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Justice Policy Journal - Volume 5, Number 1 - Spring 2008

(ISSN 1530-3012)


From the editor

By Elizabeth Brown, Ph.D. and Randall G. Shelden, M.A., Ph.D.

From the Editors

One of the most exciting aspects of editing a journal like Justice Policy Journal is the exposure to the wide range of innovations, lessons, and surprises that come from evaluating the practical effects of policy implementation. In this edition, we bring you a swath of articles that all evidence, in one way or another, the utility and necessity of evaluating the effectiveness of law and justice programs.

Our first article explores the divergence between residential and aftercare services and what this means for the successful rehabilitation of youthful offenders. This article combines a broad knowledge base with practical insights about youth to demonstrate that oftentimes the goals of residential programs conflict with the adequate preparation of youth for life on the outside. In this article, David Altschuler discusses the four "building blocks" necessary for bridging residential and aftercare services in ways that minimize their divergence. Our second paper also addresses juvenile justice system programs and focuses on how the new juvenile block grant programs are implemented in practice. In this article, Lynn Urban evaluates a curfew check program that combined graduated sanctions and a system of rewards. Urban shows that the court did have some success in using graduated sanctions in reducing the self-report incidents of delinquency and victimization.

Our third paper co-authored by William Sousa and Jane Florence Gauthier questions whether police officers satisfaction with their careers and advancement is shaped by gender. Sousa and Gauthier show that although there are many similarities between male and female officers rates of satisfaction, male and female officers differ in their assessment of internal and external career pressures. David Murphy authors the fourth article and also evaluates policing. In this article, Murphy shows how the increasing use of police-probation and other interagency partnerships often face problems with mission creep and mission distortion when implemented. Drawing on the experiences of police involved in these types of partnerships, Murphy shows that the effectiveness of these programs are compromised unless careful attention is paid to delineating the roles of each agency involved.

Our final two articles address the policy implications of legislative reforms. Our fifth article, coauthored by Samara McPhedran and Jeanine Baker illustrates that evaluations of strict firearm legislation in Australia often lead to differing conclusions. McPhedran and Baker show that disparate conclusions over the impact of firearm legislation does not arise from statistical analysis and use this article to clarify the impact of firearm legislation on rates of gun homicide. Our sixth article authored by Durant Frantzen refocuses the debate about sentencing disparities away from inter-group variation and onto intragroup variation. Frantzen's statistical analysis of a Latino immigrant population shows that variations within the Latino population, including prior criminal history, must be taken into account when trying to understand the racial impacts on sentencing disparity.

Again, all of these papers suggest important reasons to continue robust analyses of legislative, criminal justice, and juvenile justice changes. In this edition, however, we are also happy to bring you a new section that follows our research papers that analyzes the impact of justice policy from the perspective of immersed within these institutions. In this section, we bring you some stories written by Dahn Shaulis who spent seven years working within the Nevada prison. His insights provide a timely complement to the research papers Justice Policy Journal brings you. We hope that this section continues to garner submissions and becomes a regular component of Justice Policy Journal.

Happy reading!

Elizabeth Brown, San Francisco State University
Randall Shelden, University of Nevada-Las Vegas

The impact of Australia's 1996 firearms legislation: a research review with emphasis on data selection, methodological issues, and statistical outcomes

By Samara McPhedran and Jeanine Baker

In 1996, Australia introduced firearms legislation that is considered among the strictest in the developed world. The effects of the sweeping reforms remain contentious. An increasing number of publications have specifically set out to evaluate the impacts of the NFA, arriving at seemingly contradictory conclusions as to its success. To date there has been no overview of the existing literature.

Consequently, it has been difficult to gain an indicator of whether published research, despite drawing different conclusions, has in fact produced consistent statistical results. This review examined four relevant publications, and found that extant literature is extremely consistent in its statistical findings despite using differing statistical methodology.

It appears that disagreement over the impacts of the NFA does not arise from different outcomes of statistical analysis. Reasons for the differing conclusions are discussed. Identification of interpretive confusion surrounding research on the Australian experience, and clarification of the consistency of statistical outcomes, will allow policymakers greater confidence when approaching firearms policy both domestically and internationally.

Samara McPhedran, Ph.D.
Sydney University
Dr. Samara McPhedran is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Psychology at Sydney University, and current Chair of the International Coalition for Women in Shooting and Hunting (WiSH), a women's lobby group who campaign against violence.

Jeanine Baker, Ph.D.
International Coalition for Women in Shooting and Hunting
Dr. Jeanine Baker is also affiliated with WiSH, and has coordinated a number of their campaigns to raise awareness about violence against women.

Special Topic: Prison Stories

By Dahn Shaulis

From the moment I entered the prison gates in the summer of 2000, I began observing and taking copious notes about my prison work experience. My intent was to compile enough notes for grounded research of prisons so I could eventually find a job in academia. My seven years saga included assignments in maximum lockup and death row, mental health and medical units, protective segregation, and close custody gang units. My last job was in an intake mega-prison where my caseload was often 300-400 inmates at a time, with a stint in "Iraq," a haven for gang member violence. By the time I left, I was less a participant-observer, and more a critical insider looking for an escape. Fictionalized names and places, and composite characters, are used for ethical reasons.

Warm Bodies was based on ethnographic notes of my training as a correctional officer, in 2000. The Gap, the longest story, began as a reply to a friend who was doing research on prison casework and a counter to overly dramatic media representations such as Oz. Growth Industry was based on my dissatisfaction with prison work as I became more aware and more critical of a failed justice system. Stare Down was written as I dealt with rock kicker inmates in "Iraq" a place where inmates languished and gangs flourished. Finally, I wrote Si, Su Honor, Paper Shufflers, and The Restless Vet as my frustration with the system was reaching unbearable levels and my education in critical criminology was becoming more advanced.

Dahn Shaulis
College of Southern Nevada
Dahn Shaulis is a Criminal Justice instructor at the College of Southern Nevada. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas before traveling on a seven year odyssey of corrections work. His blog is: www.vegasquixote.blogspot.com

Rehabilitating and Reintegrating Youth Offenders: Are Residential and Community Aftercare Colliding Worlds and What Can Be Done About It?

By David M. Altschuler

This paper will identify how and why the worlds of residential and aftercare services can diverge, exploring the implications these have on both the youth offenders themselves and public safety. Evidence-based strategies and promising practices that directly address the divergences will be described and discussed. There are valuable lessons to learn from research and experience, which will be highlighted.

David M. Altschuler, Ph.D.
The Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies
David M. Altschuler is Principal Research Scientist at The Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies, Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Mental Health of the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Adjunct Associate Professor in Sociology. He also is on the faculty of the Johns Hopkins Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence. Dr. Altschuler has a doctorate in social service administration and a master's degree in urban studies from The University of Chicago. His work focuses on juvenile crime and justice system sanctioning, juvenile aftercare and parole, offender reentry, privatization in juvenile corrections, and drug involvement and crime among inner-city youth.

Police-Probation Partnerships: Managing the Risks and Maximizing Benefits

By David Murphy

Police-probation partnerships, along with other types of interagency partnerships, have become increasingly popular in recent years. In spite of this popularity, or perhaps because of it, concerns have been raised about the potential risks associated with these collaborative efforts. This study explores these concerns and evaluates the threats they pose to the effectiveness and credibility of police-probation partnerships. Training and policy recommendations for law enforcement and community corrections administrators are offered.

David Murphy, Ph.D.
Western Oregon University
David Murphy is an assistant professor in the Criminal Justice Department at Western Oregon University. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science with an emphasis in Criminal Justice from Washington State University. His current research agenda is focused on exploring the dynamics of police-probation partnerships. He has published in Justice Quarterly and Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management. His first book, Making Police-Probation Partnerships Work (LFB Scholarly) was published in 2005.

Intra-Ethnic Variation in Sentencing for Hispanic Drug Offenders

By Durant Frantzen and Robert Worley

Over the last two decades most research on sentencing disparity has focused on inter-racial differences as opposed to intra-group variations. As the Hispanic immigrant population increases sentencing policy must adapt to changes in the dynamics of the offender population. Toward this end, research is needed to explore the effects of case processing and socioeconomic factors on sentencing outcomes among homogeneous groups such as Hispanics. This study examined the collective effects of case processing and socio-demographic factors on sentencing dispositions among an exclusive sample of Hispanic felony drug offenders. Multinomial logistic regression showed that case processing factors significantly affected the odds that an offender received a particular type of sentencing disposition, e.g., case dismissal, probation, or prison. Binomial logistic regression analysis indicated that legal factors such as the offender's prior criminal history significantly affected the odds that one received prison as opposed to probation. The implications from these findings are discussed and recommendations for future research are suggested.

Durant Frantzen
Texas A & M International University
Durant H. Frantzen is an assistant professor at Texas A & M International University. He received his Ph.D. in 2006 from Sam Houston State University. Prior to completing his degree, he worked as a financial crimes investigator for ten years. He is coauthor of The Death Penalty: Constitutional Issues, Commentaries and Case Briefs. Dr. Frantzen's research interests include legal topics in criminal justice and court systems. Specific areas of interests include police liability, police interrogation, and constitutional law topics. His e-mail is: dfrantzen@tamiu.edu

Robert Worley
University of Texas of the Permian Basin
Robert M. Worley, Ph.D. is an assistant professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin. His research has appeared in journals such as Deviant Behavior, Criminal Law Bulletin, and Criminal Justice Review. His research topics focus on inmate-guard relationships, white-collar crime, capital punishment, and legal issues in criminal justice.

Gender Diversity in Officers' Evaluations of Police Work: A Survey of Job Satisfaction in the Police Workplace

By William Sousa and Jane Florence Gauthier

Police agencies across the United States face challenges related to the advancement of female officers within the organizational structure. This study reports on a survey administered by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) that was designed to determine officer opinions of career satisfaction and career advancement. The analyses compare the responses of male and female officers. The results suggest that while there are several differences in opinion between male and female officers, officers overall appear pleased with their careers and their assignments. Additionally, with a few exceptions, female officers are generally well represented in the rank structure and in assignments that are highly valued within the department in terms of career advancement. Consistent with previous research, differences between male and female officers reflect both internal and external aspects of police work.

William Sousa
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
William H. Sousa is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. His current research projects involve police order-maintenance practices, police management, and community crime prevention in neighborhoods of Los Angeles, California and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Jane Florence Gauthier
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Jane Florence Gauthier is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her current research interests focus on gender differences in criminal offending and arrest and community and crime issues.

Court-Ordered Curfew: The Application of Graduated Sanctions for Juvenile Offenders

By Lynn S. Urban

The juvenile justice system has struggled since its inception with the best approach to handling juvenile offenders. Courts must balance public safety with best practices while attempting to reduce recidivism. The purpose of this paper is to convey how one jurisdiction dealt with the reality of implementing new programs under the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant (JAIBG/JABG) programs. This study focuses on a curfew-check program, whereby juveniles receive home visits to check their court-ordered curfew. Juveniles in violation of curfew receive graduated sanctions and juveniles in compliance receive rewards. A sample of 118 juveniles recently referred to a large, urban jurisdiction was asked about their self-report delinquency behaviors and victimization experiences. Court records were examined to assess the use of graduated sanctions for violations of curfew. Results indicate that the jurisdiction was moderately successful in implementing graduated sanctioning, and participation in the curfew check program reduced self-report delinquency and victimization incidents.

Lynn S. Urban
University of Central Missouri
Lynn S. Urban is an assistant professor of criminal justice at the University of Central Missouri. She earned Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in Criminology and Criminal Justice from the University of Missouri at St. Louis, and spent three years as an intern for the St. Louis City Family Court-Juvenile Division. Dr. Urban has written articles about juvenile sentencing practices and evaluations regarding the effectiveness of juvenile court programs. Current research interests include juvenile justice and policy, program evaluation, and juvenile perceptions and cognition of the legal process. She is currently a member of the American Society of Criminology, the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, the Justice Research and Statistics Association, and the Missouri Restorative Justice Coalition.

Keywords: best practices, curfew, local policy, recidivism, youth

Posted in Volume 5

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