properties and eradicate blight, in 2013 the city introduced the Detroit Blight Removal Task Force (DBRTF). Financially supported by the United States Department of Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund (HHF), vacant buildings were demolished to increase property values, reduce the number of foreclosures, and improve community safety. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether demolitions fulfilled the third objective of community safety. Using a retrospective longitudinal design, selected criminal offenses (arson, burglary, drug-related crimes, and propertydamage crimes) were assessed 1 year before demolitions took effect (January 1, 2013- December 31, 2014) and for 21 months after the demolition program began (January 1, 2014- September 22, 2015). T-tests initially were used to assess changes in the mean number of daily criminal offenses from January 1, 2013- September 22, 2015. With the demolition program in effect, selected criminal offenses decreased significantly by 10.46 daily acts. Multivariate regression models also were implemented. Controlling for monthly unemployment rates and daily property sales, the first regression model illustrated that demolitions correlated with 9.981 fewer daily crimes. Decreases in reported burglaries and property damage crimes, in particular, were associated with the demolition program occurring.


The Influence of Victim Type on the Public’s Perceptions of Sex Offender Registration and Notification

By: Corey Call 

The broad category of “sex offenders” is comprised of a diverse set of individuals with different characteristics, backgrounds, and offending patterns, however, sex offenders are generally treated as a homogenous group. This can be evidenced in policy decisions, such as sex offender registration and notification (SORN) that treat sex offenders as if they were all alike. Research exploring the attitudes of the public toward sex offenders and sex offender management policies have historically treated these offenders the same way by only surveying the public about “sex offenders” with no differentiation between types of sex offenders. The present study addresses this issue by surveying a national sample (n=1,023) of the general public on their attitudes toward SORN while making a distinction between sex offenders with adult victims and sex offenders with child victims. The results reveal significant differences in belief in the effectiveness of SORN, support for SORN, and support for the removal of sex offenders from registries based upon a sex offender’s preferred victim type.


Predicting Recidivism Using Adverse Childhood Experiences & the Level of Service Inventory

By: Mark H. Heirigs, Anthony W. Tatman, Tara Richey, Ashlea Loudon, and Heather Bell 

Adverse childhood experiences have been demonstrated to have severe negative consequences on a variety of life outcomes. The adverse childhood experience (ACEs) scale was created to assess childhood maltreatment and has been shown to significantly predict negative life events in adulthood. The Level of Service Inventory – Revised (LSI-R) is a widely used risk assessment to predict recidivism. The current analysis used a sample of 293 individuals to test the ability of ACEs and the LSI-R to predict recidivism in multiple models. The results demonstrate that both ACEs and the LSI-R prove to be significant predictors of recidivism. The potential policy implications for community-based corrections are discussed.


Types of Parents in Relation to Juvenile Curfew violations

By: Kenneth Adams  

Juvenile curfew laws are a popular strategy for curtailing juvenile crimes. Among the features that make juvenile curfew laws popular is an emphasis on parental responsibility, which makes parents key actors in curfew enforcement. However, parents vary widely in terms of how they see their parental responsibilities and in terms of their manners of childrearing, which in turn influence how they approach curfew laws. This research identifies five types of parents regarding curfew violations of their children. The types, which were derived through observational research, include indignant, irresponsible, indignant, ineffectual and invisible. The research illustrates the different ways in which parents react to curfew violations of their children with different consequences for successful curfew enforcement in the future.

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