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Thinking About Corrections

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    New Research Reports on Reentry

    Followers of the literature on reentry may be interested in a new post on the Correctional Research Roundtable forum regarding three new reports from the Urban Institute's Returning Home study.
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    CSG Justice Center Releases Guide to Manage Mentally Ill in Community Corrections

    The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center announced today the release of a policy and practice guide for managing mentally ill offenders in the community (see attached press release). The publication, Improving Outcomes for People with Mental Illnesses under Community Supervision , was developed with support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the National Institute of Corrections. The guide reviews the body of recent research on community corrections supervision...
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    Examining the Parole Experience

    New in the Urban Institute's Returning Home series of reports examining the challenges of prisoner reentry is a research brief focusing on the impact of parole supervision. Returning Home on Parole : Former Prisoners' Experiences in Illinois, Ohio, and Texas includes findings regarding the usefulness of parole officers in the transition process, the relationships between parole supervision and employment and substance use, the effect of supervision on reincarceration, and who benefits more...
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    What Works/Does Not Work in Reentry

    As Federal, state, and local governments look toward reentry programming as a means to improve outcomes for prisoners returning to the community, researchers are beginning to produce results regarding the effectiveness of these efforts. The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency has just posted an extensive review of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections' Community Orientation and Reintegration (COR) program, research done by Linda G. Smith and Denise R. Suttle of the International...
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    10 Steps for Corrections Directors, Plus Assessing Consistency and Fairness in Sentencing

    As a result of "hundreds of hours of interviews with a wide cross section of officials from 45 state corrections departments in an effort to spotlight the most effective management practices," the Pew Center on the States brings us Ten Steps Corrections Directors Can Take to Strengthen Performance , which "showcases innovative strategies to improve correctional systems’ performance, transparency and accountability." Also new on the Pew site is Assessing Consistency and Fairness...
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    What Contributes to Recidivism?

    The Urban Institute has released a double whammy examining factors contributing to recidivism. Working in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Corrections, the Massachusetts Recidivism Study contains three interrelated study components addressed in two new reports. Massachusetts Recidivism Study: A Closer Look at Releases and Returns to Prison analyzes DOC administrative data and recidivism on a variety of statistical and demographic fronts. Its companion report, Reincarcerated: The...
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    Saving Money by Expanding Drug Treatment

    As states look to balance burgeoning costs with public safety needs, the Urban Institute has released a timely report on the cost-benefits of expanding the availability of drug treatment among arrestees. In To Treat or Not to Treat: Evidence on the Prospects of Expanding Treatment to Drug-Involved Offenders, the authors find that strict eligibility rules are limiting access to treatment, and they simulate several policy changes to provide guidance to policymakers on the cost-benefits of treatment...
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    What Are the Most Dangerous Everyday Objects in Your Facility?

    Correctional officers in prisons and jails face an environment in which they are surrounded by potentially dangerous inmates with access to ordinary items that can be converted into weapons. In a new NIJ-funded report, Improving Correctional Officer Safety : Reducing Inmate Weapons, a panel of practitioners from the correctional community, along with researchers from Johns Hopkins University, looks at which everyday objects pose the greatest threat to correctional officers in the real world environment...
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    Does Faith Play a Role in Reducing Criminality?

    What, if any, is the impact of religion in promoting pro-social behaviors? This is the question Baylor University, Institute for Studies of Religion sought to answer by using standards of scholarship to examine issues of faith. Their studies indicate that religious commitment, particularly among youth, promotes self-control and enhances protective factors regarding drug use, academic performance and in altering the behaviors of high-risk youth.
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    What Constitutes A "Good" Study, Part Deux

    The guidelines are posted! I previously wrote about Public Safety Canada's work in defining guidelines for evaluating research study quality, and the detailed guidelines are now online. While specifically addressing sexual offender treatment outcome research, parameters such as administrative control of independent variables, experimenter expectancies, sample size, attrition, and equivalence of groups should provide guidance to those assessing a much broader range of correctional research in...
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    What Factors Drive Disproportionate Minority Contact in the Juvenile Justice System?

    A report funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention highlights a delinquency study from three (3) metropolitan areas that examines disproportionate minority contact and the impact it may have on decision making by police and courts. The Program of Research on the Causes and Correlates of Delinquency produced this report in its ongoing mission to "improve the understanding of serious delinquency, violence, and drug use by examining how youth develop within the context...
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    Violence Prediction - In the Institution, and After Release

    How well do risk assessment tools predict institutional violence or violent recidivism? Once again, Canada's Public Safety department takes a thoughtful look at an important question. In the newly posted report, Assessing the Utility of Risk Assessment Tools and Personality Measures in the Prediction of Violent Recidivism for Adult Offenders , authors Campbell, French, and Gendreau conduct a meta-analysis of studies examining the effectiveness of tools such as the LSI-R, VRAG, SIR, HCR-20,and...
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    What Works in Assessing Sex Offender Recidivism Risk

    How does professional clinical judgment stack up against actuarial measures in assessing which sexual offenders will offend again? Canada's Public Safety department takes on this question in a new meta-analysis of evaluations. Results can be read in the report, The Accuracy of Recidivism Risk Assessments for Sexual Offenders: A Meta-Analysis .
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    Factoring in Treatment Dropouts

    An important issue in research on the effectiveness of correctional treatment programs is the tricky influence of non-completers on research outcomes. The Correctional Service of Canada has just posted two studies addressing dropouts: Estimating Risk of Dropout and Expulsion from Correctional Programs, and The Heterogeneity of Treatment Non-Completers . Also newly posted are two program evaluations: An Examination of the Effectiveness of the Violence Prevention Program , and The "In Search of...
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This blog is funded by a contract from the National Institute of Corrections, U.S. Department of Justice. Points of view or opinions stated in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.