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Vol 3 | Issue 1 | February 2008

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The Citizens’ Views on Biased Policing

Ralph Ioimo, Leslie A. Meadows, J. Bret Becton,
Rachel S. Tears, and Michael T. Charles

Police departments all over the country address the issue of bias-based policing. Because bias-based policing undermines relationships between the police and the public, a considerable amount of research has been conducted to uncover and prevent its occurrence. Past research has focused primarily on assessing the level of bias-based policing that occurs during traffic stops; however, traffic stops are only one of the many ways police interact with the public. To broaden the assessment of bias-based policing, this research project surveyed citizens to determine their perception of bias-based policing practices in police departments, either theirs or others. The results of this research found that 21% of survey respondents believe that officers in their department practice bias-based policing, and 25.9% believe that officers in other Virginia police departments practice bias-based policing.

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Community Policing: A Critical
Analysis of a Small Police Department

Gregory E. Sumner

This study critically analyzed the community policing program and operational practices of patrol officers at a small police department in the southeastern United States. The department’s mission statement, community policing policy and procedure, reports, and patrol officers’ opinions were used to determine whether the community policing program was being implemented in accordance with an operational definition of community policing. A qualitative, holistic, case study design used participant observation to report and analyze interview questions asked of patrol officers. Coding and comparing specific community-policing-related words and phrases were the basis for analysis. Results revealed that while participants believed they were practicing community policing, they did not fully understand its philosophy or implementation.

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Job Satisfaction and Organizational
Commitment Among Probation and Parole
Officers: A Case Study

Seble Getahun, Barbara Sims, and Don Hummer

Numerous studies have focused on job satisfaction and organizational commitment of police officers and correctional personnel, but few have examined these concepts within community corrections agencies. This study draws on prior research into job satisfaction of criminal system actors and looks at the explanatory power of these concepts for probation and parole officers from one county in a northeastern state. Results indicate that employees are most satisfied when their occupational tasks are meaningful experiences into which they have input and are collaborative efforts with supervisors. Background characteristics of officers had no influence on job satisfaction, indicating that organizational culture and management style are the more important factors in explaining employee satisfaction and, possibly, retention.

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The Effect of Job Involvement on
Correctional Staff

Eric G. Lambert

The driving force of corrections is the staff of correctional facilities. It is important to understand how the work environment shapes the attitudes of correctional staff; yet, the effect of job involvement on correctional employees has received little, if any, attention. Most of the research to date has focused on job stress and job satisfaction among correctional staff. Only recently has there been research on other important work attitudes, such as job involvement. Job involvement may have important effects on salient work outcomes. Therefore, there is a need to explore how job involvement may influence correctional staff job stress, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, life satisfaction, turnover intentions, family-on-work conflict, and work-on-family conflict. By using data acquired from a survey of staff of a state-run correctional facility in the Midwest, the researcher examined the effects of job involvement on correctional staff job stress, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, life satisfaction, turnover intentions, family-on-work conflict, and work-on-family conflict. After controlling for gender, age, tenure, position, educational level, race, and supervisory status, the researcher conducted a multivariate analysis, which indicated that job involvement had a statistically significant positive relationship with job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and both forms of work-family conflict. Job involvement was observed to have non-significant direct effects on correctional staff job stress, life satisfaction, and turnover intentions.

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Countering the “Contagion” of Inmate
Nonamenability: Prison Specialization
and Recidivism

Curtis R. Blakely

While current “get-tough” approaches to crime are popular, questions persist about the extent to which they promote public safety. This uncertainty is causing penologists to consider alternative ways to meet this objective. Prison specialization is one method that is attracting considerable attention. Proponents of specialization recognize that there are generally two groups of inmates—those that are amenable to therapeutic intervention and those that resist these measures. Under specialization initiatives, each prison houses either the amenable or nonamenable inmate but not both. The intent of this practice is to protect the integrity of the treatment process by shielding amenable inmates from the corrupting influence of those inmates whose presence may impede rehabilitation.

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Adult Probation Department Mental Health Unit: An Outcomes Investigation

Kevin Jesse, David Bishop, Jose Thomas, and Jason Dudish-Poulsen

This study examined the outcome of probation cases (N=241) within the Cook County Adult Probation Department-Mental Health Unit (MHU) and followed the rates of recidivism among these cases from 2001 through 2004. The study was conceived to identify specific program operation areas in need of improvement within the Adult Probation Department-Mental Health Unit. From the inception of the unit, program operations changed little until the Illinois Office of Mental Health required that the unit become Medicaid certified (Title 59-Part 132 Medicaid community mental health services program) in 1997. This certification brought about wide, sweeping programmatic changes, which transformed the unit into a clinical unit comparable with very few in the country. This study found that 39% of the 241 cases did not re-offend in a three-year period. The study authors conclude that this positive result is due in large part to the case management style used by probation officers and the state oversight of the unit. This study demonstrates that planned programmatic improvements can have a positive effect in supervision of the mentally ill.

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About Us

This journal is dedicated to the men and women serving and those who have served in our criminal justice agencies. America is fortunate to have such fine and devoted professionals serving on our behalf. Thank you.

Professional Issues in Criminal Justice (PICJ), which started in 2005, has evolved from a newly established journalin criminal justice to an established peer-reviewed journal in the field.