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CRC funded reports

1976-1977

The Council received reports from 5 completed research projects during the year 1976-77. Summaries of these reports are given below. These reports are held by the Australian Institute of Criminology's JV Barry Library and are available on inter-library loan. For full bibliographic information on any report, search the Library's Catalogue.

  1. Crime and the Hobart bridge disaster
  2. Delinquency in planned urban areas
  3. Evaluation of the Tasmanian work order scheme
  4. Robbery prevention and detection study
  5. A study of community-based treatment for young offenders

Crime and the Hobart bridge disaster

Report title: Aftermath: The Tasman Bridge Collapse - Criminological and Sociological Observations
Grantee: Mr. E. V. Knowles, Commissioner of Police, Tasmania
Criminology Research Council grant ; (6/75)

This research into the sociological and criminological consequences of the collapse of the Tasman Bridge on 5 January 1975 was conducted by a research committee on behalf of the late Mr. E. V. Knowles. The results were presented in the form of a book Aftermath: The Tasman Bridge Collapse - Criminological and Sociological Observations by Janet Whelan, Elizabeth Seaton and Eric Cunningham Dax published by the Australian Institute of Criminology. The book received wide recognition including a review in Time magazine. The first edition of 1,000 copies has sold out and a second printing has been undertake!). The book recorded the details of the social dislocation, psychological effects and changes in crime patterns that resulted from the incident and also reviewed the steps that need to be taken to minimise the harmful effects of similar disasters.

Delinquency in planned urban areas

Report titles: Prevention of Delinquency in New Planned Urban Environments (Interim report) See text below for other reports
Grantee: Dr. P. R. Wilson, Reader in Sociology, University of Queensland
Criminology Research Council grant ; (2/73)

This research was largely conducted in a suburb of Brisbane which is reputed to have high rates of delinquency. A large sample of adolescents were interviewed to ascertain their attitudes to recreation facilities that were available or were planned for the area. It was originally intended to conduct a second series of interviews to assess the impact of a large youth club that was being established in the suburb, but this was not possible due to unforeseen delays in the opening of the club. In addition to a lengthy interim report on this research, an M.A. thesis by Mr. Greg Smith entitled: Leisure, recreation and delinquency, was submitted to the Department of Anthropology and Sociology, University of Queensland in 1975. Other products of the research were a B.A. Honours thesis by Mr. Devon Carter, two journal articles and a chapter in a book. Even though it was not possible to complete this project as originally planned, it has resulted in a significant contribution to Australian knowledge of juvenile delinquency and the social factors associated with it.

Evaluation of the Tasmanian work order scheme

Report title: The Work Order Scheme: An Evaluation of Tasmania's Work Order Scheme
Grantee: Mr. J. G. Mackay, Principal, Probation and Parole Service, Attorney-General's Department, Tasmania
Criminology Research Council grant ; (14/74)

With the assistance of Mr. M. K. Rook, Mr. Mackay conducted a detailed evaluation of this sentencing technique. The summary of their detailed report is as follows:

The Work Order Scheme was developed and introduced into the Tasmanian criminal justice system in 1972 as an optional alternative to short terms of imprisonment. It allows an offender to be sentenced to a maximum of 25 Work Order days which he must work one day per week on community projects An operational analysis over 26 weeks showed a 63% attendance, 25% absence with permission, and 12% absence without leave. Poor conduct reports averaged 3%, highly commended reports 6%. A comparison of recidivism rates between the 1974 Work Order and short-term imprisonment groups showed that 47% of the Work Order group committed further offences and 19% subsequently went to prison, compared to 62% and 40% respectively for the short-term imprisonment group However, as the prison group had a more extensive criminal record, it could not properly be compared with the Work Order group The cost of operating the Work Order Scheme, $450 per man per week, is considerably less than the cost of imprisonment, $117.11 per man per week, an estimated saving to the state of $1,175,000 for 1975. Currently, 25 man years of work is provided annually for charitable institutions and needy individuals The Scheme is considered a successful, unique and viable alternative to imprisonment, with numerous benefits to both the offender and the community.

Robbery prevention and detection study

Report title: Armed Robbery, Research Report 2
Grantee: Director of New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research
Criminology Research Council grant ; (27/75)

This project was conducted at the request of the standing Committee of Attorneys-General by the staff of the New South Wales Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, representatives of the New South Wales and Victorian police forces and a research officer of the Australian Institute of Criminology. Details of all reported incidents of armed robbery occurring in New South Wales and Victoria in 1975 and 1976 were collected and analysed in order to establish patterns and profiles which could be used as a guide to prevention. A major report has been published and many of the findings were presented to a seminar conducted at the Australian Institute of Criminology in June 1977. Both the report and the seminar recommended the establishment of a national data bank for armed robberies.

A study of community-based treatment for young offenders

Report title: A Study of Community-Based Treatment for Young Offenders
Grantee: Mr. R. Sanson-Fisher, Department of Psychiatry, Perth Medical Centre, University of Western Australia
Criminology Research Council grant ; (5/75)

A sample of 220 identified delinquents and a similar number of non-delinquent adolescents in Perth were given many sociological, semantic differential and skills questionnaires in order to test the hypotheses that delinquents have greater opportunities for committing offences and lower levels of survival skills. The results confirmed these hypotheses. Opportunities for youths to engage in socially unacceptable behaviour were found to be closely related to impoverished family situations. The youths also showed lower levels of skill in using community resources such as banks, post offices, employment agencies and shops. Other aspects of this research included a close study of the over-represented Aboriginal group in the delinquent sample and an examination of adolescents' knowledge of the law. Eight papers to be submitted for publication in academic and professional journals have been completed in this project.

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