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Lecture 5

Lecture 5.docx

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Carleton University
PSYC 3402
Julie Blais

Lecture 5 Key concepts in sentencing - Retribution • When an offender causes harm by breaking a law, society has right/duty to inflict harm in return • Just deserts, eye for an eye • No concern for outcome, duty to administer justice (whatever the effect) - Incapacitation • Control crime by removing ability/opportunity • Restricts freedom to act • Prevents (or displaces) crime in the short term • But, an expensive way to reduce crime • Increasing prison population by 25% would reduce crime rates by 1% (Tarling, 1993) - Deterrence • Punishment as a route to rehabilitation • Specific deterrence – stops the punished individual  Affect the behavior of the specific individual (ex: through incarceration) • General deterrence – stops others in the community  Kind of like using someone as an example when putting them in jail • Absolute deterrence – stops the crime altogether  Punish it so much no one does it anymore • Restrictive deterrence – reduces frequency/severity  People commit robbery b/c so much punishment for B&E  Theft under 5000$ = probation under 6 months  B&E and theft over 5000$ (X11)- more than 1 year secure custody Do harsher sentences work? - Cannot simply examine re-conviction rates from different sentencing options • Incarcerated offenders likely to be higher risk - Study impact of sentencing (deterrent effect): • Sentences while controlling for risk • Comparing rates of imprisonment • Controlled trials • Self-report surveys • Changes to death penalty • Meta-analysis Controlling for risk - Comparing across sentence types - Compared prediction rates based on risk to actual rates with sentences - If sentencing made a difference, then there should be a difference - For all sentences, actual and predicted rates never differed by more than 3% - Thus, sentences have essentially no impact on re-offence rates - Studies controlling risk the sentences had no impact on whether they would recidivate or not Imprisonment rates - Crime rates do not change with changing rates of incarceration (Zimring & Hawkins, 1994, 1995) - No studies have ever shown a general deterrence effect of incarceration on crime rates (Nagin, 1998) - No effect of prison sentences on 742 white collar criminals followed for 10 years (Weisburd & Chayet, 1995) - Rate, length, or severity does not decrease crime Do longer/harsher sentences work? - Examination of 23 studies: - Longer vs. shorter sentences: • 2-3% increases in recidivism for those with longer sentences • Small positive correlation between length of sentence and reconviction - High vs. low risk offenders: • High risk + longer sentences = recidivism • Low risk + longer sentences = recidivism - No difference between: • Fines and short jail sentences for drinking and driving (Evans et al., 1991; Martin et al., 1993) • Regular supervision and more restrictive supervision (close surveillance, random drug testing) (Petersilia & Turner, 1993) • Regular supervision and electronic monitoring (Bonta et al., 2000; Petersilia & Turner, 1993) • Boot camps/”shock” incarceration & regular prison (MacKenzie & Souryal, 1994; MacKenzie et al., 2001; Thornton et al., 1984)  However, participation in drug/alcohol counseling at boot camps reduced re- offence (Petersilia & Turner, 1993) Controlled trials - Example: Mandatory arrest for domestic violence complaints • Short-term arrest initial deterrence effect than a criminogenic effect at 12 months later • Full arrest made no difference (Sherman et al., 1991)  Mandatory arrest did nothing to deter domestic violence  Made women more scared and less likely to call police - When a harsher sentencing option is implemented, compare rates before it came into practice and after Self-report surveys - Arrest made little impact on behaviour of shoplifting teenagers (Klemke, 1982) • Just made them smarter about shop lifting. Didn’t deter them. - 8% of youth with serious offences reduced offending following arrest (Huizinga et al., 2003) • Most showed no change or increase • Self-report indicates majority of youth who commit offences are not arrested • Youth with serious offences more likely to be arrested for one of their more minor crimes Death penalty - Note: general, not specific deterrence. No effect on deterrence - Comparing between countries that retain, abolish, re-instate or never had death penalty • No evidence that homicide rates are affected by capital punishment (Hood, 2002) - Changes in gun ownership laws also not effective Meta-analysis: Gendreau et al., 2001 And, yet, still more punishment - Despite these findings, get tough strategies are still the most common response to crime and new strategies are being proposed on a yearly basis • Example: increasing the number of crimes eligible for mandatory minimum sentences • Three strikes laws Why don’t these approaches work? - Punishment is defined as a negative consequence to a behavior that decreases the likelihood of the behavior re-occurring - We know that punishment can work to decrease behavior (e.g., from lab-based studies) so why does it not work to decrease offending behavior? 6 reasons why punishment doesn’t work in the CJS - Reason 1 – Intensity: • Low levels of punishment will decrease a behavior but only temporarily • When the behavior returns more severe punishment is required to decrease it  You have to match intensity of punishment to behavior • Results in an escalating cycle of punishment as tolerance increases  As you punish, the tolerance for the punishment gets higher, so you have to punish more • In our CJS we do not provide punishment at maximum intensity and it would be unfair to do so - Reason 2 – Immediacy: • For punishment to work it must immediately follow the behavior we are trying to suppress • If there are delays the target behavior may be reinforced and some other behavior is punished • In our CJS punishment is not delivered immediately and therefore the behaviors that need to be targeted are not - Reason 3 – Consistency: • In order for punishment to work it must be delivered every time the target behavior occurs until there is complete suppression • This repeated pairing of punishment with behavior allows the behavior to become a signal of impending punishment • In our CJS many instances of crime go unpunished altogether and commonly similar behaviors are punished with differing intensities - Reason 4 – No escape: • For punishment to work escape routes must be blocked • In other words, if an individual can get themselves away from the punishment and accomplish their objective by some other means, punishment has not really worked • In our CJS it is not usually possible to block escape routes (e.g., punishing one criminal behavior still leaves open the possibility of performing many other criminal behaviors) - Reason 5 – Person variables: • Person factors will influence the effectiveness of punishment • These factors can include biological, cognitive, and state conditions, as well as a range of demographic variables (e.g., consider the psychopath who does not experience fear or anxiety) • Many offenders serving time in our CJS possess characteristics or traits that reduce the potential impact of punishment - Reason 6 – Density: • Density of punishment must be greater than the density of rewards • In our CJS many instances of crime go unpunished altogether • Punishment may not be perceived to outweigh rewards So why do we keep punishing? - SOCIETY BELIEVES IN PUNISHMENT - People believe in the effect of punishment - Politicians think that getting tough on crime is what the public wants - Rehabilitation is seen as soft and ineffective - It takes time and energy to evaluate programs, find they are not working, and initiate new programs - Eye for an eye mentality The rehabilitation debate - In late 60s/early 70s, both US & UK governments commissioned reports on the effectiveness of rehabilitation with offenders - Martinson (1974) review • The “Nothing Works” review based on 231 studies • Pessimistic, ending 150 years of optimism • Concluded education & psychotherapy cannot reduce recidivism • Highly influential - Martinson (1979) re-analysis • Reversed conclusion • Some work, some don’t work, some are harmful - Evidence mounts through 1980s-90s that rehabilitation can work (“what works) - Social and political confidence remains modest in Canada (Latimer & Desjardins, 2007) Change in focus - Shift in treatment targets • 1970s: focus on reducing psychological symptoms  Anxiety, self-esteem, depression  Making a happy criminal • Today: focus on criminogenic needs - Shift in type of program • 1970s: self-help groups & therapeutic communities • Today: skills-based programs  Available for variety of treatment targets  Available for variety of populations Meta-analysis and reviews - Juvenile offenders (Garrett, 1985; Roberts & Camasso, 1991; Whitehead & Lab, 1989) - Young adults (Dowden &Andrews, 1999; Lipsey, 1992, 1995) - Sex offenders (Alexander, 1999; Gallagher et al., 1999; Hall, 1995; Hanson et al., 2002; Polizzi et al., 1999) - Violent offenders (Dowden &Andrews, 2000) - Young violent offenders (Lipsey & Wilson, 1998) - Drunk driving offences (Wells-Parker et al., 1995) - Offenders with personality disorders (Salekin, 2002) - Female offenders (Dowden &Andrews, 1999) Andrews et al. (1990) - Arguably the most influential meta-analytic review • Identified risk factors in literature • Hypothesis: programs that target risk factors will reduce recidivism • Tested 154 programs  Appropriate service (ex: program targets risk factors)  Unspecified service (inappropriate)  Inappropriate service (inappropriate)  Criminal sanctions only (inappropriate) What works! - Slight increase in recidivism for inappropriate - Appropriate showed decrease Conclusions from meta-analysis - On average, across all types of intervention • Positive effect of rehabilitation • Effect is small & modest (average r = .10) • Indicates if sample recidivates at 50% • Treatment group would reoffend at 45% • Non-treatment group would reoffend at 55% - BUT: significant & large variation (heterogeneity) among effect sizes Binominal effect size display - Assuming equal number of cases in each group and 50% re-offending rate Variability in effect size - Age differences • Treatment more effective for adolescents and adults compared to “young adults”  Offenders below 15 (r = .16)  15-18 years old (r = .11)  Over 18 (r = .17) • The younger the group = bigger treatment rewards (younger is better) - Community vs. institution • Best designed services have even greater benefit when deliv
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