Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Empirical Work is Useful

Do Good Recruits Make Good Cops? Problems Predicting and Measuring Academy
and Street-Level Success

Billy Henson, Bradford Reyns, Charles Klahm & James Frank
Police Quarterly, March 2010, Pages 5-26

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to extend White’s analysis predicting successful police recruit performance during academy training. Using police personnel data collected on 486 officers hired between 1996 and 2006 by a Midwestern police department, the authors examine characteristics related to academy success as well as active police service. The results show that most demographic and experience variables did not predict academy or active service success. However, White recruits and those scoring higher on the civil service exam consistently performed better on multiple academy outcome measures than their counterparts. In addition, those scoring higher on the overall academy success measure generally received better evaluations from their superiors. The results also show that higher education is not related to any of the measures of academy or on the job success used in these analyses.

Retributive versus compensatory justice: Observers' preference for punishing
in response to criminal offenses

Jan-Willem van Prooijen
European Journal of Social Psychology, February 2010, Pages 72-85

Abstract: In the current paper, the author examines whether independent observers of
criminal offenses have a relative preference for either retributive justice (i.e., punishing the offender) or compensatory justice (i.e., compensating the victim for the harm done). In Study 1, results revealed that participants recommended higher sums of money if a financial transaction was framed as offender punishment (i.e., the offender would pay money to the victim) than if it was framed as victim compensation (i.e., the victim would receive money from the offender). In Study 2, participants were asked to gather information about court trials following three severe offenses to evaluate whether justice had been done in these cases. Results revealed that participants gathered more information about offender punishment than about victim compensation. In Study 3 these findings were extended by investigating whether observers' relative preference for punishing is moderated by emotional proximity to the victim. Results revealed that the relative preference for punishing only occurred among participants who did not experience emotional proximity to the victim. It is concluded that observers prefer retributive over compensatory justice, provided that they do not feel emotionally close to the victim.

(Nod to Kevin L)