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April 2015

Volume 57, No. 2 | Go to abstracts

Articles

Page 159

A process Evaluation of Toronto’s First Youth Mental Health Court
Krista M. Davis, Michele Peterson-Badali, Brian Weagant, and Tracey A. Skilling

Page 189

Spatial Patterns of Crime in Ottawa: The Role of Universities
Elise LaRue and Martin A. Anderson

Page 215

Determinants of Plice Strength in Canadian Cities: Assessing the Impact of Minority Threat
Rick Ruddell and Matthew O. Thomas

Page 253

The Impact of an Intensive Supervision Program on High-Risk Offenders: Manitoba’s COHROU Program
Micheal Weinrath, Mark Doerksen, and Joshua Watts

 

Abstracts

 

A Process Evaluation of Toronto’s First Youth Mental Health Court

Krista M. Davis, Michele Peterson-Badali, Brian Weagant, Tracey A. Skilling

Youth mental health courts are a relatively new type of specialty court designed to address the mental health needs of justice-involved youth, usually with the ultimate goal of desistance from future offending. As part of a process evaluation of Toronto’s first youth mental health court, court records and files for 127 youth who participated in the program from its inception in 2011 until August 2013 were reviewed to (1) describe the operation of the court and the clients it serves, (2) explore predictors of successful completion of court requirements, and (3) examine how the court addresses the mental health and criminogenic needs of its clients. Most clients successfully completed the court requirements, with case-processing time comparable to that of “traditional” youth courts; completers were more likely than non-completers to have a mental health diagnosis and higher initial treatment motivation. Half of youth received treatment targeted to their identified mental health needs. Analysis of a subsample of cases indicated that, for most youth, mental health issues were indirectly related to their offences, indicating the need to address criminogenic needs in addition to mental health needs in the court. Findings are discussed with regards to best practice for treating justice-involved youth with mental health needs.

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Spatial Patterns of Crime in Ottawa: The Role of Universities

Elise LaRue, Martin A. Andresen

This article explores the spatial distribution of crime in Ottawa in 2006. Social disorganization theory and routine activity theory provide the theoretical framework for examining the relationship between the rates of burglary, robbery, and motor vehicle theft, and the two universities, University of Ottawa and Carleton University. A spatial regression procedure that accounts for spatial autocorrelation is used in the analyses. We find support for the use of social disorganization theory and routine activity theory, with the expected relationships between the socio-demographic and socio-economic variables and crime. We also find that universities are the strongest predictors of the rates of burglary and motor vehicle theft.

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Determinants of Police Strength in Canadian Cities: Assessing the Impact of Minority Threat

Rick Ruddell, Matthew O. Thomas

The minority threat proposition posits that the size of minority populations is positively associated with levels of formal social control. Recent research in other nations has shown a clear and consistent relationship between the size of subordinate populations and the number of police as well as increased law enforcement spending. This study examined the relationships, in Canada’s largest cities, between six indicators of minority populations and both the ratio of police officers to residents and per capita policing expenditures. Inconsistent with the results of recent US, German, and Spanish studies, indicators of population heterogeneity were not significantly associated with police strength or spending. Levels of police-reported violent crime and population density, however, were strongly associated with both measures of police strength. Police strength was also positively associated with cities that had municipal police services, higher unemployment rates, and the percentage of conservative voters in provincial elections. Implications for the development of theories of formal social control are discussed.

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The Impact of an Intensive Supervision Program on High-Risk Offenders: Manitoba’s COHROU Program

Michael Weinrath, Mark Doerksen, Joshua Watts

Intensive supervision programs (ISP) have a long history in the United States but only a relatively short existence in Canada. Manitoba’s Criminal Organization High Risk Offender Unit (COHROU) program combines intensive supervision, support, and program placement with rapid police response in the event of non-compliance with supervision conditions. COHROU attempts to use evidence-based programs to address criminogenic needs and supplement surveillance. This quantitative retrospective study assesses program clients admitted over 8 years (N = 409), following up on new convictions for violent, property, breach of probation, and other offences both during the program and for a 2-year period following supervision. Days in custody are also tracked 3 years pre- and post-program. Findings indicate that reoffending was substantial but that a large number of convictions were technical violations. Using benchmark comparisons pre- and post-program, reductions were observed in violent reoffence, days in custody, and overall crime severity. While the downward trends in offence seriousness and incarceration are promising, the evaluation’s claims of ISP efficacy are limited by the lack of a comparison group. Future researchers may also wish to investigate more qualitative aspects of COHROU program operation and probation officer supervision to understand what features of the program affect participants.

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