Research Report Digest, Issue 8

October 2012

In NIJ’s Research Report Digest, you will find brief descriptions of studies in various criminal justice disciplines, such as criminology and forensic sciences, and evaluations of technologies that are used in the law enforcement and corrections fields.

This issue includes reports based on NIJ-funded research that were added to the NCJRS Abstracts Database from April-June 2012.

Find research reports related to:


Prisoner Reentry Services: What Worked for SVORI Evaluation Participants? 
Authors: Pamela K. Lattimore, Kelle Barrick, Alexander Cowell, Debbie Dawes, Danielle Steffey, Stephen Tueller, and Christy A. Visher   

This report presents the findings and methods of a secondary analysis of data collected for a large multisite evaluation of state and local reentry initiatives funded under the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI). The evaluation found that participation in SVORI programs was associated with longer times to arrest and fewer arrests after release for all three demographic groups (adult males, adult females and juvenile males) during a minimum follow-up period of 56 months for the adults served and 22 months for the juvenile males. Many of the specific SVORI-funded services had no effect on housing, employment, substance use or recidivism. Sometimes the effect was harmful rather than helpful. There were significant effects of SVORI program participation on arrests following release.   SVORI participants had a 14-percent decline in arrests for the adult men, a 48-percent decrease for adult women, and a 25-percent decline for the juvenile males over the fixed follow-up periods. The findings show the need for more research into specific reentry services and combinations of services, with an awareness that some programs may be harmful if delivered at the wrong time or in the wrong way. The findings also show that follow-up periods longer than 2 years may be necessary to see positive effects on criminal behavior because the strong effects noted at 56 months were not observed at 24 months after release. Longer follow-up periods may be important for high-risk populations.

Read the complete report Prisoner Reentry Services: What Worked for SVORI Evaluation Participants? (pdf, 560 pages)

Monitoring High-Risk Sex Offenders With GPS Technology: An Evaluation of the California Supervision Program, Final Report 
Authors: Stephen V. Gies, Randy Gainey, Marcia I. Cohen, Eoin Healy, Dan Duplantier, Martha Yeide, Alan Bekelman, Amanda Bobnis, and Michael Hopps 

The purpose of this evaluation was to measure the effectiveness of the global positioning system (GPS) monitoring of high-risk sex offenders (HRSOs) on parole. Despite the increasing number of HRSOs on electronic monitoring programs, little is known about how effective these programs are in increasing offender compliance and reducing recidivism. This study integrated results, cost, and a process evaluation to assess the impact of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s GPS supervision program. The study population was drawn from all HRSOs released from prison and living in California between January 2006 and March 2009. The sample included 516 subjects who were divided equally into a treatment group on GPS monitoring and a control group that was not monitored. Measures included compliance and recidivism. Findings show that GPS monitoring is more effective than traditional supervision. The GPS group had significantly better results. The GPS program costs about $8.51 more per day per parolee than traditional supervision.

Read the complete report Monitoring High-Risk Sex Offenders With GPS Technology: An Evaluation of the California Supervision Program, Final Report (pdf, 114 pages)

Forensic Sciences

Specific Heat Capacity Thermal Function of the Cyanoacrylate Fingerprint Development Process, 2012 
Authors: Charles A. Steele, Mason A. Hines, and Lara Rutherford   

There are many existing methods for evolving and visualizing fingermarks with cyanoacrylate (CA).   This research aimed to produce methods for improving fingermark recovery. The research involved five undertakings, each designed to either increase the ease of fingermark development or increase the sensitivity of the fingermark development process. The first method explored developing sublimation-based copolymerized coloring. Researchers produced colored CA fingermarks detectable with a 530 nm laser. The second method involved changing evidence temperature. This method improved fingermark visibility because of an increase in opacity and color uptake of CA fingermarks when the evidence is cooled 6-20 degrees F. The third method explored was the use of infrared detection. After being aged for 2 weeks to allow them to fade, fingermark samples were then examined with infrared cameras at ambient temperatures and cooled to force condensation and improve infrared visibility. Although fingermarks were produced, no prints were resolved that would not have been detectable with more economical visible-light means. The fourth undertaking of the research was to find a way to disperse nano-particles onto CA prints. Nano-particles can be applied in various ways, ranging from spraying liquid dispersions to creating dust clouds; however, when the particles are produced on the fingermark itself, it is possible to lock the color into the CA matrix with subsequent fuming. Carbon black nonparticles were therefore produced by burning oil and directing the vapor stream onto the print. The fifth part of the research involved developing a commercially viable temperature and humidity-controlled chamber to chill the evidence and allow for standard fuming. This was successful, and a unit can be purchased from Sirchie Corp.

Read the complete report Specific Heat Capacity Thermal Function of the Cyanoacrylate Fingerprint Development Process, 2012 (pdf, 32 pages)


Criminal Justice Interventions for Offenders with Mental Illness: Evaluation of Mental Health Courts in Bronx and Brooklyn, New York 
Authors: Shelli B. Rossman, Janeen Buck Willison, Kamala Mallik-Kane, KiDeuk Kim, Sara Debus-Sherrill, and P. Mitchell Downey   

This report is an evaluation of mental health courts in Bronx and Brooklyn, New York. Findings from the process evaluation (how the courts worked) showed there were key differences in the problem-solving characteristics and orientation of the two mental health courts that could influence participants. Researchers assessed judicial interaction and courtroom dynamics, participation levels of other courtroom actors, monitoring and testing, clinical assessment, treatment provider networks, treatment placement, referral mechanisms, and the use of rewards and sanctions. The evaluation’s impact analysis showed that mental health court participants were significantly less likely to recidivate compared to similar offenders with mental illness who were processed under traditional court procedures. In addition, the people who reoffended were more likely to commit drug crimes than violent or property crimes. The extent of the impact differed across the two programs. Data are compared for the two courts on rearrest and reconviction. Still, the breakdown of offense type was similar for the treatment and comparison groups. In both evaluations, the treatment group had a better chance of avoiding recidivism than the comparison group and took longer than the comparison group to recidivate. Several avenues for future research are identified.

Read the complete report Criminal Justice Interventions for Offenders With Mental Illness: Evaluation of Mental Health Courts in Bronx and Brooklyn, New York (pdf, 202 pages)

Date Created: August 27, 2012