Nationally visible cases of convicted criminals who lapsed back into criminal activity following their release into the community have prompted state and federal legislators and local communities to focus on the public safety risk posed by offenders and the most appropriate means of dealing with this unique population. The monitoring and management of convicted offenders is a major policy consideration in the United States. Many federal and state regulations mandate that communities track those individuals who have been convicted of certain crimes, in some cases for their entire lives as they move from one location to another. Local jurisdictions have also extended these federally mandated requirements for convicted offenders with increasingly punitive ordinances that ban offenders from living within a specified distance of certain locations and imposing dispersion and saturation statutes that limit the number of offenders living within a community or local area. This collaborative research project will (1) develop a spatial analytical framework for addressing offender issues; (2) establish guidelines for the appropriate use and specification of methods to address a range of contexts, including inference and optimization approaches; (3) develop optimization models reflecting public policy, thereby enabling spatial impacts to be evaluated for alternative policy scenarios; (4) develop space-time methods for assessing offender residency change; and (5) interpret findings to better inform public policy and corrections practices with respect to legislative implications, community notification, and offender reentry. The investigators initially will focus on a case study in Hamilton County, Ohio, working to refine a spatial analytical framework that will identify appropriate methods, address specification issues, develop new methods, and provide interpretation in terms of public policy and corrections.
This project will develop a spatial analytical framework and toolbox for addressing convicted offender residency issues. This will facilitate access to a combination of new and existing exploratory and confirmatory statistical methods and to new and existing spatial optimization models that can be used for analyzing impacts as well as developing and evaluating public policy associated with the management of convicted offenders. The spatial analytical framework and toolbox will enable spatio-temporal analysis and geovisualization of social impacts, clustering, and offender residency movements as well as provide the capacity to examine residency choice factors. Modeling techniques developed to identify the spatio-temporal movements of offenders and the contingencies associated with existing or proposed public policies for managing offenders will inform law enforcement agencies of jurisdictional trends, and they will provide empirical evidence of the spatial and socioeconomic consequences of enforcing geographic management strategies both locally and regionally.
National Science Foundation Division of Social and Economic Sciences. This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5).
September 2009 - August 2011