Criminology & Criminal Justice Theses and Dissertations

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    WOMEN IN ORANGE: HOW WOMEN IN PRISON ADAPT, NAVIGATE RELATIONSHIPS, AND MAINTAIN IDENTITY
    (2023) Philippon , Cassandra Nicole; Porter, Lauren; Ellis, Rachel; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The body of literature describing women’s prisons and the adaptations of women in prison largely overlook the role femininity plays in structuring life in the single-sex space of a women’s prison. Virtual, semi-structured interviews were conducted with fifty-six women housed at a women’s prison in Arizona. Participants described providing care for others and care for the self. Life in the prison was therefore structured primarily around care, which refers to a feeling of concern or interest, providing for the needs of someone, or paying close attention to doing something to avoid harm.
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    Victim Participation: Does it Impact Sentencing Departures?
    (2023) Neff, Heidi; Johnson, Brian D; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Prior analyses of sentencing practices find that victim characteristics affect sentencing decisions. Yet, the impact of victim participation on sentencing departures has largely been ignored in research on victim involvement in the punishment process. The present study examines this important, although rarely empirically tested, aspect of sentencing. Using data from the Maryland State Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy, this study examines the impact of multiple forms of victim participation on sentencing departures in the context of both person and property offenses. Given that victim characteristics are known to influence sentencing, the study also investigates whether victim vulnerability moderates the relationship between victim participation and departure decisions. Findings support that victim participation influences sentencing decisions for both offense types, demonstrating that sentences are more severe, on average, when victim participation significantly affects departures. Findings for the interaction between victim participation and vulnerability, however, are less clear, which raises questions about whether certain victims’ participation influences decision-making differently.
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    Latino Threat: The Role of Political Threat on City Capacity for Social Control
    (2023) Donohue, Frank; Vélez, María B.; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    In recent years, police killings of minority individuals have come to the forefront ofscholars and the minds of the general public, with the highly publicized murders of George Floyd, Freddie Gray, and Breonna Taylor. Extant literature largely focuses on police killings of African Americans, and while this is of great importance, less attention has been paid to police-involved homicides of Latinos. The current study seeks to understand city level variation in police killings of Latinos, paying particular attention to a “dynamic” measure of racial threat -- change in the Latino population, and the presence of open political opportunity structures. I draw on an original dataset of 233 cities, with data curated from Fatal Encounters, Decennial Census, the American Community Survey, the Uniform Crime Report, the National Immigration Law Center, and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials. Regarding racial threat, I find that static Latino threat operates in a nonlinear fashion as it relates to police killings, and moreover that cities that experience more pronounced change in the Latino population over time (i.e., dynamic threat) translates to higher city-level rates of police killings of Latinos. Additionally, I find that sanctuary jurisdictions and gateway cities serve as a protective buffer for Latinos against lethal police violence. Implications for this complex and nuanced issue, including police-community relationships, the functionality of the police, and extralegal consequences for minority populations are also discussed.
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    INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE IN BLACK MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES DURING ECONOMIC DOWNTURNS AND SOCIAL UNREST
    (2022) Johnson, Kalani; Dugan, Laura; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    In domestic violence scholarship, the literature finds that Black women experience higher intimate partner violence (IPV) rates across all income levels. However, little attention is given to understanding the intersectionality of these women. This study investigates IPV against Black women from a Black feminist lens. Using Straus and Murray’s 1976’s Physical Violence in American Families survey, class status (emphasizing the occupational, as defined by Black-middle class studies), economic strain, and race provide the opportunity to assess the varying effects on husband-to-wife abuse rates. This data was used because of the social context at the time (i.e., social unrest, recession) of collection and availability of the occupational title variable. The data is analyzed using a negative binomial, while a second model explores the use of a three-way interaction variable. Results suggest income remains a strong predictor of husband-to-wife violence; however, occupational becomes a predictor for abuse (verbal and/or physical violence). Economic strain was not significant for violence or abuse. The results suggest that income remains the better predictor of IPV against women for both races, while the occupational is tangential. Moreover, future research should explore how to capture and measure social strain to understand the potential impact on IPV rates.
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    An Analysis of the Correlation Between the Attitude, Belief, Opinion, and Demographic Components of Voluntary Forfeiture of One's Fourth Amendment Constitutional Right in Order to Permit Police Officers the use of New Concealed Weapons Detection Technology
    (2002) Vann, Diane Hill Esq.; Wellford, Charles; Criminology & Criminal Justice; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    The primary purpose of the study is to determine and analyze relationships between the major components of the participants' opinions, attitudes, and beliefs as to the effectiveness and willingness of individuals to voluntarily forfeit their Fourth Amendment Constitutional rights to permit the use of the new Concealed Weapons Detection Technology ("CWDT"). The new CWDT, as described in this study is capable of performing hands-off, non-intrusive body searches for contraband such as plastic explosives, drugs, and concealed weapons, specifically concealed guns. The study questions that Constitutionality of permitting police officers the use of such CWDT, and the Constitutionality of one's voluntary forfeiture of a Constitutional right to permit such use. Data collected for the study is from 100 residents of Madison, Wisconsin, and Washington, D.C., aged 18 years or older. The study analyzes Frequencies, Crosstabs, Chi Square, and Pearson's (r) and Spearman's (rs). The study although conducted before September 11, 2001, found that crime and terror remain great oppressors in the Nation, and that citizens are desparate for a resolution. The study reveals that the great majority of the study participants consider CWDT a positive solution.
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    The Effects of Police Systems and Their Environments on Police Homicides: An Exploratory Analysis
    (1988) Taylor-Greene, Helen Elizabeth; Wellford, Charles; Criminology & Criminal Justice; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, MD)
    The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of police systems and their environments on police homicides. Data from five sources, the Crime Control Institute, International Association of Chiefs of Police, Joint Center for Political Studies, Police Executive Research Forum, and the United States Bureau of the Census were used to create the database which included information on police systems, their environments and reported police homicides. This study provided an exploratory analysis of the effect, if any, of the following on police homicides: (1) police administrative review and investigation policies, (2) firearms training standards, (3 ) police system resources (4) demographic community characteristics, (5 ) political community characteristics, and (6 ) community crime characteristics. The most significant findings of the research were the following: (1) In a multivariate analysis of police homicides, the civilian homicide rate was the best predictor of police homicides. (2) There was no significant association between restrictiveness of review and investigation policies (Control), moral, legal and ethical aspects of firearms training, financial resources or education of sworn personnel and police homicides. (3) Race as a system environment variable was correlated with other environment variables at the zero order level but not significant in the multivariate analyses. (4) Civilian Homicides, Race, Black Political Empowerment and Family Ratio were moderately associated with police homicides at the zero order level. (5) Demographic characteristics had little, if any, effect on police homicides. (6) Interjurisdictional variation existed not only in police homicides but also in system management, resources and environments. These findings suggest that police system environmental factors are the best predictors of police homicides. While police departments should continue to strengthen the internal management of police homicides through policies and training, they should include other approaches to controlling and preventing police homicides. One approach should be the development of a model program to educate officers and civilians on police use of deadly force. These programs should focus on (1) attitudes and fears of police officers towards Black citizens and vice versa (2) human relations training and (3) the role of community violence in police violence. The systematic collection and dissemination of police homicide data is essential to future police use of force research. The data should include fatal and nonfatal shootings and be easily accessible. Future research should examine race as an organizational factor. Analyses of the effect, if any, of racial attitudes of police officers and racial composition of police departments on police homicides are needed.
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    Anti-LGBTQ Hate Crime and Place in Washington, DC: A Multilevel Analysis
    (2023) Kindall, Casey; Vélez, María B; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The current study assesses how neighborhood-level LGBTQ prevalence, concentrated disadvantage, residential mobility, and racial diversity and the micro-spatial presence of LGBTQ establishments uniquely and jointly predict anti-LGBTQ hate crime. Extant research utilizes neighborhood-level explanations of crime to understand anti-LGBTQ hate crime but does not account for the influence of opportunity at the micro-place, and particularly the role of LGBTQ establishments as facilitators of anti-LGBTQ crime opportunity, for understanding where anti-LGBTQ hate crimes occur. The current study uses official hate crime data, demographic data from the US Census Bureau, and publicly available data on the location of LGBTQ-centered establishments to assess the roles of neighborhood-level and micro-spatial predictors of anti-LGBTQ hate crime in Washington, DC from 2017 to 2019. Results suggest that more anti-LGBTQ hate crimes occur in places with higher LGBTQ prevalence, more residential mobility, and more LGBTQ establishments. Residential mobility also interacts with the presence of LGBTQ establishments. Findings indicate that LGBTQ establishments are associated with more risk of hate crime in less mobile (i.e., more stable) neighborhoods.
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    The Ethno-Racial Divide in Neighborhood Crime Change: The Role of City Segregation and Immigration (2000-2013)
    (2023) Sahani, Shradha; Velez, Maria; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Despite continuing crime declines in the early 2000s, the ethno-racial divide in neighborhood crime remains a durable feature of American city life. During this period, cities also transformed in drastic ways, two of which were through decreasing levels of Black/White (B/W) residential segregation and increasing immigration. City levels of immigration may interact with the continuing deleterious influence of B/W segregation to shape how different neighborhoods fare in this continuing crime decline and explain the disparate levels of crime decline evidenced across ethno-racial neighborhoods. With panel data (2000-2013) from the National Neighborhood Crime Study, I use fixed effects linear regressions to examine how changing city-level immigration and B/W segregation work together to shape neighborhood crime change for ethno-racial neighborhoods. My findings suggest that when in cities with increasing segregation and immigration, durably Black neighborhoods have smaller associated crime declines compared to all other ethno-racial neighborhoods. Additionally, durably Black neighborhoods only experience the crime reduction benefits of increasing immigration in cities when B/W residential segregation drastically declines.
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    Dissecting the Dark Figure of Dis/ablist Violence: Intersectional Variations in Reporting Across Dis/ability Types
    (2023) Castillo, Isabella Elena; Hitchens, Brooklynn; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Individuals with dis/abilities are at a heightened risk for lifelong violent victimization. Although victimized by the same types of crimes as non-dis/abled individuals, a deeper examination reveals dis/abled individuals experience unique circumstances that increase opportunities for victimization and barriers to reporting. Using data from the National Crime Victimization Survey from 2017-2020, the present study seeks to understand how intersecting identities (dis/ability, race, ethnicity, and gender) affect the likelihood of reporting violent victimization to the police across types of dis/ability (hearing, vision, cognitive, and physical). Findings indicate statistically significant associations between Black individuals with cognitive dis/abilities and other or mixed racial/ethnic females with cognitive dis/abilities with reporting outcomes. Results inform policy and practice regarding the critical need for solutions that consider the impact intersecting identities have on reporting violent victimization across dis/ability types.
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    CAN SOCIAL PROTESTS CHANGE LOCAL SENTENCING PATTERNS? EVIDENCE FROM THE 2015 BALTIMORE UPRISING
    (2023) Li, Dixin; Johnson, Brian D; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Research examining the effects of violent protests has long produced mixed results and more recent studies are no more definitive. Very little work explicitly considers their potential impact on the criminal justice system, and particularly on the courts, the institution that primarily distributes punishment and exerts formal social control. At the same time, criminologists and sociologists agree that courts do not operate in a social vacuum but are embedded in layered contexts. Although some court research examines contextual effects, it has treated them as relatively inert over time, and little is known about how court decisions may deviate from their patterns in the face of sudden political turmoil. Bringing together varied lines of theories, this research discusses the effect of social protests on criminal courts, using data from the Maryland State Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy (MSCCSP) to examine local sentencing pattern shifts in the aftermath of the 2015 death of Freddie Gray and the subsequent social unrest that follwed. This study analyzes (a) whether the overall punitiveness of courts changed after the event, (b) whether the change disparately impacted different racial and ethnic groups, and (c) whether these effects vary geographically across the state of Maryland.
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    GENDER AND SEXUAL MINORITY MENTAL HEALTH AND USE OF CARE IN PRISON
    (2023) Sherrick, Alyse Natalyn; Bersani, Bianca E.; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Non-white and gender and sexual minority (GSM) individuals experience minority stress through stigmatization and marginalization which can lead to higher rates of mental health issues, and limited access to healthcare. Using an intersectionality framework, these mental health issues are compounded for individuals with both GSM and non-white identities. Within the incarceration setting, mental health issues may be exacerbated due to the pains of imprisonment which can lead to frustration and psychological distress, along with differentially adverse experiences for GSM and non-white individuals. This study examines mental health symptoms, diagnoses, and use of care for GSM, non-white, and the intersection of GSM and non-white individuals in correctional facilities using the 2016 Survey of Prison Inmates (N=24,234). In nearly all the analyses GSM individuals and GSM non-white individuals had higher rates of mental health symptoms, diagnoses, and care, and non-white individuals had significantly lower rates of mental health symptoms, diagnoses, and use of care. This may indicate that GSM individuals continue to experience pains of imprisonment despite higher use of mental health care, and that there may be a need for GSM-specific mental health care. Non-white individuals may have lower rates of symptoms and diagnoses due to White-centric frames of evaluation and fear of approaching providers for needed healthcare. It may be useful to develop culturally sensitive evaluation criteria for non-white individuals. This study is the first of its kind to look at mental health symptoms of GSM individuals in prison in a nationally representative sample.
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    An Analysis of the Correlation Between the Attitude, Belief, Opinion, and Demographic Components of Voluntary Forfeiture of One's Fourth Amendment Constitutional Right in Order to Permit Police Officers the Use of New Concealed Weapons Detection Technology
    (2002) Vann, Diane Hill; Wellford, Charles; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md)
    The primary purpose of the study is to determine and analyze relationships between the major components of the participants ' opinions , attitudes , and beliefs as to the effectiveness and willingness of individuals to voluntarily forfeit their Fourth Amendment Constitutional rights to permit the use of the new Concealed Weapons Detection Technology ("CWDT"). The new CWDT, as described in his study is capable of performing hands-off, noninrusive body searches for contraband such as plastic explosives, drugs, and concealed weapons, specifically concealed guns. The study questions the Constitutionality of permitting police officers the use of such CWDT, and the Constitutionality of one's voluntary forfeiture of a Constitutional right to permit such use. Data collected for the study is from 100 residents of Madison, Wisconsin , and Washington, D.C., aged 18 years or older. The study analyzes Frequencies, Crosstabs, Chi Square, and Pearson's(r) and Spearman's(r5). The study although conducted before September 11, 2001, found that crime and terror remain great oppressors in the Nation , and that citizens are desperate for a resolution. The study reveals that the great majority of the study participants consider CWDT a positive solution.
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    ARE JUVENILES TREATED DIFFERENTLY? EXAMINING CHARGE BARGAINS AMONG TRANSFERRED JUVENILES IN ADULT COURT
    (2022) Manley, Melissa; Johnson, Brian; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Prior research has investigated the treatment of transferred juveniles in adultcourt compared to similar young adults, showing that youth may receive harsher penalties; however, relatively little work has explored the impact of prosecutorial decision-making. In attempts to address this issue, the current study uses data from large urban counties to examine the prevalence of charge reductions and the value of those decisions among a waived juvenile sample. Guided by several theoretical frameworks, I argue that transferred youth would be viewed differently by prosecutors, thus impacting their decisions. Findings show that transferred youth are less likely to receive a charge reduction compared to young adults and the value of the charge reductions, in terms of likelihood of incarceration, differs between the populations. Additionally, type of waiver mechanism also impacts the prevalence among the transferred juveniles. These results suggest that youth in adult court are potentially subjected to differential treatment from these court actors, thus affecting case outcomes.
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    SEX, CRIME, AND SELF-CONTROL: COMPARING OUTCOMES OF LOW SELF-CONTROL FOR HETEROSEXUAL AND GAY/BISEXUAL MEN
    (2022) Scocca, Jacob; Dugan, Laura; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Objective: The purpose of the current thesis is to further explore Gottfredson and Hirschi’s General Theory of Crime by examining adult outcomes of low self-control in a heterosexual and gay/bisexual sample. It argues that self-control in these populations is differentially related to outcomes of violent crime and analogous behaviors, which contradicts the general nature of the theory. Methods: The current study uses self-reported measures in the Adolescent Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) for self-control (Wave 3) to examine outcomes of violent crime and risky sexual behavior (Wave 4). Risky sexual behaviors in this study are conceptualized as number of different sexual partners, sex without prophylactics, or sex with more than one person around the same time. Men are the primary focus of this thesis due to the presence of culturally and socially specific factors in the heterosexual and gay male community that could differentially affect the outcomes of interest. Hypothesis: I hypothesize that both the relationship between low self-control and violent crime and low self-control and risky sexual behavior will differ based on the sexual orientation of the respondent. To frame this hypothesis, I argue that the gay male subculture is more openly accepting of risky sexual behaviors, and therefore that this analogous behavior will be less related to self-control in gay populations. I also argue that heterosexual masculinity facilitates violent behavior/crime within heterosexual men, meaning that self-control plays a larger role in controlling urges in this group. Results: Differences in the association between self-control and risky sexual behaviors were found between heterosexual and gay/bisexual men indicating support for the hypothesis. Differences in the relationship between self-control and violent criminal activity in the two groups were not found in the tested samples. These findings provide evidence that Gottfredson & Hirschi's theory may not be generalizable for analogous behaviors in all populations, but that it still may hold for violent crime.
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    THE EFFECT OF FIREARM RELINQUISHMENT LAWS ON DOMESTIC GUN VIOLENCE
    (2022) Scott, Thomas; Dugan, Laura; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Multiple studies have found that an abuser’s access to firearms increases the likelihood that the abuser will use a firearm to shoot and kill a partner during an act of domestic abuse. This finding suggests that removing that access could be a promising method for preventing domestic gun violence. Although certain domestic abusers are prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms under federal law, there is no mechanism for the courts and law enforcement to ensure that offenders get rid of any guns in their possession. This fact has led some states to enact gun relinquishment laws that define both a legal process for prohibited abusers to surrender any firearms in their possession and sanctions for not complying with the law. Evidence suggests that gun relinquishment laws are an effective method of preventing intimate partner homicide and may decrease the likelihood that domestic abusers are rearrested. This research is promising, but there are key gaps that remain in our understanding of the effectiveness of gun relinquishment laws for preventing gun violence. First, despite that nonfatal gun violence 1) occurs more frequently than fatal gun violence, 2) precedes fatal violence, and 3) results in substantial costs to victims, their families, and society, prior studies have focused on homicide rates as an outcome. Second, gun relinquishment laws often extend to domestic relationships other than intimate partners, yet most studies focus on intimate partner violence. Third, because domestic abusers commit not-domestic forms of violence, research should address whether these laws prevent domestic and not-domestic forms of gun violence. To address these gaps, in this dissertation I use crime victimization data from the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) and the synthetic control method (SCM) to test for a relationship between gun relinquishment laws for domestic violence offenses and levels and characteristics of domestic and not-domestic gun violence. After identifying 17 states with adequate NIBRS coverage between 2005-14, I reviewed the laws in each state and determined that 2 states enacted gun relinquishment laws for domestic violence offenses during this time and could be evaluated: Iowa and Tennessee. Using the SCM, for both domestic and not-domestic violence, I test whether these states experienced a change in a) the rate of gun violence, b) the proportion of violent acts that involved a gun, or c) the lethality of severe assaults following their gun relinquishment law going into effect. The findings were often in the expected direction, though none were statistically significant. Although the lack of statistically significant findings could be a function of the study’s design, the results show much uncertainty in the estimated relationships. In addition, supplemental analyses with greater statistical power support these results. Future research should replicate this dissertation’s design as NIBRS data continue to improve and should pursue other study designs like individual-level analyses.
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    TOP MANAGEMENT TEAM GENDER DIVERSITY AND ITS EFFECT ON DIFFERENT TYPES OF ORGANIZATIONAL OFFENDING
    (2022) Layana, Maria Cristina; Simpson, Sally S; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This study addresses a gap in the current corporate crime literature by giving special attention to the characteristics and role of the top management team (TMT) in facilitating or mitigating illegal conduct. I ask how changes in certain demographic characteristics of the TMT unit, particularly gender composition, affect various forms of corporate offending over time. Specifically, 1) In what ways are changes in TMT gender characteristics related to corporate illegality over time? 2) What is the nature of the relationship between TMT gender diversity, corporate offending, and other key characteristics of women executives? 3) What is the temporal order of these relationships? 4) How do other TMT and corporate characteristics influence the relationships between TMT gender diversity and firm offending? Stemming from the strategic leadership literature, Hambrick and Mason’s (1984) Upper Echelons (UE) perspective serves as the primary theoretical framework guiding this study. This dissertation focuses on two types of corporate illegality: environmental and financial (i.e., accounting fraud, bribery, and anticompetitive acts) using a universe of firms listed on the S&P 1500 from 1996 through 2013.
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    Examination of Racial (In)variance in the Effect of Father Involvement on Delinquency among Urban Adolescents in the US
    (2022) Situ, Xinyi; Jacobsen, Wade; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Many prior studies have focused on how different types of paternal involvement contribute to adolescent delinquency. Yet, a relatively limited number of studies research the potential variations of paternal involvement’s influence on adolescent delinquency across different ethnic-racial groups. The present study explored whether various types of paternal involvement functioned similarly for white and racial minority adolescents, and whether paternal involvement had any racialized effect on adolescent delinquency. Using data from Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study and Poisson regression models, the present study found limited evidence that various types of paternal involvement function differently for the same group. In addition, only certain kinds of paternal involvement showed differential impacts across racial groups. Limitations and implications for future research are also discussed.
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    Evaluation of Prince George's County, Maryland Day Reporting Program
    (1996) Trader, Lois LaChance; MacKenzie, Doris; Institute of Criminology and Criminal Justice; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md)
    Prefaced by an ever-increasing prison population, departments of correction are turning toward alternatives to incarceration for many non-violent, low-risk offenders. The need for alternatives to incarceration has spurred the development of community based programs to house these offenders. Electronic monitoring, intensive probation, shock incarceration and community service are some of the community based programs currently available. The late 1980s introduced a further community based treatment program, day reporting. Based on a British model, day reporting is an extension of intensive supervised probation that incorporates counselling, rehabilitative and treatment services with intensive supervision. Since the inception of day reporting centers in Massachusetts, 22 states in the U.S. have developed and implemented 114 day reporting centers. While the content of each program differs, the underlying concept of public safety through intensive supervision and offender rehabilitation remains constant across all programs. In January, 1994, the Prince George's County, Maryland Department of Corrections, Community corrections Division, together with the State of Maryland, Division of Probation and Parole opened a day reporting program to facilitate community reintegration of low-risk, non-violent offenders. This report provides a descriptive analysis of the program's first year of operation. The results indicate that while the Prince George's County Day Reporting Program implemented many of the initially proposed features, further effort must be made to ensure that all participants receive the necessary treatment and rehabilitative services.
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    Exploring Heterogeneity in Disciplinary Custody Sanctioning and Subsequent Inmate Misconduct
    (2021) Glazener, Emily Morgan; McGloin, Jean M; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Solitary confinement is often used as a form of punishment for inmate misconduct, a practice known as disciplinary custody. One justification for the use of disciplinary custody is that it should deter future misconduct by increasing the perceived costs associated with committing an infraction. However, research on the deterrent effect of disciplinary custody is limited, largely due to a conceptualization of it as a singular experience, which ignores significant heterogeneity within that punishment. The few studies that have examined one type of treatment heterogeneity, length of stay, are limited in the grouping of varying forms of isolation, such as administrative custody and disciplinary custody, or in the scope of behavior examined post-release from disciplinary custody.This dissertation built on past studies by examining two types of treatment heterogeneity: (1) length of stay by focusing specifically on disciplinary custody and expanding on the types of misconduct (beyond violent acts) considered post-release from disciplinary custody; and (2) an early release mechanism. With data from a large state correctional system, this study utilized a sample of first time admissions from 2012 to 2014 who experienced a disciplinary custody stay, and their institutional outcomes were followed through August 2017. This study used inverse probability weighting with regression adjustment, including a large array of relevant covariates to account for pre-existing differences in the treatment conditions examined. The results of this study do not support specific deterrence theory justifications for the use of disciplinary custody. There was no evidence that increased severity of disciplinary custody stays, either through longer lengths of stay or through serving more than the original sanction length assigned, resulted in lower likelihoods of subsequent misconduct or fewer days until a subsequent misconduct. Implications and future directions are discussed.
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    Mitigating Mass Shooting Severity: A Reconstruction and Application of the Routine Activity Theory
    (2021) Yanez, Yesenia Angelica; Dugan, Laura; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    While mass shootings are considered statistically rare, they have become deadlier over time. One way to mitigate the severity of a mass shooting is to exploit the continuum that exists in each element of the Routine Activity Theory (RAT). Using data from the Violence Project mass shooter database, this study tests the relationship between all three components of RAT and mass shooting fatalities. Results reveal that, after controlling for other the components, offender motivation and target suitability significantly predict an event’s severity. Specifically, the number of firearms to brought to a scene and the location’s openness and density are positively related to event fatalities. These findings offer practical policy implications that can mitigate the severity of future mass shootings.