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CRC funded reports

2012/13

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.

  1. Grant 24/07-08: Analysis of supervision skills of juvenile justice workers
  2. Grant 11/09-10: The Sentencing of Indigenous Offenders in the Lower Courts: A Study of Three Australian Jurisdictions
  3. Grant 42/08-09: ID scanner in the night-time economy: social sorting or social order?

Grant 24/07-08: Analysis of supervision skills of juvenile justice workers

Chris Trotter

Criminology Research Grant: CRG 24/07-08

An increasing body of research suggests that some interventions with offenders can reduce re-offending. While little of this research has focused on the impact of routine supervision of offenders on probation, parole or other community based orders, a few studies have found that when supervisors make use of certain skills those under their supervision offend less often. This study involved the direct observation of 117 worker/client interviews conducted by juvenile justice workers with a view to examining the extent to which effective practice skills were used. It found that workers were strong on relationship and pro-social modelling skills but not as strong on problem solving, role clarification or CBT skills. It found like the earlier studies generally done with adults, that the more workers used effective practice skills the less young people under their supervision re-offended. It also found that workers given a counselling role made more use of the effective practice skills than other workers

Grant 11/09-10: The Sentencing of Indigenous Offenders in the Lower Courts: A Study of Three Australian Jurisdictions

Samantha Jeffries, Christine Bond

Criminology Research Grant: CRG 11/09-10

Indigenous disparities in imprisonment sentences are well-documented. Yet, there have been few systematic attempts made by researchers in Australia to explain these disparities in the imprisonment decision-making of the lower courts (cf. Bond and Jeffries, 2011a; Bond, Jeffries and Weatherburn, 2011). Further, little is known about how Indigeneity impacts non imprisonment decision making. This study undertook exploratory and explanatory regression based statistical analyses of Indigeneity and lower court sentencing in South Australia, New South Wales and Western Australia.  Results showed that, under like circumstances:

  1. Indigenous defendants were more likely than non-Indigenous offenders to be sentenced to prison in all three study jurisdictions. While this finding was consistent across time (1998-2008,) the pattern differed by jurisdiction.
  2. Indigenous defendants were less likely than non-Indigenous offenders to be sentenced to a monetary order (compared to other non-imprisonment penalties).
  3. Indigenous defendants were sentenced to monetary orders of a lesser amount than non-Indigenous offenders.
  4. The impact of Indigeneity on imprisonment terms varied by study jurisdictions. In South Australia, Indigenous defendants were sentenced to shorter terms than non-Indigenous offenders. In New South Wales, Indigenous offenders were sentenced to almost equal prison terms. In Western Australia, Indigenous offenders received longer terms of imprisonment.

Within the context of the framework of focal concerns, this study assessed the evidence of three sentencing disparities hypotheses (i.e. differential involvement, negative and positive discrimination).  Although requiring further investigation, the consistent finding of harshness in the decision to imprison Indigenous offenders is particularly concerning. Based on the focal concerns approach, a possible reason for this pattern is lack of time and information in lower court sentencing hearing. The pressures on lower court decision-making, and its consequent impact on Indigenous defendants, points to the need for the extension and development of strategies that allow more detailed and reliable information to be placed before magistrates at the time of sentencing (e.g. Indigenous sentencing courts).

Grant 42/08-09: ID scanner in the night-time economy: social sorting or social order?

Darren Palmer, Ian Warren, Peter Miller

Criminology Research Grant: CRC 42/08-09

ID scanners are rapidly expanding as a key security technology in Australia and internationally, and are promoted as a primary method for solving the ongoing and serious social problem of violence in and around late-night licensed venues. This is the first systematic study examining the introduction of ID scanners in the night-time economy. This research has identified strong beliefs favouring the introduction and reception of ID scanners through interview evidence, particularly with the owners or managers of licensed premises and venue patrons, but very little empirical support for their impact in reducing assaults in and around late-night venues. The research indicates the need to act judiciously in the expansion of ID scanners and suggests immediate policy development is vital concerning the regulation of currently deployed ID scanner systems and databases. Finally, the research indicates the need for further and more detailed examination of the impact of ID scanners in other locations, their potential displacement effects and the growing surveillance and data-matching capacity for combined databases operating at a state/territory or national level.

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