Criminal justice students, professors present research at American Society of Criminology

University of Arkansas at Little Rock criminal justice students presented their research on criminology topics at the American Society of Criminology conference Nov. 13-16, 2019, in San Francisco, California.

The American Society of Criminology is an international organization whose members pursue scholarly, scientific, and professional knowledge concerning the measurement, etiology, consequences, prevention, control, and treatment of crime and delinquency.

The conference explored confronting injustice and inequality in the criminal justice system. UA Little Rock students and faculty members presented research that explored police stress and job performance, how parole officers guide older offenders through the reentry process, and the barriers that sexual assault survivors in Arkansas face to seeking help.

UA Little Rock students and professors who presented at the conference and their presentations include:

Criminal justice graduate students Madison Doyle and Trye Price presented the paper, “Police Stress and Job Performance in a Southern Police Agency.” Dr. Trisha Rhodes, criminal justice professor at UA Little Rock, and Dr. Bryan Byers at Ball State University, are co-researchers on the study.

The study examined the effects of organizational stress on police officer job satisfaction and performance within a metropolitan police department. Findings from this can inform police departments of the implications of organizational stress and could lead to the development of programs to reduce organizational stress within a department.

Arsala Khan, a criminal justice doctoral student, and Dr. Robert Lytle, a professor of criminal justice at UA Little Rock, presented the paper, “Closeness Makes the Hearth Grow Lenient? Closeness to Others and Support for Punitiveness.”

In this study, Khan and Lytle surveyed 150 undergraduate students to explore two measures of closeness to others, social distance and empathy, to understand the relationship social relationships have on punitiveness, and the intention of inflicting punishment. Their findings indicate that undergraduate students who feel stronger empathy and closer social ties to others have diminished support for punitiveness.

Mary Hannah Hughes, criminal justice doctoral student, and Dr. Tusty ten Bensel, criminal justice professor, presented their study, “Aging Beyond the Correctional Facility: Examining Parole Officers’ Perceptions on Guiding Older Offenders through the Reentry Process.”

In 2016, older inmates made up approximately 10 percent of the U.S. prison population. With elderly offenders requiring unique resources with regard to health and housing, parole officers represent the initial contact for this population when providing the assistance. This study examined the perceptions of 25 parole officers assisting older parolees. Interviews consisted of parole officers’ primary role in the reintegration process to gain better understanding of demographics, management, and established goals when assisting older parolees.

Price and Richard Lewis, criminal justice professor at UA Little Rock, presented the paper, “Consequences of Trauma and Victimization: Exploring the Relationship between Trauma, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, the Autonomic Nervous System, and Behavioral Outcomes.” Co-authors include Todd Armstrong at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, Danielle Boisvert at Sam Houston State University, and Jessica Wells at Boise State University.

The factors of trauma/victimization, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and physiological reactivity have been shown to be related to and exacerbate the effects of each other. Additionally, the severity of trauma and the duration of negative consequences associated with the trauma can worsen behavioral outcomes. The researchers studied how the severity and duration of trauma, PTSD, and physiological reactions influence negative behavioral outcomes.

Randi Latiolais, criminal justice graduate student, and Lytle presented the paper, “Do I Report This? Understanding Variation in the Content of State Mandatory Reporting Laws.” Co-authors include Dana Radatz of Niagara University and Lisa Sample at the University of Nebraska, Omaha.

Variation in state laws allow state agencies to reinterpret aspects of laws requiring persons to report suspected child maltreatment, mandatory reporting laws. The researchers used a textual thematic content analysis to examine variation across state mandatory reporting statutes from all 50 states as of 2016. They identified three themes in variation across state mandatory reporting laws – definitions for reasonableness, immediacy of danger, and differences in the definition and exceptions of mandated reporters. The researchers found that the vague language and variation in the content of these laws might contribute to uncertainty in knowing when a report is necessary and who must report it.

Brooke Cooley, a doctoral student in the criminal justice program, presented the paper, “Not All Factors are the Same: An Examination of Protective and Risk Factors for Contact Sex Offenders throughout the Life Course.” Cooley examined whether notable life events known as “turning points,” including marriage, parenthood, and employment, are factors that keep contact sex offenders from committing crimes again.

Natalie Snow, a doctoral student, Doyle, ten Bensel, and Radatz presented the paper, “Arkansas Service Providers’ Perceptions of Barriers to Seeking Help after Sexual Assault.”

Victims of sexual and domestic assault often face a number of challenges when seeking services, including access to a 24-hour crisis hotlines, individual and group counseling, and legal and medical advocacy. Through qualitative interviews, the researchers explored what community-based victim services exist for sexual violence survivors in Arkansas to gain a better understanding of the barriers that victims of sexual assault face in Arkansas when they seek help.

Tabrina Batton, a criminal justice doctoral student, and Lytle presented the paper, “Compliance with Federal Law or Conformity Amongst States? State Registration and Notification Laws and the Adam Walsh Act.”

The Adam Walsh Act (AWA) was adopted in 2006 to standardize Sex Offender Registration and Notification laws nationwide. This study compared the trajectories of states that ultimately complied with the AWA to those of resistant states using an interrupted time-series analysis of compliant components of the law between 1996 and 2016.

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