Just the facts

turner_100715_200x133UCI Professor Susan Turner studies crime and punishment to help State policymakers develop prison and parole programs based on effectiveness ­ not emotion or politics.

Link: http://zotzine.uci.edu/v02/2010_07/turner.php

Responding to Fiscal Challenges in State Correctional Systems: A National Study of Prison Closings and Alternative Sanctions

Principal Investigator: Lois Davis, Ph.D., The Rand Corporation

Adobe PDF Responding to Fiscal Challenges in State Correctional Systems: A National Study of Prison Closings and Alternative Sanctions

A Renewed Interest in Rehabilitation? Examining Inmate Treatment Characteristics, Program Participation and Institutional Behavior

Principal Investigator: Susan Turner, Ph.D., University of California, Irvine

Author: Alyssa Whitby Chamberlain

There has been a resurgence of interest in the rehabilitation of offenders, and research has consistently shown that treatment programs can successfully reduce recidivism.  While much of the corrections literature has focused on program effectiveness, less attention has been placed on the expansion and delivery of services to incarcerated offenders, and whether the renewed focus on rehabilitation has changed the nature of treatment delivery to inmates.  Using data from three time points collected as part of the BJS survey of state inmates, this paper examines the criminogenic needs of offenders and how those needs have changed over time, the role inmate needs play in driving participation in institutional programs, and whether inmates with unmet treatment needs commit a disproportionate number of institutional infractions.  A structural equation modeling approach was employed to estimate the relationship between service needs and participation, and the results suggest that inmate needs have changed substantially over the past decade, with the most extensive needs concentrated in a small proportion of inmates.  Consequently, correctional institutions are not always been able to match offenders to the appropriate services, which may have a direct impact on institutional safety.

A Policy-Oriented Guide to California Juvenile Justice

Principal Investigator: Jesse Jannetta, M.P.P., University of California, Irvine

The analysis of the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) by the Center for Evidence-Based Corrections serves as a companion piece to “Understanding California Corrections” by Dr. Joan Petersilia (2006). The analysis provides a clear, concise and comprehensive overview of the state’s juvenile correctional system, written for the California policymaker who may not be a juvenile justice specialist, but wishes to make informed decisions regarding juvenile justice policy in California.

Broadly, the analysis focuses on the process by which juveniles are committed to DJJ, the characteristics of youth who come under its supervision, and comparisons between juvenile justice operations in California and in other states. This task was approached as “systems analysis” which specifies the precise role that DJJ plays in California’s overall management of juvenile offenders.

A copy of the report can be found at: The Role of the DJJ in the CA Juvenile Justice System.

Responding to The Prison Rape Elimination Act: A Study of Violence In California Correctional Facilities

Principal Investigators: Valerie Jenness, Ph.D. and Cheryl Maxson, Ph.D. , University of California, Irvine

This research is designed to address the main objective of the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003—to reduce prison rape in the U.S. and to respond to it more effectively when it does occur. To contribute to larger efforts along these lines, the main objective of the proposed project is to undertake empirical research designed to understand the parameters of the problem of sexual assault in particular and violence more generally in California correctional facilities. The larger goal is to meet this objective in a way that facilitates the creation and evaluation of a viable intervention designed to respond to sexual assault in correctional facilities and maximize the probability of it being reported by inmates and correctional personnel when it does occur. In short, the value of this research lies in its ability to provide empirical findings that can guide the development of viable policy and programmatic interventions designed to respond to sexual assault in both youth and adult correctional facilities in California.

Consistent with the larger goals of the PREA, the proposed research is best described as a “needs assessment” designed to understand the parameters of sexual assault and other types of violence in California correctional facilities. Unlike the wide-ranging scope of the PREA, this research is designed to collect data on violence in general and inmate-on-inmate sexual assault in particular in correctional facilities housing adult and juvenile male inmates in California. Given how little is known about the parameters of sexual assault in correctional facilities in California, this research is designed to identify and understand the demographic, attitudinal, and organizational factors that facilitate and hinder prison violence, especially sexual assault, and whether or not incidents get reported to correctional personnel. We seek to answer two interrelated questions: How often, under what conditions, and to whom and by whom do sexual assaults occur? What factors influence the probability of violence, including sexual assault, occurring and being reported?

To address these questions, we plan to collect data on key features of the facilities’ policies, physical structure, administration and staff, inmates and wards, and incidents of violence, including sexual assault. The goal is to identify factors and conditions that increase the probability of assault—sexual and otherwise—occurring under specific conditions and involving specific types of inmates. Doing so will ultimately inform a larger discussion about what interventions are most viable in terms of reducing sexual assault and encouraging reporting when it does occur.