Monthly Archives: September 2011

September 2011 Vol 3 (3) Edition

Sources and Resources — A Newsletter for Criminal Justice and Related Professionals

The BCCJA is a not for profit association of criminal justice and related professionals which has been fostering debate, dialogue, providing advocacy and advancing current and best practices for 40 years. Visit our website at www.bccja.com.

The purpose of this newsletter is to provide information of professional interest to our members and colleagues. Let us know your thoughts and ideas and if you would like to be put on our distribution list at newsletter@bccja.com.

Summary of Contents

Upcoming Events Violence (9 references)
The Law and Courts (12 references) Sexual Offenders (7 references)
Criminal Justice Policy (18 references) Mental Health (10 references)
Children and Youth (7 references) General Interest (10 references)
Corrections (11 references) Did You Know?
Criminal Behavior (6 references) Important Sources and Resources
Victims of Crime (6 references)

Upcoming Events

  • The Canadian Criminal Justice Association is holding its next bi-annual congress in collaboration with the Société de criminologie du Québec in Québec City, October 26 – 29, 2011. The Congress theme is: “Breaking Down Barriers for Better Success in Changing Times”. The full Congress program is available at http://www.ccja-acjp.ca/en/ . Click on Program Summary. You also can register at that site.
  • There is still time to register for the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers conference in Toronto (Nov 2 – 5, 2011). The program looks excellent! More information is available at atsa.com. You can also review all session abstracts here.
  • The National Restorative Justice Symposium, “Re-visioning Justice” is being held this year in Kamloops, British Columbia on November 13 to 15, 2011. For information, click here.

↑ Back to Summary

The Law and Courts

  • The Canadian Bar Association has attacked the Canadian government’s proposed tough-on-crime legislation. Similarly, there has been considerable criticism from international experts. The Justice Minister remains unconvinced.
  • The New Zealand government is attempting to pass crime legislation that would, in part, restrict rights to a jury trial and put greater onus on the defendant to prove his innocence.
  • Since the 15th century, statues of the Roman goddess Justitia have often shown her eyes covered as a sign that the law, operating without fear or favour, is impartial. Justice, however, is not deaf. The wails of protest from British politicians over any measure deemed soft on crime have already changed the course of legislation in the UK.
  • In our last issue, we noted a study that found that judicial decisions were influenced by the judge’s fatigue. Now it appears that you should schedule your parole hearing early in the day rather than late in the afternoon.
  • Despite inevitable errors, plea bargaining is seen as necessary due to overwhelmed and under-resourced court systems.
  • When police arrest someone, they typically inform that person on the spot of their right to remain silent and to contact a lawyer. Simple enough, right?  Read this.
  • Will neuroscience challenge the legal concept of criminal responsibility?
  • Here is a comprehensive and critical review of the development of sex offender legislation in the U.S.
  • Crown prosecutors can cancel plea agreements in extraordinary circumstances, but the practice should be rare, Canada’s highest court has said.
  • The federal government recently passed a bill aimed at shortening so-called “mega-trials” and making complicated cases, such as those involving organized crime, terrorism and corporate crime.

↑ Back to Summary

Criminal Justice Policy

  • Public Safety Canada has published the second volume of a comprehensive review of promising crime prevention programs. The link to the first volume is available from the site.
  • This website provides empirical evidence about what works (and what doesn’t) in a wide range of criminal justice initiatives.
  • The Crime Report is an excellent resource, providing information on a wide variety of criminal justice issues.
  • This lecture by Todd Clear (Rutgers University) discusses approaches to criminal justice in disadvantaged areas. The second half of the lecture includes interesting ideas to reduce incarceration rates and costs.
  • As more criminal behaviour is being organized through social networks, police are increasingly accessing social networks to combat crime. This second link concerns such strategies in New York City.
  • Here is an interesting fact sheet on the death penalty in the U.S. As of Jan 1, 2011, there were 3251 death-row inmates.
  • The U.S. Department of Justice is funding a data bank to determine the cost-benefit of a variety of criminal justice initiatives. Interested readers should check the website of the Washington State Institute for Public Policy which has long provided empirical evidence to inform public policy.
  • This interesting site provides links to audio and video materials on a wide variety of criminal justice issues.
  • A study of what happens when police meet face to face with the public, apply force and, sometimes, cause serious or even fatal injuries has found that repeated allegations often made of excessive police violence are not true.
  • This paper compares policies adopted by the U.S and U.K. to manage sex offenders in the community.
  • This study found that while sex offender registry information may help police and reduce crime, public dissemination of the same information may actually increase recidivism.
  • This article critiques the Canadian government’s approach to repatriating offenders back to Canada.
  • The Canadian government is planning to reintroduce its Penalties for Organized Drug Crime Act. This article critiques the Act and raises some potential unintended consequences.
  • This article critiques the Canadian government’s intention to further restrict the use of conditional sentences including the use of house arrest.
  • The crime rate is down but police forces are growing. We’re poorer as a result, but not necessarily any safer, this article says.
  • Prostitutes in the German city of Bonn must carry a ticket purchased from a new parking meter-like machine while working the streets or face hefty fines from tax authorities.

↑ Back to Summary

Children and Youth

  • This Frontline video report highlights problems in resolving cases of sudden child death.
  • Here is an interesting talk by David Finkelhor who argues that, despite popular concerns, the internet has not amplified deviant behaviors in young people, nor does it put youth at great risk. You can access his talk or his paper.
  • The B.C. Representative for Children and Youth says that the tragic case of a 15-year-old developmentally disabled girl left alone with her mother’s corpse for up to seven days last year highlights a flawed system of support in B.C.
  • If Canada follows through on plans to crack down on miscreant youth, it’ll be one of the few jurisdictions in the world heading in that direction.
  • The idea behind Canada’s current strategy to fight youth crime was deceptively simple: put teens in jail if you have to, but only if you have to. Has something changed?
  • There are many theories about delinquency and much research going on. After years of both working with delinquents and studying delinquency, what stands out more than any other factor is their surprising immaturity.

↑ Back to Summary

Corrections

  • Britain is considering privatizing key aspects of their probation services.
  • Here is a thoughtful analysis of the costs and benefits of high incarceration rates in the U.S.
  • While it is generally agreed that inmates’ maintaining community contact through visits is a good thing, Arizona has imposed a fee for prospective visitors to help balance prison budgets.
  • This podcast describes Circles of Support and Accountability which has proven to be very effective in monitoring and supporting offenders in the community.
  • Here is a discussion of professional boundary issues in correctional versus other therapeutic settings. Also, here is another article discussing professional boundary issues in correctional settings and a response to that article.
  • Here is a great article on the costs and benefits of incarceration that brings together much of the useful maths on comparative imprisonment rates. Read more.
  • Halden prison: Norway’s humane jail.
  • The announcement last summer that in 2009 the number of Americans behind bars had increased for the 37th year in a row provoked a fresh round of national soul searching.
  • The CSC website contains a variety of reports and information of general and particular interest for those interested in Federal corrections issues.  For instance, there are some good modules on correctional history, the law and social studies under the tab “Educational Resources” on the website. Access the CSC website directly.

↑ Back to Summary

Criminal Behavior

  • construct. For those with more limited time, the main argument of the lecture begins around minute 25.
  • This stark video documentary provides a look at the Russian prison system, told largely by the offenders.
  • The crime rate in Canada has fallen to the lowest level since 1973. Here is a news summary of the findings, and the following link will take you to the Statistics Canada Report.
  • Social media is increasingly being used to orchestrate criminal activity, including mobs robbing retail stores.
  • Recent research has suggested the value of post-prison services and identified five program characteristics associated with reduced criminal recidivism.

↑ Back to Summary

Victims of Crime

  • This website provides a range of materials to help military service members who have experienced sexual trauma. It includes both on-line assessments and resource materials.
  • The International Association of Chiefs of Police has published a variety of materials to improve law enforcement responses to victims of crime.
  • The Coalition to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation website provides a range of stories and materials related to preventing sexual abuse. Check the “resources” tab.
  • Researchers have reported a simple method to detect date-rape drugs in alcohol.
  • Recent research has revealed surprising dynamics that lead domestic violence victims to withdraw charges.
  • A recent article reviews best practices for treating victims of sexual assault.

↑ Back to Summary

Violence

  • This article examines some of the complexities of risk prediction with special reference to the impact on the evaluator.
  • Here are two articles (first and second) that continue the debate about the use of actuarial versus clinical assessments of future dangerousness of sex offenders, with specific reference to the Static-99.
  • While one study found that playing violent video games reduces the brain’s responsiveness to violence, thus increasing aggressive behaviour, another study has shown that playing “relaxing video games can increase feelings of calm and reduce the likelihood of aggression.
  • This site provides a wealth of information on preventing domestic and sexual violence.
  • We previously directed readers to excellent materials from the WHO on violence prevention. Now the British government has decided to adopt some of those strategies to deal with gangs.
  • Women who experience violence in the form of sexual assault or partner violence are more likely to develop a variety of mental health disorders.

↑ Back to Summary

Sexual Offenders

  • The Czech Republic first allowed access to pornography, including that involving children, in 1990. This study found no increase in sexual offending, and that offenses against children actually decreased.
  • This research summary addresses the impact of registration and community notification of juvenile sex offenders on community safety.
  • Concerns that legislation may have deleterious effects (e.g., residency, employment) on sex offenders have led Oklahoma to review its laws to determine if they are having unintended negative impacts on community safety.
  • This letter argues that the DSM-5 developers of criteria for pedohebephilia have ignored guidelines specified by the American Psychological Association.
  • This story is another reminder of how well-intentioned legislation can have severe unintended consequences.
  • A recent study has concluded that GPS monitoring of sex offenders should be seen as a tool rather than a control mechanism.
  • This article questions the utility of laws restricting sex offenders from living near children.

↑ Back to Summary

Mental Health

  • The British Psychological Association has published a critique of the proposed changes to DSM-5.
  • This interesting article focuses on the creator of Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), Dr. Marsha Linehan, who discusses her own struggles with mental health issues.
  • The American Society of Addiction Medicine has issued a new definition of addiction that goes beyond problematic substance use.
  • Recent research confirms that the sequelae of mental illness vary by gender. Mentally ill men are more likely to develop substance abuse and antisocial behaviours, while women are more likely to develop problems with anxiety or depression.
  • A recent study has shown that people suffering from PTSD show deficits in detecting emotional states in others.
  • This report describes best practices for probation officers managing caseloads of mentally disordered offenders.
  • This website has a variety of resources related to the challenges (and possible solutions) faced by law enforcement in dealing with individuals with mental disorders.
  • The Canadian government will establish standards to deal with mental health issues in the workplace.
  • This article provides an overview and critique of Canada’s to-be-announced mental health strategy.
  • Canadians with a history of mental illness may have trouble entering the U.S.

↑ Back to Summary

General Interest

  • A recent study has found that brief, mild electrical stimulation of the scalp can increase the subject’s ability to inhibit behaviours. The findings may have implications for treating ADHD or impulsive aggression.
  • Recent research has been trying to identify brain activity associated with empathy.
  • Recent research finds that boys (and men?) believe that talking about problems is just a waste of time.
  • This article considers the increasingly pervasive use of prostitutes by men.
  • Apparently many surveyed youth say that men are expected to take risks, be tough, and provide for families; a women’s place is in home.
  • This report suggests that medical schools are increasingly screening applicants on their social skills rather than simply academic preparation.
  • Research has shown that people who were better (or worse) able to control impulsive behaviour as children show that same characteristic as adults.  And here’s another article on the issue of self-control.
  • People lie every day. They lie to each other. They lie to themselves. One researcher even found that strangers meeting for the first time will lie three times within 10 minutes. This article suggests it’s not all bad.
  • Addictive and all-consuming, it was named after a word describing frantic, uncontrolled scratching movements. It sits in the closet of almost every home in the country and it changes the brain.

↑ Back to Summary

Did You Know?

The Canadian Criminal Justice Association (CCJA) is our national organization and has existed since 1919. CCJA publishes the Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, the quarterly Justice Reports, and an electronic newsletter regularly. Their website includes book reviews and position papers on important topics of relevance to criminal justice. Take a few minutes to update yourself on the information available on their website at http://www.ccja-acjp.ca/en/.

↑ Back to Summary

Important Sources and Resources

The Justice Institute of British Columbia specializes in justice and public safety agency training and education. Its’ library is a premier source of academic and experiential training information. For instance, visit the Library site for a prepared bibliography on a wide range of topics: gangs, bullying, critical incident stress, emergency management, etc….http://www.jibc.ca/library to access that site.

Restorative Justice BC has an excellent website as a resource of interest to practitioners, community partners and others with an interest in restorative justice, who are wanting to stay up to date on current issues and practices. www.rjbc.ca to access this important information.

As part of its Domestic Violence Action Plan, the Government of B.C. has developed a new web portal of resources for victims of domestic violence to help them get the support they need. Click here for the website.

This excellent site provides a wealth of information on FASD and the criminal justice system. Click here.

The Mental Health Commission of Canada promotes mental health in Canada, and works with stakeholders to change the attitudes of Canadians toward mental health problems, and to improve services and support. Their website contains important information regarding initiatives.  For instance check out their interactive 2010/2011 Annual Report entitled “Together We Can”. Click here for the website.

↑ Back to Summary

Advertisements