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Federal Probation Journal - June 2000

Federal Probation Journal (June 2000) is dedicated to informing its readers about current thought, research, and practice in corrections and criminal justice. Explore the issue.

This Issue in Brief

Regular readers of this journal will note our new appearance. In over 60 years of publication, Federal Probation has often been in the forefront of new thinking about corrections and criminal justice, but aside from minor tinkering, it has presented the same face to the world for a half century. We hope our readers will find the new format clean-looking and easy on the eye, as we enter a new century of commentary.

Readers will also find the debut of a new column, “The Cutting Edge,” designed to alert them to technological innovations that can assist lawbreakers and law enforcers. The column is edited by Cecil E. Greek, Ph.D., associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL, where he directs distance learning efforts, including an online Masters’ degree program aimed at working criminal justice professionals. His new book, Computers, the Internet, and Criminal Justice, is published by Wadsworth. Readers are encouraged to contribute ideas for columns and even volunteer their contributions. Dr. Greek’s e-mail address is cgreek@mailer.fsu.edu.

Three Strikes and You’re Out: An Investigation of False Positive Rates Using a Canadian Sample

By Grant N. Burt, Stephen Wong, Sarah Vander Veen, Deqiang Gu

Advocates of the California version of the “Three Strikes and You’re Out” law claim that it reduces violence and contributes to public safety by incarcerating repeat violent offenders. However, there are no empirical estimates of the false positive rate (that is, the unnecessary incarceration of those who would commit exactly three and no additional “strikes”) produced by this law. The authors estimate the false positive rates to be approximately 30 percent, causing a substantial human and financial cost with no advantage to public safety.

Utah Presentence Investigation Reports: User Group Perceptions of Quality and Effectiveness

By Michael D. Norman, Robert C. Wadman

The authors examined the attitudes of judges, prosecutors, public defenders, and probation/parole officers regarding the quality and effectiveness of the Presentence Investigation Report currently used in the state of Utah. Respondents quantified the relative importance of the content areas of the report, identified strengths and weaknesses of the report, revealed how they typically read it, and offered views on selected PSI issues.

Mock Job Fairs in Prison–Tracking Participants

By Sylvia G. McCollum

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has long attempted to prepare inmates for transition to community life through a variety of educational programs. In recent years, the BOP has added mock job fairs to their efforts. Soon-to-be-released inmates learn how to prepare a portfolio of documenting information, and how to handle themselves in interviews with representatives of “real world” companies.

Health Delivery Systems in Women’s Prisons: The Case of Ohio

By Nawal H. Ammar, Edna Erez

Health care in women’s prisons presents special challenges, due to higher incidences of medical problems, the after-effects of abuse, and specialized conditions such as pregnancy. The authors look at health delivery systems in three women’s prisons in Ohio, interviewing staff to describe the range of systems and procedures, benefits and drawbacks, in caring for imprisoned women in Ohio.

Probation and Pretrial Chiefs Can Learn from the Leadership Styles of American Presidents

By Michael Eric Siegel

Probation and Pretrial chiefs can learn management lessons by studying the leadership styles of some recent American presidents. Setting aside analyses of the political content of presidential programs, the author focuses on management issues like “vision,” “strategy,” establishing priorities, etc. to show what contributed to the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of presidential administrations.

The Addition of Day Reporting to Intensive Supervision Probation: A Comparison of Recidivism Rates

By Liz Marie Marciniak

The author compares rates of rearrest from a sample of offenders sentenced to intensive supervision probation alone with a sample sentenced to intensive supervision plus day reporting. Results indicate that offenders sentenced to day reporting plus intensive supervision were no more or less likely to be rearrested than those on intensive supervision alone. The increased surveillance associated with two sanctions may counterbalance the rehabilitative aspect of day reporting to end up with a negligible effect on recidivism.

Parole Officers’ Perceptions of Juvenile Offenders Within a Balanced and Restorative Model of Justice

By Alan Dana Lewis, Timothy J. Howard

The authors designed and implemented a Balanced and Restorative Justice Evaluation Screen (BARJES) to be completed by parole officers working with juvenile offenders. The BARJES quantifies and measures the parole officers’ perceptions of juvenile offenders on their caseloads within the context of Balanced and Restorative Justice. The study demonstrates that reliable and valid rating instruments can be developed to predict youth outcomes and monitor the implementation of juvenile justice.

Selecting the Substance Abuse Specialist

By Sam Torres, Robert M. Latta

The vast majority of offenders experience drug problems. The authors describe the strategy the federal probation office in Los Angeles used to handle supervision of substance-abusing offenders through an intensive surveillance-treatment approach requiring total abstinence and holding offenders responsible for their decision to use drugs or alcohol. Then they profile the personality traits needed in substance abuse specialists to effectively handle this strategy.

U.S. Probation/Pretrial Officers’ Concerns About Victimization and Safety Training

By Kevin D. Lowry

The author surveys U.S. probation and pretrial officers to discover relationships between various types of safety training and feelings of safety or victimization. His results show that a large majority of officers are concerned for their safety on the job, and that respondents receiving training in defensive tactics, scenario-based training, or at a safety academy were most satisfied. He recommends that such safety training be available to officers in all districts.

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