Traveling at 1000 Feet per Second with Unalterable Consequences: How to Decrease Police Officer-Involved Shootings

Penny Geyer, University of New Haven

In 2019, there were 1,004 individuals killed in police officer-involved shootings throughout the United States (Fatal Force, 2020). Aside from the person losing his/her life, the ripple effect that occurs from just one deadly force encounter is infinite. Consequences are experienced by the police officer who must live with the decision to take another human being’s life, to the families of those involved, and to the community at large. The purpose of this report is to present law enforcement agencies in the United States with several clear, concise, and evidenced-based approaches, which if implemented systematically can assist in the reduction of police officer-involved shootings.

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Actual Relief: A Call for the Better Implementation of Underutilized Rights Restoration Programs

Michelle A. Malone, University of New Haven


The legal restrictions imposed upon the accused and convicted create virtually indestructible barriers that prevent former offenders from successfully reentering society in a law-abiding, meaningful way.  Such restrictions sanction offenders by virtue of their mere contact with the criminal justice system, and then these impediments remain with them throughout their prosecution, ultimate conviction, and eventual reentry endeavors.  Consequently, these individuals are scarred permanently with the stigma of criminality, which greatly impedes opportunities for post-conviction success.  Although rights restoration programs have been promulgated federally and by states to mitigate these legal restrictions, inconsistencies in policy interpretation and implementation and their general underutilization renders policies highly ineffective at assisting and protecting former offenders.  This paper explores the collateral consequences of the legal restrictions that follow contact with the criminal justice system and recommends how best to improve and encourage participation in rights restoration programs. 

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The Effectiveness and Future of Polygraph Testing

Michele Vittorio, University of New Haven


The use of polygraphs in detecting deception is controversial, and there is no consensus in the scientific community about the effectiveness of this technology in identifying deceptive individuals during criminal investigations and employment screenings. The purpose of this paper is to present and evaluate different studies that analyzed the benefits and the shortcomings of the current applications of polygraphs in the United States, and to produce a recommendation based on their conclusions. According to the evidence and research reviewed, it appears appropriate to exclude currently available polygraph testing procedures from pre-employment screening and background investigations in both private and government organizations, and to confirm the non-admissibility of polygraph examinations in criminal courts. Furthermore, it is recommended to develop further research in this field, to improve the consistency, reliability, and testability of the different types and applications of polygraphs in different settings and situations.

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Early Interventions: More Self-Control, Less Crime?

Young Wang, University of New Haven

The purpose of this paper is to inform and advise policy makers and administrators about criminological knowledge regarding early interventions, their ability to improve self-control, and potential reduction in involvement with the criminal justice system. Topics assessed include funded research within criminal justice, criminological theory, best practices within education, and relevant experimental designs. Policy implications and research recommendations revolve around the need for randomized controlled trials of sufficient scope, which capture true differences in delinquency between youth who receive the intervention and those who do not. Cost-benefit analyses are recommended as the ultimate goal.

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Transition Planning for Students with Autism and Intellectual Disability: A Review of Research

Jane Roitsch* and Annemarie L. Horn
Department of Communication Disorders & Special Education
Old Dominion University

*Corresponding author: Dr. Jane Roitsch, 200 Child Study Center, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, USA 23529-0136, [email protected]; phone: 757-683-4024

Receiving special education and/or related services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (hereafter IDEA) begins with a referral, and an extensive assessment process follows to determine eligibility and placement (Yell & Drasgow, 2007).  Once found eligible, IDEA requires reevaluation to occur on an annual basis, at minimum, and a triennial reevaluation must be conducted at least every three years.  Though there is some overlap, these evaluations (i.e., annual and triennial) serve different purposes.  The annual evaluation determines individual educational needs of the student, evaluates progress, and assesses whether adjustments to special education or related services are required for the student to meet his or her annual IEP goals.  The triennial reevaluation, on the other hand, “is to determine if a student is still eligible for services under IDEA” (Yell & Drasgow, 2007, p. 200).  After reviewing student data, the parents and team may agree to waive the triennial reevaluation, if it is determined that the student continues to have the disability and his or her educational needs are being met in the current placement. 

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Crime Analysis as Part of the Evidence-Based Policing Toolkit: Implementation, Integration, and Practical Use

Teresina G. Robbins
University of New Haven 

Crime analysis, a significant component of effective evidence-based policing strategies, is defined as “the qualitative and quantitative study of crime and law enforcement information in combination with socio-demographic and spatial factors to apprehend criminals, prevent crime, reduce disorder, and evaluate organizational procedures” (Boba, 2001, p. 9). In other words, crime analysts use data and context across time and geographic area to assist law enforcement agencies with problem-solving. Santos (2014) offers the anecdote that crime analysis is more of a diagnostic tool, akin to an MRI machine, rather than a direct cure for crime.

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Does Procedural Justice Training of Law Enforcement Officers “Work”?

Jill T. Ruggiero
University of New Haven 

In late 2014, 18-year-old Michael Brown of Ferguson, Missouri was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer.  The immediate response from the media, as well as former President Obama (who promptly directed then Attorney General Eric Holder to respond to Ferguson), was that the killing of Brown was unjustified and excessive because Brown was unarmed.   Whatever the factual circumstances were at the time, or were later learned to be, did not really matter.  It was the perceptions of what took place--compounded by historically poor police community and race relations--that were enough to reignite the flame.  The perceived unjustifiable killing of yet another young black male sparked national movements, intensified scrutiny on police use of force, and police-community relations, and strengthened calls for complete criminal justice system overhaul.  After Michael Brown’s death, several other high-profile officer involved shootings occurred, which served to further erode the already suffering police-community relations and trust in the system. 

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BIASED: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do

Jennifer Eberhardt (2019)
New York, United States: Viking Press, 340 pages, ISBN 9780735224933

Book Review by Paul Klee, University of New Haven

Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt uses her personal experiences as an African-American woman, who grew up in the United States, and her renowned expertise on racial bias to uncover and analyze how implicit bias perpetuates racial disparity in the United States criminal justice system and throughout society at-large. It is well-known that African-American citizens are over-represented in our criminal justice system. Dr. Eberhardt explains that the overrepresentation of African-American citizens is due to the implicit biases that plague the actions of police, courts, and corrections to automatically incriminate them based on unconscious biases, rather than procedural justice guaranteed by the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Generalizations about African-Americans have been shaped from ill-informed beliefs that society has about them, such as being good athletes, not doing well in school, being poor, dancing well, living in low-income neighborhoods, and the stereotype that African-Americans should be feared. Dr. Eberhardt breaks down implicit bias and demonstrates how it works within our criminal justice system to further incriminate African-Americans. 

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An Overview of Recent National and International Research on the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility

Kelly Orts, University of New Haven


What is a child? There is worldwide variation in how a "child" is defined differently from an "adult." The factors taken into consideration when creating this definition differ even further (Morgan, 2010). The varying cultures, societal norms, histories, economies, and political climates create challenges to establishing a globally accepted juvenile justice system. There is a societal understanding that children differ from adults and should, therefore, receive different and separate treatment (Morgan, 2010). Juvenile justice systems, child welfare systems, and other protective services for youth were created on the basis that children lack the maturity, rights, responsibility, and capacity of adults. The common goal in addressing youthful behavior is for systems to focus on rehabilitating and supporting the child and his or her family. With this in mind, the minimum age of criminal responsibility (MACR) and the age of criminal majority (ACM) set the boundaries of entry into the juvenile justice system.

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On the Criminalization of Homelessness

Criminalization of Homelessness

Thomas Dutcher, University of New Haven

"It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life … and those who are in the shadows of life—the sick, the needy and the handicapped" (Vice President Humphry as cited in Platt & Library of Congress, 1989). The importance of studying the criminalization of homelessness and persons experiencing homelessness,[1] particularly through coercive care tactics, is revealed through Humphry’s words. He argues from a moralistic perspective, finding it to be the duty of the state in creating its legitimacy to protect vulnerable populations, such as persons experiencing homelessness. A Marxist interpretation of the importance of this topic would argue that capitalistic societies create "those without,” establishing perennial homelessness, and its criminalization will not change this fact (Lynch & Michalowski, 2010). From a human rights perspective, we find importance in examining how persons experiencing homelessness also perceive the police to be barriers to services they may be attempting to receive (Welsh & Abdel-Samad, 2018).

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