CRC funded reports
The Council received reports from 5 completed research projects during the year 1978-79. Summaries of these reports are given below. These reports are held by the Australian Institute of Criminology's JV Barry Library and are available on inter-library loan. For full bibliographic information on any report, search the Library's Catalogue.
- Person perception and behaviour patterns of young female offenders
- Evaluation of S.O.F.T.L.Y. (The social options for teenagers like you) program
- An evaluation of the suspended sentence in South Australia
- Social and personal impact of pornography
- Evaluation of the Western Australian prison system
Interim Report Received
An interim report was also received during the year. A summary of this report is given below.
Report title: Person Perception and Behaviour Patterns of Young Female Offenders
Grantee: Ms Patrice Cooke, Institute of Human Development, Western Australia
Criminology Research Council grant ; (37/76)
The report of this research of 200 pages incorporates the detailed results of the psychological assessment of 67 delinquent and 56 non-delinquent adolescent girls. The main aim of the research was to explore the use of a non-metric multidimensional scaling technique to uncover the principal dimensions used by female adolescent offenders to structure their 'person world' and to investigate the usefulness of this technique in providing an instrument for differential diagnosis within the adolescent group and a means of measuring change through treatment. Significant differences were found between delinquent and non-delinquent girls, and the intensive treatment program applying these results to delinquent girls produced the remarkably low recidivism rate of 2.5 per cent.
Report title: Evaluation of S.O.F.T.L.Y. (The Social Options for Teenagers Like You) Program
Grantee: Mr K. A. Maine, Director, Department for Community Welfare, Western Australia
Criminology Research Council grant ; (10/76)
This peer group activities program for delinquent and pre-delinquent youths aimed to stimulate the acquisition of social skills and culturally acceptable behaviour. The specific aims were to: develop socially relevant skills, develop an awareness of options, teach skills to create further options, teach decision-making, planning and organisational skills, and reduce recidivism. The program was conducted with groups of from five to eight adolescents working with one adult.
The evaluation was conducted by comparing 39 participants who completed the program with a matched group of similar size. Pre and post tests were used to measure personal and social attributes as well as levels of criminal behaviour. The evaluation showed that the program was enjoyable to participants and, while it was operating, led to marginally lower levels of anti-social behaviour. However, it was also shown that higher rates of recidivism followed the completion of the program compared with the rates of those youths to whom the program was not offered. For this reason the program has been discontinued.
Report title: The Use of Suspended Sentences in South Australia
Grantee: Department of Correctional Services, South Australia
Criminology Research Council grant ; (30/76)
To undertake this research, which was recommended by the Criminal Law and Penal Methods Reform Committee of South Australia in its First Report, the Department of Correctional Services employed Ms C. E. Dengate as a temporary research officer. Ms Dengate produced a report of 192 pages entitled The Use of Suspended Sentences in South Australia together with a shorter summary. The report showed that since the power to suspend prison sentences was given to the courts in South Australia in 1969 nearly 3,000 suspended sentences had been imposed up to and including the year 1975-76. Records of 915 of these cases, all of which incorporated supervision orders, were analysed for the purpose of the research. The majority of the offences for which suspended sentences were imposed were against property, with 48.6 of the sample being convicted for theft or breaking and entering, smaller proportions of the sample were convicted for assault, false pretences, drink-driving and drug offences, with occasional cases of manslaughter, rape, carnal knowledge and robbery being found. The report discussed the difficulties of determining 'success rates' in relation to suspended sentences, and cited data relating to a sub-sample of 270 cases of which 120 had apparently completed the suspension period without difficulty, while for the remainder a variety of factors had complicated the situation. Some had been imprisoned for the non-payment of fines for other offences, a few had died and for some, breach proceedings had been initiated or considered during or after the suspension period. Others had lost contact with the supervising probation officer. This study was primarily focused on the legal and administration aspects of the operation of suspended sentences in South Australia and therefore cannot be held to have evaluated the effectiveness of this disposition.
Report title: Social and Personal Impact of Pornography final Report
Grantee: Dr J. H. Court, Senior Lecturer in Psychology, School of Social Sciences, Flinders University of South Australia
Criminology Research Council grant ; (11a/77)
The final report of this research describes an attempt to obtain evidence from persons convicted of sex offences with regard to their prior involvement with pornography. The pitfalls and problems involved are described in the context of previous research reports which have also tried to do this. As background to this research, evidence was gathered of well publicised examples of links between exposure to media experiences and subsequent involvement in sex-related offences. Difficulties in drawing conclusions from such sources are noted. The report summarises the research evidence on the link between sex and aggression and further lines of study on this subject are proposed.
Report title: Imprisonment in Western Australia: Evolution, Theory and Practice (book)
Grantee: Dr J. E. Thomas, Deputy Director, Department of Adult Education, The University of Nottingham
Criminology Research Council grant ; (15/74)
This project was completed in 1976 as far as expenditure of the grant from the Council was concerned. During the year under review, however, the book Imprisonment in Western Australia: Evolution, Theory and Practice by J. E. Thomas and Alex Stewart was published by the University of Western Australia Press. This book, which has received favourable reviews, is the main product of this grant. The book examines how the Western Australian prison system evolved, how it relates to a changing and expanding society, and analyses the historical forces that created the system as it stands today. It is expected that the book will be widely used by students of history, law and criminology.
Report title: At The Crossroads? The Functions of Policewomen in Victoria (Interim report) (PDF 2.7MB) | Final Report (1981)
Grantee: Mrs L. E. Foreman, Lecturer, Criminology Department, University of Melbourne
Criminology Research Council grant ; (17/76)
This interim report explored:
- the nature and extent of the 'traditional welfare role';
- the incidence and characteristics of children, women, families and others coming into contact with policewomen; and
- the relationships between policewomen, statutory and non-statutory social welfare agencies. Summaries of the findings from a survey of police work were given and discussed in the light of possible changes to the role and function of policewomen in Victoria.