Matching Items (6)

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Suggestibility, Plausibility, and Consistency: Questioning Child Witnesses Alleging Sexual Abuse in Criminal Trials

Description

This study examined the type and frequency of questions asked by attorneys in cases of children alleging sexual abuse. Of interest was whether child age would affect the questions asked.

This study examined the type and frequency of questions asked by attorneys in cases of children alleging sexual abuse. Of interest was whether child age would affect the questions asked. The participants included 25 child witnesses testifying in criminal trials in Maricopa County over a recent ten-year period. Children were placed into two groups: younger (five to seven-year-olds) and older (eight to nine-year-olds). Every question asked, and answer provided, during children's testimony, was systematically and reliably coded for the content of the interaction. Attorneys exhibited developmental sensitivity, varying the amount of question they asked across content areas by the age of the child. In addition, attorneys varied in what they asked about: the prosecution focused more on the plausibility of abuse, whereas the defense focused more on how others may have suggestively influenced the child's report. Both attorneys were equally concerned about the consistency of narratives. The findings from the present study have direct policy implications for how attorneys structure their arguments, both in an attempt to establish, and question, children's credibility in these important cases. Keywords: children, age, suggestibility, consistency, inconsistency, plausibility

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018-05

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Suggestive Questioning of Children Alleging Sexual Abuse in Criminal Trials

Description

This research study looked at frequency and proportion of suggestive questions (negative term, statement, and tag), the age of the child, and the attorney conducting the examination (prosecution versus defense).

This research study looked at frequency and proportion of suggestive questions (negative term, statement, and tag), the age of the child, and the attorney conducting the examination (prosecution versus defense). The population of this study was obtained from Maricopa County Attorney's Office court transcripts from 2005-2015 and the sample included 64 minors between the ages of 5-12 years old. The present study showed that regarding frequency, there was no significant difference between the number of suggestive questions asked by the prosecution and defense, however, when looked at the proportion of these questions, prosecution asked significantly fewer suggestive questions compared to the defense. Older children (9-12 year olds) receive more, both in terms of frequency and proportion, suggestive questions than younger children (5-8 year olds). Lastly, children typically gave elaborate responses to suggestive questions from the defense more than from the prosecution. This study shows that attorneys are using problematic methods when questioning children between the ages of 5-12 years old and these suggestive methods may affect the child's ability to provide credible testimony.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2018-12

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Does the Zero Tolerance Policy Create a School to Prison Pipeline?

Description

The Zero Tolerance Policy began appearing in secondary schools in the early 1990's. In the late 1980's, crimes committed by juveniles were at an all-time high. Fears that the violence

The Zero Tolerance Policy began appearing in secondary schools in the early 1990's. In the late 1980's, crimes committed by juveniles were at an all-time high. Fears that the violence would spill onto campus propelled lawmakers and school officials to take preventative measures. With the creation of the Gun-Free School Zone Act of 1990 and Gun-Free Act of 1994, any individual caught with a weapon on campus would be found in violation of the Act and be punishable by law. In addition to the Acts, School Resource Officers (SROs) became more prominent on campus. SROs were originally on campus to teach drug prevention programs, however SROs began to take on more of a disciplinary role to support the Zero Tolerance Policy. Furthermore, educators began turning towards SROs to handle less serious incidents such as behavioral outbursts. As SROs took a more active role, arrests among students started to rise. Many think this is a direct pathway to our criminal justice system, more commonly known as the school-to-prison pipeline. This pipeline disproportionately affects African Americans. This paper will examine the creation, aims and purpose of the Zero Tolerance Policy as well as what incidents helped create and install the policy. This paper will look at what the Zero Tolerance Policy looks like since it has been enacted. Moreover, there will be a focus on which students are affected the most and if this policy will lead to criminal justice contact in the future. Lastly, alternatives to the Zero Tolerance Policy will be discussed and if the policy can be improved or should it be eliminated.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-05

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Is Restorative Justice Effective in the U.S.? Evaluating Program Methods and Findings Using Meta-analysis

Description

The presence of restorative justice (RJ) in the United States has grown steadily within the last five decades. The dynamics of RJ programs are meant to more holistically address the

The presence of restorative justice (RJ) in the United States has grown steadily within the last five decades. The dynamics of RJ programs are meant to more holistically address the harms caused by crime in comparison to the traditional criminal justice system (CJS). Yet, evaluative research has provided inconsistent evidence of their effectiveness and the quality of empirical study has gone untested. The current study sought to fill the gaps within past research by examining how success has been measured, assessing the rigor of study methodology using the Maryland Scientific Methods Scale (SMS), and determining the impact of RJ programs on recidivism, victim satisfaction and restitution compliance using meta-analysis. A systematic search of past literature identified a sample of 121 studies whose dependent measures were coded, and methodological designs were rated using the SMS. Most studies failed to include community-based measures of success or measures which reflect the goals of RJ to undue harms and restore relationships. SMS scores were well distributed within the sample. Despite restricted sample sizes, meta-analyses used extracted data from 35 case-control, quasi-experimental and experimental studies to generate 43 unique treatment contrasts and 3 summary effects. Meta-analytic findings favored RJ treatment over CJS control groups across all dependent measures. Heterogeneity between subsequent arrest studies was scrutinized using subgroup analysis. The fewest subsequent arrests were associated with adult offenders, mandated participation, mediation and hybrid programs, and the most rigorous methodologies. Findings support continued efforts to improve the methodological rigor of evaluations, targeted focus on specific program types and delivery characteristics. Future meta-analyses would benefit from the inclusion of non-American RJ program evaluations to enlarge pooled sample populations and better detect moderating influences. Other suggestions for research design improvements include the use of more holistic and stakeholder-centric measures for success, use of continuous measures, and refined indicator variables for heterogeneity testing (e.g., crime type severity, characteristics of program fidelity). The author recommends continued use of these programs, specifically with adult offenders and incidents of serious crime toward a better understanding of the true impacts of RJ on stakeholders. More detailed results, study limitations and implications are discussed herein.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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This is not easy work''",field_title_subtitle:"examining burnout and secondary trauma among forensic interviewers

Description

Child advocacy centers provide a safe, child-friendly environment for the forensic interview and subsequent investigation of child victimization cases. However, very little research has examined the effects of burnout, secondary

Child advocacy centers provide a safe, child-friendly environment for the forensic interview and subsequent investigation of child victimization cases. However, very little research has examined the effects of burnout, secondary trauma, and organizational stressors on forensic interviewers. The goal of the present project was addressing the following research questions. Do forensic interviewers experience burnout and secondary trauma associated with their profession? How do organizational stressors mitigate or increase these effects among forensic interviewers? Data was collected by conducting an online survey of forensic interviewers working at child advocacy centers across the United States. Specifically, burnout was measured with the Oldenburg Burnout Inventory, and secondary trauma was measured with the Secondary Traumatic Stress Scale (STSS). The current study utilized bivariate correlations, and OLS regression models to analyze the effects of burnout, secondary trauma, and organizational stressors on forensic interviewers. The results indicate burnout and secondary trauma among interviewers in the sample. Job support, funding constraints, and heavy caseloads all influence the outcome measures. Policy recommendations include continued education, training, and mental health services for forensic interviewers. Future researchers should conduct qualitative interviews and expand on variables within the current dataset such as note taking, peer evaluations, and forensic interviewing protocols in order to gain further insight into this population.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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It's a gut feeling: the craft of diagnosing victim credibility and case convictability

Description

The #MeToo Movement has sparked debate across the world as to how prevalent sexual assault is and what can be done to help survivors. Although sexual assaults are the least

The #MeToo Movement has sparked debate across the world as to how prevalent sexual assault is and what can be done to help survivors. Although sexual assaults are the least likely crime to be reported to police, it is important to examine the criminal justice system’s treatment of these cases. The focus of this thesis is on the prosecution of sexual assault cases. Specifically, the goal is to uncover the factors that impact prosecutorial decision-making in sexual assault cases across three different timepoints. This study examines qualitative interviews conducted in 2010 with 30 Deputy District Attorneys from Los Angeles, California. Results reveal that prosecutors’ largely rely on their “gut feelings” about whether a case will be successful based on a combination of factors, including: victim credibility, availability of evidence, and corroboration of the victim’s story, just to name a few. The study concludes with an examination of these results, a discussion on the limitations of the study and a guide for future research, and what policy changes can come from these findings.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019