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Justice Policy Journal - Volume 1, Number 3 - Fall 2004

(ISSN 1530-3012)


From the editor

By Randall G. Shelden, M.A., Ph.D.

Editor's Introduction

I am pleased to present to the readers of this web site the latest issue of the Justice Policy Journal third consecutive issue of this journal.  Volume 1, number 3 contains four excellent articles.  Leading off in this issue is analysis of community service as an illustration of one of many varieties of "restorative justice," co-authored by Gordon Bazemore and David Karp.  This is followed up by Canadian criminologist Matthew Yeager's fascinating study of a cohort of prisoners, providing a test of the popular "life course" theory.  The third article concerns an analysis of appropriations for the handling of juvenile offenders in two Florida counties.  Finally, Roger Roots, a graduate student at UNLV's Department of Sociology, provides us with an analysis of the problems facing ex-convicts.

When the Past is a Prison: The Hardening Plight of the American Ex-Convict

By Roger Roots

Today's American criminal justice system is generating more ex-criminals than ever before, due to increasingly punitive sentencing, the increasing criminalization of formerly noncriminal acts, and the increasing federalization of criminal matters. At the same time, advances in record-keeping and computer technology have made life more difficult for ex-convicts. This article examines the hardships faced by American ex-convicts reentering the non-custodial community both at present and in the past. It concludes that modern ex-convicts face more difficulties than those of past generations, because 1) a greater number of laws that restrict their occupational and social lives, and 2) better data collection and transfer among criminal justice jurisdictions make evading or escaping from one's criminal past more difficult. The result of these coalescing trends is that American society is increasingly forming a hierarchical order of citizenship, with long-term negative economic and social consequences for both ex-offenders and the broader community.

Roger Roots
Graduate Assistant, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Roger Roots is a graduate assistant in the Department of Sociology at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is presently a doctoral student in the Sociology Department.

Questioning Appropriations for Juvenile Offenders: A Case Study of Juvenile Arrestees in Escambia & Santa Rosa Counties, Florida

By Julie C. Kunselman and Kimberly M. Tatum

This study analyzes data collected on juveniles arrested in Escambia County and Santa Rosa County, Florida, from January 01, 2002 through June 30, 2002. The purpose of this research is to develop a profile of arrestees to better inform public policy in the region and in the State of Florida. Establishing a profile and comparison of juvenile arrestees is an especially timely project in Florida since the state recently cut funding for some juvenile justice initiatives, and is proposing additional cuts in FY2004. Juvenile arrestees (n=301) processed for intake at the Escambia County Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC) were selected from a random sample of 30 days. Data were drawn from Florida's Juvenile Justice Information System. Findings include a comprehensive profile of offenses, dispositions, and commitments of the juvenile arrestees, including comparisons across demographics, offense, and criminal history. Using profile comparisons, the authors discuss the impact of funding on Florida's juvenile justice system.

Julie C. Kunselman, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, University of West Florida
Julie Kunselman is assistant professor of Criminal Justice specializing in policy and data analysis, research methods and juvenile justice. Professor Kunselman has a bachelor's in mathematics from Gannon University. She earned a Master of Public Administration and a doctorate of Philosophy in Urban and Public Affairs from the University of Louisville. Her dissertation was a post-impact analysis of Kentucky's Persistent Felony Offender legislation. Currently, Dr. Kunselman's research agenda includes conducting impact analyses of several different state criminal statutes. Professor Kunselman is a member of the Southern Criminal Justice Association and the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.

Kimberly M. Tatum, J.D.
Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies, University of West Florida
Kimberly Tatum is the Assistant Professor in the Division of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies. She has a bachelor's degree from Louisiana State University and earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Florida in 1998.

A Partial Test of Life-Course Theory on a Prison Release Cohort

By Matthew G. Yeager

This article examines the thesis put forth by Sampson and Laub (1993) that "social capital" over an offender's life course positively or negatively impinges upon their success in the community - i.e., ability to avoid criminal re-processing. Using a data set (N= 773) of male Canadian penitentiary inmates released to the community between 1983-1984, a test is made of the impact of both employment and marriage during a three-year supervision follow-up, controlling for race, alcohol involvement, prior juvenile convictions, and prior adult convictions. Because the sample does not represent a classic, longitudinal design, we consider this to be a partial test of the life course thesis. Regardless of whether the dependent variable is general or violent criminal recidivism, full-time employment and marriage remain significant predictors for male convicts -- employment being the more statistically significant of the two. Ironically, at the very time when the Canadian prison industry was disbanding their offender employment programs, this data suggests otherwise. Today, employment programs for offenders are politically unpopular yet they suggest promise when offenders can find meaningful and stable jobs. Structural intervention in market economies might be suggested. Is it therefore reasonable to ask: who is creating conditions favorable to criminality and are our prisons designed to maintain the employment marginality of offenders?

Matthew G. Yeager
Carleton University
Matthew G. Yeager is a clinical criminologist. He has a bachelor's in Criminology from U.C. Berkeley and has earned a mater's degree in Criminal Justice from the State University of New York, Albany. He is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology, in Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. His interests are sociology of law, sentencing, inequality, dangerous offenders, and gender issues.

A Civic Justice Corps: Community Service as a Means of Reintegration

By Gordon Bazemore and David R. Karp

Rarely considered in re-entry programs is the role of community service as a means of reintegration. We argue for the creation of a "Civic Justice Corps"; a program for parolees to return to the community in the spirit of service. A CJC would benefit both offenders and communities by allowing for "earned redemption"-enabling offenders to repair the harm caused by their crimes and regain community trust. Service may foster positive identity change leading to reduced recidivism and civic commitment, while also providing an opportunity for parolees to reestablish community social ties, leading to permanent housing and employment. We make the case for a CJC as well as review the research on the correctional use of community service.

Gordon Bazemore, Ph.D.
Professor of Criminal Justice, Florida Atlantic University
Gordon Bazemore is professor of Criminal Justice at Florida Atlantic University. His primary research interests include juvenile justice, youth policy, community policing, corrections, and victims' issues. He is the author of over forty-five journal articles, numerous book chapters and monographs on these topics. Dr. Bazemore's recent publications appear in Justice Quarterly, Crime and Delinquency, The Justice System Journal, and the Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare. He has directed several recent evaluations of juvenile justice, corrections, and policing initiatives funded by the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Justice. Dr. Bazemore is the Principal Investigator of a national action research project intended to pilot restorative justice reform in several jurisdictions, which is funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. He is also completing a project funded by the Office for Victims of Crime,U.S. Department of Justice, to study the attitudes of judges and crime victims toward victim involvement in juvenile court.

David R. Karp, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Sociology, Skidmore College
David Karp is Associate Professor of Sociology at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. He conducts research on community-based responses to crime and has given workshops on restorative justice and community justice nationally. Current projects include an evaluation of Vermont's Offender Reentry Program, the impact of the death penalty on victims' families, and restorative practices in college judicial systems. He is the author and editor of four books and more than 50 academic articles and technical reports. His most recent book is Restorative Justice on the College Campus. He received a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Washington.

Keywords: community corrections, recidivism, reentry

Posted in Volume 1

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