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Justice Policy Journal - Volume 3, Number 1 - Spring 2006

(ISSN 1530-3012)


From the editor

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

From the Editor

I am pleased to present to the readers of this web site the third consecutive issue of this journal. Volume 3, number 1 represents a significant step toward our goal of making this the best on-line journal in the field of criminology. I want to personally thank our contributors for their excellent work on this issue.

This issue of the journal contains five articles, plus one research brief. The first two articles deal with incarcerated women. Michael D. White, Michele Galietta, and Gipsy Escobar focus on the use of a literacy program to help reconnect incarcerated mothers with their children. Barbara H. Zaitzow's article deals with the pressing need to provide programming for incarcerated women. These two are excellent companion articles that lead off this issue.

The next three articles deal with the more general issue of the recent "get tough" policies that have made the United States one of the most punitive countries in the world. First, Daniel S. Murphy, Adam J. Newmark, and Phillip J. Ardoin provide us with a close look at one of the terrible consequences of these policies, one which affected the last two elections, namely that of disenfranchisement policies. This is followed by a close examination of California's "Three-strikes" legislation by Kelly Ann Cheeseman, Rolando V. del Carmen, and Robert Worley through a discussion of Ewing v. California. Finally, we have a study of several Supreme Court decisions on the death penalty by Matthew B. Robinson and Kathleen M. Simon.

Rounding out this issue is a continuation of what we began in the fall issue with a "research brief." This one provides us with a fascinating look at a topic that is rarely considered within the field of criminology, that of "Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders" as they apply to the juvenile justice system. Sharon Williams provides us with an analysis of this issue.

On behalf of the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, I hope readers will enjoy reading these articles and make use of them in your own research. Also, I urge readers to submit articles for the next issue which is anticipated to be this summer. I already have two submissions (including another one on the death penalty and one on the children of incarcerated parents). I am hoping to begin including book reviews. Please send your research to me at the following e-mail: [profrgs@cox.net]

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

Three Strikes and You're In: The Effect of Ewing v. California and Three Strikes Legislation on Prison Population and Resource Management

By Kelly Cheeseman, Rolando V. del Carmen, and Robert Worley

"Three strikes" laws have been a source of great debate since their inception. The recent Supreme Court decision in Ewing v. California (2003), upholding California's three strikes laws will undoubtedly have an effect on prison management as prison populations continue to rise and correctional budgets continue to decrease. This paper examines the legal history of "three strikes" legislation and explores the impact these laws have on the criminal justice system, particularly prison populations and correctional budgets as well as the recent surge in the number of geriatric prisoners.

Kelly Ann Cheeseman
Old Dominion University
Kelly Cheeseman is an instructor of Criminal Justice at Old Dominion University. Kelly has published articles, in refereed journals such as Deviant Behavior, Corrections Management Quarterly and Criminal Law Bulletin. Her current research interests include institutional corrections, deviance, the death penalty, sexual offending, social policy, and women and crime. She has been employed with two major correctional systems: Texas and the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Rolando V. del Carmen
Sam Houston State University
Rolando V. del Carmen is Distinguished Professor of Criminal Justice (Law) at Sam Houston State University. He has published several books and numerous articles in law. His areas of expertise are: criminal procedure, corrections law, juvenile law, legal liabilities of public officials, rights of public officials, and probation and parole law.

Robert Worley
Sam Houston State University
Robert Worley is an ABD at Sam Houston State University. He has published articles related to correctional officer-inmate inappropriate relationships, in journals such as Deviant Behavior and Crime and Justice International. Mr. Worley's current research interests include sex offender registration, family violence, and white collar-crime.

Technology-Driven Literacy Programs as a Tool for Re-connecting Incarcerated Mothers and their Children: Assessing their Need and Viability in a Federal Prison

By Michael D. White, Michele Galietta, and Gipsy Escobar

Given the consequences of infrequent visitation for incarcerated mothers and their children, corrections officials have sought to identify innovative methods for improving mother-child contact. One example involves literacy programs relying on secure video and email communications. However, little is known about the incarcerated mothers and children these programs would serve, particularly the emotional and psychological issues that would need to be addressed to facilitate successful mother-child contacts. As part of a needs assessment for the development of a literacy-based program at the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut, researchers conducted face-to-face interviews with a non-probability convenience sample of 36 incarcerated mothers. Findings showed that the interviewees are relatively "high-functioning", but do have significant problems related to traumatic experiences and mental health issues. Also, interviewees rarely see their children and would value a program that improves that connection. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of the findings for the development of such programs, particularly inmate concerns regarding family and caregiver resources and the need to address issues related to trauma and mental health.

Michael D. White
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Michael D. White, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Deputy Director of the Criminal Justice Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay. Dr. White's primary research interests involve the police, including use of force, training, and performance measurement. Dr. White's recent work has been published in Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management, Crime and Delinquency and Evaluation Review. Email: miwhite@jjay.cuny.edu 

Michele Galietta
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Michele Galietta, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor and Director of Clinical Training in the Department of Psychology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Dr. Galietta's recent work has focused on treatment approaches to address inmate violence and self-abuse, behavior therapy for stalkers, and she also participated in John Jay's study of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic Clergy. Dr. Galietta has published articles and book chapters in the Handbook of Forensic Psychology, Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, The American Journal of Psychiatry, and Journal of the American Medical Association. Email: Galietta13@aol.com  

Gipsy Escobar
John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Gipsy Escobar, M.A., is a doctoral student in the Criminal Justice program at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Sociology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and a Research Assistant at the Criminal Justice Research and Evaluation Center. Ms. Escobar's research interests are related to the measurement of violent crime, collective violence, social capital, and social networks; and the evaluation of public policies dealing with such issues. Email: qescobar@qc.cuny.edu  

Research Brief: Is There Justice in the Juvenile Justice System? Examining the Role of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

By Sharon J. Williams

Webster defines justice as "the maintenance or administration of what is just, especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments." This article explains the importance of understanding the role of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) in adjudicating juvenile offenders. The author notes a systemwide lack of critical knowledge of FASD and provides a historic overview and explanation. She also includes data on the prevalence of FASD in the juvenile justice system and demonstrates how social adaptive behaviors, learning disabilities, and behavior problems associated with FASD affect individuals in the juvenile justice system. The author concludes by calling for recognition of the effects of FASD on juvenile offenders and recommendations for systemic changes.

Sharon J. Williams
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Center for Excellence
Sharon Williams is the Deputy Project Director with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Center for Excellence and is a licensed attorney. She holds an MPH from the University of Texas and a JD from the George Washington University Law School. She has 8 years of experience with substance abuse and disease prevention. Email: Sharon.Williams@ngc.com  

Political and Demographic Explanations of Felon Disenfranchisement Policies in the States

By Daniel S. Murphy, Adam J. Newmark, and Philip J. Ardoin

Nearly 5 million Americans are currently deprived of the right to vote as a result of state laws which prohibit voting by felons and ex-felons. With the exception of Maine and Vermont, every state denies incarcerated individuals the right to vote, 30 states deny felons on probation or parole the right to vote, and in 12 states felons are permanently banned from voting (Sentencing Project 2004). This research explores the political and demographic factors that influence the probability of a state adopting more or less stringent laws regarding a felon's right to vote.

Daniel S. Murphy
Appalachian State University
Daniel S. Murphy is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justices at Appalachian State University and is sitting member of the Board of Directors for FedCure. His teaching and research are in the areas of criminological theory, prison issues, and criminal justice policy. E-mail: murphyds@appstate.edu  

Adam J. Newmark
Appalachian State University
Adam J. Newmark is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Appalachian State University. His primary areas of teaching and research include state and local politics, interest groups and lobbying activity, political parties, public policy, and public opinion. E-mail: newmarkaj@appstate.edu  

Phillip J. Ardoin
Appalachian State University
Philip J. Ardoin is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Appalachian State University. His teaching and research interest include Congress and influences on Representation, Presidential Elections, and Partisan and Minority Politics. Email: ardoinpj@appstate.edu  

Logical and Consistent? An Analysis of Supreme Court Opinions Regarding the Death Penalty

By Matthew B. Robinson, Kathleen M. Simon

This paper examines opinions by Supreme Court justices of the most significant death penalty cases of the 1970s and 1980s [i.e., Furman v. Georgia (1972), Gregg v. Georgia (1976), Woodson v. North Carolina (1976), and McCleskey v. Kemp (1987)]. We seek to determine: 1) what main justifications were used by justices to support their own opinions; 2) how inconsistent over these cases were justices in issuing their opinions; and 3) what factors led to changes in opinions across time. We examine three types of inconsistency: First, issuing an opinion that is contradictory to opinions issued in earlier cases (e.g., a justice rules in favor of capital punishment in one case and then against it in another, or vice versa); Second, issuing an opinion that appears to be contradictory to statements made in written opinions in earlier cases (e.g., a justice votes in a way opposite to the principles he or she has put forth in previous cases); and Third, ruling in a way that appears to violate a precedent or rule of law. We seek to explain such inconsistencies to illuminate why capital punishment is still legal despite numerous problems with its application. It is these cases that best illustrate why capital punishment persists.

Matthew B. Robinson
Appalachian State University
Matthew Robinson is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Appalachian State University and is past President of the Southern Criminal Justice Association. His teaching and research are in the areas of criminological theory, crime prevention, criminal justice policy, the war on drugs, and the death penalty. E-mail: robinsnmb@appstate.edu  

Kathleen M. Simon
Appalachian State University
Kathleen Simon is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Appalachian State University and is past President of the North Criminal Justice Association. Her teaching and research are in the areas of criminal law, criminal procedure, judicial process, and white-collar crime. E-mail: simonkm@appstate.edu  

Empowerment Not Entrapment: Providing Opportunities for Incarcerated Women to Move Beyond "Doing Time"

By Barbara H. Zaitzow

The popularity of imprisonment as a sanctioning tool has significant implications for corrections, which traditionally has allocated few resources for institutional or community-based programs for female offenders. Many women who are imprisoned have backgrounds of economic disadvantage and have limited resources at either a personal or social level to change their circumstances. Moreover, institutional rules and programmatic opportunities available to women in prison, contribute to the continuation of their disadvantaged status. Thousands of women are being released from prison each year with no safety net to assist survival and combat recidivism. The hurdles and barriers that present themselves are often cumbersome and challenging. In light of the growing numbers of women who are affected by the imprisonment experience, a critical assessment of current prison programs for women is necessary to move beyond the mere acceptance of limited program offerings as a means to manage the "doing time" experience toward a realistic re-entry approach that promotes the successful reintegration of women offenders.

Barbara H. Zaitzow
Appalachian State University
Barbara H. Zaitzow, professor of criminal justice at Appalachian State University, conducts research projects in men's and women's prisons and has been involved in state and national advocacy work for prisoners and organizations seeking alternatives to imprisonment. Zaitzow has served on various editorial boards for nationally-recognized journals, and she has published a co-edited book, articles, and book chapters on a variety of prison-related topics including HIV/AIDS and other treatment needs of women prisoners and the impact of prison culture on the "doing time" experiences of the imprisoned. E-mail: Zaitzowbh@Appstate.edu  

Keywords: adult corrections, prisons, reentry, women

Posted in Volume 3

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