Laws2014, 3(4), 798-823; doi:10.3390/laws3040798 - published 15 December 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Previous research suggests that social relations, in particular the forming of family ties and employment (social factors), self-efficacy (personal factors), and therapeutic interventions (institutional factors) constitute main contributors in post-release success. These studies, however, have largely been based on general delinquents serving relatively short prison terms. This study aims to shed light on the influence of social, personal, and institutional factors on post-release success versus failure among paroled lifers.We conducted in-depth life-history interviews with 64 individuals who had served a life sentence, who were either re-incarcerated for another crime or parole violation, or were currently out on parole. The role of social factors in desistance among long-term incarcerated offenders was minimal. Rather, self-efficacy appeared to be a key element in post-release success. These findings suggest that research based on short-term incarcerated offenders cannot be directly translated to long-term incarcerated offenders. This group does not experience the same traditional turning points, such as establishing family ties and employment. Accordingly, long-term prisoners may go through a different process post-release that determines their success versus failure compared to general delinquents who serve shorter sentences.
Laws2014, 3(4), 780-797; doi:10.3390/laws3040780 - published 31 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: While boys who offend have been a dominant majority and primary concern of the juvenile court since its earliest days, the population of delinquent girls has increased in recent years at a far higher rate in the U.S. The special challenges presented by females, however, continue to be generally overlooked by the justice system. Moreover, while a few specialized programs now serve these girls, the field tends to view young female offenders as a homogeneous group; what distinguishes particular female subpopulations and the characteristics associated with different criminal trajectories have gone largely unexplored. Employing data from the state of Missouri, this study examines girls who offend, identifying models that predict subsequent violent behavior that include indicators such as parental substance abuse and incarceration, and offender substance abuse, mental health, and school behavior. Special attention is given to the effects of child maltreatment, which we find significantly, but weakly correlated with violent behavior. The authors conclude by considering the possibility that maltreatment may be correlated with other criminogenic factors, and by discussing the implications of findings for future research and practice, especially services that take into account the trauma experienced by young women who come to the attention of state authorities.
Laws2014, 3(4), 759-779; doi:10.3390/laws3040759 - published 22 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This article uses the debates surrounding the age of consent as a broad umbrella to question the continued usefulness of Queer Theory. The debates surrounding the age of consent illustrate that Queer Theory has not fulfilled its original promise and that it is not (and possibly never been), “fit for purpose”. Towards the end of 2013, the topic of lowering the age of consent in England and Wales was once again much in the news. This article suggests that much of that debate focused expressly or impliedly on the age of which men and boys have sexual intercourse (whether gay or straight), rather than when people have sexual intercourse. Queer Theory (originating from feminism), was intended to be a liberating phenomenon, but contrary to these hopes and intentions, Queer Theory evolved to become synonymous with white gay men, thus denying its origins and becoming distinctly anti-feminist. Those who argue for a reduction in the age of consent have used (whether knowingly or not) an approach which is consistent with this evolved version of Queer Theory. Consequently, the debate on the age of consent has ignored, or given insufficient attention to, the effect(s) a lowering of the age of consent will have on girls and women. This article, therefore, seeks to question, disrupt and unsettle, what Queer Theory has become, suggesting that, in several significant aspects, it fails to fully acknowledge patriarchy; render (lesbian) women visible; acknowledge and accommodate the lived experiences of women.
Laws2014, 3(4), 744-758; doi:10.3390/laws3040744 - published 21 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Youth incarcerated in the juvenile justice system are disproportionately exposed to traumas both in and outside of custody that are associated with poor social, behavioral, and developmental outcomes. The purpose of this paper is to describe one pathway through which trauma can impact a myriad of outcomes, including delinquency, violence, substance use, and other behaviors that are self-regulatory in nature. Relevant research from the developmental neuroscience, juvenile justice, and trauma literatures are drawn upon and synthesized to describe this pathway. Using a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding the role that brain development and neural activity play in the relationship between trauma and associated behavioral outcomes could serve to inform juvenile justice policy decisions and intervention practice. Such application could increase the effectiveness with which juvenile justice systems work with one of the most vulnerable and traumatized populations of youth in today’s society: those incarcerated in our juvenile justice system.
Laws2014, 3(4), 721-743; doi:10.3390/laws3040721 - published 17 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The paper illustrates how architecture can be used to show the contribution and the use of technology in the legal system. The models created enable the rapid identification of the stakeholders, their objectives, the technologies they use, and their goals. Such understanding helps decision makers ensure that the tools and processes enabled by information technology (IT) are aligned with the goals of the legal system. The preliminary framework developed in the paper shows the feasibility and the contribution of such models on a larger scale.
Laws2014, 3(4), 706-720; doi:10.3390/laws3040706 - published 15 October 2014 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The aim of the present study was threefold: to examine (1) the relation between both cognitive and affective empathy and prosocial behavior; (2) the relation between both cognitive and affective empathy and offending; and (3) the role of cognitive distortions in the relation between cognitive empathy, affective empathy and offending in a sample of adolescent girls with lower SES and education (N = 264). Results showed that both cognitive and affective empathy were positively related to prosocial behavior. Furthermore, cognitive empathy was positively related to offending, whereas affective empathy was not related to offending. Finally, no support was found for our hypothesis that cognitive distortions play a moderating role in the relation between empathy and offending.