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Volume 16 Issue 1

The Effects of Neighboring, Social Networks, and Collective Efficacy on Crime Victimization: An Alternative Systemic model of Social Disorganization

Soto, A. J., Trahan, A., McGrath, J.

The current study was designed to test a full systemic model of social disorganization and develop better indicators for intervening variables. Data come from the 2002-2003 Seattle Neighborhoods and Crime Survey (n = 2,200). Measures include six exogenous structural variables. Intervening variables are neighboring, social networks, and collective efficacy. Structural equation modeling was used to explore the direct and indirect effects of these measures on crime victimization. Results show neighboring had a direct positive effect and an indirect negative effect via collective efficacy on crime victimization. Two constructs for social networks emerged. Neighborhood networks showed a negative indirect effect on victimization via collective efficacy. Non-neighborhood networks showed a direct positive effect on victimization. Implications of the findings, as well as limitations and directions for future research, are discussed.

Systematic Review of Recidivism Rates of Older Adult Male Sex Offenders

Smethurst, A. J., Bamford, J., Tully, R. J.

This study aimed to systematically review the recidivism rates of older male sex offenders (50+) relative to their younger counterparts.

Perceptions of Criminal Responsibility Through the Lens of Race

Gamache, K., Platania, J., Zaitchik, M.

Historically, Black defendants have faced more severe sentences compared to White defendants. Research investigating this phenomenon in the paradigm of the insanity defense, found that Black defendants were acquitted as “not guilty by reason of insanity” (NGRI) significantly more often than White defendants (Poulson, 1990). In the current study, we investigate the influence of race of defendant and race of victim on judgments of NGRI in a 3 (race of victim: Black v. White v. Hispanic) x 3 (race of defendant: Black v. White v. Hispanic) between-subjects design. Our results indicated that a Hispanic defendant was acquitted NGRI more frequently and perceived as least dangerous compared to Black and White defendants. Assessments of future dangerousness were greatest when the defendant was Black and the victim was White. This finding provides supporting evidence of a crossrace effect within the context of criminal responsibility (Baldus et al., 1998). In addition, our findings offer an alternative to Poulson (1990), expanding this research to include Hispanic minorities as essential in this paradigm, and contribute to the research on the cross-race victim effect with juror decision making.

Mock Jurors' Comprehension of Aggravating and Mitigating Factors: The Impact of Timing and Type of Sentencing Phase Instructions

Maier, S. L., Mannes, S., Foster, E. E.

Research concludes that after receiving sentencing phase instructions in capital cases, mock jurors do not understand aggravating and mitigating factors, and the behaviors or circumstances that contribute to each (e.g., Smith & Haney, 2011). Through utilization of a real murder trial transcript, the present study examines the effects of the simplicity (standard or simplified) and timing of the sentencing phase instructions (before or after sentencing phase testimony) on mock jurors’ understanding of such factors. Thematic analysis of open-ended responses to survey questions also explores the nature of mock jurors’ (mis)understanding. Results indicate that there is a relationship between type of instructions given and participants’ understanding of both aggravating and mitigating factors. Simplified instructions resulted in better, but still poor, understanding. However, no statistically significant relationships are found between instruction timing and participants’ understanding of aggravating or mitigating factors. Open-ended responses reveal ways in which participants erroneously define aggravating and mitigating factors, which could aid policy makers in the rewriting of sentencing phase instructions.

Cheese It, It's the Fuzz: Testing the Belief that Guilt Predicts Police Avoidance

Reynolds, J. J., Estrada-Reynolds, V., Freng, S., McCrea, S. M.

Police officers must rely on the available information when investigating crimes. One cue police sometimes rely on is suspect movement (e.g., furtive movements and headlong flight). The courts have explicitly allowed officers to use this information to support warrantless searches. Yet, there is scant empirical evidence examining whether suspect movement is associated with guilt. Using 141 participants in an experimental design, we examined whether individuals who were made guilty (experimentally) would be more likely to avoid a police representation in a social distance paradigm. We also examined a second legal perspective, that racial minorities or individuals who have low police legitimacy would be more likely to avoid the police. Using Bayesian statistics and information criteria we found that neither guilt nor race was associated with avoidance, but feeling guilty was positively associated with avoidance.

Mental Health, Stigma, Gender, And Seeking Treatment: Interpretations and Experiences of Prison Employees

Ricciardelli, R., Haynes, S. H., Burdette, A., Keena, L., McCreary, D. R., Carleton, R. N., Lambert, E. G., Groll, D.

Social and personal stigma surrounding mental disorders among public safety personnel (PSP), including correctional staff, is undergoing a process of transformation. We examined how diverse Canadian prison staff interpret mental health and treatment seeking.