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Violent Female Offending: Examining the Role of Psychopathy and Comorbidity with DSM-IV Personality Disorders

Description: This thesis examines the role of psychopathy in violent female offending, and explores DSM-IV personality disorders that may also be a factor. Past research on female offenders and psychopathy suggest that this is a valid construct when looking at female offenders. This study was driven by two questions: which personality disorders are most common in adult female offenders who are psychopathic, and are adult female offenders who are psychopathic more likely to have been convicted of a violent offense than those who are not psychopathic, but have at least one personality disorder. The results indicate that Cluster B personality disorders were the most common, and Cluster C the least common. The results also showed that those women who were psychopathic were no more likely to have been convicted of a violent crime than those who had at least one personality disorder, but were not psychopathic. Treatment implications and the direction of future research are discussed.
Date: August 2010
Creator: Hilving, Rebecca

Life without Parole for Juvenile Offenders: Questions of Legality and Adolescent Culpability

Description: Life without parole for juvenile offenders is a controversial issue across the globe. Recently, the United States stands alone as the only country in the world that allows juvenile offenders to be sentenced to life time confinement without the possibility of parole. Furthermore, the U.S. has seen an increase in juvenile waivers and blended sentences, which has resulted in harsher penalties for juvenile offenders who have committed serious and violent crimes. This analysis examines scientific evidence that shows juveniles are different from adults in terms of brain development, rational decision making abilities, and maturity levels. These findings have questioned the reasoning behind imposing adult punishment on adolescent behavior. This analysis also presents the legal arguments suggesting that juvenile life without parole is unconstitutional and violates the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Arguments for and against life sentences were also presented. This study concludes with a discussion of policy implications, whether the U.S. Supreme Court should abolish juvenile life without parole sentencing practices and explores the possible future direction of juvenile sentencing in the United States.
Date: August 2010
Creator: Corrington, David L.

"It's Technical": Exploring the Determinents to Technical Probation Revocations Among Felony Probationers

Description: Within the United States, probation has customarily been used as a way to divert offenders away from prison. Over the past two decades the number of offenders who are sentenced to probation has increased tremendously. While there have been more offenders sentenced to probation, there has also been an increase in the number of probationers having that sentence revoked. The most prevalent type of revocation is a technical revocation. Probationers receive technical violations culminating in a revocation when they fail to satisfy the conditions of their probation sentence such as attending rehabilitative programming. The present study adds to the literature on technical revocations by examining characteristics of felony probationers from a large Southern state who were revoked between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009. Findings revealed that female probationers, older probationers, white probationers, and those probationers who had not completed high school were significantly more likely to be revoked for a technical revocation. Implications for practice and suggestions for future research based on these findings are discussed.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Dixon, Ashford Leon

Responding to Child Sexual Abuse: Exploring the Case Files of Children Under the Age of 6 Admitted to a Children’s Advocacy Center for Evaluation

Description: Research suggests that roughly 25% of women and 10% of men within the United States were sexually abused at some point during childhood. With such high rates of victimization affecting society, the current study explores a population of children under the age of 6 who were suspected of being sexually victimized and thus admitted to a children’s advocacy center (CAC) for evaluation. This investigation contributes to the literature concerning child sexual abuse (CSA) by exploring the characteristics of these alleged victims, the characteristics of their suspected offenders, the alleged victim’s familial demographics characteristics, and by looking at the data pertaining to the incarceration rates of the suspected offenders identified within the sample.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Glassner, Steven

Synthetic Cannabinoid Usage among College Students: The Example of K2 and Spice

Description: The primary goal of this study was to investigate the awareness and prevalence of Spice and K2 usage among a population of college students, as well as the demographics of such users. The study also sought to determine whether or not students prefer these products over natural cannabis, in addition to examining the most popular methods of obtainment and the most commonly reported side effects of K2 and Spice usage. Participants consisted of 643 undergraduate students enrolled at the University of North Texas during the fall 2011 semester. Findings indicate that while students exhibit a relatively high awareness of K2 and Spice, usage of these products is not a prevalent occurrence. Implications of the findings are discussed.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Stephens, Jason L.

Homeland Security Roles and Responsibilities: an Examination of Texas Police Chiefs’ Perceptions

Description: Research has shown that the police industry has entered into an era of homeland security. However, whether the core functions of policing have significantly changed since September 11, 2001, has been the topic of considerable debate. Using secondary data, the research identifies variables that are most influential in predicting whether Texas police chiefs understand their departments’ homeland security roles and responsibilities. The data was originally obtained in 2007 through self-administered surveys of police chiefs attending the Texas Chief Leadership Series (TPCLS) and the New Chief Development Program (NCDP).
Date: August 2012
Creator: Thimamontri, Apinya

Is There Justice in Mercy? the Retributive Philosophies of Executive Clemency

Description: Executive clemency is assumed to be a mechanism to correct miscarriages of justice brought about by the criminal justice system, yet little empirical research exists to confirm this assumption. This research study examined the types of rationales cited in 799 cases of executive clemency from six states from 2005 to 2012. Rationales based upon retributive philosophies, in which a miscarriage of justice was cited, were further analyzed. This analysis revealed that only seven percent of all clemency decisions from the examined states cited retributive rationales. Of the fifty-six grants of clemency that cited retributive rationales, most were granted in the forms of pardons. The analysis indicated that executive clemency is utilized as a mechanism to correct injustices, specifically in cases of innocence. This study concludes with a discussion of policy implications and the reliance on executive clemency as a fail-safe to the criminal justice system.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Gibbs, Gina N.

Recidivism Among Juvenile Sex Offenders in Texas

Description: Juvenile sex offenders represent a serious and violent group of delinquents. Despite the severity of their crimes, the literature focusing on risk factors that influence recidivism and the types of re-arrest after incarceration is lacking. This research study examined 499 determinately sentenced juvenile sex offenders that were released from the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. This sample was then followed for three years upon their release. This analysis revealed that 51.5 percent were re-arrested for any offense while 45.91 percent were re-arrested for a felony offense. This study identified a number of risk factors relative to JSO recidivism. These factors include having a history of emotional abuse, race being African American, being gang affiliated, having a larger number of previous adjudications, and having higher counts of institutional misconduct infractions. Those JSOs older at intake and release, and those who were incarcerated for longer periods of time were less likely to re-offend upon release. Lastly, this study ends with suggestions for future research as well as policy implications geared toward juvenile sex offenders.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Martinez, Crystal G.

The Sex Offender Registry in Collin County, Texas: a Descriptive Analysis of Sex Offenders

Description: The primary goal of this study was to analyze the characteristics of current registered sex offenders in Collin County, Texas, as well as to compare age and gender of the victims of these offenders in order to know who sex offenders primarily target in these crimes. The study also sought to discover geographic patterns of where the registered sex offenders reside for the purpose of keeping communities aware. Participants consisted of 175 registered sex offenders (N = 175) in Collin County, Texas, found on Collin County's and the Texas Department of Public Safety's online public registries. The findings demonstrate that there were significant trends among the sex offenders, their victims, location of residence, and housing complications as a result of progressing sex offender laws. Treatment programs and the reintegration of offenders in the community were also addressed. The meaning of the results in this study can aid in the development of safety and prevention strategies, provide an understanding about the utilization of sex offender registries, and can benefit law enforcement to predict the movement of current sex offenders, along with knowing where to find other potential offenders.
Date: December 2012
Creator: Valenzuela, Priscilla

Ten Years After 9/11: the Structure and Use of Intelligence Units in Local Policing

Description: The events of September 11, 2001 marked a paradigm shift in the strategy within all levels of law enforcement in the United States. Intelligence became the watchword of the day and with it, the movement to incorporate strategic and tactical information in daily policing. Yet while the philosophy was clear, the method and manner to which agencies were left to achieve these goals was much less designed. The federal government allocated funds to assist help agencies incorporate an intelligence function in their daily operations but which agencies and to what degree remains unclear even today. This study seeks to determine the current state of use of intelligence in municipal law enforcement agencies in the State of Texas ten years after 9/11. Through use of a survey, it assesses the frequency of use of intelligence units in local police departments in the State of Texas, identifies commonalities in their structure, and determines the state of their effectiveness.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Hollier, Michael P.

Recidivism Among Determinately Sentenced Youth in Texas

Description: In Texas, determinate sentencing allows extremely serious and violent delinquents one more chance to change their ways by releasing them to the streets instead of being transferred to prison. This research study examined the recidivism outcomes of 416 serious and violent juvenile offenders previously exposed to rehabilitative treatment in the renowned Capital and Serious Violent Offender Treatment Program provided by the Texas Youth Commission. Further, this research study looked to a group of 1,261 determinately sentenced offenders who did not participate in Capital and Serious Violent Offender Treatment Program but were released from Texas Youth Commission as well. Both groups of juveniles were followed for three years following their release from institutionalization. This analysis revealed that 50% of both groups were rearrested at least once during the follow-up period for any offense. Of the Capital and Serious Violent Offender Program participants, 81% were rearrested for at least one new felony offense. Of those non-participants, 78% were rearrested for at least one new felony offense. The factors that served to distinguish both groups included African-American race and a number of delinquent history measures. This study concludes with a discussion of policy implications and suggestions for future research.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Rich, Courtney E.

Evaluation of Program Effectiveness: a Look at the Bedford Police Department’s Strategy Towards Repeat Victimization in Domestic Violence and Mental Health

Description: The primary goal of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a program being run by the Bedford Police Department’s Repeat Victimization Unit on domestic violence and mental health and mental retardation. The study sought to determine whether the program was effective in reducing instances of repeat victimization in domestic violence and MHMR victims. Additionally the program investigated whether or not the program was effective at reducing victimization severity, and which demographic could be identified as the most victimized. Participants consisted of 157 domestic violence and MHMR victims in the city of Bedford, Tx between November 11, 2012 to July 30, 2013. Findings indicate that levels of repeat victimization for domestic violence and MHMR are relatively low regardless of whether the victim received services through the repeat victimization program or not. Additionally the severity of these repeat victimizations remains relatively constant regardless of whether services were received through the program or not. Implications and findings are discussed.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Huskey, Michael G.

Island Empire: the Influence of the Maceo Family in Galveston

Description: From the 1920s until the 1950s, brothers, Sam and Rosario Maceo, ran an influential crime family in Galveston, Texas. The brothers’ success was largely due to Galveston’s transient population, the turbulent history of the island, and the resulting economic decline experienced at the turn of the 20th century. Their success began during Prohibition, when they opened their first club. The establishment offered bootlegged liquor, fine dining, and first class entertainment. After Prohibition, the brothers continued to build an empire on the island through similar clubs, without much opposition from the locals. However, after being suspected of involvement in a drug smuggling ring, the Maceos were placed under scrutiny from outside law enforcement agencies. Through persistent investigations, the Texas Rangers finally shut down the rackets in Galveston in 1957. Despite their influence through the first half of the 20th century, on the island and off the island, their story is largely missing from the current literature.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Boatman, T. Nicole

Let the Punishment Fit the Crime: an Overview of the Historical Approach to Probation in the State of Texas

Description: Adult probation evolved in the United States as a result of the suspended sentence concept. As a result of a lack of follow through when an individual obtained a suspended sentence, there was no “checks and balances” to monitor whether an individual completed the guidelines set forth. As time progressed, it became apparent a more cohesive and monitored system was needed. Thus, an energetic and motivated individual, John Augustus, started the concept of probation by taking it upon himself to assist in the rehabilitative process of individuals charged with criminal behavior. Subsequent to his death, the concept of probation was embraced by his advocates who lobbied legislatively in order to enact probation laws that would oversee the success of probationers. It wasn’t until the 1950’s that the counties in the state of Texas took it upon themselves to enact their own system of monitoring of probationers. Over time the states have guided their probation concepts from evidence based research. Juvenile probation in the United States didn’t gain a solid foundation until the end of the 19th century with the development of the first juvenile court in Illinois. It took this country time to understand that juveniles were different than adults mentally; therefore, there would need to be a separation of juveniles from adults from being subjected to the same punishments as adults. The approach in dealing with juveniles was more grounded in treatment rather than in punishment. In the state of Texas, the focus for juvenile probation was based on different approaches based on the areas within the state. The juvenile system has gone through the due process era to its current state of the evidence based research. This thesis will provide the reader an overview of the history of the development of probation in the United States and in ...
Date: May 2015
Creator: Reichstein, Sheldon Philip

Online Pornography and Its Effects on the Behavior of College Students

Description: The primary goal of this study was to investigate the habits of college students who use pornography. The study was designed to collect data on the use of online pornography by college students. Through the use of an online survey, the study collected general demographic data and data on the frequency with which students used online pornography. The study also collected data on the general attitudes of college students towards online pornography. Participants consisted of students enrolled at the University of North Texas during the Spring 2016 semester. The participants of the study were contacted by an email requesting the student to respond to an online anonymous survey regarding their use of online pornography. The survey consisted of thirty questions and statements, primarily utilizing a five point Likert scale. Analysis of the data collected as well as a discussion of the findings are included.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Hassell, Michelle Stefanie

Racial Disparity in Traffic Stops: An Analysis of Racial Profiling Data in Texas

Description: The primary goal of this study was to analyze existing racial profiling data collected and reported by law enforcement agencies in Texas. The internet-based data used was obtained through TCOLE, as it is the state mandated repository in which all law enforcement agencies must submit their annual racial profiling reports to. In analyzing a collection requirement of these reports, this study sought to determine how frequently law enforcement officers know the race or ethnicity of drivers prior to traffic stops. Furthermore, the study sought to determine if there are differences in the rates of race or ethnicity known prior to stops across Texas geographical regions, county population sizes, agency types, as well as between counties with and without interstate thoroughfares. This analysis consisted of 3,250,984 traffic stops conducted by 1,186 law enforcement agencies in 2014. Findings revealed that law enforcement officers rarely know the race or ethnicity of drivers prior to traffic stops, as was consistently found across all measures. Findings and implications are discussed.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Winkler, Jordan M.

The Influence of Population on Wrongful Convictions

Description: With criminal cases continuing to be exonerated across the United States, research must be done on the subject to advance current practices to reduce its occurrence in the future. This study combines county population data with the National Registry of Exonerations to analyze the contributing factors to wrongful convictions and the possible effect of population on their frequency. The objective of this study was to identify specific policy changes based on the five contributing factors to wrongful convictions that could be applied to population specific areas. The results yielded multiple patterns that are discussed thoroughly. These findings allowed the introduction of policy changes and proposals for future research.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Whittington, Kari

Recidivism among Determinately Sentenced Juvenile Homicide Offenders in Texas

Description: Juvenile homicide offenders pose a significant risk to society considering the severity of the crime, yet this population of delinquents receives little attention in terms of recidivism research. This study examined the recidivism outcomes of a group of 256 determinately sentenced homicide offenders in Texas. Each of these juveniles had be confined to and subsequently release from the Texas Youth Commission, and were followed for three years following release. The aim of this research study was to distinguish recidivists from non-recidivists across demographic, delinquent history, and risk factor measures. These same measures were then used to predict recidivism among the entire sample. Overall, the measures of race, gender, and previous delinquent adjudications emerged significant. First, Black youth were significantly more likely to recidivate than both Hispanic and White youth. Additionally, recidivism among males was significantly greater than non-recidivism among males. In contrast, there were fewer females in recidivist group than the non-recidivist group. Finally, youth with a greater number of previous delinquent adjudications were significantly more likely to recidivate, and the risk of recidivism increased as the number of previous adjudications increased. These findings are consistent with previous literature and indicate that these factors are prevalent in analyzing the recidivist behavior of determinately sentenced juvenile homicide offenders.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Vaughn, Sydney