While many criminological theories posit causal hypotheses, many studies fail to use methods that adequately address the three criteria of causality. This is particularly important when assessing the impact of criminal justice involvement on later outcomes. Due to practical and ethical concerns, it is challenging to randomize criminal sanctions, so quasi-experimental methods such as propensity score matching are often used to approximate a randomized design. Based on longitudinal data from the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development, the current study used propensity score matching to investigate the extent to which convictions and/or incarcerations in the first two decades of life were related to adverse mental health during middle adulthood.
Propensity scores were utilized to match those with and without criminal justice involvement on a wide range of risk factors for offending.
The results indicated that there were no significant differences in mental health between those involved in the criminal justice system and those without such involvement.
The results did not detect a relationship between justice system involvement and later mental health suggesting that the consequences of criminal justice involvement may only be limited to certain domains.
The purpose of this study was to compare procedural justice and legitimacy as correlates and predictors of compliance with the law.
A literature review produced 64 studies, 95 samples, and 196 effect sizes from studies published or conducted sometime between 1990 and February 2018 in which procedural justice was correlated with legitimacy and/or compliance, or legitimacy was correlated with compliance. Fifty samples included all 3 correlations, 3 samples included 2 correlations, and the remaining 42 samples included a single correlation. Two random effects meta-analyses were performed.
Pooled univariate effects for all three correlations achieved significance. Although there was a high degree of heterogeneity in the results and modest evidence of publication bias in one of the subsamples, sensitivity testing indicated that no one study had an undue influence over the results. Using a generalized least squares (GLS) multivariate approach, a path analysis revealed a significant a path from procedural justice to legitimacy, a significant b path from legitimacy to compliance, and a significant c’ path from procedural justice to compliance, but only the a and b paths were significant when the analysis was restricted to studies with longitudinal data.
The current findings suggest that legitimacy beliefs are instrumental in promoting compliance with the law and that while procedural justice perceptions also appear to predict compliance, the effect was relatively weak in this meta-analysis and could not be reliably established in longitudinal datasets.
To examine (1) the long-term effects on reoffending of an individual SST for juvenile delinquents in The Netherlands and (2) whether effects differ by demographic and offense history characteristics.
The present study is a follow-up of a matched control study comparing post-treatment effects of N = 115 juveniles receiving Tools4U, an SST with a parental component, to N = 108 control group juveniles receiving treatment as usual (TAU). Analyses were conducted separately for delinquents and truants. Effects in terms of recidivism were assessed using official delinquency data after 6 and 12 months and 1.46 years after SST termination. Percentage of recidivists, number of re-arrests, and violent recidivism were outcome variables.
Overall, 39% of the juveniles reoffended, and there were no differences between Tools4U and TAU on any of the selected recidivism outcomes. Additionally, demographic and delinquency characteristics and post-treatment effects did not moderate effectiveness.
Tools4U was not more effective than TAU in preventing recidivism, which may be explained by a generally low percentage of recidivists. With established treatment integrity, and a lack of well-researched effective treatment alternatives, Tools4U could still be a reasonable treatment option for adolescent onset juvenile offenders, although more research is needed to confirm this.
To examine whether the introduction of an acoustic gunshot detection system (AGDS) allied to CCTV cameras increased the frequency of confirmed incidents of shots fired by bringing to notice gunfire events in public places that were not reported by the public.
In a partially block-randomized experimental design, 17 acoustic sensors were co-located with CCTV cameras in a balanced design that matched the sensor camera sites with equivalent control locations. Gunshot-related incidents within 900 ft of both intervention and control sites for 8 months pre- and post-intervention were examined with multilevel negative binomial regression models.
After implementation of the AGDS, gunshot incidents increased by 259%; however, there was no significant increase in the number of confirmed shootings.
The AGDS did not significantly affect the number of confirmed shootings, but it did increase the workload of police attending incidents for which no evidence of a shooting was found. While awaiting technological improvements and considering the operational goals, police departments may wish to reconsider the current operational plan and objective of an AGDS.
Specialized treatment programs for juvenile sex offenders (JSOs) are commonly used in juvenile justice systems. Despite their popularity, the evidence base for the effectiveness of these specialized programs is limited in both scope and quality. This systematic review and meta-analysis updates previous meta-analyses while focusing on studies of relatively high methodological quality.
A vigorous literature search guided by explicit inclusion criteria was conducted. Descriptive and statistical information for each eligible study was coded independently by two coders and disagreements resolved by consensus. Odds ratio effect sizes were computed for sexual recidivism and general recidivism outcomes. Mean effect sizes and their heterogeneity were examined with both fixed and random effects meta-analysis.
Only eight eligible studies were located, seven of which were quasi-experiments. The mean effect size for the seven studies reporting sexual recidivism favored treatment but was not statistically significant (OR = 0.74, 95% CI 0.40, 1.36). The mean effect size for general recidivism was significant and also favored treatment (OR = 0.58, 95% CI 0.42, 0.81).
Remarkably little methodologically credible research has been conducted on specialized programs for JSOs despite their prevalence. The best available evidence does not support a confident conclusion that they are more effective for reducing sexual recidivism than general treatment as usual in juvenile justice systems. Future research should not only use randomized designs but should also distinguish generalist offenders who are at low risk of sexual recidivism from specialist offenders who are at higher risk of committing future sexual offenses.
To systematically review and quantitatively synthesize the evidence for the impact of parenting interventions for incarcerated parents on parenting knowledge and skills, parent well-being, and quality of the parent–child relationship.
A systematic search of 19 published and unpublished literature sources was conducted between June and July 2015 (with no date, language, document type, or geographical restrictions). Studies were included if they: (a) utilized a sample of parents who completed a parenting intervention in an incarceration setting; (b) measured parenting knowledge and skills, parent well-being, or quality of the parent–child relationship as outcome measures; and (c) employed a randomized controlled trial or quasi-experimental design with no treatment, waitlist control, or treatment-as-usual as the comparison condition. Two review authors independently determined study eligibility and extracted data from eligible studies, which included rating the risk of bias for each eligible study. Meta-analysis was used to synthesize standardized effect sizes, and subgroup analyses were used to examine the moderating effect of parent gender, level of child involvement, and research design.
Twenty-two studies were eligible for inclusion in the review; however, only 16 studies (N = 2292) reported sufficient data for inclusion in the meta-analyses. Parenting interventions were more effective at post-intervention for improving parenting knowledge and skills than no treatment, waitlist control, or treatment-as-usual [standardized mean difference (SMD) = 0.68, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.28, 1.06] and quality of the parent–child relationship (SMD = 0.27, 95% CI 0.02, 0.51), but not for improving parent well-being (SMD = 0.14, 95% CI −0.03, 0.30). There was significant heterogeneity across effect sizes for both parenting knowledge and skills and quality of the parent–child relationship outcome domains. There were no statistically significant differences between subgroups, and the effectiveness of parenting interventions was not maintained at follow-up time-points.
Existing evidence suggests small to moderate effectiveness for parenting interventions during incarceration at close to intervention completion. Further methodologically robust research is required to more confidently establish the effectiveness of parenting programs both in the short-term and in the post-release period.
Recent publications in Nature, Science, and other journals raised concerns about the reproducibility of empirical findings in psychology and other scientific disciplines. This article summarizes some of these arguments and results that led to discussions about a “replication crisis” in research. In criminology, there is not yet a similar discussion, although the need for more replications has been emphasized in the past. The present article addresses this topic with special consideration of program evaluations in early developmental crime prevention and offender treatment. In both fields, there has been substantial progress in research and practice. Most systematic reviews showed mean positive effects; however, nearly all of them demonstrated very heterogeneous findings that could not be attributed to the content of programs. This does not allow simple recommendations of “what works” for policy-making and practice. In addition, there is a serious lack of long-term follow-ups and independent evaluations. The article shows remarkable similarity of the findings and problems in both fields of intervention. Problems of reproducibility prove to be highly relevant for criminology, although there is no need for using the term “crisis”. The article proposes various strategies that can enhance the reproducibility of findings, i.e., more systematic investigation of those differentiated conditions under which interventions are most effective. An integrative model of relevant characteristics is briefly presented. It refers to factors of the programs, contexts, participants, and evaluation methods. Confirmatory meta-analyses can play an important role on the path toward more differentiated and replicated knowledge
Our objectives were (1) to systematically map the contours of the European evidence base on labour trafficking, identifying its key characteristics, coverage, gaps, strengths and weaknesses and (2) to synthesise key scientific research.
We took a two-phase approach: a systematic map followed by a detailed synthesis of key scientific research evidence. Our search strategy included 15 databases, hand searches of additional journals, backwards searches, snowball searches and expert recommendations. We identified and screened 6106 records, mapped 152 and synthesised eight.
Overall, the literature was limited and fragmented. Reports produced by official agencies dominated; academic authorship and peer-reviewed outputs were comparatively rare. Few publications met minimum scientific standards. Qualitative designs outweighed quantitative ones. Publications typically described trafficking’s problem profile and/or discussed interventions; they rarely assessed trafficking’s impacts or evaluated interventions. Even among the key scientific research, the quality of evidence was variable and often low. Particular weaknesses included poor methods reporting, unclear or imprecise results and conclusions not properly grounded in the data. The synthesised studies were all exploratory, also sharing other design features. Common themes identified included: poor treatment of victims; diversity of sectors affected and commonalities among victims; inadequacies of current responses; and barriers to interventions.
There is a lack of high-quality studies into European labour trafficking. Methodological opacity, insufficient rigour and publication in non-indexed locations impede the identification, assessment and synthesis of evidence. Adherence to higher reporting standards would further the field’s development and particular research gaps should be addressed.
Our study addresses the question: Does providing inmates with education while incarcerated reduce their chances of recidivism and improve their postrelease employment prospects?
We aggregated 37 years of research (1980–2017) on correctional education and applied meta-analytic techniques. As the basis for our meta-analysis, we identified a total of 57 studies that used recidivism as an outcome and 21 studies that used employment as an outcome. We then applied random-effects regression across the effect sizes abstracted from each of these studies.
When focusing on studies with the highest caliber research designs, we found that inmates participating in correctional education programs were 28% less likely to recidivate when compared with inmates who did not participate in correctional education programs. However, we found that inmates receiving correctional education were as likely to obtain postrelease employment as inmates not receiving correctional education.
Our meta-analysis demonstrates the value in providing inmates with educational opportunities while they serve their sentences if the goal of the program is to reduce recidivism.
This study is a replication of a study examining the causal impact of a brief exposure to deviant peers on own deviant behavior, i.e., Paternoster et al. (Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 50:476–503, 2013). This study retested this design using different monetary incentives and a female deviant peer.
A total of 69 university students (61% female) from the Netherlands participated in this laboratory-based study (Mage = 20.64; SD = 2.00) under the façade of a study on individual differences predicting memory recall. Participants could earn up to 10 euros. All participants had the opportunity to cheat to illegitimately earn more money (deviancy). Participants in the experimental condition were exposed to a deviant peer who verbalized her intention to cheat, justified this behavior, and then visibly cheated on the memory recall task.
Although participants in both conditions engaged in some deviancy, the brief exposure to a deviant peer significantly increased the amount of deviancy compared to participants who were not exposed to a deviant peer. These results were consistent after controlling for different demographic and theoretical control variables that predict deviancy.
Although not identical in magnitude, our results echo those found by Paternoster et al. (2013): Even a brief exposure to a previously unknown deviant peer increases the amount of deviant behavior in young adults. Future research should examine factors predicting the susceptibility to (different types and thresholds of) deviant peer influence.
This article summarizes key points made in a session at the American Society of Criminology meeting in Philadelphia in November 2017, entitled “The replication issue in science and its relevance for criminology”, organized by Friedrich Lösel and Robert F. Boruch. In turn, this session was inspired by Friedrich Lösel’s (2018) article in this journal, based on his 2015 Joan McCord Award Lecture of the Academy of Experimental Criminology. In the present article, Friedrich Lösel introduces the topic of replication in criminology and summarizes his main arguments. Then, six leading criminologists present short papers on this topic. Robert F. Boruch points out the instability in social systems, David P. Farrington argues that systematic reviews are important, and Denise C. Gottfredson calls attention to the heterogeneity in conclusions across different studies. Lorraine Mazerolle reviews attempts to replicate experiments in procedural justice, Lawrence W. Sherman draws attention to enthusiasm bias in criminal justice experiments, and David Weisburd discusses the logic of null hypothesis significance testing and multi-center trials. Finally, some developments since November 2017 in research on replication in criminology are discussed.
Violence reduction initiatives based on focused deterrence strategies have gained attention in recent years due to their empirical support. The evaluations have generally assessed the impact of this intervention on trends in gun violence at the aggregate level, but not at the gang level. The current study evaluates both the community- and gang-level impacts of the Philadelphia Focused Deterrence strategy.
The intervention was assessed using a quasi-experimental design that measured trends in shootings over a twelve-year period, including two years after the implementation of the initiative. Propensity scoring and matching techniques were used to match neighborhoods and gangs, and a number of regression models were run to assess impact.
Although a statistically significant reduction in total shootings across the treated neighborhoods was observed when compared to matched neighborhoods, the findings at the gang level were mixed. Models comparing shootings around gang territories showed significant reductions when compared to shootings around the territories of matched gangs, but pre-post-only models of treated gangs using the more rigorous measure of gang-involved shootings did not show evidence of impact.
The findings suggest that focused deterrence may provide a mechanism for general deterrence among a broad pool of potential offenders. Specifically, violent gangs, even when targeted, may not be affected similarly for a variety of reasons. To better understand who is receiving the deterrence message and responding to it, future evaluations of focused deterrence strategies, when assessing impact, should include measures of the dosage of the message and other components relative to individuals and their groups.
We examine the extent to which individuals' knowledge of an advanced police technology (license plate recognition or "LPR") may impact perceptions of police. Technologies with the capacity to track individuals' movements are becoming increasingly common in police practice. Although these technologies may yield positive benefits, their use may also heighten community concerns about increased surveillance, data storage, and data security, thereby potentially negatively impacting community-police relationships.
We utilize a survey-based experiment with randomized assignment of participants (n=405) to investigate the impact of individuals' knowledge of LPR use on a variety of police perceptions, including trust in police, community approval, respect for citizens, and respect for individual rights.
Most respondents were unaware of LPR use prior to the survey. When compared with a control group, respondents who encountered brief mentions of LPR functions on the survey expressed significantly lower levels of trust in police. Additionally, "strong agreement" with other positive statements about police also appears to have declined in this sample in response to LPR information. Notably, the sample contained high pre-existing levels of trust and support for police, factors which may have moderated the impacts of LPR information.
These results support the hypothesis that awareness of LPR use may negatively impact perceptions of police, including trust in police. More generally, although technologies like LPR represent technological innovations, they may also yield unintended consequences, including the potential to undermine police-community relations if adoption decisions are not accompanied by sufficient transparency or community support.
Many studies utilize time series methods to identify causal effects without accounting for an underlying time trend. We show that accounting for trends changes the conclusions in the study of Chapman et al. (JAMA, 316(3), 291–299, 2016), who evaluated the impact of the Australian firearm law in 1996. We also introduce a new empirical method that tests whether their empirical strategy can actually identify a causal effect that is also useful for panel analyses.
We use national data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, assembled in annual counts of: total firearm deaths, firearm suicides, and firearm homicides. These data are used in an independent re-analysis of the impact of the 1996 Australian firearm law that accounts for underlying stochastic trends. We then estimate a series of artificially created interruptions using interrupted times series analysis in a time frame before 1996, to test for changes in the slope of mortality across several years prior to the actual regulatory changes. This tests whether the empirical model produces effects in years other than the year of the intervention, thereby testing if the results can simply be replicated at random using other interruption years.
Controlling for stochastic trends produces less statistical evidence of the impact of the firearm law on firearm mortality than previously reported by Chapman et al. (JAMA, 316(3), 291–299, 2016). Introducing artificial interruptions in 1990 through 1995 produces statistically significant decreases in all firearm-related mortality measures well above the expected type 1 error. Overall, 19 out of the 36 artificial interruption models we tested were found to be statistically significant, suggesting that the empirical model can be implemented in multiple non-intervention years with results similar to the true 1996 interruption year.
Current evidence showing decreases in firearm mortality after the 1996 Australian national firearm law relies on an empirical model that may have limited ability to identify the true effects of the law.
This article reports the findings of a quasi-experimental evaluation of the impact of residential halfway houses (HHs) on public safety in the immediate vicinity of the facilities.
Instead of focusing on recidivism reduction or cost effectiveness, as is common, outcome measures for this study are limited to the impact on community crime rates, here defined as offenses committed within 1/8 and 1/4 mi radii around a subject facility. A set of fixed effect Poisson regression models were employed to assess the changes in monthly crime counts associated with the opening or closing of an HH (N = 19). A second difference-in-differences analysis (DiD) compares HHs that ceased operation to HHs that remained consistently open for the duration of the study period. A series of robustness checks were conducted.
We find the presence of an active HH is associated with an increase in crime within the immediate vicinity. We identify significant increases in monthly counts of overall crimes reported to law enforcement, as well as in counts for specific crimes of violence, including assaults and robberies with a firearm; property offenses, such as burglary; and in minor and misdemeanor offenses. A closing of an HH is associated with a decrease in reported crimes.
The location of a community-based correctional facility can have a significant and negative impact on public health, largely through decreased levels of local public safety. Evaluations of residential correctional programs should include indicators of community-level impact in addition to individual-level measures of recidivism, particularly when such programs are clustered in at-risk or vulnerable communities.
This research, using focal concerns perspective on sentencing, examines how and why psychiatric labels, and having diagnoses biologically “labeled,” affect sentencing beliefs. Dimensions of public stigma toward psychiatric illnesses are hypothesized to mediate sentencing views.
This is a 2 × 2 partially-crossed, between-subjects multifactorial experiment with a lay sample (n= 1213), presenting mediation analyses.
Four psychiatric labels (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, behavioral-variant Frontotemporal Dementia, High Functioning Autism, Borderline Intellectual Disability) led to significant beneficial effects on sentencing (less prison/rehabilitation support) as mediated by decreased stigmatization regarding lack of treatability, social acceptance, and personal responsibility. One biological “label” (Pedophilic Disorder) was mediated by decreased stigmatization (dangerousness), resulting in less prison support.
Data support effects of psychiatric labeling on sentencing under focal concerns. As no psychiatric labels resulted in increased discriminatory sentencing and, instead, led to decreased discriminatory sentencing behavior, psychiatric labeling may reduce punitiveness and bolster non-punitive sentencing beliefs. Biological labeling, aside from Pedophilic Disorder, may not affect sentencing.
We highlight the importance of documenting the step-by-step processes used for the selection of comparison areas when evaluating a community-level intervention that targets a large-scale community.
We demonstrate the proposed method using a propensity score matching framework for an impact analysis of the Cure Violence Public Health Model in Philadelphia. To select comparison communities, propensity score models are run using different levels of aggregation to define the intervention site. We discuss the trade-offs made.
We find wide variation in documentation and explanation in the extant literature of the methods used to select comparison communities. The size of the unit of analysis at which a community is measured complicates the decision processes, and in turn, can affect the validity of the counterfactual.
It is important to carefully consider the unit of analysis for measurement of comparison communities. Assessing the geographic clustering of matched communities to mirror that of the treated community holds conceptual appeal and represents a strategy to consider when evaluating community-level interventions taking place at a large scale. Regardless of the final decisions made in the selection of the counterfactual, the field could benefit from more systematic diagnostic tools that document and guide the steps and decisions along the way, and ask: “could there have been another way of doing each step, and what difference would this have made?” Overall, across community-level evaluations that utilize quasi-experimental designs, documentation of the counterfactual selection process will provide a more fine-grained understanding of causal inference.
This article provides a description and preliminary assessment of the Maryland Opportunities through Vouchers Experiment (MOVE), a randomized housing mobility program for former prisoners designed to test whether residential relocation far away from former neighborhoods, incentivized through the provision of a housing subsidy, can yield reductions in recidivism.
The MOVE program was implemented as a randomized controlled trial. Participants were recruited from four different Maryland prisons and randomly assigned to experimental groups. In the first iteration of the experiment, treatment group participants received 6 months of free housing away from their home jurisdiction and control group participants received free housing back in their home jurisdiction. In the second iteration of the experiment, the treatment group remained the same and the control condition was redesigned to represent the status quo and did not receive free housing. Analyses were conducted of one-year rearrest rates.
With respect to reductions in recidivism, pilot results suggest that there is some benefit to moving and a benefit to receiving free housing. Rearrest was lower among the treatment group of movers than the non-movers, and was also lower for non-movers who received free housing versus non-movers who did not receive housing.
To the extent that pilot results can be validated and replicated in a full-scale implementation of the MOVE program, policies that provide greater access to housing assistance for formerly incarcerated individuals may yield substantial public safety benefits, particularly housing opportunities located far away from former neighborhoods.
To examine if the implementation of bike-sharing stations is linked to robbery occurrence in micro-level street corner units in Cincinnati, OH, USA.
Propensity score matching was used to select comparison street corner units. The effect of bike-sharing station implementation on robbery occurrence across weekly, biweekly, and monthly observations was estimated using repeated measures multi-level logistic regression models.
Bike-sharing stations did not statistically significantly link to robbery occurrence in immediate or nearby street corner units after implementation.
Numerous explanations consistent with Crime Pattern Theory may explain the null effect of bike-sharing stations on robbery occurrence. Future research should continue to examine how changes in the urban backcloth, such as bike-sharing stations, impact geographic crime patterns.
To evaluate the effect of emergency winter homeless shelters on property crimes in the nearby communities.
Every winter between 2009 and 2016, the City of Vancouver, Canada opened shelters to protect the homeless from harsh winter conditions. The city opened 19 shelters, but only five to nine of them were open in any one winter. Using the variation in timing and placement of the shelters, we contrast crime rates in the surrounding areas when the shelters are open and closed.
The presence of a shelter appears to cause property crime to increase by 56% within 100 m of that shelter, with thefts from vehicles, other thefts, and vandalism driving the increase. However, when a homeless shelter opened, rates of breaking and entering commercial establishments were 34% lower within 100 m of that shelter. The observed effects are concentrated close to shelters, within 400 m, and dissipate beyond 400 m. Consistent with a causal effect, we find a decreasing effect of shelters with increasing distance from the shelter.
While homeless shelters are a critical social service, in Vancouver, they appear to impact property crime in the surrounding community. Shelters may warrant greater security to control property crime, but the data suggest that any increase in security need not extend beyond 400 m, about two to three blocks, from the shelters.
The purpose of this study was to test the “worst of both worlds” hypothesis and the risk principle in a sample of drug-involved offenders enrolled in the Breaking the Cycle (BTC) demonstration project, an intensive drug intervention implemented in Birmingham, Alabama, Jacksonville, Florida, and Tacoma, Washington.
A group of 1081 drug-involved offenders enrolled in BTC were compared to 934 drug-involved offenders (pre-BTC) who processed through the regular court system of each city 1 year prior to implementation of BTC. Participants from both groups were divided into risk levels based on scores from the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) Drug (D) and Legal (L) scales. Individuals who scored at or above the mean on both the ASI-D and ASI-L were identified as high risk, individuals who scored at or above the mean on either the ASI-D or ASI-L but not both were identified as moderate risk, and individuals who scored below the mean on both the ASI-D and ASI-L were identified as low risk.
Consistent with the risk principle, high-risk BTC participants displayed significant improvements in subsequent drug problem days, criminal offending, and days spent in jail relative to high-risk pre-BTC participants. There was no apparent benefit of BTC enrollment for moderate- and low-risk participants.
These results indicate that drug–crime comorbidity can be used to assess risk and that individuals identified as high risk are more likely to benefit from higher-intensity forms of intervention than moderate- or low-risk individuals.
This study conducted a randomized controlled trial with 600 recently released homeless men exiting California jails and prisons.
The purpose of this study was to primarily ascertain how different levels of intensity in peer coaching and nurse-partnered intervention programs may impact reentry outcomes; specifically: (a) an intensive peer coach and nurse case managed (PC-NCM) program; (b) an intermediate peer coaching (PC) program with brief nurse counseling; and (c) the usual care (UC) program involving limited peer coaching and brief nurse counseling. Secondary outcomes evaluated the operational cost of each program.
When compared to baseline, all three groups made progress on key health-related outcomes during the 12-month intervention period; further, 84.5 % of all participants eligible for hepatitis A/B vaccination completed their vaccine series. The results of the detailed operational cost analysis suggest the least costly approach (i.e., UC), which accounted for only 2.11 % of the total project expenditure, was as effective in achieving comparable outcomes for this parolee population as the PC-NCM and PC approaches, which accounted for 53.98 % and 43.91 %, respectively, of the project budget.
In this study, all three intervention strategies were found to be comparable in achieving a high rate of vaccine completion, which over time will likely produce tremendous savings to the public health system.
Sound evaluations of sexual offender treatment are essential for an evidence-based crime policy. However, previous reviews substantially varied in their mean effects and were often based on methodologically weak primary studies. Therefore, the present study contains an update of our meta-analysis in the first issue of this journal (Lösel and Schmucker Journal of Experimental Criminology, 1, 117–146, 2005). It includes more recent primary research and is restricted to comparisons with equivalent treatment and control groups and official measures of recidivism as outcome criteria.
Applying a detailed search procedure which yielded more than 3000 published and unpublished documents, we identified 29 eligible comparisons containing a total of 4,939 treated and 5,448 untreated sexual offenders. The study effects were integrated using a random effects model and further analyzed with regard to treatment, offender, and methodological characteristics to identify moderator variables.
All eligible comparisons evaluated psychosocial treatment (mainly cognitive behavioral programs). None of the comparisons evaluating organic treatments fulfilled the eligibility criteria. The mean effect size for sexual recidivism was smaller than in our previous meta-analysis but still statistically significant (OR = 1.41, p < .01). This equates to a difference in recidivism of 3.6 percentage points (10.1 % in treated vs. 13.7 % in untreated offenders) and a relative reduction in recidivism of 26.3 %. The significant overall effect was robust against outliers, but contained much heterogeneity. Methodological quality did not significantly influence effect sizes, but there were only a few randomized designs present. Cognitive-behavioral and multi-systemic treatment as well as studies with small samples, medium- to high-risk offenders, more individualized treatment, and good descriptive validity revealed better effects. In contrast to treatment in the community, treatment in prisons did not reveal a significant mean effect, but there were some prison studies with rather positive outcomes.
Although our findings are promising, the evidence basis for sex offender treatment is not yet satisfactory. More randomized trials and high-quality quasi-experiments are needed, particularly outside North America. In addition, there is a clear need of more differentiated process and outcome evaluations that address the questions of what works with whom, in what contexts, under what conditions, with regard to what outcomes, and also why.
To assess the nature and extent of funding for randomized experiments in criminology and criminal justice from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) since 2000.
Based on data from official records of grant awards made by NIJ between fiscal years 2001 and 2013, we categorized awards based on whether they were for randomized experiments, non-experimental evaluation research, non-evaluation social science research, social science program support, forensic science and technology research, or forensic science and technology support.
While the bulk of NIJ funding goes to forensic science and technology support, among the 800 social science awards we found a total of 99 awards for experiments. Support for the use of experimental designs increased during this 13-year period and was substantially greater than the support for the use of experimental designs in the 1990s. The awards for experiments between 2001 and 2013 went to a variety of researchers and research organizations and addressed a wide array of criminal justice program areas.
Our findings document a marked increase in funding for experiments in recent years compared to the 1991–2000 period, when just 21 awards were made for experimental work. These findings suggest that NIJ has responded to a series of critiques regarding the methodological quality of funded projects by placing a greater emphasis on high-quality social science research.
We read with interest the study by White et al. “Examining the effects of the TASER on cognitive functioning: findings from a pilot study with police recruits.” (White et al. 2014). We have tremendous respect and admiration for Drs. White and Ready, and congratulate them on a study well done. However, we respectfully disagree with some of their discussion and conclusions, and felt obliged to offer a counter argument.
First, we disagree with their treatment of the review of the electrical injury literature. The electrical characteristics of TASER CEWs are significantly different from the residential and commercial power equipment involved in the studies cited. The average current from a TASER X26 CEW is 2 mA, less than the current that activates the typical ground faulty circuit interrupter (GFCI). We do not criticize the authors for discussing the electrical injury literature. However, we think the authors should have at least questioned the applicability to the TASER CEW. Without a mor ...
We explore whether the use of foot patrol, problem-oriented policing and offender-focused policing at violent crime hot spots negatively impacted the community’s perceptions of crime and disorder, perceived safety, satisfaction with police and their perceptions of procedural justice.
We report on a repeated cross-sectional survey that was mailed before and after the deployment of concentrated police interventions in 60 small areas of Philadelphia, PA, as part of the Philadelphia Policing Tactics Experiment. Eighty-one violent crime hot spots were randomly allocated to one of three treatments (20 each), or to a control assignment (21). Impacts on the community via seven scales were analyzed using OLS models with orthogonal contrast-coded treatment variables and demographic covariates.
The OLS models estimating changes in the community’s opinions from pre- to post-intervention uncovered no statistically significant changes on any of the dependent variables relative to control locations, irrespective of the treatment type. Even though one experimental treatment condition (offender-focused) reported statistically significant violent crime reductions, the police activity that generated the crime reduction did not noticeably change community perceptions of crime and disorder, perceived safety, satisfaction with police or procedural justice.
As implemented in Philadelphia, none of the policing tactics had measurable changes in resident perception within the communities that were targeted. The results do not support the suggestion that hot spots policing negatively impacts the community. At the same time, no positive benefits were generated.
On-officer video camera (OVC) technology in policing is developing at a rapid pace. Large agencies are beginning to adopt the technology on a limited basis, and a number of cities across the United States have required their police departments to adopt the technology for all first responders. However, researchers have just begun to examine the effects of OVC technology on citizen complaints, officers’ attitudes, and police–citizen contacts.
This study examines officer behavior and perceptions of camera technology among 100 line officers in the Mesa Police Department during police–citizen encounters over a 10-month period. Experimental data from 3698 field contact reports were analyzed to determine whether being assigned to wear an OVC influences officer behavior and perceptions of OVC technology.
Bivariate and multilevel logistic regression analyses indicate that officers assigned to wear a camera were less likely to perform stop-and-frisks and make arrests, but were more likely to give citations and initiate encounters. Officers were also more likely to report OVCs as being helpful if they wore a camera and in situations where they issued a warning or citation, performed a stop-and-frisk, and made an arrest.
Our results provide important insights into the consequences of OVCs on police behavior and suggest that officers are more proactive with this technology without increasing their use of invasive strategies that may threaten the legitimacy of the organization.
To examine whether information on where the police patrol drawn from automatic vehicle location (AVL) systems can be used to increase the amount of directed patrol time at high-crime police beats and crime hot spots, and whether such increases would lead to reductions in crime.
In an experimental study with a block-randomized design, 232 police beats were randomly allocated to an experimental or control condition. In the experimental condition, the police commanders knew the amount of time that police spent in beats and crime hot spots. This information was not provided to commanders in the control condition. Over a 13-week period, assigned patrol time, unallocated patrol time, total patrol time, and crime were tracked at both police beats and crime hot spots (N = 1006).
Knowledge of where police officers patrolled did not affect directed patrol at the beat level. At the hot spots level, the treatment group experienced meaningful increases in unallocated patrol time and total patrol time, and a decrease in crime.
A key finding of the study is that information generated from AVL can be used to increase directed patrol time at crime hot spots, and that these increased levels of patrol will lead to reductions in crime. At the same time, our study points to the fact that only a small proportion of unallocated time in Dallas is actually focused on hot spots policing. We suggest that this is the reason why crime went down significantly at the hot spots but not in beats overall in Dallas.
This paper reports results from the Scottish Community Engagement Trial (ScotCET), devised to replicate the Queensland Community Trial (QCET). ScotCET was an RCT that tested the effects of ‘procedurally just’ policing on public trust and police legitimacy
A block-randomised (matched pairs) design, with pretest and posttest measures, was implemented in the context of road policing in Scotland. Participants were drivers stopped by police in December and January 2013/14 as part of Police Scotland’s ‘Festive Road Safety Campaign’. The experimental intervention comprised a checklist of key messages to include in routine roadside vehicle stops, and a leaflet for officers to give to drivers. Analysis proceeds via random effects regression models predicting latent variable measures of trust, satisfaction and legitimacy
Contrary to expectations, the intervention did not improve trust and legitimacy; rather, trust in the officers who made the stop, and satisfaction with their conduct, fell in the test sites, relative to the controls, after implementation of the intervention. The intervention had no significant effect on general trust in the police, nor on police legitimacy
Results demonstrate the difficulty in translating experimental interventions across policing contexts, and challenge the notion that public perceptions may be improved through a simple, additive approach to the delivery and communication of procedural justice.
This paper describes the need for, and the development of, a coding system to distil the quality and coverage of systematic reviews of the evidence relating to crime prevention interventions. The starting point for the coding system concerns the evidence needs of policymakers and practitioners.
The proposed coding scheme (EMMIE) builds on previous scales that have been developed to assess the probity, coverage and utility of evidence both in health and criminal justice. It also draws on the principles of realist synthesis and review.
The proposed EMMIE scale identifies five dimensions to which systematic reviews intended to inform crime prevention should speak. These are the Effect of intervention, the identification of the causal Mechanism(s) through which interventions are intended to work, the factors that Moderate their impact, the articulation of practical Implementation issues, and the Economic costs of intervention.
Systematic reviews of crime prevention, and the primary studies on which they are based, typically address the question of effect size, but are often silent on the other dimensions of EMMIE. This lacuna of knowledge is unhelpful to practitioners who want to know more than what might work to reduce crime. The EMMIE framework is intended to encourage the collection of primary data regarding these issues and the synthesis of such knowledge in future systematic reviews.
This paper reports the findings of an evaluation of a police training program on the principles of procedural justice. This training was part of a larger organizational change strategy aimed at improving the relationship between the police and the public in Chicago.
The paper reports on the findings of two studies. The short-term effects study was a quasi-experimental test of the immediate effectiveness of the training conducted at the police academy. A longer-term effects study examined the subsequent views of trainees and a comparison group, officers who had not yet been to training. Statistical controls were used to increase confidence in the findings of the second study, which was based on observational data.
In the short term, training increased officer support for all of the procedural justice dimensions included in the experiment. Post-training, officers were more likely to endorse the importance of giving citizens a voice, granting them dignity and respect, demonstrating neutrality, and (with the least enthusiasm) trusting them to do the right thing. All of the effects of training were strong, with standardized effect sizes ranging from 1.2 to 1.6. Longer-term, officers who had attended the procedural justice workshop continued to be more supportive of three of the four procedural justice principles introduced in training; the effect of training on trust was not statistically significant.
There has been little systematic research on police training. This paper concludes that it can play a role in improving police–community relations. It also presents a discussion of some of the limitations of a training-based organizational change strategy.
To introduce and evaluate the Police–Citizen Interaction (PCI) Survey, the electronic survey component of the National Police Research Platform, designed to measure the quality of police–citizen encounters at the local level.
Three studies tested the feasibility, validity, and sample representativeness of the PCI Survey. A randomized control trial (RCT) compared the PCI Survey results with the most widely used survey method, the telephone survey. The primary measures were the community member’s satisfaction with the contact, judgments of procedural justice during the interaction, police effectiveness, and police legitimacy.
The RCT revealed no significant differences between the PCI Survey and the standard telephone survey, thus increasing confidence in the validity of the PCI methodology. The PCI Survey was able to replicate “known group” findings from prior research; capture agency-level differences in public satisfaction; uncover complex interactions of race, type of incident and procedural justice; and show the relative importance of both process and outcome during police-initiated contacts.
The PCI Survey approach, utilizing web and voice interactive methods, shows considerable promise as a tool for measuring organizational performance in new ways, focusing on procedural fairness and the quality of police services rather than the reliance on crime statistics. The survey appears to have utility for local jurisdictions, while at the same time providing standard metrics for cross-jurisdictional theory testing and benchmarking. The survey was tested initially with three agencies of different sizes. It will be refined for implementation on a larger scale.
Our objective was to examine how Amendola and Wixted (A&W, 2014) arrived at their conclusion that eyewitness identifications of suspects from simultaneous lineups were supported better by corroborating evidence than were identifications from sequential lineups. Their cases came from a randomized field experiment by Wells et al. (2014).
We gathered information from the A&W article, examined an earlier, more complete report by Amendola et al. (2013), and then confirmed our numbers with Amendola.
We discovered that the small subsample (n = 52) on which A&W’s entire conclusion was based was unrepresentative of the larger set of cases (N = 236) in a way that was heavily biased in favor of the simultaneous lineup. Specifically, although the larger data set showed that simultaneous and sequential lineups produced the same rate of adjudicated guilt, their small subsample of 52 cases was highly imbalanced: Among the 30 sequential cases selected, 16 were drawn from the adjudicated-guilty set and 14 were from the not-prosecuted set; among the 22 simultaneous cases selected, 17 were drawn from the adjudicated-guilty set and a mere five were from the not-prosecuted set. This problem could not be known from the article itself.
Because adjudicated guilty cases had more corroborating evidence than not-prosecuted cases and because simultaneous and sequential lineups produced equivalent rates of adjudicated guilty outcomes, the small sub-sample of 52 should have reflected this same equivalence. Instead, the sub-sample was stacked against the sequential and in favor of the simultaneous and A&W’s conclusion is not warranted.
This study’s main goal was to assess the efficacy of a structured cognitive-behavioral group program, Growing Pro-Social (GPS), in reducing anger, paranoia, and external shame in male prison inmates.
In this randomized trial, a treatment group (n = 24) was compared to a control group (n = 24) and both groups were assessed at pre- and post-treatment. Participants answered the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory, the Paranoia Scale, and the Other as Shamer scale. Treatment effects were tested using ANCOVA with baseline as covariate and condition as fixed factor. Additionally, in order to assess significant clinical change after intervention, the Reliable Change Index (RCI) was computed.
At baseline, no significant differences between conditions were found. ANCOVA with baseline as covariate showed significant differences between groups at post-treatment. When compared to controls, treatment subjects showed lower scores in anger-trait (temperament and reaction subscales) and paranoia. Concerning clinical change, a high percentage of treatment subjects presented improvements in anger, paranoia, and external shame; the majority of controls showed significant deterioration in the same variables. After treatment, differences between groups were observed in the distributions by clinical change categories for anger-trait and its subscales, and paranoia. No differences between groups were found in anger-state and external shame.
These results point out the GPS’s ability to promote significant change in cognitive- and emotional-relevant variables associated with antisocial behavior.
Recent evolutions in actuarial research have revealed the potential increased utility of machine learning and data-mining strategies to develop statistical models such as classification/decision-tree analysis and neural networks, which are said to mimic the decision-making of practitioners. The current article compares such actuarial modeling methods with a traditional logistic regression risk-assessment development approach.
Utilizing a large purposive sample of Washington State offenders (N = 297,600), the current study examines and compares the predictive validity of the currently used Washington State Static Risk Assessment (SRA) instrument to classification tree analysis/random forest and neural network models.
Overall findings varied, being dependent on the outcome of interest, with the best model for each method resulting in AUCs ranging from 0.732 to 0.762. Findings reveal some predictive performance improvements with advanced machine-learning methodologies, yet the logistic regression models demonstrate comparable predictive performance.
The study concluded that while data-mining techniques hold potential for improvements over traditional methods, regression-based models demonstrate comparable, and often improved, prediction performance with noted parsimony and greater interpretability.
This study compares reconviction rates for Danish offenders sentenced to community service and imprisonment. A large general sample of offenders (n = 1602) is examined.
The study relies on a quasi-experimental design and uses propensity score matching as well as logistic regression models to analyze the data. Models are differentiated in terms of length of observation period and control variable combinations. The study stands out as compared to previous studies due to the unprecedented assortment of individual background data available. These data, obtained from community service eligibility assessments and registry databases, provide powerful controls over potential selection mechanisms in the multivariate analyses. Furthermore, contrary to previous studies, the current study limits itself to subjects officially assessed and deemed eligible for community service sentences.
Imprisonment is associated with a higher rate of recidivism and the result is statistically significant at conventional statistical levels.
Community service (CS) compared to imprisonment appears to cause a lower reconviction rate in general. Additional research is needed to shed light on differences in time to failure, the effect of different types of CS and imprisonment, the relationship between time spent in CS and effect as well as the seriousness of offending following sentences of CS as compared to imprisonment.
Our objective was to assess Amendola and Wixted’s (Journal of Experimental Criminology, 2015b, this issue) response to our critique of their conclusions regarding simultaneous and sequential lineups.
We calculated the expected distribution of adjudicated guilty and not guilty cases in the smaller sample of cases for simultaneous and sequential lineups if a stratified sample of the larger set of cases had been used.
The results demonstrate more clearly our point that the 52 cases used in the Amendola and Wixted analysis were distributed in a manner that was not representative of the larger sample. Specifically, the 52 cases used by Amendola and Wixted overrepresented the number of cases not prosecuted for the sequential and underrepresented the number of cases not prosecuted for the simultaneous.
The outcome measure was strength of corroborating evidence, which is strongly related to whether or not the case was adjudicated guilty. Hence, when comparing simultaneous and sequential lineups, the small subsample that was tested should have reflected the nearly equivalent rates of adjudicated guilty for simultaneous versus sequential. Given the demonstrated unrepresentativeness of the small sample, no conclusions should be reached from these data.
The AJS field study was conducted across four different sites (Austin, Texas; Tucson, Arizona; Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina; and San Diego, California), but nearly 70 % of the lineups were administered at the Austin, Texas site alone. To retain most of the data while eliminating site variance (in an effort to maximize power), our evidentiary strength ratings study was limited to the lineups administered in Austin. We found that suspects identified from those simultaneous and sequential lineups were more likely to be associated with independent evidence of guilt if they had been identified from a simultaneous lineup than from a sequential lineup. In other words, we observed a significant simultaneous superiority effect. Wells et al. (this issue) point out that the simultaneous suspects were also more likely to be adjudicated guilty (77.3 % of simultaneous suspects were adjudicated guilty against 53.3 % of sequential suspects), which they regard as evidence of a sampling bias. However, all suspect ID cases from Austin that could possibly be included in our ratings study were included (i.e., we did not randomly sample a subset of suspect ID cases). Thus, what appears to be a selection bias to Wells et al. is actually further direct evidence of a simultaneous superiority effect.
To determine whether the Communities That Care (CTC) prevention system is a cost-beneficial intervention.
Data were from a longitudinal panel of 4,407 youth participating in a randomized controlled trial including 24 towns in seven states, matched in pairs within state, and randomly assigned to condition. Significant differences favoring intervention youth in sustained abstinence from delinquency, alcohol use, and tobacco use through grade 12 were monetized and compared to economic investment in CTC.
CTC was estimated to produce $4,477 in benefits per youth (discounted 2011 dollars). It costs $556 per youth to implement CTC for 5 years. The net present benefit was $3,920. The benefit–cost ratio was $8.22 per dollar invested. The internal rate of return was 21 %. Risk that investment would exceed benefits was minimal. Investment was expected to be recouped within 9 years. Sensitivity analyses in which effects were halved yielded positive cost-beneficial results.
CTC is a cost-beneficial, community-based approach to preventing initiation of delinquency, alcohol use, and tobacco use. CTC is estimated to generate economic benefits that exceed implementation costs when disseminated with fidelity in communities.
To assess whether a reentry program targeted towards high-risk offenders leaving Minnesota state prisons significantly reduced recidivism.
Adult male release violators serving incarceration periods of 2–6 months in two Minnesota state prisons were randomly assigned to either the control group (n = 77) or the High-Risk Revocation Reduction (HRRR) program (n = 162). The latter group was provided with supplemental case planning, housing, employment, mentoring, cognitive-behavioral programming, and transportation assistance services, while the former group was given standard case management services. After 1–2 years of post-release follow-up time, event history analysis was used to predict the following four measures of recidivism: supervised release revocation, rearrest, reconviction, and new offense reincarceration.
The Cox regression analyses revealed that participation in HRRR significantly lowered the risk of supervised release revocations and reconvictions by 28 and 43 %, respectively. Regardless of treatment or control group membership, receiving more reentry assistance significantly reduced supervision revocation and rearrest. Analyses also revealed that employment assistance, including subsidized employment, was especially effective at reducing recidivism.
Targeting resources towards this previously under-served population may be useful for lowering overall rates of recidivism. However, a later follow-up analysis is needed to ensure that these results remain over time.
Eyewitness misidentifications have been implicated in many of the DNA exoneration cases that have come to light in recent years. One reform designed to address this problem involves switching from simultaneous lineups to sequential lineups, and our goal was to test the diagnostic accuracy of these two procedures using actual eyewitnesses.
In a recent randomized field trial comparing the performance of simultaneous and sequential lineups in the real world, suspect ID rates were found to be similar for the two procedures. Filler ID rates were found to be slightly (but, in the key test, nonsignificantly) higher for simultaneous than sequential lineups, but fillers will not be prosecuted even if identified. Moreover, filler IDs may not provide reliable information about innocent suspect IDs. Here, we use two different proxy measures for ground truth of guilt versus innocence for suspects identified from simultaneous or sequential lineups in that same field study.
The results indicate that innocent suspects are, if anything, less likely to be mistakenly identified—and guilty suspects are more likely to be correctly identified—from simultaneous lineups compared to sequential lineups.
Filler identifications are not necessarily predictive of the more consequential error of misidentifying an innocent suspect. With regard to actual suspect identifications, simultaneous lineups are diagnostically superior to sequential lineups. These findings are consistent with recent laboratory-based studies using receiver operating characteristic analysis suggesting that simultaneous lineups make it easier for eyewitnesses to tell the difference between innocent and guilty suspects.
Determine the effect of a criminal conviction on landlord decisions to consider prospective tenants and the extent to which landlord responses vary based on prospective tenant’s offense type.
Using a quasi-experimental audit design, matched pairs of “testers” posing as prospective tenants called landlords across New York State to inquire about the possibility of renting a residence. Criminal conviction type was manipulated amongst equally eligible testers posing as non-offenders (control group) or as having one of three types of prior conviction: child molestation, statutory rape, or drug trafficking (quasi-experimental groups).
Analyses indicate that landlords are significantly less willing to consider prospective tenants with a criminal conviction, particularly when the conviction is for child molestation, although this effect was more strongly apparent with male testers.
The stigma associated with a child molestation conviction greatly impacts housing outcomes, but landlord characteristics and the sex of prospective tenants influence landlord decisions. This study has important implications for offender reentry and policies that should address this issue.
Objectives The aim of the current study is to explore to what extent an intervention reduces the effects of social engineering (e.g., the obtaining of access via persuasion) in an office environment. In particular, we study the effect of authority during a ‘social engineering’ attack. Methods Thirty-one different ‘offenders’ visited the offices of 118 employees and on the basis of a script, asked them to hand over their office keys. Authority, one of the six principles of persuasion, was used by half of the offenders to persuade a target to comply with his/her request. Prior to the visit, an intervention was randomly administered to half of the targets to increase their resilience against attempts by others to obtain their credentials. Results A total of 37.0 % of the employees who were exposed to the intervention surrendered their keys while 62.5 % of those who were not exposed to it handed them over. The intervention has a significant effect on compliance but the same was not the case for authority. Conclusions Awareness-raising about the dangers, characteristics, and countermeasures associated with social engineering proved to have a significant positive effect on neutralizing the attacker.
We examine whether anticipated guilt for substance use is a gendered mechanism underlying the noted enhancement effect of gang membership on illegal drug use. We also demonstrate a method for making stronger causal inferences when assessing mediation in the presence of moderation and time-varying confounding.
We estimate a series of inverse propensity weighted models to obtain unbiased estimates of mediation in the presence of confounding of the exposure (i.e., gang membership) and mediator (i.e., anticipated guilt) using three waves of data from a multi-site panel study of a law-related education program for youth (N = 1,113).
The onset of gang membership significantly decreased anticipated substance use guilt among both male and female respondents. This reduction was significantly associated with increased frequency of substance use only for female respondents, however, suggesting that gender moderates the mechanism through which gang membership influences substance use.
Criminologists are often concerned with identifying causal pathways for antisocial and/or delinquent behavior, but confounders of the exposure, mediator, and outcome often interfere with efforts to assess mediation. Many new approaches have been proposed for strengthening causal inference for mediation effects. After controlling for confounding using inverse propensity weighting, our results suggest that interventions aimed at reducing substance use by current and former female gang members should focus on the normative aspects of these behaviors.
This study was designed to test the effect of increased certainty of punishment on reported crime levels in CCTV target areas of Newark, NJ. The experimental strategy was designed for the purpose of overcoming specific surveillance barriers that minimize the effectiveness of CCTV, namely high camera-to-operator ratios and the differential response policy of police dispatch. An additional camera operator was deployed to monitor specific CCTV cameras, with two patrol cars dedicated to exclusively responding to incidents of concern detected on the experimental cameras.
A randomized controlled trial was implemented in the analysis. A randomized block design was used to assign each of the 38 CCTV schemes to either a treatment or control group. Schemes were grouped into pairs based upon their levels of three types of calls for service: violent crime, social disorder, and narcotics activity. Negative binomial regression models tested the effect that assignment to the treatment group had on levels of the aforementioned crime categories.
The experimental strategy was associated with significant reductions of violent crime and social disorder in the treatment areas relative to the control areas. Incidence Rate Ratio (IRR) and Total Net Effect (TNE) values suggest that the number of crime incidents prevented was sizable in numerous instances. The experiment had much less of an effect on narcotics activity.
Overall, the findings support the hypothesis that the integration of CCTV with proactive police activity generates a crime control benefit greater than what research suggests is achievable via “stand-alone” camera deployment, particularly in the case of street-level crime.
This study expands upon Weisburd’s work (1993) by reexamining the relationship between sample size and statistical power in criminological experiments. This inquiry, now known as the Weisburd paradox, postulates that increasing the sample size of experiments does not always lead to increases in statistical power. The current research also begins to explore the potential sources of the Weisburd paradox.
The effect sizes and statistical power are computed for the outcome measures (n = 402) of all experiments (n = 66) included in systematic reviews published by the Campbell Collaboration’s Crime and Justice Coordinating Group. The design sensitivity of these experiments is reviewed by sample size, as well as other factors that may explain the variation in effect sizes and statistical power across studies.
Effect sizes decline as the sample size of the experiment increases, whereas statistical power is unrelated to sample size but strongly associated with effect size. Disclosure of fidelity issues and publication bias is unrelated to statistical power and treatment effects. Variability in the dependent variable and sample demographics are significantly related to statistical power, but not to effect size.
The study finds support for the Weisburd paradox, as the ability to manipulate statistical power by increasing sample size is not as strong as statistical theory would suggest, and experiments with larger sample sizes generally produce smaller effects. It is believed that a relationship was not observed between sample size and statistical power because the sensitivity gained from increasing sample size is offset by effect size simultaneously decreasing.
To examine the impact of terrorism threat on the media framing of police legitimacy.
A quasi-experimental, interrupted time-series design. The study analyzed press coverage of police legitimacy before and during the course of the Second Intifada in Israel between the years 1998 and 2007. Examination of the coverage of legitimacy was based on the framework of Tyler's process-based model, which evaluated data from 2,600 press reports culled from three major dailies in Israel.
The first period of the Second Intifada was found to have a significant and positive effect on the coverage of police legitimacy. Following the outbreak of the Second Intifada, there was a significant increase in media portrayals of public trust and confidence in the police.
The study provides new insight into the role of the media in shaping legitimacy under conditions of high terrorism threats. The results suggest that in the face of the highest level of terrorist attacks, the media stress coverage of public trust. Moreover, by underscoring the effectiveness of the police in counterterrorism policing, and in some cases even portraying the police force as heroic, the media reinforce police legitimacy. Future research is needed in this field. Expanding the analysis to additional variables such as the government view of the police and police spokespeople's strategies will enhance existing knowledge on the media coverage of police legitimacy.
We explored death rates from all causes among victims of misdemeanor domestic violence 23 years after random assignment of their abusers to arrests vs. warnings.
We gathered state and national death data on all 1,125 victims (89 % female; 70 % African-American; mean age = 30) enrolled by Milwaukee Police in 1987–88, after 98 % treatment as randomly assigned.
Victims were 64 % more likely to have died of all causes if their partners were arrested and jailed than if warned and allowed to remain at home (p = .037, 95 % CI = risk ratio of 1:1.024 to 1:2.628). Among the 791 African-American victims, arrest increased mortality by 98 % (p = .019); among 334 white victims, arrest increased mortality by only 9 % (95 % CI = RR of 1:0.489 to 1:2.428). The highest victim death rate across four significant differences found in all 22 moderator tests was within the group of 192 African-American victims who held jobs: 11 % died after partner arrests, but none after warnings (d = .8, p = .003). Murder of the victims caused only three of all 91 deaths; heart disease and other internal morbidity caused most victim deaths.
Partner arrests for domestic common assault apparently increased premature death for their victims, especially African-Americans. Victims who held jobs at the time of police response suffered the highest death rates, but only if they were African-American. Replications and detailed risk factor studies are needed to confirm these conclusions, which may support repeal or judicial invalidation of state-level mandatory arrest laws.
Evaluations from a recent Campbell systematic review of focused deterrence programs are critically reviewed to determine whether more rigorous evaluations are possible given methodological challenges such as developing appropriate units of analysis, generalizing findings beyond study sites, and controlling for the contamination of available comparison groups.
We synthesize the available evaluation literature on focused deterrence programs completed before and after the publication of the Campbell review to assess opportunities to conduct randomized controlled trials and stronger quasi-experimental evaluations.
We find that focused deterrence strategies are amenable to more rigorous evaluation methodologies such as block randomized place-based trials, multisite cluster randomized trials, and quasi-experimental evaluations that employ advanced statistical matching techniques.
Focused deterrence programs can, and should, be subjected to more rigorous tests that generate more robust evidence on program impacts and provide further insight into the crime control mechanisms at work in these programs. More generally, our review supports the idea that program evaluators do not have to “settle for less” methodological rigor when testing large area-based crime prevention programs.
We completed a systematic review and meta-analysis of the available empirical literature assessing the influence of accusatorial and information-gathering methods of interrogation in eliciting true and false confessions.
We conducted two separate meta-analyses. The first meta-analysis focused on observational field studies that assessed the association between certain interrogation methods and elicitation of a confession statement. The second meta-analysis focused on experimental, laboratory-based studies in which ground truth was known (i.e., a confession is factually true or false). We located 5 field studies and 12 experimental studies eligible for the meta-analyses. We coded outcomes from both study types and report mean effect sizes with 95 % confidence intervals. A random effects model was used for analysis of effect sizes. Moderator analyses were conducted when appropriate.
Field studies revealed that both information-gathering and accusatorial approaches were more likely to elicit a confession when compared with direct questioning methods. However, experimental studies revealed that the information-gathering approach preserved, and in some cases increased, the likelihood of true confessions, while simultaneously reducing the likelihood of false confessions. In contrast, the accusatorial approach increased both true and false confessions when compared with a direct questioning method.
The available data support the effectiveness of an information-gathering style of interviewing suspects. Caution is warranted, however, due to the small number of independent samples available for the analysis of both field and experimental studies. Additional research, including the use of quasi-experimental field studies, appears warranted.
To conduct a systematic review examining the extent to which there is crime displacement or a diffusion of crime control benefits in social control interventions implemented in medium sized or large geographic areas.
A number of search strategies were used to identify and code eligible experimental or quasi-experimental studies that measured displacement in areas larger than crime hot spots. A total of 33 publications covering 43 quasi-experimental studies were identified as eligible. Nineteen of these publications covering 20 studies were included in a meta-analysis.
The narrative results overall suggest that displacement is not a common occurrence in interventions implemented at larger units of geography and a diffusion of crime control benefits is somewhat more likely to occur. The effect sizes from the meta-analyses suggest that, while the interventions, on average, were associated with a significant decline in crime, displacement was not likely to occur. The meta-analyses found no significant overall evidence of displacement or a diffusion of benefits.
These findings are in line with previous reviews that have focused on displacement at smaller geographic units. When examining larger geographic scales and a broader array of interventions, spatial displacement is still a fairly unlikely occurrence.
To examine whether or not spatially-focused legitimacy policing interventions reduce crime and disorder in the places where they are applied.
Building on the NPIA-funded systematic review of legitimacy policinginterventions by Mazerolle et al et al. (2013). Legitimacy in policing: asystematic review. Campbell Systematic Reviews, 1, we conducted a systematic review of published and unpublished literature examining spatially-focused legitimacy policing. Inclusion criteria were that the intervention: (1) was police-led and included at least one element of procedural justice; (2) was focused on micro- or macro-places smaller than a city; (3) reported an outcome of crime or disorder measured at place level; and (4) used an experimental or quasi-experimental design. The review covers the years 1980–2012.
The search yielded 21 documents, which evaluated 33 studies, and reported 86 outcomes of crime and disorder. Using a random-effects meta-analysis, we found that legitimacy policing focused on place reduces the levels of overall crime. Subgroup analysis demonstrated a significant reduction in measures of both overall and Part 1 crime; however, there was no significant reduction in Part 2 crimes. There was no significant heterogeneity between subgroups when moderator analysis was performed on the specific intervention type, or on a measure of increased police service and level of procedural justice.
Overall, we find that spatially-focused policing interventions that incorporate a procedurally just dialogue result in a measurable decrease in crime and disorder in the intervention areas. Consistent with the Mazerolle et al. review of legitimacy policing, our review also suggests that the particular vehicle of the intervention at problem places may be less important in promoting crime control than the dialogue established between police and citizens.
To review what we have learned from the policing systematic reviews funded by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) and to examine the importance of funding and influential individuals in advancing scientific knowledge.
We use the history of randomized experiments in criminology and policing to emphasize how influential individuals and funding agencies have played a key role in advancing science in particular areas. We focus on the impact the NPIA has had on dramatically increasing the number of policing systematic reviews and advancing knowledge about effective policing strategies.
The nine completed Campbell reviews funded by the NPIA have more than doubled the number of Campbell Collaboration reviews related to policing and have increased our knowledge about a number of policing programs and strategies. Collectively, these reviews suggest a number of areas where the police can be successful in increasing fairness and effectiveness in policing.
Key individuals, particularly when connected to funding agencies, can have a major impact on the trajectory of scientific knowledge. The NPIA program on systematic reviews in policing demonstrates the influence dedicated funding can have on advancing our knowledge on important policing topics.
If offending were simply displaced following (often spatially) focused crime reduction initiatives, the continued expenditure of resources on this approach to crime reduction would be pointless. The aims of this article were to: critically appraise the current body of displacement research; identify gaps in understanding; articulate an agenda for future research; and to consider the implications of the accumulated findings for practitioners, evaluators, and policy makers.
First, we review existing criminological theory regarding crime displacement and the alternative perspective—that crime prevention activity might generate a diffusion of crime control benefits. Second, we review the empirical research, focusing in particular on the findings of existing systematic reviews. Third, we consider the types of displacement that might occur and the methodological approaches employed to study them.
Theoretical and empirical research suggests that displacement is far from inevitable and that a diffusion of crime control benefit is at least as likely. However, some forms of displacement have not been adequately studied.
Existing research suggests that successful crime reduction interventions often have a positive impact on crime that extends beyond the direct recipients of a particular project. However, current understanding of crime displacement and how benefits might diffuse remains incomplete. Consequently, to inform an agenda for future research, we derive a typology of methodological issues associated with studying displacement, along with suggestions as to how they might be addressed.
Systematically review and synthesize the existing research on community-oriented policing to identify its effects on crime, disorder, fear, citizen satisfaction, and police legitimacy.
We searched a broad range of databases, websites, and journals to identify eligible studies that measured pre-post changes in outcomes in treatment and comparison areas following the implementation of policing strategies that involved community collaboration or consultation. We identified 25 reports containing 65 independent tests of community-oriented policing, most of which were conducted in neighborhoods in the United States. Thirty-seven of these comparisons were included in a meta-analysis.
Our findings suggest that community-oriented policing strategies have positive effects on citizen satisfaction, perceptions of disorder, and police legitimacy, but limited effects on crime and fear of crime.
Our review provides important evidence for the benefits of community policing for improving perceptions of the police, although our findings overall are ambiguous. The challenges we faced in conducting this review highlight a need for further research and theory development around community policing. In particular, there is a need to explicate and test a logic model that explains how short-term benefits of community policing, like improved citizen satisfaction, relate to longer-term crime prevention effects, and to identify the policing strategies that benefit most from community participation.
The collection of papers in this Special Issue came about as a result of the most significant funding award to date dedicated to obtaining a broad perspective of “what works” in the field of policing. In 2009, the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) in the United Kingdom, under the leadership of former Thames Valley Police Chief Constable Peter Neyroud, provided over US$600,000 to the Campbell Collaboration Crime and Justice Group (CCJG), via the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University where CCJG’s editorial team is based, to develop a portfolio of systematic reviews on policing topics. In total, 11 systematic searches and reviews were completed and peer reviewed under this program between 2009 and 2013.
The full set of reviews is discussed in detail in Telep and Weisburd, this issue.This Special Issue contains a selection of these reviews not published elsewhere, as well as several papers on lessons learned from the funded projects and areas for futur ...
A systematic review was conducted to examine the effects of stress management interventions on outcomes among police officers and recruits.
The search methods included searching electronic databases, journals, books, conference proceedings, websites and contacting organizations and authors. Inclusion criteria were randomized controlled trials and quasi-experimental studies, and any type of stress management intervention given to police officers, recruits or civilian law enforcement personnel.
The 12 primary studies included in the systematic review were published between 1984 and 2008 and included 8 published studies, 3 unpublished doctoral dissertations, and 1 unpublished report. The sample was comprised of 906 participants, with an average age of 34.48 years, and an average of 10.77 years of police experience. The average duration of the interventions was 10.95 h with a range of 30 min to 24 h. A total of 221 effects were examined in a metaanalysis. Effect sizes were calculated separately for physiological, psychological and behavioral outcomes. The overall mean effect for physiological outcomes was 0.196, 0.038 among psychological outcomes, and −0.176 among behavioral outcomes. These small effect sizes suggest that the interventions were not effective. Moderator analyses results did not show any meaningful differences across the studies.
Further research is needed to develop and implement effective stress management interventions intended for police officers and recruits that address specific field work, organizational and personal stressors, utilize randomized controlled trials, and indicate the primary, secondary or tertiary focus of the intervention.
The need for re-entry assistance is widely acknowledged, but specifics about what services actually lead to reduced recidivism are hard to find—at least among rigorous studies. This is a critical issue: at a time when there appears to be unprecedented support for expanding rehabilitative programs for offenders, there is a dearth of rigorously vetted program options from which to choose.
Collaborating with a nationally known employment-focused reentry program in Southern California, the authors compared employment, housing, and recidivism outcomes of reentering offenders (n = 217) who were either randomized into the program or simply provided with a list of community resources. This approach was possible because the number of applicants at the time exceeded program capacity. Outcomes were based on self-report interviews conducted 1-year post-randomization and arrest records reflecting a 2-year follow-up period. The follow-up rate for interviews was 87 %.
No significant differences were found for any of the between-group comparisons on any of the major intervention outcomes.
Findings from the study suggest a greater need to apply randomized designs to more carefully evaluate current reentry efforts. Methodological challenges of field experiments are also discussed.
To examine the impact of face-to-face restorative justice conference (RJC) meetings led by police officers between crime victims and their offenders on victims’ post-traumatic stress symptoms.
Two trials conducted in London randomly assigned burglary or robbery cases with consenting victims and offenders to either a face-to-face restorative justice conference (RJC) in addition to conventional justice treatment or conventional treatment without a RJC. Post-traumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) were measured with the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R) within 1 month of treatment for 192 victims. We assessed the prevalence and severity of PTSS scores following treatment, using independent sample t tests and chi square statistics. We further measured the magnitude of the differences between the groups, using effect size analyses.
Analyses show that PTSS scores are significantly lower among victims assigned to RJC in addition to criminal justice processing through the courts than to customary criminal justice processing alone. There are overall 49 % fewer victims with clinical levels of PTSS, and possible PTSD (IES-R ≥ 25). Main treatment effects are significant (t = 2.069; p
Findings suggest that restorative justice conferences reduce clinical levels of PTSS and possibly PTSD in a short-term follow-up assessment. Future research should include longer follow-up, larger and more stratified samples, and financial data to account for the cost benefit implications of RJ conferences compared to ordinary PTSS treatments.
In a series of important scholarly works, Joan McCord made the case for the criminological community to take seriously harmful effects arising from individual-based crime prevention programs. Building on these works, two key questions are of central interest to this paper: What has been the state of research on harmful effects of these crime prevention programs since McCord’s works? And what are the theoretical, methodological, and programmatic characteristics of individual-based crime prevention programs with reported harmful effects?
This paper reports on the first empirical review of harmful effects of crime prevention programs, drawing upon 15 Campbell Collaboration systematic reviews. Altogether, 574 experimental and quasi-experimental studies (published and unpublished) with 645 independent effect sizes were reviewed.
A total of 22 harmful effects from 22 unique studies of individual-based crime prevention programs were identified. Almost all of the studies have been reported since 1990, all but 2 were carried out in the United States, and two-thirds can be considered unpublished. The studies covered a wide range of interventions, from anti-bullying programs at schools, to second responder interventions involving police, to the Scared Straight program for juvenile delinquents, with more than half taking place in criminal justice settings. Boot camps and drug courts accounted for the largest share of studies with harmful effects.
Theory failure, implementation failure, and deviancy training were identified as the leading explanations for harmful effects of crime prevention programs, and they served as key anchors for a more focused look at implications for theory and policy. Also, the need for programs to be rigorously evaluated and monitored is evident, which will advance McCord’s call for attention to safety and efficacy.
Despite its widespread adoption by more than two-thirds of police departments in the US, there has not been a single study examining the effects of the TASER on cognitive functioning. This inquiry is important for two reasons. First, research has consistently documented cognitive deficits following exposure to electricity (the TASER is an electrical device). Second, questions have emerged regarding whether TASER exposure impairs suspects’ ability to understand and waive their Miranda rights.
To explore this issue, the authors carried out a pilot study with 21 police recruits who received a TASER exposure as part of their training at the San Bernardino County (CA) Training Center. Each recruit was given a battery of cognitive tests 3–4 h before TASER exposure, within 5 min after exposure, and again 24 h after exposure.
Recruits experienced statistically significant reductions in several measures of cognitive functioning following TASER exposure. However, all recruits had returned to their baseline levels of functioning within 24 h. Learning effects were documented in several of the cognitive tests.
The questions driving this study involve serious issues including constitutionally protected rights of the accused, use of force by police, and previously unexamined effects of the TASER on the human body. The pilot study represents a critical first step in exploring the effects of the TASER on cognitive functioning. Moreover, the results provided the authors with important information that will guide their larger study, a randomized controlled trial where healthy human volunteers will be randomly assigned to four groups, two of which receive a TASER exposure.
Research on racial bias in the United States includes findings that Americans tend to view blacks as more dangerous than whites. Some have argued that this bias provides a likely explanation for the disproportionate number of ethnic and racial minorities shot by police. One piece of evidence for this proposition comes from experimental work in which research participants push “shoot” or “don’t shoot” buttons when still images of people and objects that may or may not be weapons are presented in rapid succession. These studies have established that participants tend to subconsciously pair black individuals with weapons and white individuals with neutral objects. However, it is not clear from these studies that the subconscious racial bias identified by researchers affects actual decisions to shoot, perhaps because the techniques used to assess the bias-shooting link bear so little resemblance to real-world shootings.
This paper reports on the results of a novel laboratory experiment designed to overcome this critical limitation by using high-fidelity deadly force judgment and decision-making simulators to assess both subconscious and behavioral bias among 48 research participants, recruited from the general population.
Study results suggest that subconscious associations between race and threat exhibited by participants are not linked to their shooting behavior.
The implications of this finding for understanding how race and ethnicity affect decisions to shoot, and for conducting empirical research on this important topic, are discussed.
Third Party Policing (TPP) involves partnerships between police and third parties where the legal powers of third parties are harnessed to prevent or control crime problems. This paper explores the characteristics and mechanisms of TPP as a crime control strategy, focusing on how the partnership approach in policing can help sustain crime control gains over the long run. Using the ABILITY Truancy Trial as an example, I examine how policing can contribute to long-term social change for high-risk young people living in poor-performing school districts and high-risk communities.
The ABILITY Trial includes 102 young truants randomly allocated to a control (business-as-usual) or an experimental condition. The experimental condition activates the key theoretical components of Third Party Policing (TPP): a partnership between police and participating schools that activates and escalates (where needed) jurisdictional truanting laws (the legal lever).
The paper presents a theoretical discussion of TPP and uses the ABILITY Trial to highlight the way TPP works in practice. Baseline data are presented for the ABILITY Trial. Outcome results are not presented.
Third Party Policing partnerships rest on the capacity of police to build relationships with third parties who have a stake in the crime problem, who possess responsive regulation legal levers, and who have a clear mandate to offer long-term solutions and help sustain the crime control gains. Partnerships, I argue, offer long-term solutions for police because they activate latent mechanisms, building the capacity for third parties to both maintain short-term gains and sustain the crime control gains beyond the lifespan of the initial police intervention.
The present study focused on the sustainability of the effects of Multisystemic Therapy (MST) on delinquency and recidivism.
A sample of 256 juveniles with severe and persistent antisocial behavior were randomly assigned to MST (147) and Treatment As Usual (TAU) (109) condition. Pre-test assessment took place before the start of MST/control group treatment. Post-test assessment took place at 6 months after termination of the program. Delinquency (parent and adolescent reported) was assessed 6 months after termination of the treatment. Official judicial data were collected to assess recidivism, with a mean length of follow-up of 3.06 years. ANCOVAs and survival analyses were used to test the effectiveness of MST.
The multi-informant data showed that MST is effective in diminishing delinquent behavior as reported by adolescents and parents, with d’s larger than at post-test assessment immediately after ending of the intervention. The official judicial data, however, suggest that there are no differences between MST and TAU in recidivism. Few and inconsistent moderator effects were found.
According to parent and adolescent reports, the beneficial effects of MST were sustained at the follow-up. This was not supported by official data. These results stress the importance of using multi-informant data on delinquency, as each source of information has its own advantages and disadvantages.
To investigate the utility of two main approaches for translating research into evidence-based practice in juvenile justice: (a) brand-name programs that are identified by lists of various expert groups and come with implementation and quality assurance packages offered by program developers; and (b) results of large-scale meta-analyses that offer a number of generalized strategies (or generics) for improving existing programs.
Informed by prospect theory, a first-stage analytic decision-tree model was developed that included three comparable evidence-based programs (two brand names and one generic). Implementation success was a key factor, and analyses were conducted under two conditions.
Under the first condition, where brand-name programs have a large advantage in implementation success over generic programs, it was found that the brand-name programs had the highest expected values. Under the second condition, which considered the role of Lipsey et al.’s (2010) Standardized Program Evaluation Protocol, it was found that all three programs produced highly favorable expected values.
Brand-name programs and meta-analyses represent two rigorous and transparent approaches for advancing evidence-based practice in juvenile justice. State governments should consider the merits of both approaches through a decision-tree model, paying particular attention to implementation success as well as financial costs and benefits derived from rigorous cost–benefit analysis.
To conduct a meta-analytic review of selective and indicated mentoring interventions for effects for youth at risk on delinquency and key associated outcomes (aggression, drug use, academic functioning). We also undertook the first systematic evaluation of intervention implementation features and organization and tested for effects of theorized key processes of mentor program effects.
Campbell Collaboration review inclusion criteria and procedures were used to search and evaluate the literature. Criteria included a sample defined as at risk for delinquency due to individual behavior such as aggression or conduct problems or environmental characteristics such as residence in a high-crime community. Studies were required to be random assignment or strong quasi-experimental design. Of 163 identified studies published from 1970–2011, 46 met criteria for inclusion.
Mean effects sizes were significant and positive for each outcome category (ranging from d = 0.11 for academic achievement to d = 0.29 for aggression). Heterogeneity in effect sizes was noted for all four outcomes. Stronger effects resulted when mentor motivation was professional development but not by other implementation features. Significant improvements in effects were found when advocacy and emotional support mentoring processes were emphasized.
This popular approach has significant impact on delinquency and associated outcomes for youth at risk for delinquency. While evidencing some features may relate to effects, the body of literature is remarkably lacking in details about specific program features and procedures. This persistent state of limited reporting seriously impedes understanding about how mentoring is beneficial and ability to maximize its utility.
To test whether an adaptive program improves outcomes in drug court by adjusting the schedule of court hearings and clinical case-management sessions pursuant to a priori performance criteria.
Consenting participants in a misdemeanor drug court were randomly assigned to the adaptive program (n = 62) or to a baseline-matching condition (n = 63) in which they attended court hearings based on the results of a criminal risk assessment. Outcome measures were re-arrest rates at 18 months post-entry to the drug court, and urine drug test results and structured interview results at 6 and 12 months post-entry.
Although previously published analyses revealed significantly fewer positive drug tests for participants in the adaptive condition during the first 18 weeks of drug court, current analyses indicate the effects converged during the ensuing year. Between-group differences in new arrest rates, urine drug test results and self-reported psychosocial problems were small and non-statistically significant at 6, 12, and 18 months post-entry. A non-significant trend (p = .10) suggests there may have been a small residual impact (Cramer’s v = .15) on new misdemeanor arrests after 18 months.
Adaptive programming shows promise for enhancing short-term outcomes in drug courts; however, additional efforts are needed to extend the effects beyond the first 4 to 6 months of enrollment.
Prison-based therapeutic community (TC) drug treatment followed by community aftercare is widely recognized as the most effective treatment paradigm for drug-dependent offenders. However, few randomized experiments have addressed this question and fewer studies have examined how interactions between treatment modality and individual characteristics may explain variations in outcomes.
Using a randomized experimental design, this study examined the effects of treatment modality [TC vs. Outpatient (OP) group counseling], individual psychosocial characteristics (e.g., risk, negative affect), and interactions on reincarceration over a 3-year follow-up period. Survival analysis using Cox regression with covariates was used to analyze data obtained from 604 subjects at a specialized drug treatment prison.
The expected advantage of TC failed to emerge. Critical and heretofore unexamined interactions between treatment modality (TC vs. OP), inmate levels of risk, and negative effect help explain these unexpected findings.
The superiority of prison TC to less intensive OP counseling was not supported. The effects of TC appear to be conditioned by critical responsivity factors that have received little empirical attention.
To examine whether group capacity for problem solving and partnership building could be enhanced at police–community meetings by providing the results from community surveys and training for group facilitators.
A randomized control trial was conducted in 51 police beats in Chicago’s community policing program, CAPS. Unlike control beats, results from web-based community surveys were provided at beat meetings in the feedback and training beats, with facilitators in training beats also receiving training and exercises to guide problem solving about survey results. Analysis included OLS and logistic regression of data from questionnaires administered to police and resident participants, as well as observations at beat meetings, which measured resident capacity, attitudes about the police–community partnership, and problem-solving activities.
Support for hypothesized effects was found with greater resident confidence in their ability to achieve outcomes and solve local problems, as well as officers viewing their relationships with residents at beat meetings more favorably. Effects, however, were inconsistent and limited to the feedback group. While additional training and support provided in training beats indicated fuller engagement in problem solving, possible negative effects on attitudes were observed.
Failure to find more effects is discussed in terms of implementation and resistance. Officer resistance to and a shift in organizational priorities away from community policing worked against achieving full program implementation. The beat meeting context provided a traditional framework for police–resident interactions that precluded more comprehensive use of community data and possibly heightened dissatisfaction with the level of problem solving that occurred.
The population of randomized experiments in policing is used to examine co-author and mentoring relations in the professional network of scholars and assess if experimental criminology is on the path to creating the necessary social capital to promote the use of randomized controlled trials in criminology and criminal justice research.
We use systematic review methods to identify the population of policing experiments. Narrative review and descriptive statistics are used to examine the growth of policing experiments over time. Social network analysis techniques are used to analyze and describe the co-authoring and mentoring connections of the scholars responsible for completing policing experiments.
We find that the number of policing experiments increased substantially between 1970 and 2011. The growth in policing randomized experiments has been largely generated by a very small number of scholars who account for the bulk of policing experiments and have been very active in mentoring the next generation of experimentalists. Another important factor associated with the rise in policing experiment is the availability of federal funding.
Our analysis of policing experiments suggests that the experimental criminology movement is developing the necessary human and social capital to advance the discipline of criminology. However, it is a very small network that could benefit from the addition of new members and increased training and mentoring of graduate students.
New policies are increasingly required to be evaluated. One form of evaluation is a cost–benefit analysis where inputs and outcomes are all valued monetarily. However, intangible outcomes are often not included in these evaluations as they are perceived to be too difficult to value. The aim of this paper is to value one of the intangible benefits (decrease in stigma) from a potential change in drug policy using contingent valuation.
This paper reports on a contingent valuation study conducted among a community sample of 875 respondents on the internet. Respondents were asked what they would be willing to pay to avoid the stigma of a criminal record. Data were analysed with descriptive and regression analyses.
The survey found respondents were willing to pay a mean of $1,231 ($1,112–1,322; AUD 2009) to avoid the stigma from a criminal record for a loved one or for themselves. Household income was an important predictor of willingness-to-pay (WTP). The WTP was significantly and positively related to whether the respondent believed cannabis was usually or always addictive while those who had used cannabis recently (within past 12 months) were less likely to pay more, relative to those who had not used recently.
This paper demonstrates the feasibility of using economic methods to value intangible benefits from drug policy changes.
To estimate the incapacitation effect and the impact on post-release recidivism of a measure combining prolonged incarceration and rehabilitation, the ISD measure for high frequency offenders (HFOs) was compared to the standard practice of short-term imprisonment.
We applied a quasi-experimental design with observational data to study the effects of ISD. The intervention group consisted of all HFOs released from ISD in the period 2004–2008. Two control groups were derived from the remaining population of HFOs who were released from a standard prison term. To form groups of controls, a combination of multiple imputation (MI) and propensity score matching (PSM) was used including a large number of covariates. In order to measure the incapacitation effect of ISD, the number of convictions and recorded offences in a criminal case of the controls were counted in the same period as their ISD counterfactuals were incarcerated. The impact on recidivism was measured by the prevalence and the frequency of reconvictions corrected for time at risk. Robustness of the results were checked by performing a combined PSM and difference-in-difference (DD) design.
The estimate of the incapacitation effect was on average 5.7 criminal cases and 9.2 offences per ISD measure. On average 2.5 convictions and 4 recorded offences per year per HFO are prevented. The HFOs released from ISD showed 12 to 16 % lower recidivism rates than their control HFOs released from prison (Cohen’s h = 0.3–0.4). The recidivists of the ISD group also showed a lower reconviction frequency than the control group recidivists (Cohen’s d = 0.2).
The ISD measure seems to be effective in reducing recidivism and crime. The estimated incapacitation effect showed that a large portion of criminal cases and offences was prevented. DD analysis and sensitivity analyses confirmed the robustness of the PSM results. Due to the absence of actual treatment data, the effects found cannot be attributed separately to resocialization, imprisonment, or improvement of life circumstances.
Despite evidence that treatment is effective in reducing recidivism among inmates with substance use problems, scarce resources mean that few of those in need of treatment actually receive it. Computerized substance abuse interventions could be used to expand access to treatment in prisons without placing an undue burden on resources. The major aim of the study was to compare treatment conditions in terms of their service utilization, skills acquisition, and treatment satisfaction.
The study recruited men and women with substance use disorders from 10 prisons in 4 states. In an open label clinical trial, 494 subjects were randomly assigned either to the Experimental condition, a computerized drug treatment intervention, the Therapeutic Education System (TES; n = 249), or to the Control condition, Standard Care (n = 245). Chi-square tests compared groups on categorical variables and independent samples t tests were used for interval level continuous variables.
Initial evidence demonstrated: (1) comparable group rates of session attendance and high rates of TES module completion for experimental subjects; (2) comparable group gains in the development of coping skills; and (3) a more favorable view of TES than of Standard Care.
Collectively, these results show that a computerized intervention, such as TES, can be implemented successfully in prison. Given the barriers to the delivery of substance abuse treatment typically encountered in correctional settings, computerized interventions have the potential to fill a significant treatment gap and are particularly well suited to inmates with mild to moderate substance use disorders who often are not treated.
This study assessed the impact of a multi-component prevention program on personal and property violence across three developmental periods (early adolescence, mid-adolescence and late adolescence/early adulthood).
The preventive intervention targeted disruptive kindergarten boys from low socioeconomic status families when they were 7 through 9 years of age. A randomized control trial was conducted to assess the impact of the preventive intervention relative to a control group.
Two different approaches to data analysis were adopted: an intention-to-treat (ITT) approach and an instrumental variable (IV) approach. Results from the ITT analysis showed that the level of property violence for the intervention group was persistently lower across the three developmental periods compared to the control group. However, the intervention group did not differ from the control group on personal violence throughout adolescence and early adulthood. Results from the IV analysis generally confirmed these findings.
The discussion focuses on the differential effects of the prevention program on personal versus property violence.
Using data from a randomized experiment, to examine whether moving youth out of areas of concentrated poverty, where a disproportionate amount of crime occurs, prevents involvement in crime.
We draw on new administrative data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Moving to Opportunity (MTO) experiment. MTO families were randomized into an experimental group offered a housing voucher that could only be used to move to a low-poverty neighborhood, a Section 8 housing group offered a standard housing voucher, and a control group. This paper focuses on MTO youth ages 15–25 in 2001 (n = 4,643) and analyzes intention to treat effects on neighborhood characteristics and criminal behavior (number of violent- and property-crime arrests) through 10 years after randomization.
We find the offer of a housing voucher generates large improvements in neighborhood conditions that attenuate over time and initially generates substantial reductions in violent-crime arrests and sizable increases in property-crime arrests for experimental group males. The crime effects attenuate over time along with differences in neighborhood conditions.
Our findings suggest that criminal behavior is more strongly related to current neighborhood conditions (situational neighborhood effects) than to past neighborhood conditions (developmental neighborhood effects). The MTO design makes it difficult to determine which specific neighborhood characteristics are most important for criminal behavior. Our administrative data analyses could be affected by differences across areas in the likelihood that a crime results in an arrest.
Most research has suggested that correctional boot camps are not very successful in reducing reoffending, but recent evidence has been more encouraging for programs that include significant rehabilitative components. In line with this, High Intensity Training (HIT) for offenders aged 18–21 at Thorn Cross Young Offender Institution in England was followed by a significant reduction in the number of reconvictions in a 2-year follow up. This article aims to evaluate the impact of the HIT program after 10 years.
The evaluation used a quasi-experimental design in which male young offenders who received HIT were individually matched, on their risk of reconviction, to a comparison group who went to other prisons. Official reconviction data, including the prevalence, frequency, types, and costs of offenses were used as the outcome measures.
Offenders who received HIT had a significantly lower prevalence and frequency of reconvictions, but their superiority over the control group reduced over time (after about 4 years). However, the cumulative number of convictions that were saved increased steadily over time, from 1.35 per offender at 2 years to 3.35 per offender at 10 years. The cumulative cost savings also increased over time, and the benefit:cost ratio, based on fewer convictions, increased from 1.13 at 2 years to 3.93 at 10 years.
The beneficial effects of the HIT program became more obvious over time. More randomized experiments and long-term follow-up research, including regular interviews, are needed to evaluate the cumulative and persisting effects of correctional interventions more accurately.
Only a handful of studies on developmental crime prevention contain very long-term evaluations and all these addressed high-risk groups in English-speaking countries. In contrast, this article investigates long-term outcomes of a bimodal universal prevention program within the Erlangen-Nuremberg Development and Prevention Study (ENDPS) in Germany.
The ENDPS is a combined prospective longitudinal and experimental project that originally consisted of 675 kindergarten children from 609 families who were nearly representative for the local area. In the prevention part of the project, a group-wise randomization and matched pairs design was used to evaluate a training of children’s social problem solving skills, a parent training on positive parenting behavior, and a combination of both programs. Originally, 239 children were each in the program group and control group. Outcomes were measured after ca. 3 months, and 2, 5, and 10 years. The outcome measures varied over time and contained, inter alia, reports on child behavior in the Social Behavior Questionnaire (SBQ) from kindergarten teachers, school teachers, mothers, and the youngsters themselves. The overall retention rates in the ENDPS were satisfactory (e.g., 90 % after 10 years), but missing data from various informants further reduced the groups over time. The outcome evaluation was mainly carried out by causal regression models.
There were various desirable effects of the program not only in the short and medium term but also after 5 and 10 years, i.e. on externalizing behavior, property offences, and total behavioral problems. The significant effects were mostly small (d = .23–.59) and significances became rare over time. As a trend, the combined parent and child training and the child training alone were more effective; however, this was not consistent across all follow-ups. The outcomes did not only vary with regard to time but also between different measures and informants. The youth self-reports and teacher reports were more suitable to detect effects than the mothers’ reports. Children at higher risk seemed to benefit most from the intervention; however, this was also not fully consistent across measures and times.
The various desirable effects of a relatively short and inexpensive universal program are in accordance with a public health approach in developmental crime prevention. However, it should not be seen as an alternative to selective and indicated approaches, but as a ‘foot in the door’ for high-risk children and families that need more intensive and costly programs. The variations in results across time, outcome measures, informants, and program components confirm the heterogeneity of meta-analytic findings in the field. Therefore, one must be aware of ‘fishing for significances’ and research on ‘what works’ should go beyond the content of programs. More studies should investigate how characteristics of program delivery, contexts, participants, and evaluation methods contribute to effectiveness.
To test for any long-term effects on the death rates of domestic assault suspects due to arresting them versus warning them at the scene.
The Milwaukee Domestic Violence Experiment (MilDVE) employed a randomized experimental design with over 98 % treatment as assigned. In 1987–88, 1,200 cases with 1,128 suspects were randomly assigned to arrest or a warning in a 2:1 ratio. Arrested suspects were generally handcuffed and taken to a police station for about 3 to 12 h. Warned suspects were left at liberty at the scene after police read aloud a scripted statement. Death records were obtained in 2012–13 from the Wisconsin Office of Vital Statistics and the Social Security Death Index, with the support of the Milwaukee Police Department.
In the first presenting case in which the 1,128 were identified as suspects, they were randomly assigned to arrest in 756 cases and to a warning in 372. No clear difference in death rates from all causes combined (d = 0.04) was ever evident between the groups, or for five of the six specific categories of cause of death. However, a clear difference in homicide victimizations of the suspects emerged between those arrested and those warned. At 23 years after enrolment, suspects assigned to arrest were almost three times more likely to have died of homicide (at 2.25 % of suspects) than suspects assigned to a warning (at 0.81 %), a small to moderate effect size (d = 0.39) with marginal significance (two-tailed p = 0.096; relative risk ratio = 2.79:1; 90 % CI = 1.0007 to 7.7696). Cox regressions controlling for suspects’ stakes in conformity (employment and marriage) show that homicide victimization for arrested suspects is three times that of warned suspects (p = 0.07), although no interactions are yet significant. Logistic regression with more covariates increases arrest effects on homicide to 3.2 times more than warnings (p = 0.06).
Suspects randomly assigned to arrest died from homicide at a consistently higher rate than controls over a two-decade period, but the difference was not statistically discernible until the 22nd year after assignment. Long-term follow-up of randomized experiments is essential for detecting mortality differences that substantially affect cost–benefit analyses of criminal justice practices.
This study was designed to provide experimental evidence of the effects of a preschool program on young children living in poverty. It began as a program evaluation but now, half a century later, serves as a test of the long-term effects and return on investment of high-quality preschool education for young children living in poverty.
This study was conducted in the U.S., beginning in the 1960s, and has generated data on study participants from birth through 40, with new data now being collected at age 50. The study used random assignment procedures to assign 123 children to a preschool program and a control group who receive no preschool program.
Program participants surpassed non-participants in intellectual performance at school entry, school achievement throughout schooling, commitment to schooling, high school graduation rate, adult employment rate and earnings, reduced childhood antisocial behavior, and reduced adult crime and incarceration. The program's return on investment was at least seven times as great as its operating cost.
While these powerful results have been found not only in this study but in several similar studies, they have not been found in studies of larger preschool programs, such as the Head Start Impact Study. This discrepancy suggests that differences between the two types of programs account for the better results found in studies such as this one. Among these differences are highly qualified teachers, a valid child development curriculum, extensive engagement of parents, and regular assessment of program implementation and children's development
The study tests whether participation in interventions offered by a subset of sites from the National Safe Start Promising Approaches for Children Exposed to Violence initiative improved outcomes for children relative to controls.
The study pools data from the nine Safe Start sites that randomized families to intervention and control groups, using a within-site block randomization strategy based on child age at baseline. Caregiver-reported outcomes, assessed at baseline, 6 and 12 months, included caregiver personal problems, caregiver resource problems, parenting stress, child and caregiver victimization, child trauma symptoms, child behavior problems, and social-emotional competence.
Results revealed no measurable intervention impact in intent-to-treat analyses at either 6- or 12-month post-baseline. In 6-month as-treated analyses, a medium to high intervention dose was associated with improvement on two measures of child social-emotional competence: cooperation and assertion. Overall, there is no reliable evidence of significant site-to-site effect variability, even in the two cases of significant intervention effect.
Since families in both the intervention and control groups received some degree of case management and both groups improved over time, it may be advantageous to explore the potential impacts of crisis and case management separately from mental health interventions. It may be that, on average, children in families whose basic needs are being attended to improve substantially on their own.
We undertook a systematic review and meta-analysis to synthesize the published and unpublished empirical evidence on the impact of police-led interventions that use procedurally just dialogue focused on improving citizen perceptions of police legitimacy.
The systematic search included any public police intervention where there was a statement that the intervention involved police dialogue with citizens that either was aimed explicitly at improving police legitimacy, or used at least one core ingredient of procedural justice dialogue: police encouraging citizen participation, remaining neutral in their decision making, conveying trustworthy motives, or demonstrating dignity and respect throughout interactions. The studies included in our meta-analyses also had to include at least one direct outcome that measured legitimacy or procedural justice, or one outcome that is common in the legitimacy extant literature: citizen compliance, cooperation, confidence or satisfaction with police. We conducted separate meta-analyses, using random effects models, for each outcome.
For every single one of our outcome measures, the effect of legitimacy policing was in a positive direction, and, for all but the legitimacy outcome, statistically significant. Notwithstanding the variability in the mode in which legitimacy policing is delivered (i.e., the study intervention) and the complexities around measurement of legitimacy outcomes, our review shows that the dialogue component of front-line police-led interventions is an important vehicle for promoting citizen satisfaction, confidence, compliance and cooperation with the police, and for enhancing perceptions of procedural justice.
In practical terms, our research shows the benefits of police using dialogue that adopts at least one of the principles of procedural justice as a component part of any type of police intervention, whether as part of routine police activity or as part of a defined police crime control program. Our review provides evidence that legitimacy policing is an important precursor for improving the capacity of policing to prevent and control crime.
To evaluate the relative contributions of poaching and habitat loss to the endangerment of neotropical parrots
A matched case-control design was employed. Using NatureServe digitized range maps for birds in the Americas, 145 neotropical parrot species were individually matched with 145 control species, from similar ranges and, by proxy, from similar habitats. The control species were taxonomically similar, mid-sized, forest-dwelling birds that, like parrots, use holes and cavities for breeding and roosting. The conservation status of the parrots and control birds was established through the IUCN Red List of endangered species.
Nearly five times as many parrot species (59 out of 145) as non-parrots (13 out of 145) are threatened with extinction to some degree. In 54 out of 65 pairs with unequal conservation status, the parrot species is at greater risk of extinction.
Subject to limitations of the matching employed and the use of range data as a proxy for habitat, it is concluded that poaching is a strong threat to the conservation of neotropical parrots—perhaps stronger than habitat loss. Criminologists therefore have an important part to play in conservation of parrots, and perhaps also in conservation of other endangered species, through identification and implementation of measures to control poaching.
The purpose of the present meta-analysis was to answer the question: Can the Andrews principles of risk, needs, and responsivity, originally developed for programs that treat offenders, be extended to programs that treat drug abusers?
Drawing from a dataset that included 243 independent comparisons, we conducted random-effects meta-regression and ANOVA-analog meta-analyses to test the Andrews principles by averaging crime and drug use outcomes over a diverse set of programs for drug abuse problems.
For crime outcomes, in the meta-regressions, the point estimates for each of the principles were substantial, consistent with previous studies of the Andrews principles. There was also a substantial point estimate for programs exhibiting a greater number of the principles. However, almost all the 95 % confidence intervals included the zero point. For drug use outcomes, in the meta-regressions, the point estimates for each of the principles was approximately zero; however, the point estimate for programs exhibiting a greater number of the principles was somewhat positive. All the estimates for the drug use principles had confidence intervals that included the zero point.
This study supports previous findings from primary research studies targeting the Andrews principles that those principles are effective in reducing crime outcomes, here in meta-analytic research focused on drug treatment programs. By contrast, programs that follow the principles appear to have very little effect on drug use outcomes. Primary research studies that experimentally test the Andrews principles in drug treatment programs are recommended.
Social and psychological interventions are often complex. Understanding randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of these complex interventions requires a detailed description of the interventions tested and the methods used to evaluate them; however, RCT reports often omit, or inadequately report, this information. Incomplete and inaccurate reporting hinders the optimal use of research, wastes resources, and fails to meet ethical obligations to research participants and consumers.
In this paper, we explain how reporting guidelines have improved the quality of reports in medicine, and describe the on-going development of a new reporting guideline for RCTs: CONSORT-SPI (an extension for social and psychological interventions).
We invite readers to participate in the project by visiting our website, in order to help us reach the best-informed consensus on these guidelines (http://tinyurl.com/CONSORT-study).
We comment on Grant and colleagues’ proposal to develop an extension to the CONSORT statement for social interventions, and propose that crime and justice interventions should be considered a special case, due to the added complexities of reporting consent, coercion and harm in criminal justice experiments.
The aim of this work is to examine the promise that propensity scores can yield accurate effect estimates in nonrandomized experiments, review research on the realities of the conditions needed to meet this promise, and caution against irrational exuberance about their capacity to meet this promise.
A review of selected experimental work that illustrates both the promise and realities of propensity score analysis.
Propensity score analysis of nonrandomized experiments can yield the same results as randomized experiments. Those estimates depend on meeting the strong ignorability assumption that the available covariates well describe selection processes and on use of comparison groups that are from the same location with very similar focal characteristics. When those assumptions are not met, propensity scores may not yield accurate estimates.
The use of propensity score analysis has proliferated exponentially, especially in the last decade, but careful attention to its assumptions seems to be very rare in practice. Researchers and policymakers who rely on these extensive propensity score applications may be using evidence of largely unknown validity. All stakeholders should devote far more empirical attention to justifying that each study has met these assumptions.
This study describes and provides relapse and recidivism outcome findings related to an experimental trial evaluating the viability of frequent, random drug testing with consequences for use.
The sample consisted of 529 offenders released on parole. An experimental design with random assignment to one of three groups was employed. The Experimental Group received frequent, random drug testing with instant results, immediate sanctions, and referral for substance abuse treatment. Control Group I received frequent, random drug testing and treatment referral, but did not receive immediate test results or immediate sanctions. Control Group II followed standard parole practice. Members of this group were not tested on a random basis and did not receive immediate sanctions. Repeated measures ANOVA and survival analysis techniques were used to explore group differences.
Frequent monitoring of drug use with randomized testing protocols, immediate feedback, and certain consequences is effective in lowering rates of relapse and recidivism. The effectiveness is particularly salient in the short term during the period of exposure to testing conditions.
The findings lend support to the use of randomized testing with swift and certain sanctions with parolees. Additional quality evidence is necessary to generalize and refine findings from this study and others that focus on sanction certainty. Future replications must consider the immediacy of test result and sanction execution as well as the length of exposure to randomized testing periods.
In the present randomized controlled trial, the effectiveness of multisystemic therapy (MST) in The Netherlands was examined. Moderator tests were conducted for ethnicity, age and gender.
The sample consisted of N = 256 adolescents, referred because of conduct problems, and randomized to MST or treatment as usual (TAU). Assessments (questionnaires and observational ratings) took place before and immediately after the treatment.
MST was more effective than TAU in decreasing externalizing behavior, ODD, CD and property offences, but not for violence. Findings were mixed for adolescents’ and parental cognitions: the MST group, compared to TAU, showed an improvement in parental sense of competence, and a decrease in adolescents’ hostility, but no change in self-esteem and an increase in personal failure. MST was effective for positive dimensions of parenting and associations with prosocial peers, but not for relationships with deviant peers. MST was equally effective for adolescents of different ages and with different ethnicities. However, MST showed larger (and more positive) effects for adolescent cognitions for boys than for girls.
Effects of MST in The Netherlands are generally comparable to the positive findings reported in American and Norwegian trials. MST seems equally effective across age and ethnic minority groups, but some gender moderator effects were found for adolescent cognitions.
To test the effects of short-term police patrol operations using license plate readers (LPRs) on crime and disorder at crime hot spots in Mesa, Arizona.
The study employed a randomized experimental design. For 15 successive 2-week periods, a four-officer squad conducted short daily operations to detect stolen and other vehicles of interest at randomly selected hot spot road segments at varying times of day. Based on random assignment, the unit operated with LPRs on some routes and conducted extensive manual checks of license plates on others. Using random effects panel models, we examined the impact of these operations on violent, property, drug, disorder, and auto theft offenses as measured by calls for service.
Compared to control conditions with standard patrol strategies, the LPR locations had reductions in calls for drug offenses that lasted for at least several weeks beyond the intervention, while the non-LPR, manual check locations exhibited briefer reductions in calls regarding person offenses and auto theft. There were also indications of crime displacement associated with some offenses, particularly drug offenses.
The findings suggest that use of LPRs can reduce certain types of offenses at hot spots and that rotation of short-term LPR operations across hot spots may be an effective way for police agencies to employ small numbers of LPR devices. More generally, the results also provide some support for Sherman’s (1990) crackdown theory, which suggests that police can improve their effectiveness in preventing crime through frequent rotation of short-term crackdowns across targets, as it applies to hot spot policing.
Advance the methodological techniques used to examine the influence of suspect race and ethnicity on participant decisions to shoot in an experimental setting.
After developing and testing a novel set of 60 realistic, high definition video deadly force scenarios based on 30 years of official data on officer-involved shootings in the United States, three separate experiments were conducted testing police (n = 36), civilian (n= 72) and military (n = 6) responses (n = 1,812) to the scenarios in high-fidelity computerized training simulators. Participants’ responses to White, Black and Hispanic suspects in potentially deadly situations were analyzed using a multi-level mixed methods strategy. Key response variables were reaction time to shoot and shooting errors.
In all three experiments using a more externally valid research method than previous studies, we found that participants took longer to shoot Black suspects than White or Hispanic suspects. In addition, where errors were made, participants across experiments were more likely to shoot unarmed White suspects than unarmed Black or Hispanic suspects, and were more likely to fail to shoot armed Black suspects than armed White or Hispanic suspects. In sum, this research found that participants displayed significant bias favoring Black suspects in their decisions to shoot.
The results of these three experiments challenge the results of less robust experimental designs and shed additional light on the broad issue of the role that status characteristics, such as race and ethnicity, play in the criminal justice system. Future research should explore the generalizability of these findings, determine whether bias favoring Black suspects is a consequence of administrative measures (e.g., education, training, policies, and laws), and identify the cognitive processes that underlie this phenomenon.
The most common approach to treatment of domestic violence crimes in the United States is the mandated group-based Batterer Intervention Program (BIP). Several alternative treatment approaches have been developed over the years, including a restorative justice-based treatment program for domestic violence offenders called Circles of Peace (CP). This study compared a CP program administered in Arizona with a local BIP program, in controlled settings.
This study involved a randomized controlled trial with 152 domestic violence cases randomly assigned to either BIP or CP between September 2005 and March 2007. Independent sample t tests were used to measure treatment outcomes post-random assignment, in terms of both domestic violence and non-domestic violence re-arrest rates during four follow-up periods (6, 12, 18, and 24 months).
CP participants experienced less recidivism than BIP during all follow-up comparisons. However, statistically significant differences were detected only for the 6-month (p < .1) and the 12-month (p < .05) follow-up comparisons for non-domestic violence re-arrests, and no statistically significant differences were detected for the domestic violence re-arrests.
The findings are generally statistically non-significant at .05. While these results do not suggest a change in policy from BIP to CP for domestic violence crimes, it does dispel the popular belief that restorative justice cannot be used to treat domestic violence criminal activity, in that CP does no worse than the traditional batterer intervention program. Given the low statistical power and high attrition rates, more research is necessary to test CP and restorative justice treatment generally in court-mandated domestic violence cases in order to understand the treatment impact on both domestic violence and non-domestic violence offenders.
This paper reviews the historical changes in correctional policies and the impact these changes have had on the operations of corrections and correctional programs. Social changes and theoretical perspectives moved corrections away from a focus on rehabilitation to programs characterized by deterrence, incapacitation, and control. Similarly, theoretical criminology encouraged corrections to move away from rehabilitation towards programs designed to provide social opportunities such as employment and housing for offenders. This paper examines whether these changes in policies and programs have been effective in reducing recidivism. The question is: What works in corrections?
This paper reviews the research examining the impact of correctional policies and programs on the later criminal activities of offenders and delinquents. Research using systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and the Maryland method scores is used to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of various types of programs, management strategies, and policies.
Research demonstrates programs based on deterrence, incapacitation and increased control do not reduce the future criminal activities of offenders and delinquents. Nor have programs targeting social opportunities such as employment and housing been effective in reducing recidivism. The most effective programs target individual-level change in thinking and information processing.
In the search for ways to sanction offenders, U.S. correctional policies and programs using control, deterrence, and incapacitation have harmed individuals and communities. Such programs have not been effective in reducing recidivism. While programs that provide social opportunities for offenders do not necessarily harm offenders neither do they decrease later criminal activities. Effective programs bring about a cognitive transformation in offenders and delinquents. Theorists have begun to develop hypotheses about how and why these transformations are effective. The current emphasis on evidence-based programs, the research evidence on what is effective and the need to reduce the cost of corrections suggest we are on the brink of another paradigm change. Where this will take us is still unclear, but the paradigm will have to address the current problems facing the U.S. correctional systems.
A 2010 article by the Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group considers an important social and public policy problem: can early psychosocial intervention prevent delinquency? The article examines the effects of the Fast Track preventive intervention on youth arrests and self-reported delinquent behavior through age 19. The article reports that the intervention reduced court-recorded juvenile arrest activity as well as a range of other disparate effects.
This comment assesses the methodology employed in the article.
The original article suffers from a range of methodological problems. First and foremost, the article includes a large number of statistical tests and highlights only a subset that are statistically significant. As this article demonstrates, these findings likely involve “false discoveries” or chance findings. Uncertainty about the study’s findings is increased still further by problems of randomization, the treatment of site, the handling of missing data, and the inclusion of a collider as a covariate in key analyses. A proper assessment of the study’s meaning and implications has been impeded by inaccuracies in how the study’s methodology has been described over time.
The original article offers chance findings, suffers from methodological errors and builds on a flawed study design. As a result, it is impossible to conclude that “that a comprehensive preventive intervention can prevent juvenile arrest rates”. What the intervention would accomplish were it implemented in a new community is unknown.
The aim of this paper is to respond to the Commentary, “Reassessing Findings from the Fast Track Study: Problems of Methods and Analysis” provided by E. Michael Foster (Foster, this issue) to our article “Fast Track Intervention Effects on Youth Arrests and Delinquency” (Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group 2010, Journal of Experimental Criminology, 6, 131–157). Our response begins with a description of the mission and goals of the Fast Track project, and how they guided the original design of the study and continue to inform outcome analyses. Then, we respond to the Commentary’s five points in the order they were raised.
We agree with the Commentary that efforts to prevent crime and delinquency are of high public health significance because the costs of crime and delinquency to society are indeed enormous. We believe that rigorous, careful intervention research is needed to accumulate evidence that informs prevention programs and activities. We have appreciated the opportunity to respond to the Commentary and to clarify the procedures and results that we presented in our paper on Fast Track effects on youth arrests and delinquency. Our response has clarified the framework for the number of statistical tests made, has reiterated the randomization process, has supported our tests for site-by-intervention effects, has provided our rationale for assuming missing at random, and has clarified that the incarceration variable was not included as a covariate in the hazard analyses. We stand by our conclusion that random assignment to Fast Track had a positive impact in preventing juvenile arrests, and we echo our additional caveat that it will be essential to determine whether intervention produces any longer-term effects on adult arrests as the sample transitions into young adulthood. We also appreciate the opportunity for open scientific debate on the values and risks associated with multiple analyses in long-term prevention program designs such as Fast Track. We believe that, once collected, completed longitudinal intervention datasets should be fully used to understand the impact, process, strengths, and weaknesses of the intervention approach. We agree with the Commentary that efforts to prevent crime and delinquency are of high public health significance because the costs of crime and delinquency to society are indeed enormous. As a result, we argue that it is important to balance the need to maintain awareness and caution regarding potential risks in the design or approach that may confound interpretation of findings, in the manner raised by the Commentator, with the need for extended analyses of the available data so we can better understand over time how antisocial behavior and violence can be effectively reduced.
To assess the impact of a positive behavioral reinforcement intervention on psychosocial functioning of inmates over the course of treatment and on post-treatment self-reported measures of treatment participation, progress, and satisfaction.
Male (n = 187) and female (n = 143) inmates participating in 12-week prison-based intensive outpatient (IOP) drug treatment were randomly assigned to receive standard treatment (ST) or standard treatment plus positive behavioral reinforcement (BR) for engaging in targeted activities and behaviors. Participants were assessed for psychosocial functioning at baseline and at the conclusion of treatment (post-treatment). Self-reported measures of treatment participation, treatment progress, and treatment satisfaction were also captured at post-treatment.
The intervention affected female and male subjects differently and not always in a way that favored BR subjects, as compared to the ST subjects, most notably on measures of depression and criminal thinking.
Possible explanations for the results include differences in the male and female custody environments combined with the procedures that study participants had to follow to earn and/or receive positive reinforcement at the two study sites, as well as baseline differences between the genders and a possible floor effect among females on measures of criminality. Limitations of the study included the inability to make study participants blind to the study conditions and the possible over-branding of the study, which may have influenced the results.
To examine the effectiveness of young offender rehabilitation programs in Europe as part of an international project on the transnational transfer of approaches to reducing reoffending.
A literature search of approximately 27,000 titles revealed 25 controlled evaluations that fulfilled eligibility criteria, such as treatment of adjudicated young offenders below the age of 25, equivalence of treatment and control groups, and outcomes on reoffending. In total, the studies contained 7,940 offenders with a mean age of 17.9 years.
Outcomes in the primary studies ranged widely from odds ratio (OR) = 0.58 to 6.99, and the mean effect was significant and in favor of treatment (OR = 1.34). Behavioral and cognitive-behavioral treatment ranked above average (OR = 1.73), whereas purely deterrent and supervisory interventions revealed a slightly negative outcome (OR = 0.85). Programs that were conducted in accordance with the risk–need–responsivity principles revealed the strongest mean effect (OR = 1.90), which indicates a reduction of 16 % in reoffending against a baseline of 50 %. Studies of community treatment, with small samples, high program fidelity, and conducted as part of a demonstration project had larger effects; high methodological rigor was related to slightly smaller outcomes. Large effect size differences between evaluations from the UK and continental Europe disappeared when controlling for other study characteristics.
Overall, most findings agreed with North American meta-analyses. However, two-thirds of the studies were British, and in most European countries there was no sound evaluation of young offender treatment at all. This limits the generalization of results and underlines the policy need for systematic evaluation of programs and outcome moderators across different countries.
This study provides a Finnish replication of a recent Swiss experiment (Walser and Killias: J Exp Criminol 8:17–28, 2012) on the supervision mode effects in computerized delinquency surveys in schools. This study supplements the Swiss study by using individual level randomization and two additional outcome variables: meta-questions of response integrity and incidence-counting heuristics.
A total of 924 ninth grade students (15–16 years old) in southern Finland were randomly assigned (at the level of individuals) to supervision either by their teachers or by an external research assistant. Students then responded to an online self-report delinquency survey. Chi-square and t tests were used to compare prevalence levels and means.
In both last year and lifetime recall periods, only one offence type (unspecified theft) showed significantly different outcomes, with external supervision yielding a higher prevalence figure. For other offences, no supervision effects were found. When females and males were separately examined, limited evidence of gender-specific supervision effects emerged. Thus, females appear to report more thefts in external supervision while males report more violence in teacher supervision. No statistically significant supervision effects were found in questions probing response integrity and counting heuristics.
Using teacher supervision in online self-report delinquency surveys does not appear to compromise the validity of the survey results. The findings thus largely corroborate the results of the earlier Swiss test. How supervision condition interacts with respondent characteristics apart from gender calls for further scrutiny.