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Special Issue "Trauma, Addiction and Criminality"

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A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2013)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Flora I. Matheson

Centre for Research on Inner City Health, The Keenan Research Centre in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael's Hospital 30 Bond Street, Toronto, Ontario M5B 1W8, Canada
Website | E-Mail
Interests: gender inequities in health; neighborhood & individual stressors; mental mealth & addictions; women's health; correctional populations

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Childhood trauma, through physical and/or sexual abuse and/or neglect, is pervasive in the general population. Actual prevalence rates vary depending on the scope of traumatic events examined. Estimates suggest that nearly 40 per cent of the general population (up to 60 per cent of women, and 20 to 30 per cent of men) have experienced some form of abuse or neglect in childhood. The consequences of trauma persist long after the experience is over and produce lifelong problems like depression, PTSD, substance abuse, low occupational attainment, poor medical health, and criminal involvement.

Prevalence and severity of lifetime interpersonal violence encountered by imprisoned men and women is scarce, contradictory and subject to under-reporting. However, evidence points to extensive trauma in this marginalized population with rates approaching 80% in some samples. Prevalence of PTSD has been estimated approximately at 48% within the female and 30% within male inmate populations. This Special Issue, “Trauma, Addiction and Criminality,” examines the role of trauma in the life trajectories of male and female offenders. The goal of the Issue is to shed light on the pervasiveness of the problem in the criminal justice system; explore the personal, social and health consequences of trauma for offenders; and, ponder what treatments might prove effective in this particularly vulnerable population.

Dr. Flora I. Matheson
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Keywords

  • prisoners
  • offenders
  • crime
  • criminality
  • incarceration
  • risk behaviours
  • violence
  • trauma exposure
  • intimate partner violence
  • child abuse
  • substance use
  • mental illness
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • gender

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial Implications of Trauma among Male and Female Offenders
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2012, 9(1), 97-99; doi:10.3390/ijerph9010097
Received: 20 December 2011 / Accepted: 22 December 2011 / Published: 3 January 2012
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (147 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Criminal behaviour is believed to arise from a multiplicity of factors, including unemployment and poverty [1,2], low self-control [3], psychological issues [4,5], early conduct problems [6], childhood physical and sexual abuse disorder [5], and social bonding in child- and adulthood [7]. Social-structural influences
[...] Read more.
Criminal behaviour is believed to arise from a multiplicity of factors, including unemployment and poverty [1,2], low self-control [3], psychological issues [4,5], early conduct problems [6], childhood physical and sexual abuse disorder [5], and social bonding in child- and adulthood [7]. Social-structural influences like family conflict/disruption, financial resources, child-parent and school/peer attachment and abuse and neglect in childhood have lasting impressions, leading to multiple problems including delinquency and later criminal activity, substance use/abuse, mental illness and poor self-rated health [8-12]. The consequences of such behaviour include financial losses, injury, and death that together have significant personal and societal costs. Society also bears the burden of incarcerating and rehabilitating offenders; a burden that is not trivial. Direct costs of imprisonment in Canada approach $3.5 billion annually; in the US the cost is substantially higher, approaching $74 billion [13]. [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trauma, Addiction and Criminality)

Research

Jump to: Editorial

Open AccessArticle Linking Childhood and Adult Criminality: Using a Life Course Framework to Examine Childhood Abuse and Neglect, Substance Use and Adult Partner Violence
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(11), 5470-5489; doi:10.3390/ijerph10115470
Received: 29 July 2013 / Revised: 29 September 2013 / Accepted: 1 October 2013 / Published: 28 October 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (208 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Child abuse and neglect, considered criminal acts under the Criminal Code of Canada, play an important role in substance use, violence, and other criminal behaviour in adulthood. We adopted the life course perspective to identify modifiable contextual influences and co-occurring individual, social, and
[...] Read more.
Child abuse and neglect, considered criminal acts under the Criminal Code of Canada, play an important role in substance use, violence, and other criminal behaviour in adulthood. We adopted the life course perspective to identify modifiable contextual influences and co-occurring individual, social, and familial determinants associated with adult criminality. Using in-depth interview data, a sub-sample of 13 women who had recently experienced intimate partner violence, recounted their experiences of childhood abuse, their own substance use or criminality, as well as implications of these factors on their children’s life trajectories. For the purposes of this paper criminality was defined as child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, illegal substance use and underage alcohol use. Our objective was to explore, in our data: (1) patterns and trajectories of criminality from childhood to adulthood among women who were victims of violence, and (2) cumulative effects of early life exposures on experiences of criminality; with the aim of describing the life course perspective as a useful framework to understand criminality along the life trajectory. The analysis was not designed to demonstrate causal connections between early childhood and adulthood experiences of criminality. Rather we generated qualitative and quantitative hypotheses to guide future research in the field. Implications for research and interventions are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trauma, Addiction and Criminality)
Open AccessArticle Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Urban Violence: An Anthropological Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(11), 5333-5348; doi:10.3390/ijerph10115333
Received: 30 August 2013 / Revised: 2 October 2013 / Accepted: 10 October 2013 / Published: 25 October 2013
PDF Full-text (193 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The study aimed to understand how “distress” is experienced by patients with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the social-cultural context of São Paulo, Brazil, an urban environment marked by social inequality and high levels of violence. A qualitative study was conducted between 2008
[...] Read more.
The study aimed to understand how “distress” is experienced by patients with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the social-cultural context of São Paulo, Brazil, an urban environment marked by social inequality and high levels of violence. A qualitative study was conducted between 2008 and 2010 with PTSD patients (F43.1, ICD-10, 1997) who had been victims of robberies and kidnappings in São Paulo. Dense ethnographic observations were carried out, as well as in-depth semi-structured interviews with ten adult patients. The analysis method used was based on anthropology. The results show that it is particularly important to distinguish between perceptions of different forms of the experience of social suffering and perceptions of health and illness held by victims and biomedical experts. The cause of PTSD is more often associated with the personal problems of the victim than with the specific traumatic event. The distress described in terms of what is considered a “normal” reaction to violence and what is considered a symptom of PTSD. The findings indicate that the diagnostic of PTSD can be understood in relation to the different contexts within a culture. The ethnographic approach serves not only to illuminate individual suffering but also the social suffering experienced by the residents of São Paulo. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trauma, Addiction and Criminality)
Open AccessArticle Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Worldviews and Cultural Safety Transforming Sexual Assault Service Provision for Children and Young People
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(9), 3818-3833; doi:10.3390/ijerph10093818
Received: 1 July 2013 / Revised: 5 August 2013 / Accepted: 8 August 2013 / Published: 22 August 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (204 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Child Sexual Assault (CSA) in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is a complex issue that cannot be understood in isolation from the ongoing impacts of colonial invasion, genocide, assimilation, institutionalised racism and severe socio-economic deprivation. Service responses to CSA are often experienced
[...] Read more.
Child Sexual Assault (CSA) in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is a complex issue that cannot be understood in isolation from the ongoing impacts of colonial invasion, genocide, assimilation, institutionalised racism and severe socio-economic deprivation. Service responses to CSA are often experienced as racist, culturally, financially and/or geographically inaccessible. A two-day forum, National Yarn Up: Sharing the Wisdoms and Challenges of Young People and Sexual Abuse, was convened by sexual assault services to identify the main practice and policy concerns regarding working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people (C&YP), families and communities in the context of CSA. The forum also aimed to explore how services can become more accountable and better engaged with the communities they are designed to support. The forum was attended by eighty invited Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Aboriginal youth sexual assault managers and workers representing both “victim” and “those who sexually harm others” services. In keeping with Aboriginal Community-Based Research methods forum participants largely directed discussions and contributed to the analysis of key themes and recommendations reported in this article. The need for sexual assault services to prioritise cultural safety by meaningfully integrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Worldviews emerged as a key recommendation. It was also identified that collaboration between “victims” and “those who sexually harm” services are essential given Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander C&YP who sexually harm others may have also been victims of sexual assault or physical violence and intergenerational trauma. By working with the whole family and community, a collaborative approach is more likely than the current service model to develop cultural safety and thus increase the accessibility of sexual assault services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trauma, Addiction and Criminality)
Open AccessArticle The Contribution of Childhood Parental Rejection and Early Androgen Exposure to Impairments in Socio-Cognitive Skills in Intimate Partner Violence Perpetrators with High Alcohol Consumption
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(8), 3753-3770; doi:10.3390/ijerph10083753
Received: 5 July 2013 / Revised: 5 August 2013 / Accepted: 9 August 2013 / Published: 20 August 2013
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (293 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Alcohol consumption, a larger history of childhood parental rejection, and high prenatal androgen exposure have been linked with facilitation and high risk of recidivism in intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetrators. Participants were distributed into two groups according to their alcohol consumption scores as
[...] Read more.
Alcohol consumption, a larger history of childhood parental rejection, and high prenatal androgen exposure have been linked with facilitation and high risk of recidivism in intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetrators. Participants were distributed into two groups according to their alcohol consumption scores as high (HA) and low (LA). HA presented a higher history of childhood parental rejection, prenatal masculinization (smaller 2D:4D ratio), and violence-related scores than LA IPV perpetrators. Nonetheless, the former showed poor socio-cognitive skills performance (cognitive flexibility, emotional recognition and cognitive empathy). Particularly in HA IPV perpetrators, the history of childhood parental rejection was associated with high hostile sexism and low cognitive empathy. Moreover, a masculinized 2D:4D ratio was associated with high anger expression and low cognitive empathy. Parental rejection during childhood and early androgen exposure are relevant factors for the development of violence and the lack of adequate empathy in adulthood. Furthermore, alcohol abuse plays a key role in the development of socio-cognitive impairments and in the proneness to violence and its recidivism. These findings contribute to new coadjutant violence intervention programs, focused on the rehabilitation of basic executive functions and emotional decoding processes and on the treatment of alcohol dependence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trauma, Addiction and Criminality)
Open AccessArticle Childhood and Adult Trauma Experiences of Incarcerated Persons and Their Relationship to Adult Behavioral Health Problems and Treatment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2012, 9(5), 1908-1926; doi:10.3390/ijerph9051908
Received: 27 March 2012 / Revised: 28 April 2012 / Accepted: 2 May 2012 / Published: 18 May 2012
Cited by 24 | PDF Full-text (192 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Rates of childhood and adult trauma are high among incarcerated persons. In addition to criminality, childhood trauma is associated with the risk for emotional disorders (e.g., depression and anxiety) and co-morbid conditions such as alcohol and drug abuse and antisocial behaviors in adulthood.
[...] Read more.
Rates of childhood and adult trauma are high among incarcerated persons. In addition to criminality, childhood trauma is associated with the risk for emotional disorders (e.g., depression and anxiety) and co-morbid conditions such as alcohol and drug abuse and antisocial behaviors in adulthood. This paper develops rates of childhood and adult trauma and examines the impact of age-of-onset and type-specific trauma on emotional problems and behavior for a sample of incarcerated males (N~4,000). Prevalence estimates for types of trauma were constructed by age at time of trauma, race and types of behavioral health treatment received while incarcerated. HLM models were used to explore the association between childhood and adult trauma and depression, anxiety, substance use, interpersonal problems, and aggression problems (each model estimated separately and controlling for age, gender, race, time incarcerated, and index offense). Rates of physical, sexual, and emotional trauma were higher in childhood than adulthood and ranged from 44.7% (physical trauma in childhood) to 4.5% (sexual trauma in adulthood). Trauma exposure was found to be strongly associated with a wide range of behavioral problems and clinical symptoms. Given the sheer numbers of incarcerated men and the strength of these associations, targeted intervention is critical. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trauma, Addiction and Criminality)

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Type of Paper: Article
Title: Does Violence Beget Violence
Author: Samuel Myers
Affiliation: Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA; E-Mail: myers006@umn.edu
Abstract: This paper explores whether childhood experience with a specific form of abuse contributes to juvenile violence using data on youth from the 1970s and 1980s, a period when there appeared to be a heightening connection between youth violence and early childhood experiences  Particular attention is given to the nuances of the relationship between child abuse and juvenile violence, including attitudes toward violence and issues of race.  Using data from the National Youth Survey, the paper  isolates the determinants of juvenile violence by separately examining  vintages of youth to account for possible censoring in the survey data.  The results do not show a uniform pattern of childhood abuse leading to juvenile violence. In some instances, for some age groups, and at some pathways to adulthood, the findings offer limited support for the generalization that child abuse leads to juvenile violence. Although there are not substantial differences in childhood abuse by race, there are large racial differences in attitudes toward violence, with blacks much more likely to tolerate it. The findings indicate that these attitudes are independent of child abuse and are strong predictors of juvenile violence.  While there is little support for the widely held belief that children who are victims of beatings by their parents are more likely to be perpetrators of juvenile violence, the results do indicate that attitudes toward violence have a strong influence on whether a juvenile perpetrates violence and should therefore be taken seriously by policy makers.

Type of Paper: Research Article
Title: Commercial Sexual Exploitation in Juvenile Detention: Implementing an Identification and Diversion Process
Author: Emily J. Salisbury, Jonathan D. Dabney and Kelli Russell
Affiliation: Division of Criminology & Criminal Justice, Portland State University, PO Box 751-JUST, Portland, OR 97207, USA; E-Mail: salisbury@pdx.edu
Abstract: Identifying victims of commercial sexual exploitation in the juvenile justice system is a challenging complexity requiring concerted organizational commitment. Using a three-tiered, trauma-informed screening process, a three-month pilot intervention was implemented in Clark County Juvenile Court (Washington) to identify victims in an effort to connect them to community youth advocates and sexual assault resources. A total of 535 boys and girls ages 9-19 were screened during intake; 47 of these youth reported risk factors associated with CSEC victimization and were subsequently referred to community advocates. Six youth (all girls) were confirmed CSEC victims and were successfully diverted from juvenile detention. Study results suggest that despite the lack of reliable data surrounding the prevalence of CSEC, juvenile justice agencies need to become educated on the risk factors to triage victims to services.

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