Since the late 1960’s, fear of crime has become one of the most heavily politicized issues in American society. Research consistently shows that personal fear of crime is associated with increased levels of anxiety, withdrawal from social activities, decline in social integration, and changes to daily personal behaviors (Zhao, Lawton, & Longmire, 2015). Consequently, cities have become increasingly proactive in trying to improve their attractiveness, livability, and overall vitality. Reducing fear of crime has become an integral part of this strategy, as it is believed that the creation of safe and enjoyable city centers and downtown areas will also attract more visitors and boost consumer spending (Brands, Schwanen, & Aalst, 2013).
What remains widely undisputed is that high fear of crime in society is not healthy, and generates negative personal and neighborhood consequences. What remains less clear, however, is an understanding of which policies actually reduce fear of crime, have no impact, or make the problem worse. The most common governmental approach to reduce fear of crime has been to increase surveillance and policing efforts (Brands, Schwanen, & Aalst, 2013). This paper will attempt to elucidate the impact policing measures have on fear of crime, as well as some of their more general crime reduction benefits.
In recent years, prison overcrowding has become a highly visible issue in the field of criminal justice. Although the costs of imprisoning offenders are high, the majority view in American society is that greater incarceration protects the public. In reality, however, most criminals cannot be locked up in prison forever. Every year, a large number of individuals finish serving their time and are released to the community; more than half of these released prisoners return to prison (Alahdadi, 2016). Inmates experience difficulties in re-entering the community and are more likely to engage in criminal activities, resulting in a return to prison. All of these problems (prison overcrowding, failures of the prison system, and the associated high costs) result in a great interest in finding alternatives to incarceration. Policymakers, therefore, realize they should pay greater attention to a wide range of remedies by which to reduce crime, instead of relying exclusively on incarceration.
Temporary release for prisoners has become one of the pathways to eventual prisoner reintegration and is becoming more popular in the political arena. The provision of prisoner “furloughs” consists of an authorized temporary release from prison, allowing incarcerated individuals to readjust gradually to life on the outside. Empirical studies on prison furlough programs initially yielded positive results (Jeffery & Woolpert, 1974; LeClair, 1978; LeClair & Guarino-Ghezzi, 1991; Turner & Petersilia, 1996; Visher &Travis, 2003; Cheliotis, 2008; Cheliotis, 2009, Bales et al., 2015). Furlough programs have both advantages and disadvantages, however. After the Willie Horton incident in 1988, such studies and programs faded away. This paper discusses the pros and cons of furlough programs, comparing and contrasting them to similar programs in China. The aim is to make policy recommendations that attract policymakers’ attention and to realize a successful future for furlough programs.
Here are 3 solicitations from the DOJ that may interest you
Justice Accountability Initiative (JAI): Pilot Projects Using Data-driven Systems To Reduce Crime and Recidivism https://www.bja.gov/JAI18 Applications Due: July 30, 2018
Justice Accountability Initiative: National Training and Technical Assistance to support pilot projects using data-driven systems to reduce crime and recidivism https://www.bja.gov/JAITTA18 Applications Due: July 30, 2018
Supporting Innovation: Field-Initiated Programs to Improve Officer and Public Safety https://www.bja.gov/Field18 Applications Due: July 30, 2018
Daniel R. Lee, PhD, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Dennis M. Giever, PhD, New Mexico State University
This issue of EBP Quarterly presents a second-year implementation and evaluation report for the Somerset County Day Reporting Center. This report, and the corresponding appendices, present a case study of an SCA funded initiative that is utilizing various evidence-based approaches and evaluating process and behavioral outcomes through a researcher-practitioner partnership. This report illustrates many of the key findings uncovered in larger-scale SCA research, but also provides practical examples of program policies and procedures, strategic and action planning, organizational assessment, use of motivational interviewing, monitoring implementation, and assessing program performance. The importance of prior research findings, collaborative leadership, program fidelity, and data-driven decision-making also is presented in this report.
We hope you find this report and the corresponding documents useful as you consider the use of evidence-based approaches in your own agency. Links to the appendices follow below.
In some cities, there is a strain on the relationships between the police and the communities they serve. The use of effective communication is one key to improving police-community rapport. These partnerships are the foundation for community policing. The implementation of police-community surveys are productive research tools for creating stronger partnerships. This paper will discuss several types of survey methods to improve police-community partnerships.
Sex offenders and their rates of recidivism are often at the center of media and legislators’ attention, in efforts to maintain public safety from what are perceived by many to be the most heinous of offenders. As a result, sex offender management, civil confinement, community notification, and registration laws have been enacted in many jurisdictions across the globe. These policies stem from “good intentions to enhance public safety, [but] current punitive-oriented policies targeting sex offenders have been shown to yield null effects on sex offender recidivism” (Manchak and Fisher, 2017, p. 2). This, coupled with the myriad of challenges registered sex offenders (RSOs) face because of their public label, amounts to a disservice for offenders and victims. Socia (2014) highlights this by noting that “criminal justice scholars have been skeptical of the utility of residence restrictions for some time because study after study has suggested that these policies are ineffective and may be resulting in collateral consequences for both RSOs and community members” (p. 179). It therefore becomes imperative to examine what is known about sex offender recidivism, risk assessment, and the factors influencing sex offender policies.
This paper discusses the employment and housing barriers faced by RSOs, and how those barriers impact public safety. Current research that examines RSO risk levels, how they are obtained, and how they are managed is reviewed. The position that research indicates current sex offender policy, albeit effective at identifying high-risk individuals, is highly ineffective at aiding successful reintegration is supported. These policy gaps create unsafe communities and force some RSOs to commit non-sexual crimes to survive their new environments.
The United States’ criminal justice system is in the process of rebounding from punitive policies, known as the “get tough movement,” which led to unprecedented growth in prison populations and associated fiscal costs. As of 2015, 2.2 million people were housed in US prisons and jails (The Sentencing Project, 2015). With the average inmate costing approximately $31,000 per year, states are looking to relieve themselves of these excessive costs and are attempting to find cost-effective alternatives to incarceration (Vera Institute of Justice, 2012).
One such approach garnering much attention by researchers and practitioners alike is the utilization of reentry courts for inmates returning to the community after incarceration. Reentry courts began in 1999, through funding by the US Department of Justice and were modeled after drug courts. Their purpose is to reduce recidivism and technical violations by providing oversight and assistance to inmates as they transition into the community (Ndrecka et al., 2017). If implemented correctly, reentry courts can work with clients and mitigate their risk of recidivism during a time when they are at the highest risk of reoffending. This, in turn, could decrease recidivism rates and overall prison populations.
According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), 67.8% of released state prisoners were arrested for a new crime within three years, and 76.7% were arrested within five years (Durose, Cooper, & Snyder, 2014). Reducing recidivism not only protects society at large, but also improves the life quality of individual ex-prisoners. Employment has long been recognized as having a negative correlation with crime (Uggen, 1999; Uggen et al., 2005). However, ex-prisoners face tremendous difficulties in obtaining employment opportunities post-release. Such a disadvantaged situation may be attributable to multiple reasons. First, most of the offenders may simply lack the necessary job skills for specific positions, keeping them from those usually higher paid and more stable jobs. Second, many employers are reluctant to hire these people due to the stigma imposed by their previous criminal records.
This review aims to explore the general effect of employment on recidivism, the gender effect of employment on recidivism, and the role of job characteristics play in deterring crime, as well as to examine how incarceration may affect ex-prisoners in their pursuit of jobs. Policy implications based on the extant research and future research directions also will be discussed.
In recent decades, youth mentoring has experienced tremendous growth throughout the United States. Available estimates place the current number of youth mentoring programs at more than 5,000 nationwide, with approximately 3 million children and adolescents receiving services (DuBois, Portillo, Rhodes, Silverthorn, & Valentine, 2011; Miller, Barnes, Miller, & McKinnon, 2013; Stewart & Openshaw, 2014; Tolan, Henry, Schoeny, Lovegrove, & Nichols, 2014). Political and public support have contributed to approximately 1 in 3 adults reporting they have participated in some form of mentoring, and around $100 million per year in federal funds are dedicated to youth mentoring programs and research (Stewart & Openshaw, 2014; Tolan et al., 2014). Overall, youth mentoring is perhaps the most widely implemented and financially supported prevention and intervention strategy for at-risk youth in America.
Gay & Straight Alliances (GSA) are school sanctioned student organizations that incorporate heterosexual students, homosexual students and adult participation. These organizations potentially ease the hardships that LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender) youth encounter, change negative perceptions surrounding homosexuality, and support these youths in their pursuit of positive outcomes. Research consistently suggests that social connectedness and positive support are at the root of drug abuse among LGBT youth (Hatzenbuehler, Jun, Corliss, & Austin, 2015; Heck et al., 2014; Kecojevic et al., 2012; Bird, Kuhns, & Garofalo, 2012). In the absence of social support and positive relationships, LGBT youth seek coping mechanisms such as illicit and prescription drugs as a way of alleviating this stress. However, schools with a GSA have reported better personal and health outcomes among their LGBT populations. More specifically, the incidence of illicit drug use and prescription drug misuse among gay adolescents is lower among these schools. Gay & Straight Alliances (GSA) seek to offer positive reinforcement to gay youth, reduce strain and make students less likely to seek coping mechanisms such as illicit drug use and prescription drug misuse.