Furtherance of crime

Kevin Lewis

July 26, 2019

Under the radar or under arrest: How is adolescent boys’ first contact with the juvenile justice system related to future offending and arrests?
Jordan Beardslee et al.
Law and Human Behavior, August 2019, Pages 342-357

This study examined the extent to which being arrested during adolescence was associated with subsequent self-reported offending and court-recorded arrests. We also examined whether the way in which the justice system processed adolescents was related to the nature of these associations. The sample included 532 boys who had been arrested (“justice-system-involved”) and 99 boys who had never been arrested despite engaging in similar illegal behaviors (“no-justice-system-contact”). Data included official arrest records and youths’ self-reported illegal behavior at a baseline interview and a follow-up 6 months later. To reduce group differences at baseline, we calculated matching weights with 2 dozen variables and used these weights in all analyses. Results demonstrated that the groups differed in their rate of change in self-reported offending between the 2 interviews and in their likelihood of being arrested during the study period. The no-justice-system-contact group self-reported the same amount of offending at baseline and the follow up, whereas the justice-system-involved youth who received the most lenient disposition (i.e., sanction and dismiss) decreased their self-reported violent, theft or property, and total offending, and the justice-system-involved youth who received the most punitive disposition (i.e., adjudication) increased their self-reported violent offending. All justice-system-involved youth were more likely to be arrested during the study period than the no-justice-system-contact youth, even after accounting for self-reported offending. Thus, even though some justice system interventions were associated with less subsequent offending, involvement with the juvenile justice system during adolescence, in and of itself, is a significant risk factor for repeated contact with the system.

Firearm Ownership and Domestic Versus Nondomestic Homicide in the U.S.
Aaron Kivisto et al.
American Journal of Preventive Medicine, forthcoming

Methods: Several sources of state-level panel data from 1990 through 2016 were merged from each of the 50 states to model domestic (i.e., family and intimate partners) and nondomestic firearm homicide as a function of state-level household firearm ownership. Firearm ownership was examined using a validated proxy measure and homicide rates came from the Supplemental Homicide Reports of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reports. Negative binomial regression with fixed effects was used to model the outcomes and employed generalized estimating equations to account for clustering within states. Statistical analyses were completed in 2018.

Results: State-level firearm ownership was uniquely associated with domestic (incidence rate ratio=1.013, 95% CI=1.008, 1.018) but not nondomestic (incidence rate ratio=1.002, 95% CI=0.996, 1.008) firearm homicide rates, and this pattern held for both male and female victims. States in the top quartile of firearm ownership had a 64.6% (p<0.001) higher incidence rate of domestic firearm homicide than states in the lowest quartile; however, states in the top quartile did not differ significantly from states in the lowest quartile of firearm ownership in observed incidence rates of nondomestic firearm homicide.

Adolescents’ confidence in institutions: Do America’s youth differentiate between legal and social institutions?
Adam Fine, Emily Kan & Elizabeth Cauffman
Developmental Psychology, August 2019, Pages 1758-1767

It is widely believed that there is a crisis of confidence in law enforcement in the United States. What remains to be seen, however, is whether adolescents actually differentiate between legal authorities and other types of authorities. Leveraging cross-sectional, nationally representative data of 12th graders from every year from 2006 to 2017 from Monitoring the Future (N = 10,941), the results indicate that adolescents distinguish between legal authorities (e.g., law enforcement, justice system) and social authorities (e.g., schools, religious institutions). Youth report more confidence in social authorities than in legal authorities. Furthermore, whereas confidence in social authorities remained largely stable between the cohorts over the last decade, confidence in legal authorities, and in law enforcement in particular, has declined markedly. Although there may be an era of mistrust in legal authorities, it cannot be attributed to a ubiquitous anti-authority attitude among modern adolescents in the United States.

Using Interval-Level Metrics to Investigate Situational-, Suspect-, and Officer-Level Predictors of Police Performance During Encounters With the Public
Lois James et al.
Police Quarterly, forthcoming

The issue of how to measure the impact of situational-, suspect-, and officer-level factors on police actions has long been debated in the policing literature. One promising method is to use interval-level metrics developed via a combined method of concept mapping and Thurstone scaling. Our objective here was to use these metrics to score 667 incident reports from a large (n ∼ 1,500) urban police department. From this process, we explored significant trends in how police officers perform during encounters with the public. We found that officers performed better in “higher stakes” encounters and excelled in vigilance situational assessment as well as use of tactics and adapting tactics. Officers tended to receive the worst scores in routine police-citizen interactions and the highest in crisis encounters. Interpretation and implications of these findings for American policing are discussed.

Disciplinary Segregation’s Effects on Inmate Behavior: Institutional and Community Outcomes
Youngki Woo et al.
Criminal Justice Policy Review, forthcoming

Disciplinary segregation (DS) is practiced in a variety of correctional settings and a growing body of research explores its subsequent effects among offenders. The present study contributes to this literature by analyzing the impact of short-term DS on violent infractions and community recidivism among a sample of inmates in Washington State. We assessed the impact of DS on these outcomes from deterrence and stain theory perspectives while controlling for social support variables such as visitations and correctional programming. Mentally ill offenders were excluded, as their abilities to make rational choices may be inconsistent with deterrence theory. Results show DS does not significantly affect post-DS infractions. Social supports significantly reduced inmates’ odds of violent infractions while incarcerated. Community models indicate no substantive differences between the DS and non-DS groups on post-prison convictions 3 years after release. Overall, DS exhibited limited effects on offenders’ institutional or community outcomes.

Police Violence and Public Perceptions: An Experimental Study of How Information and Endorsements Affect Support for Law Enforcement
Cheryl Boudreau, Scott MacKenzie & Daniel Simmons
Journal of Politics, July 2019, Pages 1101-1110

Incidents of police violence can undermine trust in legal authorities. Whether such incidents have this effect will depend on how citizens evaluate victims, the police, and public officials. Citizens’ evaluations may be shaped by information about (1) a pattern of police violence and (2) government responses. We study citizens’ reactions to police violence by randomly assigning these two types of information in the context of the Stephon Clark shooting in Sacramento. We find that information influences levels of blame for and trust in the police, but the effects depend on citizens’ race and whether they live in the community where the violence occurred. In contrast, information does not alter citizens’ perceptions of local police officer organizations and, in turn, their willingness to follow police endorsements in elections. These results suggest a catch-22 whereby police violence can diminish the standing of police personnel, but favorable local opinion preserves their political influence.

Aggressive Video Games are Not a Risk Factor for Future Aggression in Youth: A Longitudinal Study
Christopher Ferguson & John Wang
Journal of Youth and Adolescence, August 2019, Pages 1439–1451

The issue of whether video games with aggressive or violent content (henceforth aggressive video games) contribute to aggressive behavior in youth remains an issue of significant debate. One issue that has been raised is that some studies may inadvertently inflate effect sizes by use of questionable researcher practices and unstandardized assessments of predictors and outcomes, or lack of proper theory-driven controls. In the current article, a large sample of 3034 youth (72.8% male Mage = 11.2) in Singapore were assessed for links between aggressive game play and seven aggression or prosocial outcomes 2 years later. Theoretically relevant controls for prior aggression, poor impulse control, gender and family involvement were used. Effect sizes were compared to six nonsense outcomes specifically chosen to be theoretically unrelated to aggressive game play. The use of nonsense outcomes allows for a comparison of effect sizes between theoretically relevant and irrelevant outcomes, to help assess whether any statistically significant outcomes may be spurious in large datasets. Preregistration was employed to reduce questionable researcher practices. Results indicate that aggressive video games were unrelated to any of the outcomes using the study criteria for significance. It would take 27 h/day of M-rated game play to produce clinically noticeable changes in aggression. Effect sizes for aggression/prosocial outcomes were little different than for nonsense outcomes. Evidence from this study does not support the conclusion that aggressive video games are a predictor of later aggression or reduced prosocial behavior in youth.

Two-Year Changes in Neighborhood Juvenile Arrests After Implementation of a Park-Based Afterschool Mental Health Promotion Program in Miami–Dade County, Florida, 2015–2017
Emily D’Agostino et al.
American Journal of Public Health, June 2019, Pages S214-S220

Methods: We tracked juvenile (ages 12–17 years) arrest rates over 2 years of program implementation across zip codes matched by (1) park and (2) baseline sociodemographics and youth arrests. Fit2Lead mental and physical health, meditation, resilience, and life skills activities were offered in 12 high-need areas for youths (n = 501) aged 12 to 17 years. We tested the association of Fit2Lead implementation (binary variable) and change in juvenile arrest rates by zip code, adjusting for area-level gender, age, race/ethnicity, single-parent households, and poverty.

Results: Fit2Lead was offered in areas composed of 48% male youths, 60% Hispanics, 29% non-Hispanic Blacks, 33% single-parent households, and 33% of residents living in poverty. After covariate adjustment, zip codes with Fit2Lead implementation showed a significant mean reduction (P < .001) in youth arrests per 10 000 youths aged 12 to 17 years per year compared with zip codes without program implementation (b = −6.9; 95% confidence interval = −9.21, −4.65).

Sex Offender Residence Restrictions and Homelessness: A Critical Look at South Carolina
Deanna Cann & Deena Isom Scott
Criminal Justice Policy Review, forthcoming

Sex offender residence restrictions (SORRs) have been widely implemented across the United States since the 1990s. A common concern regarding the implementation of SORRs is the decrease in viable housing options for registered sex offenders, which could potentially lead to homelessness. The vast application of SORRs across the United States, in addition to the known association between homelessness and crime, necessitates a deeper understanding of how SORRs impact rates of homelessness among this population. Utilizing data from South Carolina’s Sex Offender Registry, this study describes patterns of homelessness among this population. Specifically, using an interrupted time series analysis, we examine whether the state’s implementation of its SORR has an effect on the proportion of registered sex offenders reported as homeless. Our findings reveal a strong association between the implementation of residence restriction policies and rates of homelessness for registered sex offenders in South Carolina. Policy implications are discussed.

A time-sensitive analysis of the work-crime relationship for young men
Angela Wang Lee
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Theories of the work-crime relationship suggest that employment reduces crime by offering routines, income, and supervision. However, selection into and out of jobs could also explain the negative association between work and crime: people may start working when they are already offending less and stop working when they are already offending more. To evaluate these possibilities, I model month-to-month, within-person changes in offending during the periods surrounding job transitions. Using data from the Pathways to Desistance study, I analyze a sample of young, justice-involved men in two U.S. cities, Phoenix and Philadelphia. I find large reductions in income-related offending during the months leading up to job entry, after which there is no further decrease. I also find that offending spikes before job exit. These patterns suggest that for these young men, being employed does not reduce crime. Rather, employment transitions occur in response to other changes in their lives.

Pupil reactivity to emotional faces among convicted violent offenders: The role of psychopathic traits
Steven Gillespie et al.
Journal of Abnormal Psychology, forthcoming

Psychopathy is characteristically associated with impairments in recognizing others’ facial expressions of emotion, and there is some evidence that these difficulties are specific to the callousness features of the disorder. However, it remains unclear whether these difficulties are accompanied by reductions in autonomic reactivity when viewing others’ emotional expressions, and whether these impairments are particular to expressions showing another’s distress or are more pervasive across different emotional expressions. In this study, 73 adult male prisoners with histories of serious sexual or violent offenses — who ranged across the psychopathy continuum — completed a facial emotion recognition task. For the first time in a convicted offender sample, we used pupillometry techniques to measure changes in the pupil dilation response, a measure of sympathetic autonomic arousal to affective stimuli. We found that the callousness features of psychopathy were related to impaired recognition of fearful faces. Strikingly, we also showed that increasing callousness was associated with a reduction in the pupil dilation response and that this was pervasive across different emotional expressions. Our results highlight a potential role of the locus coeruleus-noradrenaline system in the pathophysiology of psychopathy and demonstrate the potential of the pupillary response as a technique for understanding attention–emotion interactions in psychopathy.

Do Officer-Involved Shootings Reduce Citizen Contact with Government?
Elisha Cohen et al.
Journal of Politics, July 2019, Pages 1111-1123

Police use of force bears on central matters of political science, including equality of citizen treatment by government. In light of recent high-profile officer-involved shootings (OIS) that resulted in civilian deaths, we assess whether, conditional on a shooting, a civilian’s race predicts fatality during police-civilian interactions. We combine Los Angeles data on OIS with a novel research design to estimate the causal effects of fatal shootings on citizen-initiated contact with government. Specifically, we examine whether fatal OIS affect citizen contact with the municipal government via use of the emergency 911 and nonemergency 311 call systems in Los Angeles. We find no average effect of OIS on patterns of 911 and 311 call behavior across a wide range of empirical specifications. Our results suggest, contrary to existing evidence, that OIS, in and of themselves, do not substantively change civic behavior, at least not citizen-initiated contact with local government.


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