August 24, 2011

Steffan's Alerts #7: Neuromaging, juveniles, and perceptions of injustice

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

Perceptions of wrongful convictions by criminal justice personnel

In a new issue of Crime and Delinquency, Brad Smith and colleagues surveyed attitudes of criminal justice participants in Michigan. According to their findings, defense attorneys perceived that wrongful convictions occur more frequently than did police, prosecutors, and judges. Of the professionals surveyed, only defense attorneys viewed this concern as warranting reforms in the justice system.

In another article in Crime and Delinquency, Kristin Johnson and coauthors indicate that incorporating graduated sanctions into predictions of recidivism diminishes the predictive utility of waiver to adult court. Their results draw attention to the role of graduated sanctions and treatment programming for juvenile offenders.

N.J. Schweitzer and colleagues presented neuroscience-based testimony and neuroimagery to jury-eligible participants in mock court experiments. As reported in a new issue of Psychology, Public Policy, and the Law, participants rendered opinions on criminal culpability and sentencing. Neuroimagery, the authors reported, affected jurors' judgments no more than verbal testimony based on neuroscience.

Also in Psychology, Public Policy, and the Law, Ashley Batastini and colleagues report that the Act’s classification system failed to predict sexual or nonsexual reoffending among a small sample of juveniles who were followed over a two-year period. In addition to their exploratory study, they discuss key concerns in the application of the Act to juveniles.

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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