March 29, 2011

Steffan's Alerts #3: Women, children, fire-setting and the public

Click on a title to read the article abstract; click on a highlighted author's name to request the full article.

JAAPL: Plethora of mental health and law offerings

As always, the new issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law is a goldmine for those interested in law and mental health matters. All articles may be accessed for free online. Topics include use of the DSM in litigation and legislative settings, rational understanding and competency to stand trial, treatment of sexual offenders, hebephilia and the DSM-5, competency of pregnant women with psychosis, diversion of women into substance abuse treatment, and analyses of several recent legal rulings, to name a few.

In a new issue of the British Journal of Criminology, Sytske Besemer and colleagues examine whether children whose parents have been incarcerated are later involved in the criminal justice system at disproportionate rates compared to children whose parents have been convicted but never imprisoned in the Netherlands and England. After controlling for a number of possible intervening variables in their longitudinal study, the authors provide data showing that children in the latter--but not the former--country are adversely affected by their parents' incarceration.

Although mental health professionals have long held that deliberate fire setting by children is prognostic of future conduct problems, Ian Lambie and Isabel Randell review how science in this area has progressed -- or not progressed -- in a new issue of Clinical Psychology Review. They call for future research to address the relationship between youth firesetting and future antisocial behavior as well as to update best practices in assessing and intervening with children who set fires.

Data from a national survey of 3,001 women in 2006 indicated that the rate of reporting rape has not significantly changed since the 1990s. In a new issue of Journal of Interpersonal Violence, lead author Kate Wolitzky-Taylor explores barriers and predictors of reporting sexual assaults to law enforcement.

In a forthcoming issue of Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, Shabnam Javdani, Naomi Sadeh, and Edelyn Verona advance theory on the legal and social policy factors involved in the increasing arrest rates of girls and women.

Does the public really support tougher sentencing of offenders? Preliminary data suggests this is not the case in Australia when members of the public are provided details about the personal lives of offenders. In a new issue of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Austin Lovegrove sampled several hundred participants through their review and discussion of judges' sentences on six offenders in four actual cases.

Steffan's alerts are brought to you by Jarrod Steffan, Ph.D., a forensic and clinical psychologist based in Wichita, Kansas. For more information about Dr. Steffan, please visit his website.

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