Timothy Daty, University of New Haven
Substance abuse among adolescents is a growing public health concern within the United States. While adolescents account for roughly 8% of all substance abuse treatment admissions (SAMHSA, 2016), Winters and colleagues (2013) assert that only 10% of adolescents in need of drug therapy are actually receiving treatment. While illicit drug use extends across multiple age groups, initiation during adolescence can prove especially harmful to these youth. For adolescents, early substance use makes them more susceptible to drug addiction and dependence (Hurd, Michaelides, Miller, & Jutras-Aswad, 2013). In addressing this issue, national policies often center around two principle facets: drug education and applying standard treatment for teenage abusers. Unfortunately, current policies for these two facets are proving to be inferior and even ineffective when applied to this issue. Policymakers should reevaluate these policies and explore new avenues, particularly those in drug prevention and treatment. For adolescent substance abuse, superior policy alternatives exist that are better suited for adolescent substance abuse.
Read more: A Critique of Current Youth Drug Addiction Policy
Joseph Dule, University of New Haven
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.
Read more: Fear of Crime: A Problem Oriented Solution
Mengbei Wang, University of New Haven
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.
Read more: Inmate Furlough and Beyond—A Question of Punishment or Rehabilitation