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Research proposal to determine relationships between overcrowding & laws on mandatory sentencing & parole.
CAUSES OF PRISON OVERCROWDING: A RESEARCH PROPOSAL Background on the Problem Prison overcrowding and the costs associated with operating prisons have developed as major public issues over the past two decades (Eckl, 1994). The increase in violent crime in the United States in the 1970s, together a plea bargaining process that often appeared to favor offenders, led to public outcries to get tougher on crime. Both President Reagan and President Bush tapped this vein of public discontent by successfully, if inaccurately, by labeling their opponents as being soft on crime. Other politicians, particularly at the state level, jumped on the tough on crime bandwagon. Statement of the Problem One outcome of all of this activity were new sentencing guideli
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Significance of the Problem More 92 than four-million persons (2.2 percent of the adult populationof the United States) are under correctional supervision (Bureau ofCriminal Justice Statistics, 1997). International Journal of Offender Therapy andComparative Criminology, 4 (3), 181-191. Brookings Review, 13, 2 -25. What has been the effect on prisonpopulation density of laws eliminating parole? M., & DiIulio, J. 5 will lead to a rejection, by inference, of theassociated H hypothesis. A rejection of an H1hypothesis because of a determination of statistically significantvariations at p<. Research question two. Summary This research proposed the conduct of a research study to investigatethe effects on prison overcrowding of both mandatory sentencing laws andlaws that prohibit the use of parole in corrections management. (1996, Spring). Per 1 thousand population, the increase was from 129 to 216.Since the mid-198 s, the prison population has continued to climb, however,at a slightly reduced rate. J. During this same time period-since the mid-197 s, the rate of both violent crime and property crime in the UnitedStates has escalated (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1996). C. H1 - Variation in prison population density are unrelated tothe elimination of the use of parole in corrections management. Otherpoliticians, particularly at the state level, jumped on the tough on crimebandwagon. N., Hirschman, R., & Beutler, L. The 54, federal prison inmates represent 173 percentof the rated capacity of federal correctional institutions, while the629, state prisoners represent 12 percent of the total rated capacityof state correctional institutions. 2. The research hypothesisand the null hypothesis associated with this research question are asfollows: H - Prison population density increases when mandatorysentencing laws are enforced. Thus, new prison cells continue to be required in increasingnumbers, and no one wants to ask the public to pay for their construction.In the 199 s, no politician-federal, state, or local-dares to take anyaction that would permit an opponent to claim that her or she was soft oncrime. In this context, it is important to note that some studieshave found that the sureness of the imposition of penalties is asimportant, as is the severity of the punishments imposed. Research Question and Hypothesis Several interesting questions are suggested by the literature on thisissue. The research hypothesis andthe null hypothesis associated with this research question are as follows: H - Prison population density increases when the use ofparole in corrections management is eliminated. StateLegislatures, 2 , 14-19. Eckl, C. Washington:U.S. Uniform crime reports.Washington: U.S. Research question two. (1994, September). Playing hardball with criminals. Social Science Quarterly, 72, 221-238. Another report found that increasing prison populations aretaxing the resources of jurisdictions at all levels of government (Klofas &Stojkovic, 1996). Breaking up prison deadlock. E. (1994, Winter-Spring). Existing studies in the literature both providesupport for each approach, and find an absence of support for each of theapproaches. B. S. Otherinteresting questions are related to the "get tough on crime" attitude thathas emerged in society, the underlying reasons for the development of thisphenomenon, and the impact of the "get tough on crime" mindset on prisonovercrowding. Criminal Justice Ethics, 13, 11-2 . The two general approaches to the reduction of criminal activity-attacking the underlying causes, and control of social behaviors-cannot becompletely divorced. For thecorrectional officers responsible for the administration of prisons, andthe maintenance of prisoner welfare, the increase in the proportion ofviolent offenders housed in the nation's prison facilities has created anightmarish situation with respect to control, preservation of order, andmaintenance of safety for both prisoners and prison staff. References Berger, R. One school of thought holds that stiff penalties should be leviedagainst offenders, as a deterrent to both repetition of the behavior by theoffenders, and as a deterrent to non-offenders (Frase, 1994). Department of Justice(1997). Similarly, few politicians-federal, state, or local-will publiclyadvocate an increase in taxes, regardless of the purpose for which suchtaxes would be used. Conceptual and operational definitions for thisdependent variable are presented above under "Research question one." Data Collection The data required to investigate the research questions and test thehypotheses will be obtained from secondary sources. Piehl, A. "Does Prison Pay?"Revisited. Among the questions are those concerning the impact on prisonovercrowding of mandatory sentencing policies and the impact of policiesthat either eliminate or severely restrict the use of parole. The ANOVAprocedures will be performed using the Statistical Package for SocialSciences (SPSS) application program. The independent variable in researchquestion one is the existence or non existence within a jurisdiction ofmandatory sentencing laws. Of this total number, 1, 76, areincarcerated (683, in prison and 393, in jail), 457, are onparole, and 2,521, are on probation. Thisapproach, while highly popular among the general public and conservativepoliticians is not supported by most sociologists for either adult or youthoffenders. Social Pathology, 2(1), 23-31. The criterion for the rejection of thenull will be a determination of variations in prison population densitythat are statistically significant at p<. Hall, G. H1 - Variation in prison population density are unrelated tothe enforcement of mandatory sentencing laws. 2. First, there are those theories which hold that theunderlying causes of anti-social behaviors (poverty, injustices-perceivedor real, and so forth) must be addressed, if the frequency of anti-socialbehaviors is to be reduced by any significant degree (Berger, 1991). Research question one. Bureau of Criminal Justice Statistics, U.S. Such policies have not always worked asintended, however, because some classes of non-violent offenders-notablydrug offenders-were excluded from probation programs (Piehl & DiIulio,1995). (1996, May). (1996, September). Correctional crowding:The half-life of an idea in the social sciences. The increase in violent crime in the United States in the 197 s,together a plea bargaining process that often appeared to favor offenders,led to public outcries to get tougher on crime. Conceptually, prison population density is defined for purposesof the proposed research as the relationship between the inmate populationof a corrections institution or group of such institutions and the ratedinmate population capacity of a corrections institution or group of suchinstitutions, where inmate population capacity is defined as the inmatepopulation size for which a corrections institution was designed when builtor remodeled. The social and political context of rapereform law. Theoretical Framework Most of the theoretical studies devoted to the discovery of ways toreduce levels of criminal behavior emphasize one of two general ways toattack the problem. Correctional populations in the United States, 1995. Data Analysis The H1 hypotheses will be tested through the application of analysisof variance (ANOVA) procedures to the appropriate data. The outcome, predictably, was prisonovercrowding. Rather,their effects on prison overcrowding are measurable within the contexts ofthe policies spawned by the "get tough on crime" mindset," as the effectsof these policies on prison overcrowding are measurable directly. From the mid-197 s through the mid-198 s, the American prisonpopulation increased by 84 percent (Bureau of Criminal Justice Statistics,1997). Causes of Prison Overcrowding: A Research Proposal Background on the Problem Prison overcrowding and the costs associated with operating prisonshave developed as major public issues over the past two decades (Eckl,1994). Several studies have cited the deterrent effects of sure andsubstantial penalties for antisocial behaviors as a means of reducing thecrime rate. Government Printing Office. An inability to reject of an H1 hypothesisbecause of an absence of a determination of statistically significantvariations at p<. Again, existing studies inthe literature both provide support, and find an absence of support foreach of the several approaches. What has been the effect on prisonpopulation density of mandatory sentencing laws? Operationally, this independent variable will be definedand measured for the testing of the hypotheses as either "mandatorysentencing laws in effect" or "mandatory sentencing laws not in effect."The dependent variable in research question one is prison populationdensity. The 393, persons incarceratedin jails represent 1 8 percent of the overall rated capacity of jails inthe United States. ABA Journal, 82,7 -75. Frase, R. (1996). Literature Review Wooldredge (1996) studied the relationship between sentencing policiesand prison overcrowding. Research question one. (1991, June). The research alsofound that prison overcrowding was more pronounced in states with largerpopulations. The second broad group of theoretical studies emphasizes therelationship between the control of social behaviors and reductions in thefrequency of occurrence of anti-social behaviors (Hall, Hirschman, &Beutler, 1991). The independent variable in researchquestion two is the existence or non existence within a jurisdiction oflaws prohibiting the use of parole in corrections management.Conceptually, laws prohibiting the use of parole in corrections managementare defined for purposes of the proposed research as laws that requireconvicted offenders to serve the full incarceration time specified in theirsentences, as opposed to being released earlier than such time for "goodbehavior" or for some other reason acceptable to corrections managementofficials. Operationally, this independent variable will be defined andmeasured as either "'no parole' laws in effect" or "'no parole laws not ineffect." The dependent variable in research question two is prisonpopulation density. Death by inmate: Multiple murderin a maximum security prison. J., Jr. Purposes of punishment under theMinnesota guidelines. As interesting as these other questions may be, however,their effects on prison overcrowding are not measurable directly. Conceptually, mandatory sentencing laws aredefined for purposes of the proposed research as laws that require theimposition of prescribed minimum sentences upon conviction of listedoffenses, and which proscribe the imposition of shorter sentences bypresiding judges. These variables and their definitions are as follows: 1. M., & Stojkovic, S. Within this group of studies, there are included a widevariety of approaches put forward as means of controlling social behaviors-running the gamut from to use of punishment and sentencing procedures as adeterrent to the commission of anti-social behaviors, to the use ofcommunity involvement as a means of reducing the frequencies of anti-socialbehaviors. 5. Theliterature indicates that problems of substances related to prisonovercrowding stem from each of these sets of laws. Some jurisdictions, in attempts to deal with the problem of prisonovercrowding, adopted liberal probation in lieu of incarceration policiesfor adult non-violent offenders. For corrections institutions, the interaction ofthese two factors means that bad prison overcrowding is likely to becomesteadily worse. Wooldredge, G. Journal of Consulting Clinical Psychology,59, 619-681. While the politicianswere getting tough on crime, however, the politicians and citizens-from thefederal level right on down to local politicians and citizens voting inbond elections-neglected in some cases and refused in more cases toincrease spending on incarceration facilities at the levels required tomeet the increasing demand. One effect of theinteraction of these three trends has been a shift in the prison populationtoward a much higher proportion of violent crime offenders. Stansky, L. Thethrust of these theories is that, by eliminating the underlying causes ofanti-social behaviors, the behaviors themselves will either be eliminatedor their frequencies of occurrence will be significantly reduced. Federal Bureau of Investigation. Statement of the Problem One outcome of all of this activity were new sentencing guidelinesthat mandated prison time for more types of offenses and which alsolengthened prison stays (Piehl & DiIulio, 1995). Klofas, J. Variables and Operational Definitions The variables involved in the research questions and hypotheses areidentified, defined conceptually, and defined operationally in thissection. While thecrime rate has increased, and the demand for prison space has increased,prison capacity has remained relatively steady. Further, within the general area of the control of socialbehaviors, the several different approaches to such control which have beenadvanced cannot be divorced from one another. (1995, Winter). Governmentaljurisdictions at all levels, thus, must find ways to increase prison andjail capacity. The research found that tougher sentencingpolicies affected prison crowding over the long-term. These secondarysources will be compilations of relevant statistical data published by theBureau of Criminal Justice Statistics of the United States Department ofJustice, and those published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of theUnited States Department of Justice. (1991, October).Theories of sexual aggression. Operationally, this dependent variable will be defined andmeasured for the testing of the hypotheses as the ratio determined bydividing inmate population of a corrections institution or group of suchinstitutions by the rated inmate population capacity of a correctionsinstitution or group of such institutions. Thus,the research questions that will be investigated in the proposed research,together with testable hypotheses, associated with these researchquestions, are as follows: 1. Both President Reagan andPresident Bush tapped this vein of public discontent by successfully, ifinaccurately, by labeling their opponents as being soft on crime. 5 will lead to an acceptance, by inference, of theassociated H hypothesis. Government Printing Office. As a consequence, many states are attempting to revisemandatory sentencing guidelines to moderate the problem (Stansky, 1996).
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