Criminology & Criminal Justice Theses and Dissertations

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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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    (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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    (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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    (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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    (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.