Tag Archives: criminal justice

Grant Sources: Proposing a New Treatment Program

As grant funding is one of the largest sources of state revenue, it would be remiss for any program administrator facing financial difficulty to not leverage these available funds towards their program (Menifield, 2009). With this in mind, I will create a fictional program and discuss many of the points worthy of mention when completing a grant proposal for such a program, as presented by Markin (2006). The fictional program will provide an opportunity for the criminal justice system to intervene with young offenders during enrollment in the probation program to prevent recidivism.

The Proposal

Statement of the Problem

The juvenile recidivism rate in the State of Connecticut is approximately 33-36% (University of New Haven, 2010). Though the recidivism rate is not counted through the transition from juvenile to adult, it is widely believed that most adult offenders have committed offenses as juveniles (Burnette, 2004). According to Stone (2010), interdicting juvenile offenders at the time of first offense reduces the overall risk of recidivism.

Goals, Objectives, and Performance Measures

Goals of this program should be directly measurable. For one, the immediately obvious goal for this program would be a measurable reduction in juvenile recidivism. Objectives could be relative to benchmarks within the program to show periodic compliance, such as the absence of drug use by participants and evaluation of test scores. Another goal of this program could reduce first adult offenses by juvenile offenders.

Program Design

The development of this juvenile offender outreach program takes into consideration three different evidence-based programs that show promising reductions in juvenile recidivism. The first program is a 12-step program, called Moral Reconation Therapy ® (MRT). According to Burnette et al. (2004), MRT involves reprogramming of the participants’ sense of self, sense of others, attitudes towards risk-taking, and provides a foundation of support and improved moral reasoning. MRT is credited at reducing relative recidivism by 39-60%.

The second program is a mentor program that can be easily integrated with MRT. The mentor component focuses on the importance of vocation and work ethic (Stone, 2009). The vocational mentor program has shown to reduce recidivism by 50-65%.

The third program, a restorative justice mediation program that allows “offenders … to brainstorm with the mediator and the victim on how best to make reparations” (University of New Haven, 2010, para. 3). UNH Associate Professor and Director of the Legal Studies Program Donna Decker Morris (as cited in University of New Haven, 2010) advocates this program and credits the program with 40-45% reductions in recidivism rates.
By integrating all three programs into a single cohesive approach, recidivism rates could be reduced by as much as 90-95%; however, this is an estimate and requires close and frequent assessment.

Organization & Management

Though it is beyond the scope of this fictional presentation, Markin (2006) shows the importance of providing the names and credentials of the professionals who will be working within the program.


The primary source of funding for programs such as this is grant funding (Menifield, 2009). One grant opportunity, Serving Juvenile Offenders in High-Poverty, High-Crime Communities (SGA-DFA-PY-11-09; U.S. Department of Labor, 2012), focuses on improving the long-term labor market prospects for youths aged 14 and above. This grant is focused towards high-crime, high-poverty areas and, therefore, provides for the opportunity for high impact.

As the program focuses on impacting juveniles and increasing their focus towards vocational contributions towards society and their community, this grant opportunity is appropriate to fund this program.


Whether in hard times or easy times, we live in communities and want to contribute to the improvement of society, though most of us do this passively. A program such as the one outlined above can have significant effects at improving society by reducing crime, removing first-time offenders from the criminal justice system, and increasing employability of those offenders thereby decreasing the overall unemployment rate. Programs such as these can have far reaching and immeasurable effects on each member of the community.

Government realizes that it is highly ineffective at controlling local programs and provides grants to states and localities, as well as not-for-profit organizations, to help administer programs that it feels would be beneficial to society as a whole. This process assists states and localities by positively impacting directly the lives of those living within the community.


Burnette, K. D., Swan, E. S., Robinson, K. D., Woods-Robinson, M., Robinson, K. D., & Little, G. L. (2004). Treating youthful offenders with Moral Reconation Therapy®: a recidivism and pre- posttest analysis. Cognitive Behavioral Treatment Review, 3, 14-15. Retrieved from http://www.moral-reconation-therapy.com/Resources/Treating%20Youtful%20Offenders.pdf

Markin, K. (2006, September). How to write a proposal for an outreach grant. The Chronicle of Higher Education, 53(4), C1, C4.

Menifield, C. E. (2009). The basics of public budgeting and financial management: a handbook for academics and practitioners. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

Stone, K. (2009). Vocational mentoring program for youth [Grant proposal]. Retrieved from http://www.jud.ct.gov/recovery_act/Mentoring.pdf

University of New Haven. (2010, January 12). Breaking the cycle of juvenile crime: UNH study shows mediation effective in reducing juvenile recidivism. Retrieved from http://www.newhaven.edu/news-archive/35806/

U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. (2012, April 4). ETA grants. Retrieved from http://www.doleta.gov/grants/find_grants.cfm

Disregarding the Second Amendment

The Socio-political Consequences and a Libertarian Solution

Americans, as citizens of the republic, have rights that transcend any government. These rights ensure the continuing operation and stability of the republic. Our founding fathers outlined these rights conspicuously after thoughtfully debating the specific wording that should be used. Though times change, these freedoms should not. Most Americans accept that with these freedoms come social responsibility, and I will delineate how this relationship can be maintained without the use of specific anti-gun legislation. The current opinions surrounding gun control range from desires to ban all privately owned firearms to disallowing any government (Federal, State, County, or municipal) from placing any controls on the citizens’ ability to own, possess, carry, control, and use firearms. On the other hand, some people are willing to accept a compromise of terms. There are socio-political consequences for each of the various levels of proposed gun control in the United States, including impacts on the U.S. Constitution and the Constitutions of the fifty States.

The anti-gun coalitions dispute the claims that crime rates soar when gun bans are put in effect, and admittedly, the correlation does nothing to prove causation, yet, a sober analysis of the matter reveals confirmation that the claim is, in fact, valid. Following the 1997 gun ban (Firearms Act, 1997), Great Britain suffered the highest crime rates in Europe, specifically domestic burglary, the forceful entering of residential premises. A Home Office report shows that violent crimes increased steadily by 26% over the next 5 years (2004). Johnston reports, “Britain has one of the worst crime rates in Europe…. It is the most burgled country in Europe, has the highest level of assaults and above average rates of car theft, robbery and pickpocketing” (2007, para. 1). In fact, the violent crime rate continues to grow 77% through 2006. Japanese crime rates increase dramatically 128% during the years 1997 to 2001, after adopting similar firearms legislation. The same phenomena was seen in Australia with robberies increasing 44% after a similar gun ban. Interestingly, the authorities in New Zealand found it difficult and cumbersome to enforce the Australian ban and they abandoned the effort. The crime rates in New Zealand decreased dramatically (robbery: 18% decrease, domestic burglary: 27% decrease). Unfortunately, after a rejuvenation of the gun ban in 2000, the report reflects an 8% overall increase in violent crimes (Home Office, 2004). Unfortunately, the research is still lacking.

Another component of the gun control debate in the United States is the consideration that the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution refers not to individuals, but to State and Federal sponsored militias. Though the U.S. Supreme Court (District of Columbia v. Heller, 2007) has recently ruled that the Amendment proscribes an individual right, this is not a new opinion. A search through documentation of the Constitutional Conventions (Elliot, 1836; Ford, 1888) and previous Supreme Court decisions (United States v. Cruikshank, 1876; United States v. Miller, 1939) shows a consistent viewpoint, the Second Amendment refers to an individual right to bear arms. There certainly has been some confusion regarding the interpretation of this Amendment (Miller v. Texas, 1894; United States v. Cruikshank, 1876), but most of the experts now concede the individual rights interpretation.

Proponents of gun control have also sought to ban weapons described as assault weapons. The position of The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (http://www.bradycampaign.org) on assault weapons:

The Brady Campaign supports banning military-style semi-automatic assault weapons along with high-capacity ammunition magazines. These dangerous weapons have no sporting or civilian use. Their combat features are appropriate to military, not civilian, contexts. (n.d., Position section)

Here many gun control advocates erroneously cite United States v. Miller (1939) as limiting the civilian ownership of military-style weapons. Justice McReynolds, in his opinion, states, “Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment, or that its use could contribute to the common defense” (p. 6). This ruling is problematic. Miller and his co-defendant were not represented by counsel, and before the proceedings took place, Miller was murdered (Aultice, 1990). With these issues in mind, the opinion was based on a lack of evidence that a sawed-off shotgun could be used as ordinary military equipment. An argument could have been made that might have impacted Justice McReynolds’ opinion. During the Civil War, Confederate cavalrymen regularly employed the sawed-off shotgun against the Union cavalry, and during World War I, American soldiers in Europe used short-barreled shotguns regularly to clear trenches (GlobalSecurity.org, n.d.). Had this argument been offered, perhaps the opinion would have been different. As Aultice (1990) writes, “by default it is acceptable to own weapons with a ‘reasonable relationship’ to the preservation of the militia, and nothing so fits the description as those creatures of their own distorted imagination, the so-called ‘assault weapons’!” (Viewpoint section, para. 1). During debates, the proponents of gun control find themselves requiring a different argument in the face of this.

Gun control advocates ask a fairly simple, though outlandish, question: Where does it end? The gun control advocates are simply asking if there is a boundary to the militaristic weaponry that a civilian should be able to possess. I have to agree that this is an excellent question to ask. When exercising our rights, it is important to understand the social responsibility that must be exercised. I, and most firearms enthusiasts, concede that it would be troublesome for the citizenry to possess weapons of mass destruction. Where is the line? Libertarian principles dictate that no law should preempt freedom so long as the exercise of that freedom does not interfere with the rights of a third-party. Block and Block (2000) developed a theory based on geography and spatial relationships. They describe a constant where, as long as the weapon can be used defensively and the effect of the weapon can be isolated to the user and the target, the spatial relationship must fall between two extremes: (a) proportionally using the entire universe and (b) proportionally in a crowded phone booth. These are obviously not realistic situations, but the theory must transcend the boundaries of reality in order to prove all-encompassing. In the case that a population is spread over the entire universe, it would be acceptable for each person to have nuclear weapons for defensive use. On the other hand, in the latter scenario, perhaps only a small knife would be acceptable. To draw this theory back into the realm of reality, consider the spatial population differences between a highly populated city where a handgun would be acceptable, but a high-powered rifle may not be safe. Also, consider the population density of the many rural areas in the United States. In these areas, it might be plausible to own and use a tank, bazooka, and machine gun without fear of infringing on the rights of some third-party. This theory creates a direct relationship with the destructive power of the weapon and the likelihood of impacting an innocent person. Perhaps, this is the commonsense gun control that the gun control advocates are searching for. It appears that gun control advocates would like to remove the rights of the people instead of holding the individual responsible for committing crimes. As I believe, the right is certainly an individual right, and the responsibilities are also individual responsibilities. Using this theory as the predominant philosophy of responsible gun ownership would limit the need of any further legislation, as we already have laws enacted which seek to protect the public from endangerment; punishing the criminal, not the victim.

Is this theory realistic? What are the chances of its actually being considered? Ultimately, what is at stake here is the continuation of our government as we know it. Our founding fathers developed the U.S. Constitution in such a specific way as to protect ourselves from ourselves. Politicians with Socialistic views, though motivated with good intentions, could certainly lay a legislative foundation enabling future politicians to create a totalitarian regime, controlling the populace in the future with no fear of a reprisal by an armed citizenry (Savelsberg, 2002). We must keep this possibility in the front of our minds as we discuss and debate the focus and depth of the Second Amendment. Admittedly, there is a public safety component to the debate (Winkler, 2007, p. 727). On the one hand, it appears that large urban areas are fraught with gun violence. On the other hand, as Rand’s (1994) report shows, handguns are used in 17% of violent crimes in the U.S., and defending one’s self with a firearm reduces the likelihood of victim injury by more than 40%. Rand continues to show that guns are used in defense against violent crimes over 60,000 times annually. Firearm ownership is an absolute fiber in the fabric of American society, for the defense of self, State, and Country. We should approach this topic with care and knowledge. Although firearm issues may seem of concern to only a small group of Americans, it should, in fact, concern anyone who cares about the Constitution of the United States and the American way of life.


Aultice, P. L. (1990). United States vs Miller Court Opinion and Documents. Retrieved from http://rkba.org/research/miller/Miller.html

Block, W. & Block, M. (2000, October). Toward a universal libertarian theory of gun (weapon) control: a spatial and geographical analysis. Ethics, Place & Environment, 3(3), 289-298.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. (n.d.). Military-style assault weapons. Retrieved from http://www.bradycampaign.org/legislation/msassaultweapons

District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 290 (2007).

Elliott, J. (1836). The debates in the several State Conventions on the adoption of the Federal Constitution: June 14, 1788. Elliot’s Debates, 3, 365-410. Retrieved from http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwed.html

Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997, c. 5 et seq. (1997).

Ford, P. L. (1888). An examination into the leading principles of the Federal Constitution proposed by the late Convention held at Philadelphia. With answers to the principal objections that have been raised against the system. By a citizen of America. Pamphlets on the Constitution of the United States, published during its discussion by the people, 1787-1788, 25-65. Brooklyn, NY. Retrieved from http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/1670

GlobalSecurity.org. (n.d.). Shotguns. Retrieved from http://www.globalsecurity.org/military /systems/ground/shotgun.htm

Johnston, P. (2007, February 6). Britain tops European crime league. The Telegraph. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1541699/Britain-tops-European-crime-league.html

Home Office, Research, Development, and Statistics Directorate. (2004, October 24). International comparisons of criminal justice statistics 2001. Retrieved from http://www.csdp.org/research/hosb1203.pdf

Miller v. Texas, 153 U.S. 535 (1894).

Rand, M. R. (1994, April). Bureau of Justice Statistics crime data brief: Guns and crime: Handgun victimization, firearm self-defense, and firearm theft (NCJ-147003 Rev. 2002, September 24). U.S. Department of Justice: Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Retrieved from http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/ascii/hvfsdaft.txt

Savelsberg, J. J. (2002). Socialist Legal Traditions. Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment. Retrieved from http://www.sage-ereference.com/crimepunishment/Article_n404.html

United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542 (1876).

United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174 (1939).

Winkler, A. (2007, February). Scrutinizing the Second Amendment. Michigan Law Review, 105(4), 683-733. Retrieved from http://www.michiganlawreview.org

An Essay on the Value of Television on Society

Television plays a critical role in providing information to its viewers in a timely manner, though this responsibility could be detrimental if the format of delivery is not in line with the needs of the viewers. There are many questions and theories regarding the usefulness or appropriateness of television in American society today. A research review (Huston, et al., 1992) of television watching habits in regards to violence, sexuality and health shows that television program choices are as formative for adults as they are adolescents, though younger children may be spared from this effect due to their “insufficient emotional and cognitive capacities to comprehend the message.” With this in mind, some people feel that television broadcasts should be well-regulated and censored to a level that society finds appropriate (Hoffner, et al., 1999), and though much of television is, in fact, regulated to some degree, Anderson (1997) found that commercials which air during family-centered broadcasting contained violence which may not be suitable for all ages. In addition to violence, many programs aired today contain sociopolitical biases that threaten the very message meant to be conveyed. In addition to content, expertise is called into question as local and national news outlets are viewed with a sense of authority, when in fact they may not be. A recent survey (Wilson, 2008) of weathercasters showed that in 2002 only 8% of stations employed a science or environment reporter. Many weathercasters do not have the scientific background in order to accurately forecast severe weather, yet they serve as the authoritative source for this information. These are not symptoms common only to network television broadcasting but are prominent in all media, including print and radio.

In order for the media to maintain its credibility, it must take the responsibility of broadcasting seriously. Television broadcasters must maintain an air of unbiased, expert reporting interested in delivering fact and opposing viewpoints if necessary. Broadcast outlets must also take on the responsibility of the content of each program keeping in mind the intended audience. There is a social contract between viewers and broadcasters, and though I am not one to suggest government censorship, responsible self-censorship by each media outlet may be ethical and appropriate to promote good habits and healthy lifestyles.

With society’s reliance on television to provide entertainment and information, the programs and information offered can certainly alter society’s perceptions of acceptability and necessity within our culture. With rights comes responsibility. We enjoy a certain freedom of our press, but when that freedom is without responsibility, misinformation is promulgated to the masses having dire consequences on society. As an example, the media’s reliance on violence for profits has greatly diminished our society’s abhorrence of such. This coupled with poor and inaccurate reporting on gun violence has led to an unhealthy promotion of guns to solve the most minuscule of problems (Omaar, 2007). Essentially, the media created a self-fulfilling prophecy. Looking at society today, this has effectively removed guns from the hands of lawful citizens and placed them with criminals. Many politicians are to blame for their ignorance on this matter, but television is to blame for providing these politicians the education of ignorance. Television can shape society. What shape do we want to be in?


Anderson, C. (1997). Violence in Television Commercials During Nonviolent Programming: The 1996 Major League Baseball Playoffs. JAMA, 278(13), 1045-1046.

Hoffner, C., Buchanan, M., Anderson, J. D., Hubbs, L. A., Kamigaki, S. K., Kowalczyk, L., et al. (1999). Support for censorship of television violence: The role of the third-person effect and news exposure. Communication Research, 26(6), 726-742. DOI: 10.1177/009365099026006004

Huston, A. C., Donnerstein, E., Fairchild, H., Feshbach, N. D., Katz, P.A., Murray, J. P., et al. (1992). The role of television in American society. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press.

Omaar, R. (3 September 2007). Why our children carry guns. New Statesman, 137(4860), 20. AN: 26417804

Wilson, K. (2008). Television weathercasters as station scientists. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 89(12), 1926-1927