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Evaluating Philadelphia's Gun Court

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0022084/00001

Material Information

Title: Evaluating Philadelphia's Gun Court Implications for Crime Reduction and Specialized Jurisprudence
Physical Description: 1 online resource (122 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Nobles, Matthew
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: arima, court, crime, criminology, evaluation, firearm, gun, law, philadelphia
Criminology, Law and Society -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Criminology, Law, and Society thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: We evaluated the City of Philadelphia's specialized problem-solving gun court. The gun court program began in 2005, and features mandatory treatment elements in addition to enhanced processing celerity and intensive supervision protocols, with the ultimate goal of impacting aggregate levels of gun violence in Philadelphia. Although gun policy research from criminology and other fields has examined a variety of gun violence interventions with different levels of success, to date there are no peer-reviewed evaluations of a gun court program in the literature. Meanwhile, gun courts continue their expansion into jurisdictions of all sizes with varying levels of social problems, from Providence, Rhode Island (home to the nation's first gun court in 1994) to relatively newer programs including New York City (2003) and Boston (2006). This study first describes Philadelphia's Gun Court program, reviews deterrence theory broadly implicated in anti-crime programs, and recounts what works and what?s promising in anti-gun interventions. It then presents an interrupted time series analysis to determine whether there are statistically significant treatment effects observed in Philadelphia after the intervention. The analysis includes a comparison site (Pittsburgh) and non-gun crime series while implementing the proper controls for autocorrelation, seasonality, and non-stationarity. Results indicate that there are no statistically significant declines in the aggregate rates of four gun-related crime categories in Philadelphia in the 24 months after the introduction of the court program, although this finding does not necessarily preclude individual-level effects for offenders processed through gun court. Implications for gun policy and problem-solving courts are discussed.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Matthew Nobles.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: Lanza-Kaduce, Lonn M.
Local: Co-adviser: Piquero, Alexis R.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0022084:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0022084/00001

Material Information

Title: Evaluating Philadelphia's Gun Court Implications for Crime Reduction and Specialized Jurisprudence
Physical Description: 1 online resource (122 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Nobles, Matthew
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: arima, court, crime, criminology, evaluation, firearm, gun, law, philadelphia
Criminology, Law and Society -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Criminology, Law, and Society thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: We evaluated the City of Philadelphia's specialized problem-solving gun court. The gun court program began in 2005, and features mandatory treatment elements in addition to enhanced processing celerity and intensive supervision protocols, with the ultimate goal of impacting aggregate levels of gun violence in Philadelphia. Although gun policy research from criminology and other fields has examined a variety of gun violence interventions with different levels of success, to date there are no peer-reviewed evaluations of a gun court program in the literature. Meanwhile, gun courts continue their expansion into jurisdictions of all sizes with varying levels of social problems, from Providence, Rhode Island (home to the nation's first gun court in 1994) to relatively newer programs including New York City (2003) and Boston (2006). This study first describes Philadelphia's Gun Court program, reviews deterrence theory broadly implicated in anti-crime programs, and recounts what works and what?s promising in anti-gun interventions. It then presents an interrupted time series analysis to determine whether there are statistically significant treatment effects observed in Philadelphia after the intervention. The analysis includes a comparison site (Pittsburgh) and non-gun crime series while implementing the proper controls for autocorrelation, seasonality, and non-stationarity. Results indicate that there are no statistically significant declines in the aggregate rates of four gun-related crime categories in Philadelphia in the 24 months after the introduction of the court program, although this finding does not necessarily preclude individual-level effects for offenders processed through gun court. Implications for gun policy and problem-solving courts are discussed.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Matthew Nobles.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2008.
Local: Adviser: Lanza-Kaduce, Lonn M.
Local: Co-adviser: Piquero, Alexis R.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2008
System ID: UFE0022084:00001


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365287470ab112869574e64b9a3b8b66898094c2







EVALUATING PHILADELPHIA'S GUN COURT:
IMPLICATIONS FOR CRIME REDUCTION AND SPECIALIZED JURISPRUDENCE




















By

MATTHEW ROBIN NOBLES


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2008


































2008 Matthew Robin Nobles
































To my family, for sacrificing to provide me with opportunities to think, change, and grow.

To Tasha, for reminding me always that dreams do come true.









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I thank my parents, grandparents, and all of my extended family for believing not so much

in the venture, but in the person. I thank Tasha for all of her love and support, and for telling me

what I needed to hear.

I thank all of my colleagues and contemporaries in graduate school (especially Jeff, Carrie,

and Kate) for making my work more enjoyable and rewarding than I could have ever expected. I

thank the current and former faculty in Criminology, Law and Society at UF (especially Brian

Stults, Karen Parker, Nicky Piquero, and Ron Akers) for nurturing a hometown prospect and for

always keeping their office doors open. I am very thankful and greatly indebted to my

supervisory committee (Chris Gibson, Lonn Lanza-Kaduce, Alex Piquero, and Richard

Schneider) for their time, knowledge, accessibility, and most of all, patience. No graduate

student could hope for better guidance, more insight, or a happier ending.









TABLE OF CONTENTS

page

A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ..............................................................................................................4

LIST OF TABLES .............. ......... ...................................................7

LIST OF FIGURES .................................. .. ..... ..... ................. .8

ABSTRAC T ...........................................................................................

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION ............... ..................................................... ..... 11

2 CR IM IN OLO G ICA L TH EORY ......... ................. ............................................................17

Classical Punishment and the Criminal Justice System ............................... ................17
E evolution of D eterrence........ ...................................................................... ......... .......19
Educative Functions of the Courts........... ................. ............................ ............... 22

3 LITER A TU R E R EV IEW ........................................................................................ 28

What Works and What Doesn't Work in Gun Interventions ........... ................................29
Specialized Courts .................................. ... .. .... .... ............. .... 32
G u n C o u rt ...............................................................................................................................3 8
Providence, R I G un C ourt 1994 ............................................................ ................... 39
Jefferson County (Birmingham), AL Juvenile Gun Court 1995 ................................40
Detroit, MI Handgun Intervention Program 1993 ......................................................42
Hennepin County (Minneapolis), MN Juvenile Gun Program 1995............................43
Indianapolis, IN Project LIFE 1991 .................................................. .......... ..... 44
Seattle, WA Juvenile Firearms Prosecution 1996 .................................................45
Brooklyn, N Y Gun Court 2003 ............... ........... ................... ............... .... 45
Boston, MA Firearm Prosecution Disposition Sessions 2006...................................46
International P erspectiv es........................................................................ ..................47
C o n c lu sio n s ........................................................................... 4 9

4 QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS ...............................................................................51

Program Objectives ................................. ... .. .... ...... ................. 51
T arg et P o p u latio n ...................................... .................................. ................ 5 2
C context and Im plem entation .......................................................................... ................... 54
P probation and G un C court ............................................................................... .. ............. 56
P program B benefits .............................................................................58
Assessing Outcomes .................................. ... .... ..... ....... ............... 61
Impact of Gun Court ............... ....................................................... 62










5 QUAN TITATIVE ANALY SIS............................................................................64

D a ta ............................................................................6 4
P la n o f A n a ly sis .......................................................................................................6 5
M e th o d o lo g y ...................................................................................................................... 6 7
R e su lts ............... ................ .... ............................................................................................... 7 0
M ultivariate M models ................................................................7 1
T im e S series P lots ............................................................................... 7 3

6 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION ................................................77

D isc u ssio n .......................................................................................................................... 7 7
Implications for Theory and Practice .................................................80
L im itatio n s ................... ...................8...................3..........
F utu re R research ................................................................86
C o n clu sio n ................... ...................8...................8..........

APPENDIX

A DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS AND PARAMETER ESTIMATES FOR ARIMA
REGRESSION MODEL S .................. .... ................. 91

B FIG U R E S ...........................................................105

L IST O F R EFE R EN C E S ........... .... .................................................. ...........................116

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .................................................................................. ........ ..... ........122


























6









LIST OF TABLES


Table page

A-i Descriptive statistics for crime rates in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, 2003-2006. ............91

A-2 Pearson's correlation matrix for Philadelphia and Pittsburgh crime rates, 2003-2006. ....92

A-3 Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) (0,0,0) regression on rate of
murder with firearm in Philadelphia, 2003-2006.................................... ............... 93

A-4 Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) (0,0,1) regression on rate of
murder with firearm in Pittsburgh, 2003-2006. ...................................... ............... 94

A-5 Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) (1,0,0) regression on rate of
robbery with firearm in Philadelphia, 2003-2006................................... ............... 95

A-6 Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) (1,0,0) regression on rate of
robbery with firearm in Pittsburgh, 2003-2006. ..................................... ............... 96

A-7 Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) (1,3,1) regression on rate of
assault with firearm in Philadelphia, 2003-2006. ................................... ............... 97

A-8 Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) (1,1,1) regression on rate of
assault with firearm in Pittsburgh, 2003-2006..................... ........ .. .. ............. 98

A-9 Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) (1,0,0) regression on rate of
weapons charges in Philadelphia, 2003-2006...................................... ......... ............... 99

A-10 Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) (2,1,1) regression on rate of
weapons charges in Pittsburgh, 2003-2006. ....................................... ............... 100

A-11 Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) (1,3,1) regression on rate of
larceny in Philadelphia, 2003-2006. ..........................................................................101

A-12 Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) (4,1,1) regression on rate of
larceny in Pittsburgh, 2003-2006 ......................................................... ............... 102

A-13 Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) (1,3,0) regression on rate of
motor vehicle theft in Philadelphia, 2003-2006.................................... ............... 103

A-14 Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) (2,1,1) regression on rate of
motor vehicle theft in Pittsburgh, 2003-2006. ...................................... ............... 104









LIST OF FIGURES


Figure pe

B-l Uniform Crime Report: violent crime in Philadelphia, 1960-2004.............................105

B-2 Uniform Crime Report: violent crime in Los Angeles, 1960-2004 ............................106

B-3 Uniform Crime Report: violent crime in New York City, 1960-2004. ...........................107

B-4 Uniform Crime Report: violent crime in Chicago, 1960-2004............. ................108

B-5 Uniform Crime Report: violent crime in Miami, 1960-2004. .............. .............109

B-6 Time series line plot: rate of murder with firearm in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh,
2003-2006. .............................................................................................110

B-7 Time series line plot: rate of robbery with firearm in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh,
2003-2006. ................ ..... .................. ................... ............... 111

B-8 Time series line plot: rate of assault with firearm in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh,
2003-2006. .............................................................................................112

B-9 Time series line plot: rate of weapons charges in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, 2003-
2 0 0 6 ............ ....................... ....................................... ......... ..... 1 13

B-10 Time series line plot: rate of larceny in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, 2003-2006 .........114

B-11 Time series line plot: rate of motor vehicle theft in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh,
2003-2006. .............................................................................................115









Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

EVALUATING PHILADELPHIA'S GUN COURT:
IMPLICATIONS FOR CRIME REDUCTION AND SPECIALIZED JURISPRUDENCE

By

Matthew Robin Nobles
August 2008

Chair: Lonn Lanza-Kaduce
Cochair: Alex R. Piquero
Major: Criminology, Law and Society

We evaluated the City of Philadelphia's specialized problem-solving gun court. The gun

court program began in 2005, and features mandatory treatment elements in addition to enhanced

processing celerity and intensive supervision protocols, with the ultimate goal of impacting

aggregate levels of gun violence in Philadelphia. Although gun policy research from

criminology and other fields has examined a variety of gun violence interventions with different

levels of success, to date there are no peer-reviewed evaluations of a gun court program in the

literature. Meanwhile, gun courts continue their expansion into jurisdictions of all sizes with

varying levels of social problems, from Providence, Rhode Island (home to the nation's first gun

court in 1994) to relatively newer programs including New York City (2003) and Boston (2006).

This study first describes Philadelphia's Gun Court program, reviews deterrence theory broadly

implicated in anti-crime programs, and recounts what works and what's promising in anti-gun

interventions. It then presents an interrupted time series analysis to determine whether there are

statistically significant treatment effects observed in Philadelphia after the intervention. The

analysis includes a comparison site (Pittsburgh) and non-gun crime series while implementing

the proper controls for autocorrelation, seasonality, and non-stationarity. Results indicate that

there are no statistically significant declines in the aggregate rates of four gun-related crime









categories in Philadelphia in the 24 months after the introduction of the court program, although

this finding does not necessarily preclude individual-level effects for offenders processed

through gun court. Implications for gun policy and problem-solving courts are discussed.









CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

In 2004, Philadelphia's homicide rate per 100,000 residents was the highest among the 10

largest cities in America, and many, including the city's Police Commissioner, characterize the

pervasiveness of violence as fundamentally "a gun problem" (Moore, 2005). Pennsylvania has

experienced a distinct increase in violent crimes since 2003, with an increase in violent incidents

over 12%. Comparatively, the violent crime incidents nationwide have fallen 0.4% from 2002 to

2006. Moreover, property crimes in the state have increased slightly less than three percent over

the same period, while the national trend has been a 4.5% drop.

In the context of national crime trends spanning several decades, the magnitude of

Philadelphia's violence problem becomes evident. Figures B-l through B-5 illustrate UCR

violent crime from 1960-2004 in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, and

Miami, respectively. While other cities show steep declines in violence through the 1990s,

Philadelphia's trend is predominately level with a modestly positive slope, indicating that

violence there has not abated in step with other major urban centers and appears to be slightly

increasing over time. These trends indicate that Philadelphia has, somewhat against the odds,

increased both the incidence and the severity of its crime problem in recent years while similar

rates have declined nationwide.

To address the concentration of illegal guns and the climbing rates of gun violence,

Philadelphia instituted a specialized gun court program to process only non-violent firearms

offenders. Essentially, individuals who were caught in possession of an unlicensed firearm but

who did not stand accused of using that weapon in the commission of another, more serious

crime were eligible for gun court. This distinction between a population of offenders considered

to be at-risk for future violence (as compared to those known to be violent, evidenced by pending









charges for robbery, assault, or homicide) is critical: as originally conceived, the gun court model

attempts to prevent firearm violence rather than simply to punish it. The purpose of this study is

to describe the foundational elements of the Philadelphia Gun Court, examine potential

theoretical mechanisms for its efficacy, and finally to gauge the relative impact of the Gun Court

on aggregate rates of gun violence in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia's Gun Court

The Philadelphia Court opened to some publicity and to lofty expectations in January

2005. Local and national media covered the debut, which seemed to accompany mixed feelings

of optimism, cynicism, and desperation on the part of local officials. A quotation by

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Sylvester M. Johnson in the Philadelphia Inquirer was typical:

"If the gun court takes the issue of guns seriously, I don't see how it can't help. Eighty percent

of our homicides are by handguns. Anything we do will help, because nothing else has" (Clark,

2005a). Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham, meanwhile, underscored the program's

prevention message in a feature for the Associated Press: "We are trying to prevent them from

ever offending again. By focusing on intense tracking and tracing and supervision, we might

dissuade this person from thinking it is okay to carry a gun" (Caruso, 2005a, 2005b). In

retrospect, the expectations for the program may have been somewhat disjointed from the reality

of the gun violence problem in the Philadelphia area. True, the various provisions of the

program seemed to orient the Court correctly in light of the success of other specialized court

models, including drug courts and mental health courts (see Berman & Gulick, 2003; Goldkamp

et al., 2001). However, what the program was attempting in 2005 had never before been

attempted with adult offenders in a city with such a pervasive gun violence problem. A

comprehensive approach was necessary.









The Philadelphia Gun Court program involves directly reducing the number of illegal guns

in the city (supply-side intervention) while simultaneously addressing gun safety, education, and

violence prevention (demand-side intervention). Both of these approaches are premised on a

theoretical model that attacks the problem in several different ways, including a strong emphasis

on both general and specific deterrence. The resulting program attempts to be simultaneously

oriented toward rehabilitation and incapacitation. This dissertation reviews the extant literature

on gun courts, discusses the three-phase Philadelphia system, and provides a preliminary analysis

of the trends for key violent and non-violent crimes involving firearms during its first two years

of operation.

Philadelphia's Gun Court has some program features that mirror gun courts in other

jurisdictions. Chief among these features is the objective and intent of the program itself: a

reduction in gun violence. On the Philadelphia Adult Probation and Parole Department website,

a Gun Court fact sheet (2005) reads:

The Philadelphia Gun Court (Gun Court) is constituted in response to the increasing
number of weapons offenses being committed in Philadelphia and the inherent danger to
the community when weapons are possessed on the streets illegally. Gun Court will focus
on educating the defendant about gun safety and provide the infrastructure for direct and
immediate response to defendants who violate Court Orders and who are recidivists.

By consolidating all gun cases where the most serious charge is a Violation of Uniform
Firearms Act (VUFA) onto one Common Pleas Court docket, the assets needed for a
prompt adjudication of these types of offenses will be consolidated and the coordination of
the efforts by numerous agencies and non-profit organizations in reducing the number of
illegal guns on the streets of Philadelphia will be improved.

Thus, the Gun Court program should be evaluated with respect to these conditional parameters:

first, the degree to which it educates defendants about gun safety; second, the degree to which it

provides infrastructure to punish Court Order violators and recidivists; third, the degree to which

prompt adjudication facilitates illegal gun seizures. Theoretically, if Gun Court accomplishes its

stated mission, then the observed rate of the outcome of interest, namely the overall levels of gun









crime in Philadelphia, should show a statistically significant decline after the introduction of the

intervention.

In important legal process-oriented ways, Gun Court is different from Philadelphia's Court

of Common Pleas. Among the most salient differences is the time to disposition. Under the

traditional system, defendants processed through the Court of Common Pleas are required to

participate in a separate scheduling conference after the initial pre-trial conference in order to

have a trial type and court date set. In Gun Court, the trial type and court date are decided at the

pre-trial conference, eliminating one step and several weeks from the trial life-cycle.

Consequently, Gun Court has an estimated 120 days from arraignment to disposition, compared

to 180 days for Common Pleas (Philadelphia Adult Probation and Parole Department, 2005).

The reduced processing time is considered one of the measures for "fast tracking" defendants. In

addition to saving system costs overall, the reduction in time from arrest to trial indicates greater

celerity in the legal process.

Gun Court also differs from Philadelphia's Court of Common Pleas in terms of the

conditions for bail, probation, and parole. First, case manager contacts for Gun Court defendants

are increased to a weekly schedule at minimum. This exceeds the requirement for Common

Pleas defendants. Second, Gun Court defendants are required to complete a gun education

program, which may include signing a firearm surrender agreement before the Gun Court judge,

submitting to increased drug surveillance, and being subjected to electronic monitoring. For Gun

Court offenders sentenced to probation or released on parole, the conditions and requirements

exceed those of the Court of Common Pleas. In addition to all CP conditions, Gun Court

defendants must (a) maintain weekly contact with their probation/parole officer, (b) be subject to

home visits through target patrol in cooperation with the Philadelphia Police Department, (c)









continue their mandatory firearms violence education program, (d) submit to increased random

drug detection, (e) complete conflict resolution/anger management counseling, (f) complete 20-

50 hours of community service, and (g) attend status hearings before their sentencing judge to

review compliance with all mandatory conditions (Philadelphia Adult Probation and Parole

Department, 2005). In effect, the conditions of probation/parole for Gun Court offenders

represent an intensive supervision program (ISP), which has implications for measuring

recidivism success rates in the post-conviction period (Clear & Hardyman, 1990; Petersilia &

Turner, 1990; Petersilia & Turner, 1993). The intention here is for Gun Court to improve upon

standard probation/parole conditions by more consistently addressing several conditions that

could precipitate involvement in gun violence, including substance abuse and unemployment.

Though not explicitly stated by local officials, the underlying theory and mechanisms

associated with the Philadelphia Gun Court provide important lessons about criminal justice

interventions and anti-gun programs specifically. As more communities push to develop

specialized gun courts of their own, the relative merits and costs of these interventions requires

careful consideration. This study addresses a sizable gap in the empirical literature in several

ways. First, the critical elements of criminological theory affecting the development and

efficacy of gun court models are outlined. This review includes elements of deterrence theory as

well as a discussion of the educative effects of courts and the legal system in general. Second, it

characterizes various approaches in criminal justice interventions related to gun violence,

identifying "what works" with respect to guns. It also elaborates on the development of

specialized courts that focus on a variety of social issues, ranging from substance abuse to

domestic violence, and draws attention to the distinctive features of several gun court models in

existence in the United States and abroad. Third, it introduces qualitative data from judges and









court staff regarding the context and implementation of the Court's introduction in 2005.

Finally, it presents quantitative analysis demonstrating the nature and magnitude of impact that

the Court had on gun violence in the Philadelphia area during its first two years of operation.









CHAPTER 2
CRIMINOLOGICAL THEORY

Though not an explicit test of criminological theory, this study is set against a theoretical

backdrop that involves the principle of deterrence. Deterrence, defined as the use of negative

consequences to discourage criminal behavior, can be operationalized and measured at both the

individual and the aggregate unit of analysis. At the individual level, deterrence represents the

choice to avoid crime altogether or to desist from crime after being caught and punished. In the

aggregate, deterrence may be inferred from decreased rates of crime over time that correspond to

identified changes in legislation, policy, or enforcement.

Like most anti-crime interventions, Philadelphia's Gun Court program operates

theoretically through both general and specific deterrence. To the extent that Gun Court is

positioned as a "get tough" measure aimed at illegal guns and gun violence, it promotes general

deterrence by promising harsher sentences and fewer offenders slipping through the cracks.

Additionally, it supports the principle of specific deterrence by punishing offenders considered to

be most at-risk for involvement in gun-related crime. In addition to the deterrence value, both

general and specific, of the program, there may be ancillary benefits from offender rehabilitation

(related to the "treatment" components) and incapacitation (of both the offenders' illegally

possessed firearms and of offenders themselves). Each of these principles of justice and

punishment is supported by a vast collection of literature dating back more than 200 years.

Classical Punishment and the Criminal Justice System

The most influential theoretical perspectives underpinning the American system of

criminal justice is that of deterrence. Ever since the Nixon era, Americans (and American

politicians) have had a persistent desire to be ever tougher on crime and on criminals, and this

perspective has been especially evident in policies intended to curb violent crime. Legislative









initiatives such as "three strikes" laws are premised on the belief that criminals recognize the

severity of punishment for a range of crimes, and are deterred generally by the belief that they

will be caught, convicted, and sentenced for their transgressions. Also, deterrence posits that

individuals who are punished recognize the consequences of their past criminal activities and

will be dissuaded from repeating their offenses in the future.

The origins of deterrence theory stretch back for hundreds of years to classical conceptions

about philosophy and the nature of law. Some of the foundational writings on deterrence came

from classical philosophers. Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), John Locke (1632-1704), and Jean-

Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) took various perspectives on the nature of mankind and his role

in society, stating respectively that man was bad and fundamentally selfish, man was a blank

slate and the product of his environment, and that man and society existed due to the logic of

reason. Bentham (1789) stated that society itself is an expression of man's free will, while

sociologists like Durkheim (1893) commented on the role of law and punishment in society.

Each perspective has distinctive implications for the role of government, and more specifically,

law and justice, within societies. Depending on which perspective dominated public thinking

and discourse of the time, society either did or did not possess the authority to punish; it did or

did not possess the moral obligation to do so; and that authority did or did not pose a risk for

potential abuses.

The evolution of modern systems of justice is shaped to a large degree by these

fundamental perspectives. However, challenges related to the creation, application, and

enforcement of law appeared along with the realization that models of justice required

uniformity and relative consistency between jurisdictions. The dominant thinking eventually

adapted to support the government's position of centralized custodial authority and responsibility









in maintaining the rule of law in society. Beccaria (1764) outlined principles of deterrence in

one of the most instrumental early writings, On Crimes andPunishments. In it, he stated that

punishment should be proportional to crime, it should be codified in law, and it should have

appropriate certainty, severity, and celerity. Thus was born the most influential perspective on

the principle of deterrence, one that has survived, largely intact and rarely challenged in public

forums.

Evolution of Deterrence

Empirical research exploring the nature and persistence of deterrence and its relationship to

particular types of crime has enjoyed a long history in criminology and sociology. In an early

work, Tittle (1969) describes a strong and consistent negative association between certainty of

punishment and crime rates, while a negative association between severity of punishment and

crime is observed only for homicide. Chiricos & Waldo (1970) similarly use UCR data to

demonstrate that the relationship between rates of crime and certainty and severity of punishment

are variable over time and among offenses. These examples suggest that deterrence is not a

constant, and that considerable variability exists in the relationships between crime types and the

certainty, celerity, and severity of punishment.

A major focus of deterrence research in criminology has been the role of perception, given

that deterrence may be more or less tangible under different circumstances, even though it is

theoretically omnipresent. Using self-reported crime data, Erickson et al. (1977) show a close

inverse relationship between perceived certainty of punishment and rates of self-reported acts.

However, the authors also note that perceived certainty of punishment and the severity of self-

reported acts are highly collinear, making differentiation of effects impossible. This finding is

explicated later by Paternoster et al. (1983), who attack the use of correlational data in deterrence

research, suggesting that it confuses causal ordering and fails to account for spurious factors.









They conclude that correlational associations show experiential effects, or those effects related to

offenders' prior behavior, rather than deterrent effects. They also state that the effect of

perceived sanctions on crime is minimal once informal social factors (moral commitment,

informal sanction) are controlled. Paternoster (1987) follows his original critique of the

empirical investigation of deterrence with a review of knowledge on the role of perceived

certainty and severity of punishment in deterring crime. He shows support for perceptual

deterrence with correlations, but again notes that it is probably manifesting experiential effects

rather than deterrent effects. Further, the author states that fully specified panel designs that

successfully account for time order demonstrate that the effects for certainty and severity

disappear.

Evidence supporting deterrence as a function of the criminal justice system is ample but

somewhat qualified. Smith & Gartin (1989), for example, track arrests for a male cohort through

age 25 to address whether arrest amplifies or deters future criminality, and whether the timing of

the arrest matters for future rate, duration, and desistence for crime. Their analysis finds support

for specific deterrence, but they conclude that the principle works differently for novice (e.g.,

arrest results in desistence) vs. experienced offenders (e.g., arrest results in reduced rates of

future offending). Simpson & Koper (1992) examine deterrence for corporate crime by studying

companies with antitrust violations. Evidence from their examination supports deterrent effects

for civil, criminal, and administrative penalties while controlling for changes in antitrust law as

well as economic conditions for the firm, industry, and economy. However, they conclude that

the effect size for industry characteristics is stronger than formal sanction risk or consequence in

determining future illegality, suggesting that deterrence may not be the most critical principle

influencing the decision to violate the law. Indeed, Burkett & Ward (1993) argue that moral









condemnation conditions deterrent effects that come from perceived risk of legal punishment,

implicating the relationship of the individual to his or her peers, family, community, and society

in shaping the impact of deterrence on criminal decision-making.

In one of the most widely cited works pertaining to deterrence, Nagin (1998) describes

consistent support for deterrent effects from the criminal justice system, but laments gaps in

knowledge and research that make it possible to link deterrence to policy. Specifically, he

argues that (1) research does not account for both short-term and long-term effects of policy; (2)

there is little knowledge about sanction risk perception and policy; (3) data is based largely on

governmental unit, not place and time; and (4) links between intended and actual policy is

limited. Each of these criticisms can be taken at the macro level, describing the state of the field,

or at the micro level, as a guide for shaping future deterrence/policy research. Nagin seems to be

arguing for empirical investigation that highlights process evaluation (e.g., does a policy do what

it is intended to do, is any observable effect persistent over time, and is policy impact measured

for a "true" and accurate unit of analysis rather than for a convenient but arbitrary one).

Despite the attention given to deterrence in the empirical literature, disagreement about the

role of deterrence in specific types of criminal justice interventions remains. Perhaps nowhere is

this disagreement more zealously undertaken than in the gun policy arena, where consensus

about a great many issues is lacking. In the context of public opinion, gun violence is as

prevalent as it has ever been, despite what objective evidence from crime trends shows. This

environment has served as a catalyst for innumerable new anti-gun policies, most grounded

firmly in principles of deterrence, both general and specific. Generally speaking, to the extent

that perceptual deterrence remains high (Chiricos & Waldo, 1970; Erickson et al., 1977) and

moral condemnation conditions deterrence (Burkett & Ward, 1993), community interventions









and criminal justice initiatives may be successful, but those effects will likely vary as a function

of offenders' experience (Paternoster, 1987; Smith & Gartin, 1989), and it still may not be the

most important factor predicting criminal deviance (Simpson & Koper, 1992). For anti-gun

interventions specifically, the deterrent value of a given program depends on public perception,

both related to the severity of the gun problem (when this wanes, it becomes "someone else's

problem" and deterrence may decrease) and the certainty, severity, and celerity of punishment.

Educative Functions of the Courts

Though the deterrence doctrine is the most direct route through which the legal apparatus

exerts its control on human behavior, there are alternative explanations for the establishment and

maintenance of order. These alternatives, it seems, are less likely to be touted by policymakers

who are eager to embrace a retributive perspective on crime, especially violent crime. Their

potential benefits, however, are important in considering the potential value of a specialized

court designed to address guns on the streets.

The simplest possibility is that the courts and the legal system generally fulfill a role as

educators in a direct sense (e.g., through court-ordered training or other means intended

primarily to make offenders aware of the law and the consequences of breaking it). When

considering a specialized court designed around a social problem such as domestic violence or

illegal guns, that instruction necessarily includes clarification on the letter of the law as well as

its underlying logic. For example, an otherwise law-abiding first time offender arrested for

illegal gun possession and processed through a gun court may have in fact legally possessed his

firearm while inside his home or vehicle, but when he carried it in public in a concealed fashion,

he violated the law. In this case, the court may fulfill an educative role by mandating court-

ordered firearms safety training and sentencing the offender to time served. If the court's

educative function is fully realized, the offender should (1) gain a complete understanding of the









nuances of the law; (2) be made aware of the potential risks involved in illegally carrying a

firearm in public, specifically related to violence escalation and the dangers of gun-carrying; and

(3) be prevented from reoffending in the future. The process by which future compliance is

ensured is not deterrence per se, because the offender is not engaging in a process of rational

calculus about the potential benefits and penalties for illegal firearm possession; in fact, it is

possible that deterrence in the classical sense has not been achieved at all because the individual

is not fearful of being punished, though the objective of the court has been reached because the

individual is unlikely to reoffend.

Not all courts seek to incorporate a direct instructional component into the sentencing

process, perhaps because it would be perceived as lending credence to some defendants' claims

that they are only guilty insofar as they were ignorant of the law. On a more basic level, the

legal system can influence attitudes and behaviors with an implied moralistic component.

Tappan (1960) wrote of the "educative-moralizing function" of the law, which he suggested

transcended the effects of rational or direct instruction and extended to influence attitudes. This

concept is also summarized by Andenaes (1971), who ties the educative functions of the legal

system to the inherent limitations of general deterrence, namely that it appears to work well

sometimes and not well at other times, because of individual-level, group-level, and even societal

variation in how people react to the threat of punishment. The author posits that "general

deterrence" is conceptually limited, and contends that "general prevention" that incorporates a

moralistic component is of greater value because it functions even in the absence of perceived

punishment.

Andenaes (1971) suggests that the educative function of the law includes several direct and

indirect effects. In a direct fashion, these effects include (a) respect for the law; (b) seeing









criminal law as a moral "eye opener;" (c) understanding that punishment is an authoritative

statement of badness; and (d) acknowledging that imprisonment carries a moral stigma. Each of

these effects speaks to the larger interrelationship between the individual and the legal system,

and collectively they represent a process of negotiation that influences our attitudes about the

relative "legitimate authority" (p. 25) of the legal apparatus. Further, Andanaes describes

indirect educative effects of the law, including (1) punishment as neutralizing the bad example;

and (2) criminal law shapes the framework for moral education. These aspects specifically

address observed and vicarious experiences with law violation as well as the extra-legal context

in which individuals learn the fundamental distinctions between right and wrong. In sum, the

legal system educates by changing associations of right and wrong to be consistent with societal

consensus and by conveying opinions of legitimacy and authority for the rule of law.

An alternative view posits that controlling structures, such as the government or the legal

system, achieve and maintain power through procedural fairness, which results in legitimacy

(Tyler, 2006). In this sense, the relationship between the individual (offender) and society (the

legal system) has little to do with instrumental deterrence or education per se, but rather is a

representation of respect and deference for the larger rule of law. This respect translates into an

investment in the legal system and behavioral compliance for most offenders. To the extent that

the public maintains a largely consistent view of the court as a fair and legitimate authority, its

power will persist and crime will be largely prevented. Relatedly, Sherman (1993) explains that

this procedural justice and legitimacy phenomenon is central to acknowledging shame in the

process of punishment. Individuals who perceive that they are not treated fairly in the legal

system are likely to be defiant and are unlikely to be deterred from future crime.









Yet another possibility is that the legal system reinforces and validates widely held

normative expectations of right and wrong. The function of the legal system as a process of

"normative validation" has its roots in the work of Durkheim (1960), who wrote extensively

about the nature of the "collective conscience" and the various implications of its violation. To

Durkheim, justice evolved within societies because it was the will of the people that their

consensus expectations with regard to moral conduct be observed and upheld. Following this

line of reasoning, the court system acts as a validation for collective conscience as codified in the

law.

Erickson et al. (1984) provide a basic test of the normative validation hypothesis with

juveniles' self-reported assessments of the seriousness of legal sanctions after being processed

through a "hands off' juvenile court. Their analysis revealed that adolescents who had been

caught and processed in such a court had lower perceived severity of sanctions than those who

were never caught or punished. The authors concluded that this finding supported the notion of

normative erosion, which occurs when delinquent or criminal behavior is observed (firsthand, in

this case) but not punished. Thus, the court experience teaches and conditions delinquent youth

in a particular way: when the court adopts a more lenient position, the defendants may come to

recognize that they can successfully violate the law without fear of reproach. The authors also

speculate that the normative erosion may spread beyond the individuals processed through the

court, creating a "general" normative erosion effect for friends and acquaintances. It is important

to note that the normative erosion hypothesis is not a direct analogue to specific deterrence.

Though the machinery may be similar in that both processes involve learning and reinforcement,

the key distinction lies with the differences between norms and laws. Deterrence is based on a

straightforward principle of cause (violation) and effect (punishment), while norms are more









abstract and based on a larger conception of free will and societal expectations. To the extent

that the courts have some influence over normative erosion, they may be implicated in an

ongoing process of normative development, erosion, and reformation.

A final possibility is that the legal system serves educative functions not by conveying

simple knowledge of the law or shaping attitudes consistent with society's views of right and

wrong, but by making offenders realize that they are hurting the community to which they

belong. The major mechanism for this process is a circular process of shaming and reintegration.

Garfinkel (1956) described trials and other aspects of the criminal justice system as "status

degradation ceremonies," intended to shame offenders and subject them to the humiliation of

public disgrace in addition to their more material punishments. Schur (1971) applied labeling

theory to the criminal justice system to characterize how offenders "negotiate" a deviant label in

the trial process, resulting in role engulfment with the newly applied deviant master status. Each

of these perspectives suggests a more cynical educative role, one in which the "education"

involves the message that offenders are unwanted and unequal to the moral majority.

Reintegration offers a more hopeful outlook on the shaming process. Work by Braithwaite

(1989) describes reintegration as a process of making the offender, the victim, and the

community whole again through the trial and punishment phases. In contrast to a disintegrative

process that involves persistent stigmatization, resulting in denial of routes to pro-social

adaptation and increases recidivism likelihood, reintegration establishes wrongfulness, attempts

to restore the offender to pre-crime status, and theoretically reduces recidivism likelihood.

Disintegrative shaming, therefore, is similar in some ways to other theoretical frameworks

involving procedural justice in that it emphasizes retribution rather than fairness and equality. In

the context of the educative role of the courts, the message to offenders is markedly different:









instead of conveying that offenders are unworthy and unwanted, it holds promise that people can

recapture their better nature and return to a point of respect and productivity in their community.

At least one empirical test suggests that, compared to disintegrative shaming processes, the

reintegration approach results in a stronger positive effect on future compliance (Makkai &

Braithwaite, 1994).









CHAPTER 3
LITERATURE REVIEW

The variety and breadth of gun violence interventions in the United States is staggering.

Programs ranging from the massive, federally-funded Project Safe Neighborhoods to virtually

unfunded community mobilization efforts all take aim at reducing gun violence through supply-

side restrictions, demand-side interventions, or some combination of the two. These

interventions take diverse forms, including legislative (adopting new laws, such as shall-issue

carry permit legislation), policing (such as targeting guns through directed enforcement and

eliminating illegal gun markets), and judicial (revising sentencing guidelines to "get tough" on

convicted gun offenders).

A thorough review of extant literature on all types of gun violence reveals a lack of

consensus on the presence, nature, and magnitude of observable change in gun violence as a

result of various types of interventions. One reason for this lack of consensus is that empirical

support, where it exists, is decidedly mixed. When evidence on gun-violence initiatives is

subjected to careful tests of scientific rigor, the available information is extremely limited: some

programs are believed to be promising, while other programs are believed to have no effect

whatsoever (Sherman, 2001a). Results from directed police patrol targeting illegal guns, for

example, fall into the former category (Sherman & Rogan, 1995; McGarrell et al., 2001; Ludwig,

2005), while gun buyback programs in American cities occupy the latter (Rosenfeld, 1995;

Callahan et. al, 1995), though buybacks may function as hypothesized outside of the United

States (Ozanne-Smith et al., 2004). The relative dearth of systematic, multi-faceted empirical

investigation into program efficacy complicates policy decisions, especially in light of shrinking

public funds for interventions that are increasingly devoted to anti-terrorism and public safety

readiness.









What Works and What Doesn't Work in Gun Interventions

In a commentary and update of earlier reviews of "what works" in gun violence reduction

research (Sherman, 200 b), Piquero (2006) states that gun policy research shows many

interventions have no effect on violence levels. Exceptions include directed police enforcement,

interventions that increase certainty of punishment, and the disruption of certain supply-side

factors (e.g., gun markets). Also, he argues that interventions that enjoy community support and

cooperation are more likely to be successfully implemented and to have the desired effect on

crime levels. In terms of applying principles of deterrence, these statements make perfect sense:

directed police patrols and other measures that increase certainty raise general and specific

deterrence, while community interventions address moral condemnation indirectly through

informal means of social control.

Targeted policing patrols focused on searches and seizures of illegal guns have potential,

based on studies in at least two locations. In Kansas City, Sherman & Rogan (1995) reported

narrowly focused patrols intended to detect and confiscate illegally carried guns resulted in a

65% increase in firearms seizures and a 49% reduction in gun crimes, with no evidence for crime

displacement into neighboring areas. A replication in Indianapolis found support for targeted

patrol as well, and concluded that a general deterrence strategy employing more frequent traffic

stops in the same area showed no effect (McGarrell et al., 2001). Essentially, disrupting the

supply-side of the illegal gun equation appears to result in a direct effect on gun crime, at least in

the short-term.

Not all supply-side interventions have found support in subsequent evaluations. In a

review of epidemiological and experimental research on reducing gun violence, Sherman (2001)

concludes that at least one type of intervention, the gun buyback program, does not work to

reduce gun violence levels. He comments that buyback programs are extremely expensive and









generally not focused on areas prone to especially high gun violence before the intervention,

suggesting that the intent of the program, while honorable, is either misguided or perhaps poorly

executed. Even in communities afflicted by higher-than-normal gun violence rates, there is little

evidence to support an effect from gun buybacks. Rosenfeld (1995) examined two gun buyback

programs in St. Louis in 1991 and 1994, together netting nearly 9,000 guns removed from

circulation. He concludes that rates of gun homicide and assault were not affected by the

buyback intervention relative to pre-buyback rates. An evaluation of a similar gun buyback

program in Seattle shows a slight increase in gun crime rates over pre-intervention levels

(Callahan et al., 1995).

Like the fundamental premise of the criminal justice system itself, most anti-gun

interventions judged to be successful in affecting violent crime rates rely on one or more aspects

of deterrence. The Boston Gun Project's Operation Ceasefire dealt with gun violence as part of a

problem-oriented policing (POP) strategy. The POP approach involves identifying a problem

requiring police attention and addressing it in a variety of ways, including innovative

approaches, in order to measure, quantify, analyze, and adjust policing efforts (Goldstein, 1979).

Specifically, the Operation Ceasefire intervention incorporated a new focus on youth violence

with guns, and included a variety of enforcement tactics related to gun trafficking. By

identifying sources of intrastate and interstate gun suppliers and restoring serial numbers for

altered and later confiscated firearms, police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms

were able to paint a more complete picture of the supply-side logistics of moving and selling

illegal guns. Also, they targeted local gangs in Boston known to engage in the highest levels of

gun violence, sending the message through formal meetings as well as informal contacts that gun

violence would not be tolerated. When violence did occur, Ceasefire units worked quickly to









crack down on it. They were not, however, concerned with disrupting other aspects of the

gang's criminal enterprise. Thus, in addition to acquiring a greater degree of criminal

intelligence about the sources and destinations for illegal guns moving in and out of Boston,

Ceasefire officials were relying on a message of heightened deterrence, tied specifically to gun

violence (Kennedy et al., 1996). Evaluations of Operation Ceasefire have demonstrated some

support in the literature. At least two studies, co-authored by the program's directors, show

reductions in levels of violent crime compared to other similarly-sized American cities (Braga et

al., 2001; Piehl et al., 2000).

Elsewhere, other anti-gun programs relied even more heavily in a systematic and

concentrated message of deterrence. Richmond's Project Exile combined enhanced sentencing

for gun offenders with a targeted (yet massive) public advertising campaign intended to drive

home the message that gun crime results in severe criminal justice repercussions. Although

Project Exile's theoretical value is tied to the general and specific deterrent effects from the

combined tougher sentences and mass-marketing, an evaluation of the program's effects found

little support for these assumptions. Raphael & Ludwig (2003) examine the effects of Exile on

homicide rates in Richmond after the intervention, and conclude that although homicide rates did

fall in the intervention period, it was more likely the result of a return to baseline crime levels

after a decade of higher-than-average rates.

Some studies have attempted to compare effects across several different anti-gun

interventions. A comprehensive review of the impact of Operation Ceasefire, Compstat, and

Project Exile on homicides concluded with only limited support for Ceasefire and Exile, though

that support was tempered by relatively few overall incidents, suggesting that the results require

replication to fully establish intervention effect magnitude (Rosenfeld et al., 2005). In sum,









although there appears to be an effect on violence coincident with two of three different gun-

related interventions, the effects the interventions exert may be too small to measure or too small

to impact violence rates in a systematic fashion.

Specialized Courts

Specialized courts tailored to particular judicial or social challenges are by no means a

modern contrivance. Goldkamp (2000) notes that more than a hundred years of opinion

underlies the specialized court practice, but solid evaluations of these programs have only been

around perhaps twenty years1. Berman & Feinblatt (2001) observe that the beginnings of the

specialized court movement coincided with several notable issues in justice administration

generally, including the inability of other governmental efforts to curb rising social problems, the

nation's upward-trending incarceration rate, and renewed attention toward public accountability

for justice agencies. Further, Fagan & Malkin (2003) comment that the specialized court

movement can be theorized as an outgrowth of the movement toward greater community justice,

which emphasizes greater external scrutiny, vested partnerships between the community and the

court, and a shared interest in the application of restorative justice. The combination of these

factors not only impacts outcomes in terms of recidivism or treatment efficacy, but also

strengthens the mechanisms of justice by building the strength and legitimacy of the court with

an interactive, grassroots approach.

However, not all experts concur about the benefits of the specialized court model. Some

scholars, for example, point to an overly hasty jump to specialize every social ill, possibly at the

expense of reasonable doubts as to program effectiveness (McCoy, 2003). Some suggest that



1 For the purposes of this review, ordinary juvenile courts are excluded from scrutiny, as they possess a lengthy
history and an entirely separate apparatus within the criminal justice system. For early commentary on juvenile
court, see Mack (1909).









specialized courts, in their collective attempt to aggressively combat unique social problems

while simultaneously decrease system costs, may be stuck in a conflict of interest (Mirchandani,

2005). Still others report that the actors in specialized courts are concerned about compromising

their role as legal advocates for their clients, and that "classical" justice is being replaced by

speedy and efficient case dispositions (Davis, 2003; Lane, 2003). While the relative cost vs.

benefit of any given specialized court program is a murky and complex question to address, a

central concern for all such programs is whether these elements combine to produce a net benefit

for the communities in which they are implemented. The development of a growing body of

literature on specialized court programs owes to the recent trend in popularity for a variety of

specialized courts, beginning in the early 1990s. Since then, a variety of specialized courts have

been described and evaluated in increasingly rigorous ways, including adult drug courts, juvenile

drug courts, mental health courts, and domestic violence courts, with most evaluations

concluding that the specialized court has one or more pro-social effects in terms of individual

recidivism or aggregate crime reduction. A review of several different types of problem-solving

court interventions by Berman & Gulick (2003) indicates considerable promise for the concept,

as demonstrated by several preliminary evaluations that show generally positive but not dramatic

results. The authors conclude that these preliminary results have largely driven the proliferation

of these courts in the past two decades.

A fundamental question in any evaluation of a specialized court program is exactly what

definition of"specialized court" is to be used. Berman & Feinblatt (2001) describe five basic

elements common to specialized court programs, regardless of the specific problem that is being

addressed. First, all courts are concerned with case outcomes. Outcomes may be

operationalized in a variety of ways, including recidivism rates, completion of treatment, or









community-level reductions in crime. Second, all specialized courts feature some level of

system change. This involves changing the basic approach to the social problem, usually from a

primarily retributive viewpoint to one that incorporates overlapping goals of treatment and

rehabilitation. Third, specialized courts feature enhanced judicial monitoring. The assumption

here is that a single judge can better supervise all cases in all phases of the judicial/correctional

process under the specialized court compared to a system where many judges share oversight or

where judges turn over administrative responsibility to another agency, such as a probation

department. Fourth, specialized courts are collaborative in a way rarely achieved in standard

practice. In addition to judges and attorneys that are better informed on key issues, this

collaboration incorporates community outreach to better assist with issues such as intelligence

gathering, treatment program development, and post-release reentry planning. Finally,

specialized courts (and the actors within) frequently take on non-traditional roles in pursuit of

their objectives. These roles vary according to the objectives of the court, the jurisdiction, and

host of other factors, but may involve suspending the adversarial process or using the judge as a

mediator to negotiate a course of treatment. In total, these features result in a markedly different

type of justice that attempts to work "outside the box" to address complex and pervasive

problems.

The beginning of the movement toward specialized courts is generally recognized as the

development of Miami's drug court in the early 1989. The central concept of drug courts

involves a movement away from more punitive traditional courts to a model that emphasizes

treatment, rehabilitation, and reinvestment in the will of the individual to reform. This

orientation is remarkable considering general trends in criminal justice and the courts from the

mid-to-late 1970s, when the pendulum began to swing away from rehabilitation and toward









retribution. Further, that drugs specifically were regarded as a "treatment" issue is surprising,

since major urban centers like Miami were in the midst of dealing with the crack cocaine

epidemic, widely associated with guns and gangland homicide. Nevertheless, the Miami model

has since been adopted and adapted by hundreds of other jurisdictions nationwide. An

evaluation of drug courts in Portland, OR and Las Vegas has demonstrated potential in terms of

crime reduction effects, with appearance before the judge, treatment participation, and sanctions

significantly affecting offender behavior (Goldkamp et al., 2001).

Several peer-reviewed studies have examined the effects of drug courts on recidivism.

Perhaps one of the best examples of the efficacy of drug courts is described by Gottfredson et al.

(2003), who employ an experimental design in which drug-addicted offenders in Baltimore were

randomly assigned to drug treatment court or processed as usual. In a two-year follow-up

period, drug court offenders who received treatment showed significantly lower recidivism than

either drug court offenders who did not receive treatment or control subjects. The authors

conclude that drug court is effective at reducing crime when treatment fidelity is maintained.

However, they also find that drug court offenders are incarcerated for approximately the same

amount of time as non-drug court offenders, thus the implementation of the courts should not be

expected to significantly reduce system costs in the short-term. These substantive conclusions

are supported by other research. In a quasi-experimental study evaluating a juvenile drug court

in Arizona, Rodriguez & Webb (2004) report that juveniles showed no difference in rates of

marijuana use but drug court participants had significantly lower cocaine use in a three-year

follow-up. Moreover, the authors state that family stability, academic performance, and certain

legal factors were significantly associated with successful program completion. Similarly, Peters

& Murrin (2000) report that drug court graduates from two Florida counties were significantly









less likely to recidivate in a 30-month follow-up period compared to drug court non-graduates

and a matched (non-drug court) comparison group. Finally, a review of 37 non-peer reviewed

drug court reports by Belenko (2001) indicates that most programs show consistently positive

effects. The author notes that four of the six reviewed reports that included a measure of post-

program recidivism indicate lower rates for drug court participants compared to non-participants,

and that per-offender costs are lower for drug courts compared to standard courts, primarily due

to the costs associated with incarceration.

Other specialized courts have followed the general model established by the Miami drug

court, in particular with emphasis on holistic and therapeutic jurisprudence. Winick (2003)

states that this emphasis has ramifications for the psychological well-being of participants, and is

both a result of and a driving force behind interdisciplinary research on behavioral science. In

response to a preponderance of substance abuse cases featuring mental health problems for the

defendant, specialized mental health courts have become an important outgrowth of the drug

court phenomenon. Most experts attribute Broward County, Florida's Mental Health Court as

the first of its kind in the nation, with a dozen other jurisdictions following suit and federal

authorization for more than 125 additional mental health court programs (Nolan, 2003). The

premise of the mental health court is similar in many ways to the drug court model in terms of

emphasizing treatment efficacy and better case management. In contrast to the processing of

drug offenders, Lurigio et al. (2001) notes that there is a general absence of dialogue between the

mental health and criminal justice systems that serves to impede the treatment of offenders with

mental illness. This issue may frustrate and complicate justice administration for offenders and

practitioners alike, who often have very different perceptions of situational details, offenders'

states of mind, and a host of other factors conditioned by the understanding of mental conditions.









As a result, the allocation of resources to this population of offenders may be inadequate and

thus their treatment or rehabilitative needs may go unmet. Preliminary evaluations of the

Broward court indicate that the court is largely successful at incorporating treatment in the

jurisprudence process, and that treatment is targeted to individualistic needs compared to a

matched control group from another jurisdiction (Boothroyd et al., 2003; Petrila, 2002).

Another outgrowth of the specialized court movement is the establishment of specialized

domestic violence courts. Beginning with Brooklyn, New York's domestic violence court in

1996, more than 300 jurisdictions have implemented these courts to improve case monitoring,

ensure treatment compliance, and attempt restorative justice for families, which often involve

"creative" sentencing options that go well beyond protective orders and incarceration (Karan et

al., 1999; Nolan, 2003). Like other specialized courts, there are no standards for the functioning

of domestic violence courts and thus the precise implementation varies across jurisdictions

(Weber, 2000). Despite different approaches, Clark et al. (1996) find that domestic violence

court provides greater sentencing consistency and enhanced support for both victims and

witnesses compared with that of other, non-specialized courts. Additionally, Walsh (2001) notes

that victims may be more likely to report domestic violence as a result of the rehabilitative

mindset embraced by most specialized courts. However, Uekert (2003) suggests that

coordinated responses such as specialized domestic violence courts are difficult to implement

because of local politics and agency non-cooperation, resulting in inconsistencies in

implementation and effectiveness across jurisdictions.

Evaluations of domestic violence courts show a generally positive effect across several

domains. In their evaluation of the Lexington County, SC domestic violence court, Gover et al.

(2003) report that arrests for domestic violence increased overall, and that individual offender









recidivism rates were significantly lower after the implementation of the court. The authors

conclude that the specialized court was successful at increasing enforcement and improving

victim safety in the jurisdiction. These findings are consistent with a similar evaluation from a

domestic violence court in Miami, which reported lower rates of case dismissal, greater offender

compliance with substance abuse treatment programs, and a lower rate of recidivism (6%)

compared to a control group of offenders (14%) (Karan et al., 1999). As a result of these

encouraging findings, Eley (2005) notes that domestic violence courts have been readily adopted

in the United Kindgom, Australia, and Canada, where she argues that collaboration is the most

crucial of the court's features in terms of streamlining the process of negotiation between key

stakeholders, including prosecutors, defense attorneys, and victims.

Gun Court

Gun court programs occupy a place in the anti-violence intervention pantheon somewhere

between judicial gun control measures (e.g., sentencing guidelines) and specialized problem-

solving courts. Clearly, the development of the gun court model for faster processing of

offenders coupled with more rigorous court-imposed conditions for those awaiting trial or

sentencing and those released on probation or parole follows trends in specialized courts for

different types of criminal justice system issues. The application of similar principles of

treatment and deterrence, demonstrated as successful in drug and domestic violence courts, is

postulated to function in a similar fashion for gun offenders.

Despite substantial interest from jurisdictions with persistent gun violence issues,

systematic and peer-reviewed evaluations of modern gun court programs are absent from the

criminological literature. Only a few peer-reviewed journal articles address "gun court"

phenomena directly (Calathes, 1990a; Calathes, 1990b). However, gun court in these studies has

a very different operational definition and parameters. Even then, these analyses rely on









anecdotal accounts from another country (Jamaica, in this case) rather than experimental design

and quantitative analysis to reach conclusions about gun court's relationship to crime patterns.

As Wellford et al. (2005: p. 221) note, "Little research has been conducted on the operations and

crime prevention effectiveness of gun courts." This deficit in evaluation research suggests that

gun courts are being adopted without significant scholarly thought devoted to which problems

need to be addressed, much less the best way in which to address them.

Given the paucity of peer-reviewed work on gun courts in addition to the level of

specialization and variability between programs, a systematic review or meta-analysis of the gun

court model is impossible. However, to date, several gun court programs have been identified as

potentially successful anti-gun interventions, especially where juvenile offenders are concerned.

These gun courts (and related programs) have been established in diverse locations including

Birmingham, AL; Boston; Detroit; Indianapolis; Minneapolis; New York; Providence, RI;

Seattle; and St. Louis, MO. Each intervention differs in its programming, emphasis, and the

degree to which it has been evaluated with respect to its long-term effects. Philadelphia's Gun

Court represents a hybrid of several of these early examples, borrowing elements of deterrence,

sentence enhancement, education, and rehabilitation from other implementations.

Providence, RI Gun Court 1994

Generally credited as the first modern gun court program in the nation in September 1994,

Providence is a model for other adult gun courts. As originally conceived, the Providence Court

established a separate docket for trials that involved a gun charge, and made referral to the Gun

Court an administrative routine rather than requiring a judicial hearing. These features of the

program benefit the system by streamlining processing and saving resources.

The Providence program set interesting precedents with endorsements from both the

National Rifle Association and various gun-control groups, resulting in bipartisan support among









Rhode Island's elected representatives and a near-unanimous approval of the court's enabling

legislation. Rhode Island officials presented the program to the public as a reaffirmation of the

statement, "If you use a gun, you go to jail." According to a summary report on the Providence

Gun Court, the NRA funded supplemental bulletin boards stating "Gun Court is now in session."

This strongly deterrence-oriented mechanism has been consistently appealing to other

jurisdictions developing programs based on the Providence model, particularly for jurisdictions

that emphasize adult offenders rather than juveniles.

An internal evaluation of the Providence Court from 1994 to 1998 found that the celerity

and certainty of punishment for gun charges was increased by virtue of shortened time to

disposition and a higher number of charges ending in sentences (Sheppard, 1999: 144). These

findings support the implicit message of deterrence, but their utility is uncertain. Unfortunately,

no objective evaluation of the impact of the court on gun crimes or arrests in Providence has ever

been conducted, suggesting that the outcomes associated with the program are largely

speculative.

Jefferson County (Birmingham), AL Juvenile Gun Court 1995

Jefferson County, AL, whose county seat is Birmingham, was among the first jurisdictions

in the nation to develop a specialized gun court specifically targeted at juvenile offenders.

Although Jefferson County followed Providence in implementing its gun court, their approach

was arguably more comprehensive and thus more likely to achieve the desired result.

Specifically, the Jefferson County Court added a 28-day boot camp, a parental education

component, ongoing assistance for substance abuse, a community service component, and an

intensive follow-up supervision program. This "mixed" model attempted to simultaneously

address many aspects common to the target population, including family trouble, exposure to

drugs and alcohol, and an overall lack of appropriate supervision.









Some theoretical and practical elements of the Jefferson County model were borrowed

from other courts, including the targeting of first-time offenders without other, more serious

charges pending. However, the Jefferson County model differed in important ways from the

"standard" Providence Gun Court example, notably in the ways in which it attempted to address

rehabilitation and education over punitive punishment and deterrence. For example, the

Jefferson County Court was premised on early intervention and referral. The fundamental idea

was that adolescents who were at-risk for future violence could be screened out and processed in

order to maximize their exposure to program elements. By contrast, the Providence Court was

developed to facilitate the application of enhanced penalties for illegal gun carrying. Also, the

Jefferson County Court was oriented toward education about the causes and consequences of

illegal gun carrying. Therefore, the Court adopted a role that extended beyond adjudication for

at-risk juveniles. Finally, Jefferson County actively included community members as role

players in the delivery of its anti-gun message and relied on a number of different agencies to

provide support for its objectives. In comparison, the Providence Gun Court was not explicitly

concerned with either the educational role or the active participation of the community, beyond a

basic and general support for reducing overall levels of gun violence.

The more comprehensive approach to gun court has potential for ancillary benefits as well.

Perhaps because of the initiative on the part of the Jefferson County Court to involve multiple

public agencies and community organizations, this model may result in potentially important

changes in police practice:

"Before the gun court was implemented, police officers usually did not arrest youth for gun
possession; they released the youth to a parent without filing any charges. Now that the
court is in place, however, police arrest youth for all gun-related offenses. First-time,
nonviolent gun offenders age 17 and younger are eligible to participate in the program."
(Sheppard & Kelly, 2002: p. 8)









Although increasing police surveillance is not the primary interest in the gun court model,

in some cases providing an outlet for judicial and/or correctional intervention could be associated

with a natural shift in police roles after the introduction of the court.

The Alabama Center for Law and Civic Education and the Criminal Justice Science

Department at the University of Alabama-Birmingham conducted an evaluation of the Jefferson

County Court's outcomes during its first four years of operation. Sheppard and Kelly (2002)

reported in an OJJDP research brief that individuals processed through the Court and sentenced

to the intensive supervision group spent less time on probation overall, showed significantly

greater participation in educational programs, and displayed significantly lower rates of

recidivism than non-intensive supervision or control groups. A separate, unpublished evaluation

found consistent results when comparing recidivism of the intensive group to that of the non-

intensive group (Sloan et al., 2000). Taken together, these findings strongly suggest that the gun

court model generally benefits from intensive supervision for parolees compared to other

models. However, despite this generalization, the relative impact of intensive supervision

associated with gun court for adult offenders is unclear.

Detroit, MI Handgun Intervention Program 1993

Although not explicitly a "gun court," Detroit's Handgun Intervention Program (HIP) is a

court-related anti-gun intervention that has shaped the development of other gun courts,

including the program presently operating in Philadelphia. The premise for the HIP is to subject

offenders to court-ordered gun education that emphasizes the consequences of gun carrying and

presents alternatives to violence. The program is designed for young male offenders, especially

African Americans, who are charged with gun-carrying offenses and have no other pending

charges that are more serious. The core elements of the program have also been adapted as a









curriculum feature for Detroit-area middle and high school students. OJJDP reports that more

than 5,000 individuals participated from 1993 to 1999 (Sheppard, 1999: 154).

Detroit's Handgun Intervention Program was the subject of an evaluation funded by the

National Institute of Justice. Though the evaluation was only preliminary in nature, it did find

some evidence of positive change. In particular, participants showed improvements in 19 of 21

attitudinal measures related to situational decision-making, ethics, status perceptions, and related

measures. However, the author notes that although participants generally held the program in

high regard and demonstrated improvement on attitudinal measures, the majority remained

skeptical about the program overall and reported no anticipated change in behavior due to the

persistent necessity to defend oneself on the street (Roth, 1998). Thus, the linkage between

attitudinal improvement and behavior modification is tenuous at best. To date, no evaluation has

assessed the impact of the HIP on rates of gun crimes or arrests in Detroit.

Hennepin County (Minneapolis), MN Juvenile Gun Program 1995

Similar in many respects to the programs in Jefferson County and Detroit, the Hennepin

County (Minneapolis) Juvenile Gun Program focuses on rehabilitation and education for juvenile

offenders considered to be at high risk for future violence. Like the Jefferson County program,

Hennepin County integrates a multi-faceted approach to treatment and rehabilitation, with

"aggressive" monitoring and referrals for substance abuse. Hennepin County also involves

public agencies and community organizations in their education efforts and incorporates

mandatory community service. Further, like the Detroit program, Hennepin County directly

addresses interpersonal skills, respect, ethics, and civic responsibility in counseling participants

on alternatives to gun violence. Unlike either of these two programs, adolescents participating in

the Juvenile Gun Program receive out-of-home placements and referral to a work program in an

attempt to comprehensively address factors that may influence future violent crime.









As a matter of scale, the Hennepin County program lags behind most of the other gun court

offerings, serving only about 300 individuals in its first three years of operation. However,

preliminary comparisons between groups of adolescents who complete the program and those

who enroll but do not complete it indicate some potential. The completee" group differed only

slightly from the "non-completer" group for the number of charges filed in a 7-month initial

follow-up, but the majority of completers who were charged received misdemeanors or status

offenses rather than felonies (88 percent vs. 12 percent) compared to the opposite trend for non-

completers (35 percent misdemeanors or status offenses, 65 percent felonies) (Sheppard, 1999:

163).

Indianapolis, IN Project LIFE 1991

Indianapolis' Project LIFE (Lasting Intense Firearms Education) is a mandatory gun

education program directed at adolescents who are on probation for committing a weapon-related

crime. The program is designed to combat apathetic attitudes toward commonplace or normative

gun possession on the street. Participants are subjected to graphic media showing details of gun

homicides in an effort to instill respect for the impact of illegal gun use. Interestingly, Project

LIFE also attempts some degree of reintegrative shaming, by encouraging adolescents to speak

openly about their crimes, accept responsibility for them, and talk about alternative strategies

that could prevent violence. As with other court-related anti-gun interventions, Project LIFE

aspires to involve parents and community role models in discussions about the relative danger

and costs of guns. Although more than 500 adolescents completed Project LIFE from 1991 to

1998, with nearly 80% of participants reporting that the program helped them to set better goals

and refrain from illegal gun use, the program has never been formally evaluated with respect to

either individual or community-level impact (Sheppard, 1999: 165).









Seattle, WA Juvenile Firearms Prosecution 1996

Seattle's Juvenile Firearms Prosecution program incorporates several components of other

"traditional" gun court models. The central premise is that juveniles arrested for a weapons-

related charge are processed in a centralized fashion that improves key aspects of the

adjudication process, including (1) the speed with which charge filing, any required hearings,

and trial occurs; (2) the expertise on the part of the prosecutor in handling these types of cases,

including rules of evidence for gun possession; (3) the cooperation between agencies, including

the prosecutor's office and the local police. A "vertical prosecution process," in which a single

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney was responsible for managing every aspect of all juvenile gun

cases, also offered the benefit of acquainting a single individual with the most chronic and/or

serious offenders in Seattle's jurisdiction. Thus, while the Seattle court structure itself was

unchanged, special emphasis and reorganization within the prosecutor's office resulted in many

innovations that mimicked the case management features of other gun courts.

The Juvenile Firearms Prosecution program was not subjected to formal evaluation during

or after its two years of existence. However, summary statistics show that the program achieved

some success: the average number of days to file firearms cases dropped from 53 to 17, and the

conviction rate increased from 65.4 percent to 78.4 percent as a result of the program. The

King's County Prosecutor's Office claims that the initiative resulted in improved communication

and efficiency for all involved agencies with minimal expenditure (Scales & Baker, 2000).

Brooklyn, NY Gun Court 2003

Brooklyn's program most closely resembles the Providence model in that it is concerned

with adult offenders primarily and lacks a rehabilitative or educational component. According to

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the Gun Court is centered on core principles of

deterrence: "People who carry illegal guns are a menace to the public, and it is important that we









send these criminals a clear message that they will be met with swift and certain justice," a

message echoed by Queens County District Attorney Richard A. Brown: "When criminals are

afraid to carry guns, the level of violence drops significantly" (New York City Office of the

Mayor, 2003). In January 2004, the Brooklyn Court expanded into neighboring boroughs of the

Bronx and Queens, extending coverage from 5 to 35 precincts. In many ways, New York's Gun

Court orientation follows closely from the "zero tolerance" policy shift in the late 1980s and

early 1990s dealing with drugs, guns, and violence, which has persistently but perhaps

erroneously been credited with a downward trend in homicide (Fagan et al., 1998).

A pilot evaluation of Brooklyn's Gun Court provides interesting and mixed results. First,

the author notes that arrested and arrest characteristics in the pre-Court and post-Court periods

were very similar, as were the distributions of arraignment charges in both periods. Second, the

author states that, contrary to expectations, the post-Court period showed a larger percentage of

case dismissals, a phenomenon attributed to strict evidentiary rules in weapons cases. Finally,

true to the stated objectives of the Court, the evaluation finds substantial increases in sentence

length and in the number of sentences involving imprisonment (Solomon, 2005). Although this

pilot evaluation provides useful preliminary insights into the characteristics of the Brooklyn Gun

Court, it lacks sophistication, including subjecting any of the relevant hypotheses to significance

testing, much less multivariate modeling. Further, although it attempts to address process issues

by comparing Court defendants to pre-Court defendants, it fails to address any aspect of the

relative drop in gun-related crime as a function of the program itself.

Boston, MA Firearm Prosecution Disposition Sessions 2006

Boston, the most recent major city to implement a gun court program, followed examples

from sites such as Providence and Philadelphia in developing their intervention. The Court was

conceived to increase processing efficiency for cases involving gun charges in Boston.









According to numbers provided by the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, Boston's Gun

Court was responsible for clearing a three-year backlog in cases pending trial and reduced

average time-to-trial to approximately six months (Suffolk County District Attorney's Office,

2007).

In addition to the value of increasing system efficiency overall, officials were also quick to

capitalize on the "get tough" message aimed at gun offenders. Boston District Attorney Daniel

F. Conley trumpets the program in this way: "Gun Court has met or exceeded every goal we set

for it. Its effectiveness as a punishment and deterrent for those who would use guns in our city is

indisputable," and "Gun court has been successful not only in taking guns off the street but in

keeping gun offenders from returning to criminal activity. I have no doubt that the significant

reduction in homicides by firearm last year is due in part to Gun Court's effectiveness" (Suffolk

County District Attorney's Office, 2007). Despite the apparent enthusiasm, these claims have

not yet been subjected to external empirical review.

International Perspectives

Few nations in the world can rival the number of firearms or the magnitude of firearms

violence experienced by the United States. Because this discrepancy confounds empirical testing

and experimental designs, studying gun control measures in other countries becomes

problematic. Nevertheless, there are potentially valuable lessons that inform both the gun court

concept and the broader issue of firearms violence.

Jamaica is ground zero for gun court history. On April 2, 1974, Jamaica's parliament

passed the Gun Court Act, which authorized the creation of a specialized court specifically to

prosecute cases involving the illegal possession or use of firearms or ammunition. Ostensibly,

the Court was designed to provide a means to control a boom in gun violence stemming, in part,

from deep political unrest and poor economic conditions (Calathes, 1990). However, in practice,









the Gun Court was part court and part prison, and critics quickly objected to its procedural

injustices. Among the common provisions of the Gun Court were categorical denial of bail,

indeterminate sentences of incarceration up to life imprisonment upon conviction, and trials for

defendants as young as 14. Summary trials without legal representation were commonplace,

rumors about corruption were persistent, and executions were not unheard of. A 1975 challenge

on the basis of constitutionality was denied, with the Privy Council in London ruling that the

Court itself was not unconstitutional. However, the Council did rule that mandatory sentences of

indefinite detention with hard labor could no longer be imposed. The Gun Court continues to

operate to this day, amended in part by appeal in 1983.

Clearly, the linkage between Jamaica's Gun Court and those in modern-day America is

distant at best. Many Jamaican practices would never be tolerated in American jurisprudence,

and presumably there would not be the same issues with persistent corruption and social unrest.

But, those questions aside, did the Jamaican Gun Court achieve a reduction in gun crime? At

least one study (Gendreau & Surridge, 1978: p. 57) observes that Jamaica "appears to have

enacted the strictest penalties for gun crimes," speaking to the relative severity of penalties in

Jamaica compared to other nations. The authors also note that the penalties under the Gun Court

Act increase celerity of punishment, and conclude that the Gun Court intervention was associated

with a demonstrably lower rate of several gun crimes, including murder with a firearm. Thus,

despite some (potentially serious) misgivings about the ways in which Jamaica's gun control

reforms were enacted, this example indicates that a "crackdown" approach can result in lower

gun crime overall.

Other international examples lack sufficient definition to be included in any discussion,

theoretical or otherwise, of gun court models. Interest in creating specialized gun courts in other









nations persists, however. One such initiative in New South Wales, Australia was abandoned in

May 2004 after a report by a retired Supreme Court Justice found that the rates of firearms

violence were too low proportionally to justify the expenditure (Samuels, 2004). Although

Australia's gun laws are regarded as highly restrictive compared to the United States, the

proposition of creating a new gun court in New South Wales nevertheless resulted in controversy

because the court program was viewed as not punitive enough according to Australian anti-gun

groups ("NSW: Drop gun court," 2003).

A similar proposal in Toronto incorporated enhanced (and in many cases, more punitive)

penalties for gun crimes and was premised largely on principles of general deterrence, according

to the Ontario Attorney General (Brennan, 2003). Further, consistent with many domestic

examples, the Toronto court followed the creation of a specialized domestic violence court in

that jurisdiction in 1997, suggesting that the articulation between specialized community courts

and anti-gun initiatives is not limited to American jurisprudence. Ultimately, the Toronto

proposal resulted in a broader "Major Crimes Court" that will handle gang and violent offenses,

including cases where guns are involved; the requisite resources or political will for a separate,

narrowly-focused gun court were apparently lacking. Thus, evidence from both New South

Wales and Toronto indicates that few nations can justify the intense focus on firearms required

for the creation of gun courts in many U.S. jurisdictions.

Conclusions

In sum, gun court programs vary by jurisdiction and emphasis, with some courts

emphasizing a rehabilitative or educational focus and some courts attempting to apply gun laws

in a more consistent (and often more punitive) fashion. The degree to which various gun court

models have been empirically evaluated is inconsistent at best. Some courts, including the

Jefferson County, AL example, have shown some promise in dealing with particular groups of









offenders through particular types of programming. Preliminary studies on Jefferson County,

Seattle, and Brooklyn suggest that the gun court model could be effective, but each example

incorporates very different theoretical mechanisms and operationalizes different definitions of

efficacy. Additionally, measurement of treatment effects in each of these cases has been

problematic, with few studies employing control/comparison groups and none to date vetted in

the peer-review process.

Despite the diversity and proliferation of gun courts in the United States, as Wellford et al.

(2005) state, the absence of peer-reviewed literature to date on this topic indicates a clear need:

none of the gun court models has been tested with respect to the effects of the program on

aggregate levels of gun crime for the affected areas. Therefore, a logical next step in attempting

to reach a conclusion on the efficacy of Philadelphia's Gun Court, as well as to begin to infer

broader implications about gun courts generally, is to use time series analysis to determine

whether Philadelphia's Court had such an effect. The present study contributes both a qualitative

and quantitative perspective on the implementation as well as the impact of a state-of-the-art gun

court model, with an eye toward the ultimate goal of reducing aggregate gun crime rates in the

Philadelphia area.









CHAPTER 4
QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS

Many of the nuances and intricacies of the day-to-day functioning of Philadelphia's Gun

Court can be best expressed by the individuals who oversaw its development and functioned as

stewards for the primary mission established for the Court, namely, to reduce the volume of

illegal guns on the streets. This portion of the study is based on semi-structured, in-depth

interviews with three of the four judges who have presided over Gun Court since its inception in

2005. The judges were recruited for their participation in this research with the assistance of

Adult Probation and Parole Department staff in March 2008.

Each of the judges rotated to serve a one-year term in Gun Court before accepting various

other assignments within the First Judicial District. Collectively, they have heard an estimated

3,500 cases in Gun Court alone, in addition to their experiences on the bench of other criminal

courts and serving as attorneys in the Philadelphia system. All have substantial experience

hearing cases involving cases featuring violence and firearms. Each of these factors make these

individuals uniquely qualified to comment on the nature of violence in Philadelphia, the

environment in which the Gun Court program was conceived and implemented, and what effects,

if any, Gun Court may be having.

Program Objectives

Each of the participants was asked to relate their opinion on the original purpose of the

Philadelphia Gun Court. Unsurprisingly, all of them referenced the soaring violence and the

emphasis on innovative anti-gun policies. As one judge indicated, the purpose was reasonably

simple: "Gun Court was established in Philadelphia County mainly because of the influx of gun-

related crimes in Philadelphia... I think Gun Court's primary purpose was targeting people who

had guns, find out who had the guns, and get them off the street." One judge's comments were









typical of the pragmatic attitude toward the program, stating, "Essentially we established the Gun

Court to deal with the gun problem that was perceived to exist in Philadelphia and to try to bring

some kind of uniformity to addressing those issues." Another judge explained the distinctions

between Gun Court and other models for adjudicating gun possession cases:

I think it was just to have one court handle the gun cases and to put more of a focus just on
the gun violations. And they were able through the computer to segregate out cases, in
other words, Gun Court didn't handle cases where the gun was used in a shooting, or in
narcotics dealings except for some marijuana or something on a smaller level, or cases
used in a robbery or a rape. It was gun possession only that was the focus and to treat it
more seriously. To have one judge focus in on it and to see if that could have some impact
on people who might slip through and who might have a gun possession charge, so we
could catch these folks early when they first start possessing a gun before they get into
narcotics.

Target Population

One of the central concerns about a specialized court for gun offenders is the nature of the

offenders themselves. Because the gun court model excludes cases involving overt violence by

definition, one possible consequence is that the court is missing the offender population most

directly implicated in violent street crime. Specifically, a "typical" gun court defendant has no

criminal record and may not be at heightened risk for violent recidivism. However, despite the

lack of habitual offenders, proscribed penalties in Gun Court were relatively harsh. One judge

clarified: "Most of those cases involved individuals who had no prior record so those cases

would be heard in Gun Court and the [sentencing] guidelines, which are set forth by the

Legislature, the sentence would be not be mandatory, but the guidelines are 1-2 years for just

possession of a gun." It is unclear whether the threat of harsher-than-usual penalties deterred

specific offenders after Gun Court, or whether the population may be biased in an important

way. One judge summed up this group thusly:









You have people who are carrying guns through a bad neighborhood, you've got
businessmen carrying guns because they have cash, and you have people who-that's just
their lifestyle, to carry a gun, and they never bothered to get a permit. Well, they are in
violation of the law. So at least a portion of that group, the first-time offenders, you're not
going to see them back anyway.

Another judge concurred:

Most of these guys aren't real bad guys -- most of them. Again, they are first-time
offenders, they stepped into the criminal system by possession of a gun, and oftentimes
what I would hear is that this gun is for protection more than anything else. [They would
say] 'I didn't pull it out, I didn't threaten anybody, but in my neighborhood you gotta have
a gun.' And while I don't condone that, I guess through some eyes that may be a reason or
explanation as to why you have the gun, although it's not acceptable.

The apparent emphasis on harsher-than-normal sentences for those convicted in Gun Court

is directed at offenders who are viewed as at-risk and may exhibit escalation in offending

patterns that culminated in personal crimes. These individuals fit nicely into a developmental

trajectory for anti-social and criminal behavior beginning early in the life-course. One judge

recalled:

The trend would be a graduation of crimes. In looking a pre-sentence reports, it would
start off mainly with truancy, and then your petty crimes, your drugs, and then it would
escalate into guns and then as I see it now, after guns they become more violent with
robberies and aggravated assault.

Another judge commented that while many possession cases were less serious in that guns were

rarely drawn or fired, the circumstances under which guns were found were sometimes

illuminating and helped to shape judicial decision-making:

I just remember some of the cases-most of the time it was a possession that was in a car,
or somebody is in the street and they stand up with a gun. Every once in a while you'd get
a car that would have the guns and would have bulletproof vests, and would have ski
masks, then you knew something else was going on. Even for first-time offenders, those
are the people I usually put in [jail or prison] initially.

Therefore, although it may be difficult to detect systematic differences in terms of the legal

factors involved, it seems reasonable that there may be a functional dichotomy of Gun Court

defendants: first, those who are unlucky enough to be caught with an unlicensed firearm but who









do not otherwise represent a risk for violence or recidivism; and second, those who may have

been apprehended before they were able to complete a violent felony, but who were tracked into

Gun Court due to the lack of evidence to support a more serious charge. This second

hypothetical group represents the real target population for Gun Court's programming and

intensive supervision.

Context and Implementation

Participants were queried about the issues surrounding the implementation of Gun Court.

When asked about the nature of violence in Philadelphia prior to the Court, one judge responded

succinctly, "Well basically it was the same as what's going on now." Another judge elaborated

on aspects of the violent subcultures in Philadelphia:

We had gang killings [in the past] but it was like one gun for the gang. Now it's just like a
right of passage and in some neighborhoods you have to have a gun. If you don't have a
gun, you're a sort of outcast or you're a punk. Now all I'm doing are homicides and I see
these absolutely senseless killings by 19 year old kids who were responding to anger.
Sometimes a good portion are drug related. But it's not all drug related... a lot of killings
in Philly are anger killings in response to some slight that is perceived or some money that
is owed something reasonably trivial that would have passed or maybe resulted in a fist-
fight years ago, now results in a killing.

These properties suggest an articulation to criminological theory, specifically theories on

criminal or deviant subcultures. Seminal works by Miller (1958), Wolfgang (1958), and

Wolfgang & Ferracuti (1967) support the conceptualization of a subculture in which perceived

respect is paramount and in which relatively minor insults to the honor of its members demand

retaliation. What may distinguish Philadelphia's subcultures from those theorized by Miller and

Wolfgang is the apparent preponderance of readily accessible firearms and the willingness to

employ them to lethal effect. In fact, recent research conducted by the International Small Arms

Survey on the marginalization of young, urban minority males (see Bevan & Florquin, 2006)

reaffirms many classical statements on the relationship between respect, violence, and firearms.









Participants were further queried on the political climate during the implementation of Gun

Court. All three judges agreed that there was a strong mandate to address the wave of violence

in an affirmative fashion. One judge illustrated by citing typical caseloads in the Court:

[The political climate was] mainly reactionary. There were so many guns on the streets
and there still are, that on any given day there would be, I'd say, on the average of 10 cases
listed in Gun Court, five days a week, so that's 50 cases a week. On the average, when I
was in Gun Court, I would dispose of about 5 cases a day, either by trials or by guilty
pleas. So that's 25 cases a week-some days would be more, some days would be less,
but nonetheless, those are cases of guns taken off the street by way of the arrest, and
usually I would order that the gun be destroyed after the trial was over. After 30 days
pending an appeal, the gun would be disposed.

In addition to acknowledging the supply-side gun problem in the Philadelphia area, these

comments show direct support for one of the key tenets of Gun Court, namely that illegal guns

must be removed from circulation. There were few problems mentioned in terms of

implementation, given that the development of Gun Court was primarily an internal

reorganization effort. However, the requisite relationships between Gun Court, probation

services, and various rehabilitation and reintegration programs required coordination and

planning. One judge explains:

Well the funding is always a problem. The funding of Gun Court and for it to be effective,
the trial, and afterwards, the probation department, for it to be really effective, I think they
need more probation officers to implement it. And some of the cases, once they are in
probation, if there could be a more effective step-down. Some of these guys don't need the
intense probation supervision. Other guys do, and from what I understand, there is a step-
down program, or you may want to call it a step-up program, where these individuals
between the ages of say 18 and 26, during what I call the "stupid" age, where they just
think they are invincible and they do things that take a lot of risks, and they do things that
not only put themselves in harms way, but other people in harms way. I know there is a
component now that they have where there is more intense supervision of these individuals
so that their lives can be governed, and protect them not only from themselves, but protect
them from getting shot by someone else.

Each of the three judges was also asked about the degree to which Gun Court received

publicity or coverage in the form of advertising or news stories. No advertising campaign

supporting the program was planned or funded, so the task of disseminating information about









Gun Court fell to media, especially local media, who had been characterizing the violence

problem in Philadelphia for years. Responses varied on this subject, but the judges seemed to

agree that there was considerable interest in Gun Court at the outset, but that interest has waned

over the years. One judge recalls, "My first day in Gun Court, I came out, it was packed as it

would be for the rest of that year, and the news media was all over it. The print media is pretty

good about following a story." Another judge, when asked about his recollection when on the

bench, seemed more dubious about the media interest, believing that there was coverage initially,

"Just to announce it-you know, it was something new. I did not talk to one reporter during my

entire tenure. And I'm not aware of any ever being in the courtroom." The inconsistency in

media attention was also expressed this way:

It's been sporadic. It was [covered] up front, at first it was a fair amount... but
sporadically someone will do it like in the city paper, the Philadelphia Weekly. The
Inquirer was just in and they wanted to talk about it-I have a feeling they are doing a
large article on overall justice system so that was just one piece. And the State
Legislatures have been through and they are coming through and they want an update on it.
It's quieter now-just once in a while somebody will do a piece.

The relative lack of publicity presents problems for the hypothesis that Gun Court may be

exerting a general deterrent effect on potential gun-carriers. Because there is no consistent

message being broadcast, and because the caseload in Gun Court is relatively small compared to

the number of potential offenders in the Philadelphia area, it is plausible that many individuals

are not aware of the Court's existence.

Probation and Gun Court

The "enforcement" arm of Gun Court is provided by Philadelphia's Adult Probation and

Parole Department (APPD), which assigns case officers to supervise offenders convicted or

pleading guilty in Gun Court. Gun Court probation is ostensibly an intensive supervision

program, featuring provisions for more frequent drug testing, home visitation, and electronic









monitoring. Probationers also sign a pledge before the judge to possess no guns as one of the

terms of their probation, attend anger management training, and complete community service, all

of which are supervised by APPD officers. The intensity and time required to achieve these

objectives is balanced by a lighter-than-normal caseload of approximately 75 probationers per

officer, about one-half of a typical Philadelphia supervision caseload.

All of the judges were quick to emphasize the interplay between Gun Court and this

enhanced probation, which is one of the favored sentences for at-risk offenders. One judge said

succinctly, "Their [probation enforcement] role is the most important function of Gun Court."

Another judge added that the tight coordination between Gun Court and probation paid dividends

in terms of communication:

These cases tend to get lost in the system when they were with a number of judges, and
there is a lot crime, of course, that comes before a judge where there is physical violence or
threat of violence. Gun cases would tend not to be lost, but they also weren't given [any]
individualized attention. As a judge just hearing gun cases, you realize it sort of brought it
home, how prevalent the problem is, and you see it on a daily basis. You also have one
[probation] unit that does nothing but the Gun Court violators. So you develop somewhat
of a relationship with them, and see the same probation officers. I attended their meetings,
so there was more communication. So in that sense, it was good because it focused the
judge on the gun problem, it would allow the judge once focused on the gun problem to be
in contact with the probation services.

Presumably, these benefits combined to make the relationship between Gun Court judges and

APPD officers supervising Gun Court offenders stronger. In addition to greater understanding of

programming requirements and progress for individual offenders, this relationship also facilitates

the punishment of offenders who violate their probation. Still, the possibility exists that some

net-widening may occur, given the intensity of surveillance for this population.

When asked whether the goals or objectives of Gun Court have changed since the

program's inception, none of the judges responded that they had, and all believed that the future

was promising given Philadelphia's crime problem. One judge explained:









[Have the program's objectives changed?] Not really-I don't think so. If anything,
they've probably become more intense in terms of seeing what can be done and how to
manage offenders, what to do down the line in terms of the drug treatment, the alcohol
treatment, the ability to curtail them from further crime and involvement. Other than that, I
mean I think we've learned a lot since the conception or implementation of Gun Court, but
I don't think that things have changed to the extent that there is any negative side of it that
we should stop doing Gun Court. At one point, I think we were even considering having
two Gun Courts because the inventory in Gun Court is, I forget what the numbers are now,
but it is a huge number of cases and growing.

Program Benefits

A central feature of the Gun Court is the emphasis on deterring future gun crimes, and one

way in which deterrence is emphasized is through more serious penalties for gun possession.

The debut of Gun Court in Philadelphia coincided with a decision on the part of the Pennsylvania

legislature to elevate illegal gun possession from a misdemeanor to a third-degree felony. One

judge commented on the change while also hinting at the issue of perceived deterrence: "I know

it was just decided that the penalties would be increased, which I guess the thought of that would

lead to curtailing possession, if you had an idea that it was a more serious offense than just a

misdemeanor which sometimes people tend to shrug off." Other judges were supportive of the

notion that there is some deterrent effect associated with the Court, but also acknowledge the

potential problems in identifying the target population:

[Was there a deterrent effect?] Oh yeah, absolutely yeah. And then too, I think that most
of the people that come through are first-time offenders. They either carry for protection,
or so they thought, or weren't aware that because they could purchase it, that they couldn't
carry it, and so they are not people who have had previous criminal involvement so they
are not as likely to re-offend.

One possibility is that Gun Court offers advantages in terms of specific deterrence effects, but

falls short of its goal of general deterrence. Additionally, the educative effects of Gun Court may

be manifested here in the form of a greater understanding of the law for many defendants who

are processed through Gun Court but do not necessarily represent the target population. One

judge commented:









[The] only benefit, and I think it was probably anticipated, has been that there has been
less, given the volume of cases, less recidivism for the same offense. Those people that re-
offend typically don't come back for a gun related offense, which is unlike a lot of other,
you know, drug cases and things like that, they come back for those kind of cases. But due
to the intensive supervision, and also just the awareness of the seriousness of a gun
offense, people don't get in court for that.

Another potential benefit of the Court is improving consistency of judgments in gun

possession cases. One judge agreed, saying, "The type of cases [is] consolidated in one

courtroom which makes for more uniform disposition." Another judge characterized efficiency

gains from judicial specialization:

There was a tremendous number of motions filed, motions suppressed, because in a gun
possession case, the evidence is really the case... clearly when you are having that number
of suppression motions and different issues, you are becoming more efficient as a judge as
far as allowing the cases that have no constitutional violations to go through and the ones
that are constitutional violations take them out.

Generally, cost savings might be assumed since concentrating all cases of this type in a single

courtroom frees resources for other purposes. However, one judge believed that cost savings

were not as high on the priority list of Gun Court goals as were other objectives:

In terms of savings, well, I'm not so sure that was necessarily a goal. But I think
efficiency in dealing with the problem, in that regard, I think it's been efficient. And like I
say, you get the consistency and you know, the judge sitting in that program gets very
versed in the applicable law. So in that regard, I guess there's an efficiency to be gained if
the judge is more versed because you're not going from one case to the next-it's the same
thing you're doing day in and day out. Same thing with probation-system-wide within
the judiciary, there's no additional impact other than that the other judges don't have to
deal with those cases. So you have an efficiency dealing with one particular problem. And
same thing with probation-you have specialized Gun Court probation officers so they deal
with those problems and like anything, if you do it over and over again, and you don't get
sloppy, you do a good job.

All of the judges interviewed about Gun Court pointed out that there are intangible

benefits, both to the system and to the offenders themselves, associated with the Court's

enhanced programming. In some ways, Philadelphia has synthesized the most promising

elements from other gun court models, resulting in a layered approach that attempts to address









underlying problems and social issues rather than simply incarcerate the maximum number of

gun offenders. One judge explained the long-term strategies associated with conviction and

correctional supervision:

Most of the individuals that were convicted by me or if they plead guilty, they would have
to complete 20 hours of community service, and I would leave that up to the probation
department. They would have to get a GED if they didn't and I would give them usually a
time-certain during their probationary period or depending on how far they went in school,
I would leave it up to the probation department, because some guys, I mean they got the
smarts to get a GED-some would take a year, some would do it in 6 months-so I would
leave it up to the probation department to establish the time that they would have to get the
GED or the diploma. And they would have to get ajob-I would usually give them 60
days to secure employment. If they did it during the term of incarceration, I'd give them
60 days after they were released from incarceration to get a job and that job would have to
be something where taxes were taken out of their check as well as social security, so it
could not be an under the table job, it would have to be a job above-board.

Another judge expounded on the role of community service, anger management, and the

rehabilitative functions:

We also established that they would do a certain amount of community service, between
20-30 hours. I have people say why not 100, and I asked that question actually, why is
there only 20 hours of community service? And the experts in that field, the people who
had been involved in community service and groups that monitor the community service,
and their feeling was that you were handling a large number of people through this Gun
Court, and even as a rule, they felt that community service is effective if it can be
accomplished. And 20 hours is sort of a pain in that it puts somebody to the task, but it's
accomplished. You got 1,000 hours of community service, they're never going to
accomplish it. Even 100 hours would never be accomplished, so it sets a sense of
accomplishment. We also mandated that they go to anger management because we have a
lot of young males between 18 and 24 who are on the cusp of going onto not bigger and
better things, but bigger and worse things, or more violent things. So a lot of that has to do
with the anger management or anger control. So they had to complete those and I would
give them those conditions at the time of sentencing.

From these comments, it is evident that the Gun Court judges believe that the program has

achieved some level of success, even if that success is measured in terms of individual-level

deterrence and reform rather than in aggregate crime rates. Also, some of these benefits may be

incalculable in that offender trajectories are largely unknown for first-time arrestees.









Assessing Outcomes

There are many outcomes of interest related to Gun Court, including intermediate ones,

such as the number of cases processed or the change in conviction rates, and long-term ones,

such as a drop in gun crime rates in the Philadelphia area. When confronted with the question of

whether Gun Court had accomplished its goal thus far, reactions were generally positive but

varied in detail. One judge believed that the enhanced penalties and the holistic approach was a

wake-up call for those headed in the wrong direction:

For the most part, yeah. I think that it's well on the way. There are a lot of benefits that
have come out of Gun Court in terms of getting individuals who [had] no prior record, and
steering them away from crime. Guys who come in and fess up, plead guilty, and don't
come back. Yeah, they see that there are other ways and for the most part, they do right
and become productive citizens.

Another judge concurred with this assessment, but added that harsher penalties and sentencing

guidelines also supported the educative function of the Court:

After three years I think there is awareness that the gun issue in Philadelphia is being taken
seriously and is being addressed, and also I think that is a product of having increased the
penalty because it previously was a misdemeanor and then raised to a felony with a
minimum in the standard range of at least one year in incarceration. So, I think it's
probably had some impact in terms of awareness. I think that those who have been
through the system view it as an educational component, and as most things in society,
information and knowledge is key to changing any type of culture or perception about
things criminal, or perceived to be criminal.

Gun Court's impact in terms of incapacitating illegal firearms has been substantial as well.

Although precise numbers were not available, one judge estimated the effects this way:

Over 3,000 guns have been destroyed, so by just pure numbers, that has to have had some
kind of effect if you figure 5% of those were guns possessed by bad guys, you're talking
probably 150 guns that could have been involved potentially in a crime... If you say 3,000
or more, well that's a lot of guns.

Therefore, in the opinion of at least one judge, the effect of facilitating firearm seizures and

ultimately destruction may not influence base rates of violence, but it stands to benefit victims by

reducing risk in some way.









Despite the perception of positive effects, the judges remain realistic about Gun Court's

overall impact. No specialized court program can expect to address all of the social,

environmental, and other factors predisposing individuals to seek out guns for various reasons.

One judge summarized his perspective:

It's a very small step in a very large problem, which is not just the Gun Court problem, but
hard pockets of poverty, a school system that is desperately in need of funds, we almost
need a marshal plan for some parts of the city. It is a positive step... but it's only a drop in
the bucket. But I think it focuses people on the problem in a sense that you have to have a
Gun Court. We seized something like 1,200 guns [one] year in Gun Court. I think I got
rid of almost 1,000 cases.

Impact of Gun Court

Although Gun Court may have some positive benefits, the question of whether the

program has impacted gun violence rates is entirely different. Perspectives on this issue ranged

from optimistic to cynical, but all of the judges remained realistic about the potential for reform.

Gun Court is clearly not a panacea, but in the opinion of the judges, it can occupy a role in the

pantheon of anti-violence initiatives. Some of the disagreement about impact may be due to the

way in which the question of impact is framed. Qualitatively, while some offenders may be

diverted from reoffending because of key programming elements, there is still much work to be

undertaken. One judge expressed his sentiments this way:

[Does Gun Court have any impact?] I think as a deterrent, yeah. Then there are other
individuals who just don't give a damn, they continue to get in trouble and get locked up...
and a lot of that is spurred by the economics, lack of a job, and that's spurred by lack of
education. In the end the drugs involved in it, the alcohol, family problems, so it's a whole
pool of things that sort of feed into one when they get these guns and do the things they do.

Although the Pennsylvania legislature has been supportive of anti-violence initiatives, there

appears to be little support for measures that might have a greater impact on the supply-side

dynamics of Philadelphia's gun problem. One judge articulated some doubt about the impact









Gun Court can have on crime rates because of the difficulty associated with reducing violence

when there is a ready supply of illegal guns always available on the streets of Philadelphia:

[Does Gun Court have any impact?] Not at this point, I don't think, just because the
volume, there's just too many guns out there. You can't arrest your way out of the
problem, you can't confiscate your way out of the problem. There's nothing we can do as
far as limiting the number of guns. The legislature would not read a bill out of committee,
wouldn't even get it to a vote, I don't even know if they have had hearings on it, [for]
limiting the purchase to one gun a month. So that was the initial small step they wanted-
one gun a month... I think if we got some regulations, or if there was some way to control
the flow of guns coming in, I think it would be an even more effective tool in the judiciary
because you may then see some more effect.

Despite the progress and the challenges, all of the judges echoed the persistent need for Gun

Court in light of overwhelming violence. One judge lamented the steady flow of cases involving

gun violence and death, noting that by late March 2008 he had already seen a dozen homicide

cases:

[I have judged] 12 homicides already-I'll do probably 40 this year, maybe 50, so it's
volume here, and that's what Gun Court is, that's why we need to focus too, and that's
why the city needs to have that number and why we have the death-by-handgun problem
that Philadelphia has. It's a small step, but we have to take that step.









CHAPTER 5
QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS

Data

Data for this analysis were collected from the Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Reporting

System. The Metropolitan Service Area (MSA) was used as the unit of analysis, because it

offers several advantages over the incorporated city limits. Specifically, the MSA offers a more

accurate picture of social realities in Philadelphia, because: (1) the real boundaries of the city

extend beyond the "official" city limits; (2) there may be reason to believe that crime is diffused

in ways other than according to arbitrary political boundaries (e.g., according to social networks,

transit routes, or other means); (3) people from the surrounding areas arrested in Philadelphia are

tried in Philadelphia's First Judicial Circuit, and therefore receive the Gun Court treatment under

study; and (4) generally speaking, there may be reason to believe that the treatment effects, if

any, are unlikely to be diffused in ways that follow arbitrary political boundaries (e.g., social

networks implicated in more guns confiscated, more offenders deterred or rehabilitated, etc.).

The outcomes of interest include monthly crime incident counts in several different

categories. One group of categories includes gun-related crimes (murder with a firearm, robbery

with a firearm, assault with a firearm, and "weapons charge," typically defined as illegal

possession or carrying of a handgun), while the other category includes non-gun property crimes

(larceny, motor vehicle theft) in order to provide some comparison for a general crime baseline.

The non-gun crime categories also provide a check on the observed effects, because

hypothetically there should be no effect on these levels after the intervention is introduced.

Additionally, tracking non-gun crime rates offers an opportunity to monitor potential substitution

effects as offenders are deterred or otherwise dissuaded from more violent crimes involving

weapons.









For the purposes of standardizing values in the analysis, monthly crime counts were

converted to rates per 100,000 people by dividing the monthly count by the population and

multiplying by 100,000. The population values were taken from the PA UCR, and fluctuate

yearly. For the period under study, population in Philadelphia's MSA has increased consistently

from 2003 through 2006, though this increase in overall population is taken into account when

reporting trends in the crime categories of interest.

Plan of Analysis

The effects of Philadelphia's Gun Court program on aggregate levels of gun-related crime

at the MSA level necessitate a time series analysis that compares crime rates before the

intervention to the same crime rates after the intervention took effect. Though a simple t-test can

determine mean differences, a more sophisticated approach reveals critical details, including

month-to-month variation, the rate of increase or decrease after the intervention, and the degree

to which the series is affected by patterns of seasonality. The proper methodological technique

for controlling these factors involves examining the series for potential confounds and correcting

them statistically. The former can be accomplished with sequence plots and autocorrelation

functions. The later involves Auto Regressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA), a method

for estimating models for time series data. ARIMA analysis features an autoregressive term to

account for temporal autocorrelation, and ARIMA generalizations are available to specifically

address seasonality in the data (e.g., seasonal ARIMA, or SARIMA).

The evaluation of Gun Court's three stated goals, specifically (1) educating defendants

about gun safety, (2) providing infrastructure to punish Court Order violators and recidivists, and

(3) providing prompt adjudication in order to facilitate illegal gun seizures, is a necessary

prerequisite to any analysis of the ultimate impact the program has on aggregate-level violence in

Philadelphia. These goals, if satisfied, should have three basic implications for the outcome









evaluation. First, gun safety education will increase following the introduction of the Gun Court

program, because this treatment was not a condition of punishment before Gun Court. Second,

the number of defendants on probation and parole who are re-arrested and punished for

violations of Court Orders and probation/parole conditions will increase following the

introduction of the Gun Court program, because intensive supervision is emphasized as a means

to control at-risk gun offenders. Third, time to disposition will be significantly reduced for Gun

Court defendants compared to non-Gun Court defendants as a result of "fast tracking" these

offenders on the specialized docket.

A preliminary analysis of Gun Court's first year of operation conducted by the

Philadelphia Adult Probation and Parole Department (Kurtz et al., 2007) shows that Gun Court

defendants are pleading guilty (78%) and are being convicted (65%) at higher rates than non-

Gun Court defendants with similar charges (65% and 57%, respectively) from a retrospective

sample. Gun Court defendants also were sentenced to county prison2 at a higher rate (vs.

probation sentences), up from 34% to 47%, in the program's first 18 months of operation

compared to the previous year. These preliminary numbers indicate that Gun Court is exerting

some deterrent effect in terms of guilty pleas, conviction rates, and severity of sentences overall.

Importantly, although the Gun Court may be exerting an objective deterrent effect, the degree to

which past and potential future offenders perceive that effect is unknown. Furthermore, Gun

Court defendants appear to be completing their community service and court-ordered anger

management programs at a higher rate than non-Gun Court offenders, suggesting that the

program may be meeting its objective of greater surveillance.


2 In addition to dozens of state-run prisons, Pennsylvania features county-level correctional facilities that are termed
"prisons," though in actuality their function is similar to traditional jails in that they primarily house low-level
offenders serving short-term sentences (up to two years) in addition to those awaiting trial and transfer to higher-
level facilities. As of 2008, there were six such county-level prison facilities in operation in Philadelphia County.









The evaluation of the impact that these objectives have on observable outcomes (and

overriding concern), namely the reduction of gun crime rates in Philadelphia after the

intervention's introduction, is the objective of this study. Three basic elements are required in

order to measure such a change. First, the Gun Court program must be effectively implemented

(e.g., the three stated goals are met); second, there must be sufficient causal linkage between

these three goals and the outcome of interest; and third, the dosage of the treatment must be

adequate. Under those three conditions, there should theoretically be a corresponding drop in

gun crime rates in the Philadelphia MSA in comparison to an alternative site that did not receive

the intervention in the period under study. Alternatively, if there was a drop in gun crime rates in

the Philadelphia MSA, it is possible that there could be an observable displacement effect to

surrounding areas, such as parts of New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland.

Methodology

Determining the relationships between measures in time series data requires several

overlapping techniques for univariate, bivariate, and multivariate analysis. First, descriptive

statistics provide basic information about data dispersion and central tendency. Second, bivariate

analyses such as Pearson's correlations and Student's t-test provide some indication about the

nature and magnitude of relationships between measures. Finally, multivariate analyses occur in

several steps, as model estimation becomes progressively more refined, accounting for

systematic trends and non-stochastic variation in the models, beginning with OLS regression and

moving to ARIMA. Finally, time series data plots illustrate trends in each of the dependent

variables with a clear demarcation for the Court intervention.

Multivariate analysis using OLS regression offers a convenient comparison for assessing

the relative improvement ARIMA model specification to fit the existing time series data.

Although the OLS comparison models are presumed to be less efficient generally and may in









some instances be in violation of traditional assumptions (as time series data are, by nature,

serially autocorrelated), they offer both a convenient metric for the improvement in parameter

estimation when transitioning to more advanced techniques and an opportunity to test underlying

assumptions of homoskedasticity, which is defined as constant variance in a sequence of

variables.

Time series analysis also provides a correction for observed serial autocorrelation, defined

as the degree of association for a given variable with time-lagged versions of itself. Serial

autocorrelation is critical because significant autocorrelation violates the OLS assumption of

independence of error terms. Data that show evidence of serial autocorrelation and other time-

related violations of traditional OLS assumptions require more sophisticated techniques.

Estimation of regression models to illustrate trends in time series data requires careful

accounting to avoid underfitting (e.g., a failure to properly correct for systematic variation

caused by an identifiable pattern, such as seasonality) or overfitting (e.g., misinterpreting

randomly occurring "noise" in the data as systematic variation). In all cases, ARIMA models

must be estimated after specifying three critical components: the autoregressive (p), integrated

(d), and moving average (q) components. Thus, ARIMA models are sometimes referred to

casually as "p, q, d models" because correct specification requires relies on the proper values for

each of the three terms.

Autoregressives in ARIMA specification range in practice from zero to n, though typically

models exhibit values from zero to two. The value p = 0 indicates that data are raw and do not

show evidence of autocorrelation. The more common value p = 1 indicates that data are

autocorrelated at lag = 1; lags may represent whatever time period is used to divide observations

(e.g., days, weeks, months). A model estimated at p = 2 indicates that data value (xt) is









independently correlated with values at lag 1 (xt-1) and lag 2 (xt-2), and so forth. Evidence for

autocorrelation in raw data can be obtained from the Durbin-Watson statistic (Durbin & Watson,

1950, 1951), which uses the residual term to calculate the test statistic. Values of the Durbin-

Watson statistic range from 0 to 4; values around 2 indicate no autocorrelation, while values

smaller than 1 indicate the presence of autocorrelation.

The moving average component in ARIMA modeling addresses random error, or "shocks,"

that affect the predictability of the series over time. By specifying a value for the moving

average component, the ARIMA model corrects for the correlation in error terms for adjacent

data occurring because of the presence of these shocks. Identification of the moving average

depends upon the interpretation of autocorrelation functions (ACFs) and partial autocorrelation

functions (PACFs). More specifically, trends in the ACF suggest values for the ARIMA

component q; when the ACF reaches an abrupt cut-point at lag "x" rather than experiencing a

gradual decline, the value of q = x.

Finally, the integrated component in ARIMA modeling permits correction for non-

stationarity in the raw data. Stationarity refers to observations as being stochastic in nature, with

unchanging mean and variance. Assuring stationarity is critical when modeling time series data

because of inferences about probability distribution. Specification of common values d= 1 or d

= 2 in ARIMA models is referred to as "differencing," or removing linear or quadratic trends,

respectively. Raw data stationarity is tested using one of a number of criteria, the most robust of

which is the Augmented Dickey-Fuller test. This diagnostic functions by removing inherent

structural effects (serial autocorrelation) in the time series and then tests for the presence of a

unit root, defined as non-stationarity in the differencing process of the data (Dickey & Fuller,

1979; Said & Dickey, 1984).









Results

Univariate analysis illustrates basic properties of the data. Unsurprisingly, the rate for

larceny in Philadelphia is the highest among all of the rates in the analysis (158 per 100,000

people), while murder with a firearm in Pittsburgh is the lowest (nearly 0.9 per 100,000 people).

Motor vehicle theft, robbery with a firearm, assault with a firearm, and weapons charges in

Philadelphia range from a high mean of nearly 32 vehicle thefts per 100,000 people to a low of

nearly 6 weapons violations per 100,000 people. In Pittsburgh, the ranges for these same rates

vary from a high mean of almost 15 motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 people, or about half the

average number of thefts as Philadelphia over the same period, to comparatively low means of

about 4 gun robberies, assaults, and weapons charges per 100,000 people. Descriptive statistics

are presented in Table A-1. Further, simple bivariate correlations indicate relationships between

variables used in the analysis. A matrix presenting Pearson's correlations for the crime rates for

Philadelphia and Pittsburgh is presented in Table A-2. These correlations indicate only a weak

association between most of the crime rates, although several rates in both cities appear to be

correlated with larceny at or above 0.500 (including murder with a firearm, robbery with a

firearm, and motor vehicle theft in Philadelphia). Most bivariate correlations are positive in

direction, but there are a few exceptions (e.g., between the murder with a firearm rate and the

weapons violations rate in Philadelphia). The highest bivariate correlation was between larceny

and assault with a firearm in Philaelphia (0.701).

Although greater sophistication is usually required when analyzing time series data, a

simple t-test can provide some suggestion about the relative impact of the intervention

(introduction of Philadelphia's Gun Court) on the dependent variables under examination

(population-standardized crime rates). T-tests were performed, with the dependent variables

(crime rates) separated into pre-intervention and post-intervention groups. Results indicate some









significant differences: the rates of murder with a firearm and robbery with a firearm are

significantly different when comparing pre-intervention to post-intervention observations;

interestingly, the means for the post-intervention observations are actually higher than that of the

pre-intervention observations, indicating that the rates increased in the period after the

introduction of the Court. This result may be due to escalating trends in violent crime generally

during the period under study. The rates for assault with a firearm and weapons charges are non-

significant. The first of the two "control" rates (larceny) is similarly non-significant. Finally, the

second control rate (motor vehicle theft) shows a significantly lower mean in the post-

intervention period.

Multivariate Models

Two sets of multivariate regressions are estimated in order to assess the effect of the gun

court intervention on various rates of crime. The unit of observation was monthly counts of

firearm-related crimes known to the police. Baseline OLS models for each of the dependent

variables of interest (crime rates) were estimated but not included, as the more robust ARIMA

models provide greater reliability for interpreting results. Each model was specified identically,

with no autoregressive term and only a single independent variable, a dichotomous measure

representing the intervention effect. Results show that, prior to ARIMA model specification, the

independent variable representing the implementation of the Court program is statistically

significant in several of the models. In particular, the coefficient for the Court is positive and

significant for the dependent variables murder with a firearm rate (p < 0.01), robbery with a

firearm rate (p < 0.01), and motor vehicle theft rate (p < 0.001). The coefficient for the Court

term was positive but non-significant at the p < .05 level for the remaining dependent variables,

assault with a firearm rate, weapons violation rate, and larceny rate.









The second set of multivariate regressions go beyond the baseline OLS models to correct

for autocorrelation, random shocks, and other potentially confounding issues in the series.

Results are presented in Tables A-3 through A-14 (each pair of tables represents models from

Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, with odd-numbered tables corresponding to Philadelphia and even-

numbered tables corresponding to Pittsburgh). Estimation of the ARIMA models indicates that

the coefficient for the intervention term in each of the Philadelphia models, representing the date

that the Philadelphia Gun Court was established, was non-significant at alpha = 0.05 in all cases

except one. In that case, when the dependent variable was the Philadelphia murder with a

firearm rate per 100,000 people, the coefficient was significant (p < 0.05); however, the sign of

the coefficient indicates that the introduction of the Court is positively associated with the

murder with a firearm rate, contrary to expectations. Critically, the introduction of the Court

does not affect the rate of weapons violations, presumably the most representative measure

available for gauging the impact of the Court on the central problem of illegal weapons in the

Philadelphia area.

Results from Pittsburgh, similar to Philadelphia, indicate no effect for the timing of the

intervention in all but one model. The single exception indicates that Pittsburgh experienced a

statistically significant increase in weapons charges following the implementation of

Philadelphia's Gun Court. Because there is no compelling reason to believe that the Philadelphia

program should have produced such an effect in Pittsburgh after its implementation in 2005, this

result is considered anomalous, though one potential explanation is that there were concurrent

anti-gun policies introduced at the comparison site whose timing and explicit effects cannot be

disambiguated.









Time Series Plots

Results from time series line plots of violent crime show interesting contrasts. First,

Figures B-l through B-5 offer a comparison of violent crime trends in five major U.S. cities

(Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, and Miami, respectively). There is an

obvious discrepancy between the general trend for Philadelphia compared to the other cities;

specifically, while the other cities experience steep declines in violent crime from the 1990s

through 2004, Philadelphia's violent crime trend appears relatively stable with a slightly positive

slope, indicating an increase in violent crime. These general trends help to establish the

unusually pervasive nature of violent crime in Philadelphia compared with other large American

cities.

Figure B-l shows the line plot of the murder with a firearm rate for Philadelphia and

Pittsburgh from 2003 through 2006. Generally, the trend in murder with a firearm rate appears

to be linear and positive, indicating an increase over time. The slope of the trend line for the pre-

intervention period appears more flat than the post-intervention period, suggesting an increase in

murders with a firearm in the post-intervention period. Finally, there appears to be a localized

drop in murder with a firearm rate in the months immediately adjacent to the interruption, but its

effect is not permanent, as the rate sharply increases in the three periods following the

intervention. The comparison rates in murder with a firearm from Pittsburgh shows a flat trend

before the intervention and a slight increase afterwards, similar to Philadelphia.

Figure B-2 shows the line plot of the rate for robberies with a firearm for Philadelphia and

Pittsburgh from 2003 through 2006. The features are similar in some ways to the plot for murder

with a firearm rate, in that there is generally a positive and linear trend in the data, and that there

may be a slightly greater slope for the trend line in the post-intervention period. There is also a

steep but localized decrease in the robbery with a firearm rate surrounding the intervention,









followed by a sharp increase in the subsequent months. The comparison from Pittsburgh shows

a flat trend before and after the intervention, suggesting (as expected) that the Pittsburgh rate is

unaffected by this intervention.

Figure B-3 depicts the line plot for assault with firearm for Philadelphia and Pittsburgh

from 2003 through 2006. Unlike the plots for trends in murder with a firearm rate and robbery

with a firearm rate, the assault with a firearm rate trend is reasonably flat, exhibiting only a

slightly positive increase over time. The slopes in the pre-intervention and post-intervention

time periods seem approximately equivalent. Also, unlike the previous two plots, assault with a

firearm rate experienced a sharp decline in the months preceding the intervention and remained

fairly stable for several months before sharply increasing in month 32 (August 2005). The

comparison trend from Pittsburgh shows similarities, with peaks in assault with firearm crimes in

summer months for both sites.

Figure B-4 shows the line plot for weapons violation rate for Philadelphia and Pittsburgh

from 2003 through 2006. This plot shows considerably more month-to-month variation than

previous rates, exemplified by a sharp spike at month 15 (March 2004). The trend line for pre-

intervention and post-intervention periods appears reasonably mild, with a slight positive

trajectory overall. In contrasting the two periods, the post-intervention trend appears flatter than

the pre-intervention trend, which suggests that the rate of increase may have been affected

somewhat by the introduction of the Court. The comparison trend from Pittsburgh shows

additional variability between the two sites. In the pre-intervention period, Pittsburgh has a

reasonably flat trend, while the post-intervention trend is increasing.

Figures B-5 and B-6 show line plots for the two comparison rates (larceny and motor

vehicle theft, respectively) for Philadelphia and Pittsburgh from 2003 through 2006. Compared









to the other crime categories under study, these two trends should be reasonably unaffected by

the implementation of an anti-gun intervention program, although post-intervention variation

could be accountable to changes in offender specialization or substitution effects. Thus, an

anticipated positive and significant effect of the Philadelphia Gun Court should result in a

decrease in observed rates of gun-related crimes (murder with a firearm, robbery with a firearm,

assault with a firearm, and weapons charges) while the non-gun crime rates are relatively stable

in the post-intervention period.

Larceny trends show great variability and exhibit marked seasonality, with peaks in

offending rates occurring in the summer months with low points in January and February. These

patterns are repeated for each of the four years under study. Motor vehicle theft rates differ in

that peaks in offending appear to occur during the fall months, although low points can be

observed in February and March, similar to larceny. In both of these cases, there appears to be a

short-term decrease in crime rates after the implementation of the Court, but it corresponds to

seasonal troughs observed in previous and subsequent years of study, thus it seems likely that

any observed effects would not be accountable to the Court intervention itself.

Trend lines for the same crime categories measured in the Pittsburgh MSA comparison site

also illustrate several general trends. First, in each of the crime categories, the crime rates in

Philadelphia are visibly higher than in Pittsburgh. This discrepancy is greater for some

categories (e.g., robbery with a firearm) than for others (e.g., weapons charges). Second, most

crime types appear to possess similar trends with respect to seasonality across locations, resulting

in trend lines that look symmetrical. This insight is serendipitous but beneficial, as it provides

guidance on maintaining consistency across multivariate models in addition to identifying

potential effects from the intervention. In particular, a positive and significant effect from the









Philadelphia Gun Court would result in a marked drop in crime rates for the treatment site but

not for the comparison site. Ultimately, however, the rate trends do not indicate this type of

effect as a result of the Court intervention. Coupled with the finding of relatively little effect of

the intervention on the non-gun crime types of larceny and motor vehicle theft, it appears that

crime rates are largely unaffected by the Gun Court.









CHAPTER 6
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION

Discussion

The purpose of this project was to assess the impact of Philadelphia's Gun Court on rates

of gun-related crimes in the Philadelphia area. Results from the bivariate, multivariate, and time

series plot analyses indicate that there is no statistically significant reduction in gun-related

violent crime rates in the two-year period following the introduction of the Court program.

Importantly, the Court program itself does not appear to be associated with a decline in the

number of actual incidents of illegal weapons carrying, the best available indicator of the

presence of illegal guns on the street.

As previously outlined, three basic elements are required in order to establish an

observable change in gun crime as the result of the Gun Court program. First, the program must

be effectively implemented (e.g., the three stated goals of gun safety education, increased

surveillance for probationers, and more illegal gun seizures are met); on this point, there seems

to be general agreement based on the Philadelphia Adult Probation and Parole Department

evaluation (Kurtz et al., 2007) as well as the opinions of three of the four judges who have

presided over Gun Court. Second, there must be sufficient causal linkage between these three

goals and the outcome of interest. This point also subsumes the theoretical framework under

which the Court is hypothesized to work. On this count, there seems to be some ambiguity.

Third and finally, the dosage of the treatment must be adequate. Most sources, including both

the qualitative and quantitative analyses presented in this study, appear to favor the position that

the treatment dosage in terms of the Court program is not adequate to stem the tide of gun

violence or the flow of weapons in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. The dosage issue can be

conceptualized as the quantity of gun offenders processed through the Gun Court compared to









Philadelphia's overall illegal gun problem. Although the treatment (the Court program) may be

effective at some level, it must also be sizeable enough in relation to the number of illegal guns

and/or illegal gun carriers in the Philadelphia area in order to produce a detectable aggregate

effect on crime rates.

At first glance, these results suggest that the Philadelphia Court has failed to meet its stated

objectives. However, a lack of significance in the time series analysis does not necessarily

indicate that the Court itself is ineffective. Several possible explanations exist. First, and most

likely, the program may be effective on a scale that is too small to affect the overall levels of

violence in the Philadelphia area. This amounts to a problem with the level of the treatment

dosage, in which this program, perhaps like most available anti-gun interventions, are a relative

"drop in the bucket" compared to the torrent of street-level violence. The evidence in support of

this explanation includes qualitative assessments of the Court's treatment efficacy and media

coverage of the violence problem in Philadelphia.

Other possible explanations exist for the relative non-finding with respect to the Court.

One such possibility is that an effect on aggregate-level crime rates, through whatever theoretical

or practical mechanism, has simply not been observed yet. Addressing the root causes of gun

carrying behaviors, as well as the difficult issue of supply and demand for guns on the street,

may require years or even decades of efficacious programming in order to detect a statistically

significant drop. The primary problem with this hypothesis is that any long-term effect that will

be eventually detected may be inexorably confounded with other possible explanations. Another

possibility explaining the non-finding is that the gun court model generally may pay dividends in

terms of increased systems efficiency and cost savings associated with cleared dockets and

minimized time from arrest to disposition, while failing to impact street-level crime rates. The









critical articulation between the implementation strategy and measurable outcomes, however, is

missing it seems that Philadelphia's Court was created with a single purpose (to reduce gun

violence), and the mechanisms for fulfilling this purpose were supposed to be largely organic in

nature rather than carefully deterministic. This is a limitation, both of the program itself (since

implementation fidelity and milestones cannot be accurately assessed) and of any evaluation

based on the program.

An interesting discrepancy exists between the qualitative assessments of the Gun Court's

efficacy and the quantitative evidence pertaining to its impact in the aggregate. Although

ARIMA regression models indicate no statistically significant effect for the Gun Court on rates

of gun-related violent crime in Philadelphia, virtually all of the individuals interviewed about the

impact of the Gun Court report a strong belief about the positive virtues of the program, both in

terms of individual and community-level effects. These findings are not necessarily in

contradiction, however. Anecdotally, it seems reasonable to expect that the various educative

and legal functions of a specialized court program should better service the needs of particular

types of defendants. In this case, it may be possible that the rehabilitative components designed

to address the "cause and effect" relationship between illegal gun carrying behaviors and street-

level violence could actually save the lives of some of the offenders processed through Gun

Court. It may also be that the Philadelphia Gun Court could have a positive and statistically

significant effect on gun crime recidivism at the individual level, which unfortunately cannot be

captured in the present analysis. Further inquiry into the nature and magnitude of these effects, if

any, will require different data sources and multiple levels of analysis in order to fully address

whether Philadelphia's program is impacting gun crime over time.









The relative success of Philadelphia's Gun Court is premised on three stated goals: first,

the degree to which it educates defendants about gun safety; second, the degree to which it

provides infrastructure to punish Court Order violators and recidivists; third, the degree to which

prompt adjudication facilitates illegal gun seizures. According to an internal evaluation

conducted by Philadelphia's Adult Probation and Parole Department (Kurtz et al., 2007), these

objectives have been satisfactorily met. One possible rejoinder to this finding is that

organizations and programs should not rely on internal evaluations alone, as objectivity and

fidelity may be compromised, at least in appearance if not in fact. Another possibility that could

explain the null finding of this outcome evaluation is that the program was not faithfully

implemented. Certain process-related elements of Gun Court require greater attendance to

implementation than others; for example, careful oversight to ensure that probation violations are

effectively detected and punished. However, it appears that not only was there no formal process

evaluation undertaken, but that the implementation strategy itself was only semi-structured.

Although Gun Court may be responsible for an increase in illegal weapons confiscated or even in

total prosecutions for non-violent gun felonies since the program was introduced, it is difficult to

illustrate precise logic for the change.

Implications for Theory and Practice

Although there are several underlying theoretical mechanisms related to the functioning of

the Gun Court, including educative effects and multiple types of deterrence, they seem to be

poorly developed overall and only indirectly observable. In most cases these effects may be

indistinguishable because they are not assessed at the individual level in a pre- vs. post-test

research design. Nevertheless, the lack of measurement does not preclude the possibility that

one or more of these principles may be in effect. Principles of deterrence, for instance, play a

substantial theoretical part in the Philadelphia model, although it appears that there has been little









attention paid to funding or implementing initiatives that would address deterrence directly.

Advertising the program is one example; media involvement is another. However, formal

widespread advertising was apparently never funded for the Philadelphia Court, and media

interest began relatively high as the Court debuted in early 2005 (Clark, 2005b; Caruso, 2005a,

2005b) but appeared to drop off sharply later in the year, with only occasional "check up"

coverage of the program (Gregory, 2005). In both cases, it seems that these public visibility

aspects were largely neglected, making the implications for theory more difficult to determine.

Ancillary mechanisms like anti-gun education appear to have value for certain populations in

evaluations of other sites, but apparently no effort was made to test offenders' perceptions of

these programs in Philadelphia or to improve them in a systematic way. Thus, the only

theoretical implications that can be offered here are general ones based on inference and from

qualitative data.

One such inferential implication is that the deterrent effects underlying the Gun Court may

be distributed through informal social networks. As gun possession and acquisition is related in

many instances to social associations through gangs, street gun markets, and other peer groups, a

strong deterrent message targeted at gun carriers predisposed to violence could achieve the

desired effect of increasing awareness and discouraging gun ownership. However, it is unclear

whether Philadelphia's program emphasizes the diffusion of deterrence into primary and

secondary informal networks. Moreover, there is no process in place to measure and test this

hypothesis, hence it is largely speculative. Nevertheless, several sources support the existence of

a deterrent effect of some kind, but the precise magnitude and nature of that effect remains

unknown. This presents an opportunity for future research and potentially also theory-building

related to the empirical effects of specialized courts. Additionally, this is an opportunity to









recommend that future programs and evaluations in Philadelphia consider a greater up-front

investment in explicitly defining the mechanisms for creating change and the theoretical basis for

those mechanisms.

The findings from this study present certain implications for practice as well. First, it may

be useful to regard the gun court model generally in terms of other anti-gun policies and

interventions. According to Piquero (2006), a great many anti-gun interventions are known to be

ineffective at reducing levels of gun crime. Exceptions to this rule include directed police patrol,

programs that increase the certainty of punishment, and some supply-side interventions (e.g.,

targeting gun markets); further, programs that enjoy community support are likely to be more

effective than those that do not. In light of these observations, where does the gun court model

fall in relation to other anti-gun interventions known to be successful? First, there is no evidence

to date that gun courts influence police patrol in any meaningful way. Arguably, Philadelphia

police practices do not require modification since offenders are being apprehended, charged, and

processed through Gun Court in record numbers. However, in Philadelphia the Gun Court

appears to have modified the intensity of post-conviction supervision and patterns of contact

with correctional officers, which are factors associated with increased certainty of punishment.

Further, the facilitation of illegal gun seizures (and ultimately, destruction of illegal guns) has

been achieved by the Philadelphia Court, although the magnitude of this achievement is as-yet

untested. Finally, the Philadelphia program has always been and will continue to be popular

among community residents and policymakers alike. Therefore, the Philadelphia Gun Court

model appears to possess several elements common to successful anti-gun initiatives.

The answer to the larger question of whether or not the gun court model works is more

complex than a simple yes or no. Philadelphia's Gun Court does work in terms of increasing the









number of convictions and enhancing sentences under the law compared to a sample of non-Gun

Court offenders. The Court also seems to have improved the likelihood of offender desistence

for some individuals, at least qualitatively, as indicated in this study. Thus, gun courts generally

seem to be a popular and potentially valuable asset to jurisdictions intending to improve the

processing of non-violent gun offenders and the consistency with which punishment is delivered.

There may also be gains in overall system efficiency as a result of streamlining the processing of

gun possession cases. However, in light of all available evidence related to the program, it

seems unreasonable at present to expect a substantial decline in gun crime rates as a function of

the court itself.

Limitations

This study is not without limitations. First, the measures used to approximate gun crime

are imperfect. Although counts for crimes committed with guns are a reasonable proxy, there

may be many undetected or unreported crimes that are not represented in UCR figures (the so-

called "dark figure of crime"). This limitation is especially noteworthy for UCR counts of

weapons charges, which arguably may not be representative of the true number of individuals

illegally carrying weapons in Philadelphia. However, this limitation also plagues virtually all

research on illegal guns and gun carrying behavior; problems persist in estimating even the

objective number of legal guns in private ownership in the United States (Cook & Ludwig,

1996), much less the prevalence of illegal gun carrying. An idealistic measure of the impact of

the Philadelphia Gun Court would be the number of illegal guns confiscated or destroyed by the

program compared to the total number of illegal guns on Philadelphia streets, which is

unknowable. Similarly, the number of illegal gun carriers processed through the program

compared to the total number of illegal carriers is an unknown quantity.









From a methodological standpoint, some researchers have suggested that interrupted time

series analysis is inappropriate for evaluating the impact of policy interventions. Specifically,

the objections focus on three key areas: (1) the selection of a control series; (2) specification of

the intervention model; and (3) specification of the time series (Britt et al., 1996). Britt and

colleagues' first objection refers to the absence of a suitable comparison site in the majority of

policy evaluation studies, which is addressed here by comparing the MSA for the largest city in

Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) against the MSA for the second-largest city, Pittsburgh, which is the

closest possible analog while holding variations in state law constant. They also note that

comparing different crime series, such as violent crime vs. property crime, may lead to

inconsistent results. Thus, in addition to having an appropriate comparison site, these analyses

are presented with comparison series of various types from the same site in order to provide

appropriate baselines for crime trends generally.

Britt et al.'s (1996) second objection refers to the nature of the "interruption" in an

interrupted time series analysis, which, in the case of a legislative change, can be assumed

alternatively to be the date that a law is passed by the legislature, the law's effective date, the

date of the first offender arrest or conviction, and so on. For an intervention that is not tied to an

explicit change in the law, however, the proper specification may be disambiguated. In the case

of Philadelphia's Gun Court program, which was not tied in an explicit way to legislative

changes but instead follows from an administrative mandate, the intervention date may be

assumed to occur when the program took effect (that is, when the first offenders began to be

processed, disposed, and sentenced). In effect, this intervention date coincides with the publicity

push surrounding Gun Court's debut; an Associated Press story on January 15, 2005 was carried

nationally, including in local papers and on CNN. However, the positioning of the intervention









may still involve potential confounds, including changes to Pennsylvania statutes or county and

local ordinances attempting to restrict firearms. Even other anti-gun programs attempting to

disrupt long-term supply and demand in a cumulative way (for example, by increasing the

number of gun buybacks over time) could potentially exhibit a lagged effect on the gun-related

crime rates of interest.

In the sense that the program focuses on supply-side gun confiscation, the intervention

may yield an effect in more than one way. First, as the result of pro-active policing initiatives

tied to Gun Court, gun-related arrests may increase and thus gun confiscations will also increase.

Second, offenders processed through Gun Court may testify against co-offenders, resulting in

increased police surveillance and actionable criminal intelligence leading to arrests and gun

seizures. To the extent that Gun Court operates on a demand-side phenomenon, the program is

also operating in several distinctive ways. First and most importantly, it is (presumably) sending

a message to gun offenders in Philadelphia: having, carrying, and using a gun will result in a

harsher overall sentence. Gun Court judges have stated in media interviews that they are less

willing to consider plea deals and more likely to impose sentences that exceed current guidelines.

In addition, the projected efficiency gained through diversion to Gun Court is substantial (a

stated reduction in time from arraignment to disposition from 180 days in Philadelphia's Court of

Common Pleas vs. 120 days in Gun Court), which has implications in terms of celerity of

punishment.

The selection of Pittsburgh as a comparison/control site for the time series analysis

represents the best available analog to Philadelphia while maintaining consistency in the

applicability of the Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act. In essence, both cities operate under

the same legislative umbrella and define illegal gun possession in the same way, a critical issue









for evaluating potential differences due to the adjudication of narrowly-defined statutes.

Additionally, both cities are similar in terms of the organization and emphasis of their district

court and adult probation programs, with Pittsburgh featuring specialized courts for mental

health and domestic violence. However, Pittsburgh, the second largest city in the state, also

differs from Philadelphia in important ways. First, the two cities differ markedly in baseline

rates of violent crime. Philadelphia consistently appears near the top of annual violent crime

lists, while Pittsburgh is rarely mentioned; further, although Pittsburgh may report crime

consistent with an urban inner-city, there is no evidence to suggest that the quantity of illegal

firearms rivals Philadelphia. Implicit in this distinction are potential confounds in resource

allocation for anti-violence initiatives and police practice. Secondly, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh

differ in important compositional dimensions, including total population, as well as the

proportion of residents below the poverty line and the racial and ethnic demographics for both

locations. These distinctions are acknowledged as a limitation of the present study and a

direction for improving future multi-site comparisons, but in light of the null finding from the

quantitative analysis, the impact of the comparison site is relatively minimal.

Future Research

Future research on this topic should follow three critical research questions. First, a greater

understanding of the theoretical mechanisms underpinning the gun court model would help to

explain observations and also to shape the development of new initiatives. Most evidence to date

suggests that Philadelphia's Gun Court was developed and implemented without a thorough

understanding of the theoretical reasons for why the program should produce an effect on the

rates of gun violence. However, several sources indicated support for the deterrence effects of

gun court, including the qualitative discussions from Philadelphia's own court personnel. The

preliminary analysis by Philadelphia's Adult Probation and Parole Department (Kurtz et al.,









2007) posits that Gun Court is successfully exerting some deterrent effect in terms of guilty

pleas, conviction rates, and severity of sentences overall, compared to a historical sample of

offenders with similar charges who were not processed through Gun Court. Critically, although

the Gun Court may be exerting an objective deterrent effect that is observable in terms of

aggregate rates, the degree to which past and potential future offenders perceive that deterrent

effect is unknown.

Second, it will be necessary to examine individual-level data including baseline

characteristics, legal factors, and individual offender motivations in order to get a more complete

picture of the type of offender for whom gun court works. For example, although Philadelphia

has adopted a very progressive vision that incorporates rehabilitative, punitive, educative, and

other mechanisms in an effort to achieve maximum impact in response to swelling gun violence,

it is possible that one or more of these mechanisms may be eliminated in order to streamline

jurisprudence and enhance the factors that matter most to gun crime desistence. Thorough

accounting for legal and extra-legal factors may also permit alternative individual-level analysis

using techniques such as propensity score matching in order to model trajectories of gun crime

offenders. Use of propensity scores may help to identify critical differences between Gun Court

defendants and those who engage in violent crime. Drawing these contrasts could lead to

potentially useful information related to transitions and turning points where gun carrying

escalates to gun violence. Alternatively, this information could illustrate potential problems with

selective "cherry picking" of persistently non-violent offenders who are processed through the

Gun Court with an expectation that the program should eventually impact violent crime rates.

Third, although this study demonstrates no significant drop in gun crime rates

corresponding to the introduction of the program, further investigation should be devoted to









multi-site study of the gun court phenomenon. In many ways, it seems that Philadelphia's

overall gun violence problem represents an extreme case compared to many U.S. cities, and it is

plausible to suggest that the Philadelphia model could result in reductions in gun crime rates

elsewhere. Based on the lack of research concerning the impact of other gun courts on gun crime

rates, this would seem to be a logical extension of the efforts to compare the efficacy of various

gun court models. Not only would it be valuable to know whether any other site experienced a

drop in violent gun crime as a result of this type of program, but multi-site evaluations could help

to determine whether individuals experience more positive short- and long-term recidivism

outcomes through different combinations of rehabilitative, educational, and supervisory

conditions.

Conclusion

Seeking to improve American gun policy is a treacherous exercise replete with bad data,

political hype, and baseless knee-jerk reactions. Without adequate information on which gun

violence policies work, policy makers are at a serious disadvantage. Cynics may believe that the

lack of guidance ultimately proves to be irrelevant and policy marches forward unhindered by

such trivialities as accurate evaluation, but the reality is much less pejorative. Politicians must

possess some awareness of program costs, at minimum, if they are to appear accountable to their

constituency, even when program outcomes are exactly as expected. An ideal gun violence

program synthesizes two objectives: first, to have some positive, net effect in reducing gun

violence, and second, to offer some benefit to overall justice system efficiency. If the program

cannot be shown to have an effect on crime rates, but can be shown to save administrative costs

or streamline case processing, then at worst it will remain politically justifiable. One might

envision a scenario in which the "perfect" gun violence intervention can be shown to drive down

crime rates but costs too much; undoubtedly, there will be calls from watchdog groups and









citizens concerned about bloated bureaucracy to cut spending and perform better with fewer

resources. This line of reasoning brings us to the suggestion that cost-conscious policymaking

recommendations stemming from empirical policy evaluations may be more palatable to those in

office. To the extent that criminology research is going to be relevant in policy discussions, it

had better take into account costs in addition to outcomes. This is a persistent concern with

research on crime and delinquency, as balancing these issues is a difficult but important

objective.

In the present-day political and economic climate, gun courts generally seem popular and

well-received by policymakers and by the general public. However, the long-term success of

gun courts may hinge largely on consideration of the cost-benefit analysis attached to the

programs. One of the best things that an evaluator can say about a program is that it is

implemented with minimal cost, and that seems to be the case in Philadelphia as well as in other

jurisdictions. Not only are gun courts relatively inexpensive to implement, but they may actually

justify themselves financially by improving the efficiency with which cases involving guns are

naturally processed and disposed. Further, at least in this example, there seems to be little up-

front investment on the part of police to change strategies or practices where guns are concerned,

another potential cost-savings measure. Most of the cost associated with running a gun court

program seems to be invested on the back-end, where programming and enhanced probation

await defendants who plead guilty or are convicted. Without exception, Philadelphia personnel

believe that the additional investment has had a positive impact and has been worthwhile.

Discussing the relative benefits of gun court programs seems more difficult. The results

from the present study indicate that Philadelphia's Court did not produce a significant drop in

gun crime rates in the 24 months following the program's introduction; however, this may be









accountable to a problem with the dosage rather than the effect itself. Refining the

understanding of any theoretical basis for the Court, investing in the further study of its

individual-level effects while comparing outcomes to those of other sites, and continuing to

develop initiatives consistent with successful programs elsewhere will allow Philadelphia to

make the most of its Gun Court in the future. Although it will never be a "magic bullet" for

ending gun violence, it may add to the tapestry of promising and innovative modern anti-crime

measures.









APPENDIX
DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS AND PARAMETER ESTIMATES
FOR ARIMA REGRESSION MODELS


Table A-1. Descriptive statistics for crime rates in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, 2003-2006.
Crime Rate N Mean Std. Dev. Min Max

Philadelphia
Murder w/ firearm 48 0.898 0.177 0.466 1.336
Robbery w/ firearm 48 11.433 1.898 7.345 16.771
Assault w/ firearm 48 7.794 1.220 5.401 11.054
Weapons charges 48 5.922 1.118 3.931 8.437
Larceny 48 158.000 18.191 108.261 187.329
Motor vehicle theft 48 31.684 4.083 22.601 42.234

Pittsburgh
Murder w/ firearm 48 0.371 0.162 0.123 0.790
Robbery w/ firearm 48 3.986 0.764 2.471 5.654
Assault w/ firearm 48 3.607 0.869 1.598 5.405
Weapons charges 48 3.969 0.738 2.606 6.325
Larceny 48 126.090 12.577 95.123 158.977
Motor vehicle theft 48 14.888 2.479 10.733 21.794









Table A-2. Pearson's correlation matrix for Philadelphia and Pittsburgh crime rates, 2003-2006.
Philadelphia
Murder Robbery w/ Assault Weapons
w/ firearm firearm w/ firearm charges Larceny MV theft
Murder w/ firearm 1.000
Robbery w/ firearm 0.513 1.000
Assault w/ firearm 0.495 0.291 1.000
Weapons charges -0.031 0.063 -0.227 1.000
Larceny 0.588 0.518 0.701 -0.233 1.000
Motor vehicle theft 0.186 0.210 0.249 -0.362 0.542 1.000

Pittsburgh
Murder Robbery w/ Assault Weapons
w/ firearm firearm w/ firearm charges Larceny Mv theft
Murder w/ firearm 1.000
Robbery w/firearm 0.321 1.000
Assault w/firearm 0.007 -0.015 1.000
Weapons charges 0.147 0.047 0.163 1.000
Larceny 0.148 0.072 0.617 0.097 1.000
Motor vehicle theft 0.082 0.138 0.190 -0.233 0.573 1.000









Table A-3. Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) (0,0,0) regression on rate of
murder with firearm in Philadel hia, 2003-2006.
Semi-robust Std. err. z Sig. 95% conf. interval
coefficient
Gun Court
Gun Court 1392623** .0467721 2.98 0.003 .0475907 .230934
Intervention
Constant .8285883** .0287485 28.82 0.000 .7722423 .8849343

Sigma .1603267** .016517 9.71 0.000 .1279541 .1926993

Log pseudolikelihood = 19.75695
Durbin-Watson statistic = 2.136939

Ljung-Box Portmanteau test (Q) statistic = 30.9561
Prob > X2 (22) = 0.0970
* p <0.05; ** p <0.01









Table A-4. Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) (0,0,1) regression on rate of
murder with firearm in Pittsburgh, 2003-2006.
Semi-robust Std. err. z Sig. 95% conf. interval
coefficient
Gun Court
Gun Court .0363136 .0417119 0.87 0.384 -.0454402 .1180674
Intervention
Constant .3526311** .0288172 12.24 0.000 .2961505 .4091117

MA(1) -.1042205 .1235413 -0.84 0.399 -.3463571 .1379161

Sigma .1579112** .0145486 10.85 0.000 .1293965 .1864259

Log pseudolikelihood = 20.47916
Durbin-Watson statistic = 1.976543

Ljung-Box Portmanteau test (Q) statistic = 33.1680
Prob > 2 (22) = 0.0595
* p< 0.05; ** p< 0.01









Table A-5. Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) (1,0,0) regression on rate of
robbery with firearm in Philadelphia, 2003-2006.
Semi-robust Std. err. z Sig. 95% conf. interval
coefficient
Gun Court
Gun Court .6388359 1.212429 0.53 0.598 -1.737481 3.015153
Intervention
Constant 11.14801** .625398 17.83 0.000 9.92225 12.37376

AR(1) .5859808** .1106126 5.30 0.000 .3691841 .8027775

Sigma 1.439649** .2148121 6.70 0.000 1.018625 1.860673

Log pseudolikelihood = -85.81066
Durbin-Watson statistic = 1.851249

Ljung-Box Portmanteau test (Q) statistic = 24.2079
Prob > 2 (22) = 0.3364
* p< 0.05; ** p< 0.01









Table A-6. Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) (1,0,0) regression on rate of
robbery with firearm in Pittsburgh, 2003-2006.
Semi-robust Std. err. z Sig. 95% conf. interval
coefficient
Gun Court
GunCourt -.1583845 .2626517 -0.60 0.546 -.6731724 .3564033
Intervention
Constant 4.074434** .1705628 23.89 0.000 3.740138 4.408731

AR(1) .2171651 .1689105 1.29 0.199 -.1138934 .5482236

Sigma .7338065** .0703531 10.43 0.000 .595917 .871696

Log pseudolikelihood = -53.27674
Durbin-Watson statistic = 1.963485

Ljung-Box Portmanteau test (Q) statistic = 17.8815
Prob > 2 (22) =0.7130
* p< 0.05; ** p< 0.01









Table A-7. Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) (1,3,1) regression on rate of
assault with firearm in Philadelphia, 2003-2006.
Semi-robust Std. err. z Sig. 95% conf. interval
coefficient
Gun Court
Intervention 1.494869 1.14442 1.31 0.191 -.7481534 3.737891
(D3)

AR(1) -.8227789** .0787355 -10.45 0.000 -.9770976 -.6684601
MA(1) -1** 4.25e-08 .0.000 -1 -1

Sigma 1.515851** .1303962 11.62 0.000 1.260279 1.771423

Log pseudolikelihood = -85.64106
Durbin-Watson statistic = 1.932768

Ljung-Box Portmanteau test (Q) statistic = 24.2063
Prob > 2 (20) =0.2335
* p <0.05; ** p <0.01









Table A-8. Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) (1,1,1) regression on rate of
assault with firearm in Pittsburgh, 2003-2006.
Semi-robust Std. err. z Sig. 95% conf. interval
coefficient
Gun Court
Intervention .4310064 .4868028 0.89 0.376 -.5231096 1.385122
(D1)
Constant -.0022323 .0208893 -0.11 0.915 -.0431745 .0387099

AR(1) .4966809** .1233717 4.03 0.000 .2548767 .738485
MA(1) -.999998** 1.76e-06 .0.000 -1.000001 -.9999945

Sigma .7747848** .0800547 9.68 0.000 .6178805 .931689

Log pseudolikelihood = -56.10918
Durbin-Watson statistic = 2.025247

Ljung-Box Portmanteau test (Q) statistic = 26.3017
Prob > 2(21)= 0.1952
* p <0.05; ** p <0.01









Table A-9. Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) (1,0,0) regression on rate of
weapons charges in Philadelphia, 2003-2006.
Semi-robust Std. err. z Sig. 95% conf. interval
coefficient
Gun Court
GunCourt 3050543 .4218577 0.72 0.470 -.5217717 1.13188
Intervention
Constant 5.780761** .2975325 19.43 0.000 5.197608 6.363914

AR(1) .3275148** .1396091 2.35 0.019 .0538859 .6011437

Sigma 1.036466** .0799005 12.97 0.000 .8798635 1.193068

Log pseudolikelihood = -69.88661
Durbin-Watson statistic = 1.869342

Ljung-Box Portmanteau test (Q) statistic = 30.7613
Prob > (22) =0.1011
* p< 0.05; ** p< 0.01









Table A-10. Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average
weapons charges in Pittsburgh 2003-2006


(ARIMA) (2,1,1) regression on rate of


Semi-robust Std. err. z Sig. 95% conf. interval
coefficient
Gun Court
Intervention .777423** .3324179 2.34 0.019 .1258958 1.42895
(D1)
Constant .0045727 .0126232 0.36 0.717 -.0201683 .0293137

AR(1) .3641352** .1235584 2.95 0.003 .1219652 .6063053
AR(2) -.2897068** .1204541 -2.41 0.016 -.5257925 -.0536211
MA(1) -1** 1.33e-07 .0.000 -1 -.9999997

Sigma .5434926** .0717633 7.57 0.000 .402839 .6841462

Log pseudolikelihood = -40.01492
Durbin-Watson statistic = 1.983317

Ljung-Box Portmanteau test (Q) statistic = 19.0987
Prob > x2 (21) = 0.5788
* p< 0.05; ** p< 0.01









Table A-11. Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average
y necral in Philadelphia 2003-2006


(ARIMA) (1,3,1) regression on rate of


Semi-robust Std. err. z Sig. 95% conf. interval
coefficient
Gun Court
Intervention -24.57277 14.27097 -1.72 0.085 -52.54336 3.397815
(D3)

AR(1) -.7910688** .1285108 -6.16 0.000 -1.042945 -.5391922
MA(1) -.9999994** 1.60e-07 .0.000 -.9999998 -.9999991

Sigma 15.62712** 1.805104 8.66 0.000 12.08918 19.16506

Log pseudolikelihood = -190.5365
Durbin-Watson statistic = 1.220392

Ljung-Box Portmanteau test (Q) statistic = 19.3552
Prob > 2 (20) = 0.4989
* p <0.05; ** p <0.01









Table A-12. Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average
la-ceny in Pittsbu-gh 2003-2006


(ARIMA) (4,1,1) regression on rate of


Semi-robust Std. err. z Sig. 95% conf. interval
coefficient
Gun Court
Intervention -.3697098 3.886097 -0.10 0.924 -7.98632 7.2469
(D1)

AR(1) .4532657** .1137372 3.99 0.000 .2303449 .6761865
AR(2) .2363295 .1490729 1.59 0.113 -.055848 .528507
AR(3) -.0555443 .1858012 -0.30 0.765 -.4197079 .3086192
AR(4) -.4022124** .1396428 -2.88 0.004 -.6759072 -.1285175
MA(1) -1.000041** .0000232 0.000 -1.000087 -.9999961

Sigma 9.224559** .8973754 10.28 0.000 7.465736 10.98338

Log pseudolikelihood = -173.4414
Durbin-Watson statistic = 2.098796

Ljung-Box Portmanteau test (Q) statistic = 32.6162
Prob > (21) =0.0506
* p< 0.05; ** p< 0.01









Table A-13. Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) (1,3,0) regression on rate of
motor vehicle theft in Philadelphia, 2003-2006.
Semi-robust Std. err. z Sig. 95% conf. interval
coefficient
Gun Court
Intervention -5.501824 3.521089 -1.56 0.118 -12.40303 1.399384
(D3)

AR(1) -.7719257** .1465206 -5.27 0.000 -1.059101 -.4847506

Sigma 6.346821** .6237289 10.18 0.000 5.124335 7.569307

Log pseudolikelihood = -147.4624
Durbin-Watson statistic = 1.9882

Ljung-Box Portmanteau test (Q) statistic = 28.9697
Prob > 2 (20) = 0.0884
* p < 0.05; ** p < 0.01









Table A-14. Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) (2,1,1) regression on rate of
motor vehicle theft in Pittsburgh, 2003-2006.
Semi-robust Std. err. z Sig. 95% conf. interval
coefficient
Gun Court
Intervention -2.085605 1.093759 -1.91 0.057 -4.229334 .0581228
(D 1)

AR(1) .5327604** .1466591 3.63 0.000 .2453139 .8202069
AR(2) .0965896 .1420133 0.68 0.496 -.1817514 .3749306
MA(1) -1** 3.52e-07 .0.000 -1.000001 -.9999993

Sigma 1.955774** .1709138 11.44 0.000 1.620789 2.290759

Log pseudolikelihood = -99.42135
Durbin-Watson statistic = 1.817656

Ljung-Box Portmanteau test (Q) statistic = 14.5548
Prob > 2 (21) =0.8446
* p <0.05; ** p <0.01










APPENDIX B
FIGURES


Jan-64 Jan-68 Jan-72 Jan-76 Jan-80 Jan-84 Jan-88 Jan-92 Jan-96 Jan-00


Crime Count Aggregated Not Reporting Covered By All Missing One Missing


Figure B-1. Uniform Crime Report: violent crime in Philadelphia, 1960-2004.


Jan-04


3500



3000



2500



2000


1500



1000



500


0 n-
Jan-60












12000


10000



8000



6000



4000



2000



0
Jan-60 Jan-64 Jan-68 Jan-72 Jan-76 Jan-80 Jan-84 Jan-88 Jan-92 Jan-96 Jan-00 Jan-04



Crime Count Aggregated Not Reporting Covered By All Missing OneMissing


Figure B-2. Uniform Crime Report: violent crime in Los Angeles, 1960-2004.












18000


16000


14000


12000


10000


8000


6000


4000


2000


0
Jan-60


Jan-64 Jan-68 Jan-72 Jan-76

-- Crime Count Aggregated-


Jan-80 Jan-84 Jan-88 Jan-92 Jan-96 Jan-00 Jan-04

,Not Reporting Covered By All Missing One Missing


Figure B-3. Uniform Crime Report: violent crime in New York City, 1960-2004.













9000


8000


7000


6000


5000


4000


3000


2000


1000


0
Jan-60 Jan-64 Jan-68 Jan-72 Jan-76 Jan-80 Jan-84 Jan-88 Jan-92 Jan-96 Jan-00 Jan-04

-- Crime Count Aggregated Not Reporting CoveredBy All Missing OneMissing



Figure B-4. Uniform Crime Report: violent crime in Chicago, 1960-2004.













1800


1600

1400


1200

1000


800

600

400

200


0 m
Jan-60 Jan-64 Jan-68 Jan-72 Jan-76 Jan-80 Jan-84 Jan-88 Jan-92 Jan-96 Jan-00 Jan-04


-- Crime Count Aggregated Not Reporting Covered By All Missing One Missing


Figure B-5. Uniform Crime Report: violent crime in Miami, 1960-2004.










U-)










C)
a
E







0


'I

/1 /
J Ij I
SII \ / 1
N,


0 12 24 36 48
Month


I Philadelphia Murder Rate


- Pittsburgh Murder Rate


Figure B-6. Time series line plot: rate of murder with firearm
in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, 2003-2006.


J I \


'-/-"v '










0
CM




U)




(1
o

0
E
O

U)




o


\ /. \ I" / /


0 12 24 36 48
Month


Philadelphia Robbery Rate


- Pittsburgh Robbery Rate


Figure B-7. Time series line plot: rate of robbery with firearm
in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, 2003-2006.


I I
~/ '-".,s *
\/^ /-- ,


/
/ \
v


1N- 1



















0




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0


cr /


1 P,

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0 12 24 36 48
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Philadelphia Assault Rate


- Pittsburgh Assault Rate


Figure B-8. Time series line plot: rate of assault with firearm
in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, 2003-2006.


























\\ \ N
\' \ J
'UI


24
Month


I Philadelphia Weapons Charge Rate


- Pittsburgh Weapons Charge Rate


Figure B-9. Time series line plot: rate of weapons charges
in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, 2003-2006.


vr
C)
a
0








CM


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/ 1%
\


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1 I, ~ 11111/
1
1~


0 12 24 36 48
Month


I Philadelphia Larceny Rate


- Pittsburgh Larceny Rate


Figure B-10. Time series line plot: rate of larceny
in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, 2003-2006.


I,'N
'II



'1


















C)

C)



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6:o
1N


4)
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0 12


Philadelphia MV Theft Rate


----- Pittsburgh MV Theft Rate


Figure B-11. Time series line plot: rate of motor vehicle theft
in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, 2003-2006.


-. \/


I'
/ N


. /


SN


I,


V
"\

/ /


24
Month


S-."/ \-









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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Matt Nobles is a Gainesville native, graduating cum laude from Gainesville High School in

1997. He received a B.S. in psychology with dual minors in business administration and criminology

from the University of Florida in 2001; followed by a B.A. in criminology in 2003; and was elected

to the honor societies of Phi Kappa Phi and Delta Epsilon Iota. After a brief career in information

technology, he returned to graduate school to complete an M.A. in criminology, law and society in

2005 and later worked as a research associate at John Jay College in New York City. Matt begins his

career as a tenure-track Assistant Professor at Washington State University in fall 2008, but he will

always be a Gator at heart.





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1 EVALUATING PHILADELPHIAS GUN COURT: IMPLICATIONS FOR CRIME REDUCTI ON AND SPECIALIZED JURISPRUDENCE By MATTHEW ROBIN NOBLES A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2008

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2 2008 Matthew Robin Nobles

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3 To my family, for sacrificing to provide me with opportunities to think, change, and grow. To Tasha, for reminding me always that dreams do come true.

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank m y parents, grandparents, and all of my extended family for believing not so much in the venture, but in the person. I thank Tasha for all of her love and support, and for telling me what I needed to hear. I thank all of my colleagues and contemporaries in graduate school (especially Jeff, Carrie, and Kate) for making my work more enjoyable and rewarding than I could have ever expected. I thank the current and former faculty in Crimi nology, Law and Society at UF (especially Brian Stults, Karen Parker, Nicky Piquero, and Ron Ak ers) for nurturing a hometown prospect and for always keeping their office doors open. I am ve ry thankful and greatly indebted to my supervisory committee (Chris Gibson, Lonn Lanza-Kaduce, Alex Piquero, and Richard Schneider) for their time, knowledge, accessibility, a nd most of all, patience. No graduate student could hope for better guidance, more insight, or a happier ending.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................................. ..........7LIST OF FIGURES.........................................................................................................................8ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................................9CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION..................................................................................................................112 CRIMINOLOGICAL THEORY............................................................................................ 17Classical Punishment and the Criminal Justice System......................................................... 17Evolution of Deterrence........................................................................................................ ..19Educative Functions of the Courts.......................................................................................... 223 LITERATURE REVIEW.......................................................................................................28What Works and What Doesnt Work in Gun Interventions.................................................. 29Specialized Courts............................................................................................................. .....32Gun Court...............................................................................................................................38Providence, RI Gun Court 1994................................................................................... 39Jefferson County (Birmingham), AL Juvenile Gun Court 1995.................................. 40Detroit, MI Handgun Intervention Program 1993........................................................ 42Hennepin County (Minneapolis), MN Juvenile Gun Program 1995............................ 43Indianapolis, IN Project LIFE 1991............................................................................. 44Seattle, WA Juvenile Firearms Prosecution 1996........................................................45Brooklyn, NY Gun Court 2003....................................................................................45Boston, MA Firearm Prosecution Disposition Sessions 2006...................................... 46International Perspectives................................................................................................47Conclusions.....................................................................................................................494 QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS................................................................................................. 51Program Objectives............................................................................................................. ...51Target Population.............................................................................................................. ......52Context and Implementation................................................................................................... 54Probation and Gun Court........................................................................................................56Program Benefits....................................................................................................................58Assessing Outcomes............................................................................................................. ..61Impact of Gun Court............................................................................................................ ...62

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6 5 QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS..............................................................................................64Data.........................................................................................................................................64Plan of Analysis......................................................................................................................65Methodology...........................................................................................................................67Results.....................................................................................................................................70Multivariate Models........................................................................................................ 71Time Series Plots............................................................................................................. 736 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION.................................................................................... 77Discussion...............................................................................................................................77Implications for Theory and Practice..................................................................................... 80Limitations.................................................................................................................... ..........83Future Research......................................................................................................................86Conclusion..............................................................................................................................88APPENDIX A DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS AND PARAMETER ESTIM ATES FOR ARIMA REGRESSION MODELS...................................................................................................... 91B FIGURES........................................................................................................................ ......105LIST OF REFERENCES.............................................................................................................116BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.......................................................................................................122

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7 LIST OF TABLES Table page A-1 Descriptive statistics for crime ra tes in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, 2003-2006. ............ 91A-2 Pearsons correlation matrix for Philad elphia and Pittsburgh crime rates, 2003-2006..... 92A-3 Autoregressive Integrated Moving Aver age (ARIMA) (0,0,0) regression on rate of murder with firearm in Philadelphia, 2003-2006............................................................... 93A-4 Autoregressive Integrated Moving Aver age (ARIMA) (0,0,1) regression on rate of murder with firearm in Pittsburgh, 2003-2006.................................................................. 94A-5 Autoregressive Integrated Moving Aver age (ARIMA) (1,0,0) regression on rate of robbery with firearm in Philadelphia, 2003-2006..............................................................95A-6 Autoregressive Integrated Moving Aver age (ARIMA) (1,0,0) regression on rate of robbery with firearm in Pittsburgh, 2003-2006................................................................. 96A-7 Autoregressive Integrated Moving Aver age (ARIMA) (1,3,1) regression on rate of assault with firearm in Philadelphia, 2003-2006............................................................... 97A-8 Autoregressive Integrated Moving Aver age (ARIMA) (1,1,1) regression on rate of assault with firearm in Pittsburgh, 2003-2006................................................................... 98A-9 Autoregressive Integrated Moving Aver age (ARIMA) (1,0,0) regression on rate of weapons charges in Philadelphia, 2003-2006....................................................................99A-10 Autoregressive Integrated Moving Aver age (ARIMA) (2,1,1) regression on rate of weapons charges in Pittsburgh, 2003-2006.....................................................................100A-11 Autoregressive Integrated Moving Aver age (ARIMA) (1,3,1) regression on rate of larceny in Philadelphia, 2003-2006................................................................................. 101A-12 Autoregressive Integrated Moving Aver age (ARIMA) (4,1,1) regression on rate of larceny in Pittsburgh, 2003-2006.....................................................................................102A-13 Autoregressive Integrated Moving Aver age (ARIMA) (1,3,0) regression on rate of motor vehicle theft in Philadelphia, 2003-2006...............................................................103A-14 Autoregressive Integrated Moving Aver age (ARIMA) (2,1,1) regression on rate of motor vehicle theft in Pittsburgh, 2003-2006..................................................................104

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8 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page B-1 Uniform Crime Report: violent crime in Philadelphia, 1960-2004. ................................105B-2 Uniform Crime Report: violent crime in Los Angeles, 1960-2004................................. 106B-3 Uniform Crime Report: violent cr ime in New York City, 1960-2004............................107B-4 Uniform Crime Report: violen t crime in Chicago, 1960-2004........................................ 108B-5 Uniform Crime Report: viol ent crime in Miami, 1960-2004.......................................... 109B-6 Time series line plot: rate of murder with firearm in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, 2003-2006........................................................................................................................110B-7 Time series line plot: rate of robbery with firearm in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, 2003-2006........................................................................................................................111B-8 Time series line plot: rate of assau lt with firearm in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, 2003-2006........................................................................................................................112B-9 Time series line plot: rate of wea pons charges in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, 20032006..................................................................................................................................113B-10 Time series line plot: rate of la rceny in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, 2003-2006........... 114B-11 Time series line plot: rate of motor vehicle theft in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, 2003-2006........................................................................................................................115

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9 Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy EVALUATING PHILADELPHIAS GUN COURT: IMPLICATIONS FOR CRIME REDUCTI ON AND SPECIALIZED JURISPRUDENCE By Matthew Robin Nobles August 2008 Chair: Lonn Lanza-Kaduce Cochair: Alex R. Piquero Major: Criminology, Law and Society We evaluated the City of Philadelphia's sp ecialized problem-solving gun court. The gun court program began in 2005, and features mandatory treatment elements in addition to enhanced processing celerity and intensive supervision protocols, with the ultimate goal of impacting aggregate levels of gun violence in Phila delphia. Although gun policy research from criminology and other fields has examined a variety of gun violence interventions with different levels of success, to date there are no peer-rev iewed evaluations of a gun court program in the literature. Meanwhile, gun courts continue their expansion into ju risdictions of all sizes with varying levels of social problem s, from Providence, Rhode Island (home to the nation's first gun court in 1994) to relatively newer programs in cluding New York City (2003) and Boston (2006). This study first describes Philadelphias Gun Cour t program, reviews deterrence theory broadly implicated in anti-crime programs, and recount s what works and whats promising in anti-gun interventions. It then presents an interrupted time series analys is to determine whether there are statistically significant treatment effects observed in Philadelphia after the intervention. The analysis includes a comparison site (Pittsburgh) and non-gun crime series while implementing the proper controls for autocorr elation, seasonality, and non-stati onarity. Results indicate that there are no statistically significant declines in the aggregate rates of four gun-related crime

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10 categories in Philadelphia in th e 24 months after the introduction of the court program, although this finding does not necessarily preclude indi vidual-level effects for offenders processed through gun court. Implications for gun polic y and problem-solving courts are discussed.

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11 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION In 2004, Philadelphias hom icide rate per 100,000 residents was the highest among the 10 largest cities in Amer ica, and many, including the citys Po lice Commissioner, characterize the pervasiveness of violence as fundamentally a gun problem (Moore, 2005). Pennsylvania has experienced a distinct increase in violent crimes since 2003, with an increase in violent incidents over 12%. Comparatively, the violent crime inci dents nationwide have fallen 0.4% from 2002 to 2006. Moreover, property crimes in the state have increased slightly less than three percent over the same period, while the national trend has been a 4.5% drop. In the context of national crime trends spanning several decades, the magnitude of Philadelphias violence problem becomes eviden t. Figures B-1 through B-5 illustrate UCR violent crime from 1960-2004 in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, and Miami, respectively. While other cities show steep declines in violence through the 1990s, Philadelphias trend is predominately level with a modestly positive slope, indicating that violence there has not abated in step with other major urban cent ers and appears to be slightly increasing over time. These trends indicate th at Philadelphia has, so mewhat against the odds, increased both the incidence and the severity of its crime problem in recent years while similar rates have declined nationwide. To address the concentration of illegal guns and the climbing rates of gun violence, Philadelphia instituted a specia lized gun court program to pro cess only non-violent firearms offenders. Essentially, individu als who were caught in possession of an unlicensed firearm but who did not stand accused of using that weapon in the commission of another, more serious crime were eligible for gun court. This distin ction between a population of offenders considered to be at-risk for future violen ce (as compared to those known to be violent, evidenced by pending

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12 charges for robbery, assault, or homicide) is cri tical: as originally con ceived, the gun court model attempts to prevent firearm violence rather than si mply to punish it. The purpose of this study is to describe the foundational elements of th e Philadelphia Gun Court, examine potential theoretical mechanisms for its e fficacy, and finally to gauge the relative impact of the Gun Court on aggregate rates of gun violence in Philadelphia. Philadelphias Gun Court The Philadelphia Court opened to som e public ity and to lofty expectations in January 2005. Local and national media covered the debut, which seemed to accompany mixed feelings of optimism, cynicism, and desperation on the part of local officials. A quotation by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Sylvester M. J ohnson in the Philadelphia Inquirer was typical: If the gun court takes the issue of guns seriously, I dont see how it cant help. Eighty percent of our homicides are by handguns. Anything we do will help, because nothing else has (Clark, 2005a). Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham, meanwhile, underscored the programs prevention message in a feature for the Associated Press: We are trying to prevent them from ever offending again. By focusing on intense tracking and tracing and supervision, we might dissuade this person from thinking it is okay to carry a gun (Caruso, 2005a, 2005b). In retrospect, the expectations for the program may ha ve been somewhat disjointed from the reality of the gun violence problem in the Philadelphia area. True, the various provisions of the program seemed to orient the Court correctly in light of the success of other specialized court models, including drug courts and mental health courts (see Berman & Gulick, 2003; Goldkamp et al., 2001). However, what the program was attempting in 2005 had never before been attempted with adult offenders in a city w ith such a pervasive gun violence problem. A comprehensive approach was necessary.

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13 The Philadelphia Gun Court prog ram involves directly reduci ng the number of illegal guns in the city (supply-side interv ention) while simultaneously addressing gun safety, education, and violence prevention (demand-side intervention). Both of these approaches are premised on a theoretical model that attacks the problem in se veral different ways, including a strong emphasis on both general and specific deterrence. The re sulting program attempts to be simultaneously oriented toward rehabilitation a nd incapacitation. This dissertation reviews the extant literature on gun courts, discusses the three-phase Philadelphia system, and pr ovides a preliminary analysis of the trends for key violent a nd non-violent crimes involving fir earms during its first two years of operation. Philadelphias Gun Court has some program features that mirror gun courts in other jurisdictions. Chief among these features is th e objective and intent of the program itself: a reduction in gun violence. On th e Philadelphia Adult Probation and Parole Department website, a Gun Court fact sheet (2005) reads: The Philadelphia Gun Court (G un Court) is constituted in response to the increasing number of weapons offenses being committed in Philadelphia and the inherent danger to the community when weapons are possessed on th e streets illegally. Gun Court will focus on educating the defendant about gun safety a nd provide the infrastruc ture for direct and immediate response to defendants who violate Court Orders and w ho are recidivists. By consolidating all gun cases where the most serious charge is a Violation of Uniform Firearms Act (VUFA) onto one Common Pleas Court docket, the assets needed for a prompt adjudication of these types of offenses will be consolidated and the coordination of the efforts by numerous agencies and non-pr ofit organizations in reducing the number of illegal guns on the streets of Philadelphia will be improved. Thus, the Gun Court program should be evaluated with respect to these conditional parameters: first, the degree to which it educates defendant s about gun safety; second, the degree to which it provides infrastructure to punish Court Order violators and recidivi sts; third, the degree to which prompt adjudication facilitates il legal gun seizures. Theoreticall y, if Gun Court accomplishes its stated mission, then the observed rate of the outco me of interest, namely the overall levels of gun

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14 crime in Philadelphia, should show a statistically significant dec line after the introduction of the intervention. In important legal process-oriented ways, Gun Court is different from Philadelphias Court of Common Pleas. Among the most salient differences is the time to disposition. Under the traditional system, defendants processed through the Court of Common Pleas are required to participate in a separate schedul ing conference after th e initial pre-trial conference in order to have a trial type and court date set. In Gun Cour t, the trial type and cour t date are decided at the pre-trial conference, eliminating one step a nd several weeks from the trial life-cycle. Consequently, Gun Court has an estimated 120 days from arraignment to disposition, compared to 180 days for Common Pleas (P hiladelphia Adult Probation and Parole Department, 2005). The reduced processing time is considered one of the measures for fast tracking defendants. In addition to saving system costs overall, the reduction in time from arrest to trial indicates greater celerity in the legal process. Gun Court also differs from Philadelphia s Court of Common Pleas in terms of the conditions for bail, probation, and parole. First, case manager contacts for Gun Court defendants are increased to a weekly schedule at minimu m. This exceeds the requirement for Common Pleas defendants. Second, Gun Court defenda nts are required to complete a gun education program, which may include signing a firearm surre nder agreement before the Gun Court judge, submitting to increased drug surveillance, and being subjected to electronic monitoring. For Gun Court offenders sentenced to probation or rel eased on parole, the conditions and requirements exceed those of the Court of Common Pleas. In addition to all CP conditions, Gun Court defendants must (a) maintain weekly contact with their probation/pa role officer, (b) be subject to home visits through target patr ol in cooperation with the Phil adelphia Police Department, (c)

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15 continue their mandatory firearms violence ed ucation program, (d) subm it to increased random drug detection, (e) complete c onflict resolution/anger manageme nt counseling, (f) complete 2050 hours of community service, a nd (g) attend status hearings be fore their sentencing judge to review compliance with all ma ndatory conditions (Philadelphi a Adult Probation and Parole Department, 2005). In effect, the conditions of probation/parole for Gun Court offenders represent an intensive superv ision program (ISP), which ha s implications for measuring recidivism success rates in th e post-conviction period (Clear & Hardyman, 1990; Petersilia & Turner, 1990; Petersilia & Turn er, 1993). The intention here is for Gun Court to improve upon standard probation/parole conditions by more consistently addr essing several conditions that could precipitate involvement in gun violence including substance abuse and unemployment. Though not explicitly stated by local official s, the underlying theory and mechanisms associated with the Philadelphia Gun Court provi de important lessons about criminal justice interventions and anti-gun programs specifically. As more communities push to develop specialized gun courts of their ow n, the relative merits and costs of these interventions requires careful consideration. This study addresses a sizable gap in the empirical literat ure in several ways. First, the critical elements of crim inological theory affecting the development and efficacy of gun court models are outlined. This revi ew includes elements of deterrence theory as well as a discussion of the educativ e effects of courts and the lega l system in general. Second, it characterizes various approaches in criminal justice interventions re lated to gun violence, identifying what works with respect to guns. It also elaborates on the development of specialized courts that focus on a variety of social issues, ranging from substance abuse to domestic violence, and draws atte ntion to the distinctive features of several gun court models in existence in the United States and abroad. Thir d, it introduces qualitative data from judges and

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16 court staff regarding the context and implemen tation of the Courts introduction in 2005. Finally, it presents quantitative analysis demonstra ting the nature and magnitude of impact that the Court had on gun violence in the Philadelphia area during its first two years of operation.

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17 CHAPTER 2 CRIMINOLOGICAL THEORY Though not an explicit test of crim inological theo ry, this study is set against a theoretical backdrop that involves the princi ple of deterrence. Deterrence, defined as the use of negative consequences to discourage criminal behavior, can be operationalized an d measured at both the individual and the aggregate unit of analysis. At the individual level, deterrence represents the choice to avoid crime altogether or to desist fr om crime after being caught and punished. In the aggregate, deterrence may be inferred from decreased rates of crime over time that correspond to identified changes in legislation, policy, or enforcement. Like most anti-crime interventions, Ph iladelphias Gun Court program operates theoretically through both general and specific deterrence. To the extent that Gun Court is positioned as a get tough measure aimed at ill egal guns and gun violence, it promotes general deterrence by promising harsher sentences and fewer offenders slipping through the cracks. Additionally, it supports th e principle of specific deterrence by punishing offenders considered to be most at-risk for involvement in gun-related cr ime. In addition to the deterrence value, both general and specific, of the program, there may be ancillary benefits from offender rehabilitation (related to the treatment components) and incapacitation (of both the offenders illegally possessed firearms and of offenders themselves). Each of these prin ciples of justice and punishment is supported by a vast collection of literature dating back more than 200 years. Classical Punishment and th e Criminal Justice System The m ost influential theoretical perspec tives underpinning the Am erican system of criminal justice is that of deterrence. Ev er since the Nixon era, Americans (and American politicians) have had a persistent desire to be ever tougher on crime and on criminals, and this perspective has been especially evident in policie s intended to curb violent crime. Legislative

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18 initiatives such as three strikes laws are pr emised on the belief that criminals recognize the severity of punishment for a range of crimes, and are deterred generally by the belief that they will be caught, convicted, and sentenced for their transgressions. Also, deterrence posits that individuals who are punished rec ognize the consequences of their past criminal activities and will be dissuaded from repeating their offenses in the future. The origins of deterrence theory stretch back for hundreds of y ears to classical conceptions about philosophy and the nature of law. Some of the foundational writings on deterrence came from classical philosophers. Thomas H obbes (1588-1679), John Locke (1632-1704), and JeanJacques Rousseau (1712-1778) took various persp ectives on the nature of mankind and his role in society, stating respectively that man was bad and fundamentally se lfish, man was a blank slate and the product of his environment, and that man and society existe d due to the logic of reason. Bentham (1789) stated that society itsel f is an expression of mans free will, while sociologists like Durkheim (1893) commented on th e role of law and punishment in society. Each perspective has distinctive implications fo r the role of government, and more specifically, law and justice, within societies. Depending on which perspective dominated public thinking and discourse of the time, society either did or did not possess the authorit y to punish; it did or did not possess the moral obligation to do so; and that authority did or did not pose a risk for potential abuses. The evolution of modern sy stems of justice is shaped to a large degree by these fundamental perspectives. However, challe nges related to the cr eation, application, and enforcement of law appeared along with the r ealization that models of justice required uniformity and relative consistency between jurisdictions. The dominant thinking eventually adapted to support the governments position of cen tralized custodial authority and responsibility

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19 in maintaining the rule of law in society. B eccaria (1764) outlined princi ples of deterrence in one of the most instrumental early writings, On Crimes and Punishments In it, he stated that punishment should be proportional to crime, it shoul d be codified in law, and it should have appropriate certainty, severity, a nd celerity. Thus was born the most influential perspective on the principle of deterrence, one that has survive d, largely intact and rarely challenged in public forums. Evolution of Deterrence Em pirical research exploring th e nature and persistence of de terrence and its relationship to particular types of crime has enjoyed a long hi story in criminology and sociology. In an early work, Tittle (1969) describes a st rong and consistent negative a ssociation between certainty of punishment and crime rates, while a negative as sociation between severity of punishment and crime is observed only for homicide. Chiricos & Waldo (1970) simila rly use UCR data to demonstrate that the relationship between rates of crime and certainty and severity of punishment are variable over time and among offenses. Thes e examples suggest that deterrence is not a constant, and that considerable variability exists in the relationships be tween crime types and the certainty, celerity, and severity of punishment. A major focus of deterrence res earch in criminology has been the role of perception, given that deterrence may be more or less tangible under different circumstances, even though it is theoretically omnipresen t. Using self-reported crime data, Erickson et al. (1977) show a close inverse relationship between perc eived certainty of punishment a nd rates of self-reported acts. However, the authors also note that perceived ce rtainty of punishment and the severity of selfreported acts are highly collinear making differentiation of effect s impossible. This finding is explicated later by Patern oster et al. (1983), who attack the use of correlational data in deterrence research, suggesting that it confus es causal ordering and fails to account for spurious factors.

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20 They conclude that correlational a ssociations show experiential eff ects, or those effects related to offenders prior behavior, rather than deterrent effects. They also state that the effect of perceived sanctions on crime is minimal once in formal social factors (moral commitment, informal sanction) are controlled. Paternoster (1987) follows his original critique of the empirical investigation of dete rrence with a review of knowle dge on the role of perceived certainty and severity of punishment in dete rring crime. He shows support for perceptual deterrence with correlations, but again notes that it is probably ma nifesting experiential effects rather than deterrent effects. Further, the auth or states that fully spec ified panel designs that successfully account for time order demonstrate th at the effects for cer tainty and severity disappear. Evidence supporting deterrence as a function of the criminal ju stice system is ample but somewhat qualified. Smith & Gartin (1989), for ex ample, track arrests for a male cohort through age 25 to address whether arrest amplifies or dete rs future criminality, and whether the timing of the arrest matters for future rate, duration, and de sistence for crime. Their analysis finds support for specific deterrence, but they conclude that the principle wo rks differently for novice (e.g., arrest results in desistence) vs. experienced o ffenders (e.g., arrest result s in reduced rates of future offending). Simpson & Koper (1992) ex amine deterrence for corporate crime by studying companies with antitrust viola tions. Evidence from their examin ation supports deterrent effects for civil, criminal, and administrative penalties while controlling for change s in antitrust law as well as economic conditions for the firm, industr y, and economy. However, they conclude that the effect size for industry charac teristics is stronger than formal sanction risk or consequence in determining future illegality, sugg esting that deterrence may not be the most critical principle influencing the decision to violate the law. Indeed, Burkett & Ward (1993) argue that moral

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21 condemnation conditions deterrent effects that co me from perceived risk of legal punishment, implicating the relationship of th e individual to his or her peers, family, community, and society in shaping the impact of dete rrence on criminal decision-making. In one of the most widely cited works pert aining to deterrence, Na gin (1998) describes consistent support for deterrent effects from the criminal justice system, but laments gaps in knowledge and research that make it possible to link deterrence to polic y. Specifically, he argues that (1) research does not account for both short-term and long-term effects of policy; (2) there is little knowledge about sa nction risk perception and policy; (3) data is based largely on governmental unit, not place and time; and (4) links between intended and actual policy is limited. Each of these criticisms can be taken at the macro level, describing the state of the field, or at the micro level, as a guide for shaping futu re deterrence/policy resear ch. Nagin seems to be arguing for empirical investigati on that highlights process evalua tion (e.g., does a policy do what it is intended to do, is any observable effect persistent over time, and is policy impact measured for a true and accurate unit of analysis rather than for a convenient but arbitrary one). Despite the attention given to deterrence in th e empirical literature, disagreement about the role of deterrence in specific types of criminal justice interventions remains. Perhaps nowhere is this disagreement more zealous ly undertaken than in the gun policy arena, where consensus about a great many issues is lacking. In the context of public opinion, gun violence is as prevalent as it has ever been, de spite what objective evidence fr om crime trends shows. This environment has served as a catalyst for i nnumerable new anti-gun policies, most grounded firmly in principles of deterrence, both genera l and specific. Generally speaking, to the extent that perceptual deterrence re mains high (Chiricos & Waldo, 1970; Erickson et al., 1977) and moral condemnation conditions deterrence (Bur kett & Ward, 1993), community interventions

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22 and criminal justice initiatives may be successful but those effects will likely vary as a function of offenders experience (Paternoster, 1987; Sm ith & Gartin, 1989), and it still may not be the most important factor predicting criminal deviance (Simpson & Koper, 1992). For anti-gun interventions specifically, the de terrent value of a given program depends on public perception, both related to the severity of the gun problem (when this wanes, it becomes someone elses problem and deterrence may decrease) and the ce rtainty, severity, and celerity of punishment. Educative Functions of the Courts Though the deterrence doctrine is the m ost direct route through which the legal apparatus exerts its control on human behavi or, there are alternat ive explanations for the establishment and maintenance of order. These alternatives, it s eems, are less likely to be touted by policymakers who are eager to embrace a retributive perspective on crime, especially violent crime. Their potential benefits, however, are important in considering the pot ential value of a specialized court designed to addr ess guns on the streets. The simplest possibility is that the courts and the legal system generally fulfill a role as educators in a direct sense (e.g., through court-ordered trai ning or other means intended primarily to make offenders aware of the law and the consequences of breaking it). When considering a specialized court designed around a social problem such as domestic violence or illegal guns, that instruction neces sarily includes clarification on th e letter of the law as well as its underlying logic. For example, an otherwis e law-abiding first time offender arrested for illegal gun possession and processed through a gun court may have in fact legally possessed his firearm while inside his home or vehicle, but when he carried it in public in a concealed fashion, he violated the law. In this case, the court may fulfill an educative role by mandating courtordered firearms safety traini ng and sentencing the offender to time served. If the courts educative function is fully reali zed, the offender should (1) gain a complete understanding of the

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23 nuances of the law; (2) be made aware of th e potential risks involved in illegally carrying a firearm in public, specifically rela ted to violence escalation and the dangers of gun-carrying; and (3) be prevented from reoffending in the future The process by which future compliance is ensured is not deterrence per se, because the o ffender is not engaging in a process of rational calculus about the potential benefits and penalties for illegal firearm possession; in fact, it is possible that deterrence in the classical sense has not been achieved at all because the individual is not fearful of being punished, though the objec tive of the court has been reached because the individual is unlikely to reoffend. Not all courts seek to incorporate a direct instructional component into the sentencing process, perhaps because it would be perceived as lending credence to some defendants claims that they are only guilty insofar as they were ignorant of the law. On a more basic level, the legal system can influence attitudes and beha viors with an implied moralistic component. Tappan (1960) wrote of the educative-moralizin g function of the law, which he suggested transcended the effects of rational or direct instruction and extended to influence attitudes. This concept is also summarized by Andenaes (1971), who ties the educative f unctions of the legal system to the inherent limitations of general de terrence, namely that it appears to work well sometimes and not well at other times, because of individual-level, group-level, and even societal variation in how people react to the threat of punishment. Th e author posits that general deterrence is conceptually lim ited, and contends that general prevention that incorporates a moralistic component is of greater value because it functions even in the absence of perceived punishment. Andenaes (1971) suggests that th e educative function of the la w includes several direct and indirect effects. In a direct fashion, these e ffects include (a) respect for the law; (b) seeing

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24 criminal law as a moral eye opener; (c) unders tanding that punishment is an authoritative statement of badness; and (d) acknowledging that imprisonment carri es a moral stigma. Each of these effects speaks to the larger interrelations hip between the individual and the legal system, and collectively they represent a process of negotiation that in fluences our attitudes about the relative legitimate authority (p. 25) of the legal apparatus. Further, Andanaes describes indirect educative effect s of the law, including (1) punishment as neutralizing the bad example; and (2) criminal law shapes the framework fo r moral education. Thes e aspects specifically address observed and vicarious experiences with la w violation as well as the extra-legal context in which individuals learn the fundamental distinctions between right and wrong. In sum, the legal system educates by changing associations of right and wrong to be c onsistent with societal consensus and by conveying opinions of legitima cy and authority for the rule of law. An alternative view posits that controlling structures, such as the government or the legal system, achieve and maintain power through pro cedural fairness, which results in legitimacy (Tyler, 2006). In this sense, the relationship between the indi vidual (offender) and society (the legal system) has little to do with instrumental deterrence or education per se, but rather is a representation of respect a nd deference for the larger rule of law. This respect translates into an investment in the legal system and behavioral comp liance for most offenders. To the extent that the public maintains a largely cons istent view of the court as a fair and legitimate authority, its power will persist and crime will be largely prev ented. Relatedly, Sherman (1993) explains that this procedural justice and le gitimacy phenomenon is central to acknowledging shame in the process of punishment. Individu als who perceive that they are not treated fairly in the legal system are likely to be defiant and are un likely to be deterred from future crime.

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25 Yet another possibility is that the legal sy stem reinforces and validates widely held normative expectations of right and wrong. The function of the le gal system as a process of normative validation has its roots in the wo rk of Durkheim (1960), who wrote extensively about the nature of the collectiv e conscience and the various imp lications of its violation. To Durkheim, justice evolved within societies be cause it was the will of the people that their consensus expectations with re gard to moral conduct be obser ved and upheld. Following this line of reasoning, the court system acts as a valida tion for collective conscien ce as codified in the law. Erickson et al. (1984) provide a basic test of the normativ e validation hypothesis with juveniles self-reported a ssessments of the seriousness of le gal sanctions after being processed through a hands off juvenile court. Their an alysis revealed that ad olescents who had been caught and processed in such a court had lower pe rceived severity of sanctions than those who were never caught or punished. The authors conc luded that this finding supported the notion of normative erosion, which occurs when delinquent or criminal behavior is observed (firsthand, in this case) but not punished. T hus, the court experience teache s and conditions delinquent youth in a particular way: when the court adopts a more lenient position, the defendants may come to recognize that they can successfully violate the la w without fear of reproach. The authors also speculate that the normative erosion may spread beyond the i ndividuals processed through the court, creating a general normative erosion effect for friends and acquaintan ces. It is important to note that the normative erosi on hypothesis is not a direct an alogue to specific deterrence. Though the machinery may be similar in that both processes involve learning and reinforcement, the key distinction lies with the differences be tween norms and laws. Deterrence is based on a straightforward principle of cau se (violation) and effect (punishment), while norms are more

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26 abstract and based on a larger conception of free will and societal expectations. To the extent that the courts have some influence over norma tive erosion, they may be implicated in an ongoing process of normative development, erosion, and reformation. A final possibility is that the legal system serves educative functi ons not by conveying simple knowledge of the law or shaping attitudes consistent with societys views of right and wrong, but by making offenders realize that they are hurting the community to which they belong. The major mechanism for this process is a circular process of shaming and reintegration. Garfinkel (1956) described trials and other aspects of the crimin al justice system as status degradation ceremonies, intended to shame offenders and subject them to the humiliation of public disgrace in addition to their more materi al punishments. Schur (1971) applied labeling theory to the criminal justice system to charac terize how offenders negotiate a deviant label in the trial process, resulting in role engulfment w ith the newly applied deviant master status. Each of these perspectives suggests a more cynica l educative role, one in which the education involves the message that offenders are unw anted and unequal to the moral majority. Reintegration offers a more hopeful outlook on the shaming process. Work by Braithwaite (1989) describes reintegration as a process of making the offender, the victim, and the community whole again through the trial and punishment phases. In contrast to a disintegrative process that involves persistent stigmatization, resulting in denial of routes to pro-social adaptation and increases recidivism likelihood, reintegration establishes wrongfulness, attempts to restore the offender to pre-crime status, a nd theoretically reduces recidivism likelihood. Disintegrative shaming, therefore, is similar in some ways to other theoretical frameworks involving procedural justice in that it emphasizes retribution rather than fairness and equality. In the context of the educative role of the courts, the message to offenders is markedly different:

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27 instead of conveying that offenders are unwort hy and unwanted, it holds pr omise that people can recapture their better nature and return to a point of respect and productivity in their community. At least one empirical test sugge sts that, compared to disinteg rative shaming processes, the reintegration approach results in a stronger positive effect on future compliance (Makkai & Braithwaite, 1994).

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28 CHAPTER 3 LITERATURE REVIEW The variety and breadth of gun violence interven tions in the United States is staggering. Program s ranging from the massive, federally-f unded Project Safe Nei ghborhoods to virtually unfunded community mobilization e fforts all take aim at reduci ng gun violence through supplyside restrictions, demand-side interventions or some combination of the two. These interventions take diverse forms, including legi slative (adopting new laws, such as shall-issue carry permit legislation), policing (such as targeting guns through directed enforcement and eliminating illegal gun markets), and judicial (revisi ng sentencing guidelines to get tough on convicted gun offenders). A thorough review of extant literature on all types of gun violence reveals a lack of consensus on the presence, natu re, and magnitude of observable change in gun violence as a result of various types of interventions. One r eason for this lack of cons ensus is that empirical support, where it exists, is de cidedly mixed. When evidence on gun-violence initiatives is subjected to careful tests of scie ntific rigor, the available information is extremely limited: some programs are believed to be promising, while other programs are believe d to have no effect whatsoever (Sherman, 2001a). Results from dir ected police patrol targeting illegal guns, for example, fall into the former category (Sherman & Rogan, 1995; McGarrell et al., 2001; Ludwig, 2005), while gun buyback programs in American ci ties occupy the latter (Rosenfeld, 1995; Callahan et. al, 1995), though buybacks may functi on as hypothesized ou tside of the United States (Ozanne-Smith et al., 2004) The relative dearth of syst ematic, multi-faceted empirical investigation into program efficacy complicates po licy decisions, especially in light of shrinking public funds for interventions that are increasingly devoted to anti-terrorism and public safety readiness.

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29 What Works and What Doesnt W ork in Gun Interventions In a commentary and update of earlier review s of what works in gun violence reduction research (Sherman, 2001b), Pi quero (2006) states that gun policy research shows many interventions have no effect on violence levels. Exceptions include directed police enforcement, interventions that increase cer tainty of punishment, and the di sruption of certain supply-side factors (e.g., gun markets). Als o, he argues that interventions that enjoy community support and cooperation are more likely to be successfully implemented and to have the desired effect on crime levels. In terms of applying principles of deterrence, these statements make perfect sense: directed police patrols and other measures that increase certainty raise general and specific deterrence, while community interventions ad dress moral condemnation indirectly through informal means of social control. Targeted policing patrols focused on searches and seizures of illega l guns have potential, based on studies in at least two locations. In Kansas City, Sherman & Rogan (1995) reported narrowly focused patrols intended to detect a nd confiscate illegally car ried guns resulted in a 65% increase in firearms seizures and a 49% reduction in gun crimes, with no evidence for crime displacement into neighboring ar eas. A replication in Indiana polis found support for targeted patrol as well, and concluded th at a general deterrenc e strategy employing more frequent traffic stops in the same area showed no effect (McGar rell et al., 2001). Essentially, disrupting the supply-side of the illegal gun equatio n appears to result in a direct effect on gun crime, at least in the short-term. Not all supply-side interventions have found support in subsequent evaluations. In a review of epidemiological and experimental research on reducing gun violence, Sherman (2001) concludes that at leas t one type of intervention, the gun buyback program, does not work to reduce gun violence levels. He comments that buyback programs are extremely expensive and

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30 generally not focused on areas prone to especi ally high gun violence be fore the intervention, suggesting that the intent of the program, while honorable, is either misguided or perhaps poorly executed. Even in communities afflicted by higher-t han-normal gun violence rates, there is little evidence to support an effect from gun buybacks. Rosenfeld (1995) examined two gun buyback programs in St. Louis in 1991 and 1994, togeth er netting nearly 9,000 guns removed from circulation. He concludes that rates of gun homicide and assa ult were not affected by the buyback intervention relative to pre-buyback rates. An evaluation of a similar gun buyback program in Seattle shows a slight increase in gun crime rates over pre-intervention levels (Callahan et al., 1995). Like the fundamental premise of the crim inal justice system itself, most anti-gun interventions judged to be successful in affecting violent crime rates rely on one or more aspects of deterrence. The Boston Gun Projects Operation Ceasefire dealt with gun vi olence as part of a problem-oriented policing (POP) strategy. The POP approach involves identifying a problem requiring police attention and addressing it in a variety of ways, including innovative approaches, in order to measure, quantify, analyze, and adjust policing efforts (Goldstein, 1979). Specifically, the Operation Ceasefire interventi on incorporated a new focus on youth violence with guns, and included a variety of enforcem ent tactics related to gun trafficking. By identifying sources of intrastate and interstate gun suppliers a nd restoring serial numbers for altered and later confiscated fi rearms, police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were able to paint a more complete picture of the supply-side logistic s of moving and selling illegal guns. Also, they targeted local gangs in Boston known to e ngage in the highest levels of gun violence, sending the message through formal m eetings as well as informal contacts that gun violence would not be tolerated. When violence did occur, Ceasefire units worked quickly to

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31 crack down on it. They were not, however, c oncerned with disrupting other aspects of the gangs criminal enterprise. Thus, in additi on to acquiring a greater degree of criminal intelligence about the sources and destinations for illegal guns moving in and out of Boston, Ceasefire officials were relying on a message of heightened deterr ence, tied specifically to gun violence (Kennedy et al., 1996). Evaluations of Operation Ceasefire have demonstrated some support in the literature. At least two studies, co-authored by the programs directors, show reductions in levels of violent crime compared to other similarly-sized American cities (Braga et al., 2001; Piehl et al., 2000). Elsewhere, other anti-gun programs relied even more heavily in a systematic and concentrated message of deterrence. Richmond s Project Exile combined enhanced sentencing for gun offenders with a targeted (yet massive) public advertising campaign intended to drive home the message that gun crime results in se vere criminal justice repercussions. Although Project Exiles theoretical value is tied to th e general and specific deterrent effects from the combined tougher sentences and mass-marketing, an evaluation of the programs effects found little support for these assumptions. Raphael & Ludwig (2003) examine the effects of Exile on homicide rates in Richmond after the intervention and conclude that alth ough homicide rates did fall in the intervention period, it was more likely the result of a return to baseline crime levels after a decade of higher-than-average rates. Some studies have attempted to compare effects across several different anti-gun interventions. A comprehensive review of the impact of Operation Ceasefire, Compstat, and Project Exile on homicides concluded with only limited support for Ceasefire and Exile, though that support was tempered by relatively few overall incidents, suggesting th at the results require replication to fully establish in tervention effect magnitude (Ros enfeld et al., 2005). In sum,

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32 although there appears to be an effect on violen ce coincident with two of three different gunrelated interventions, the effects the interventions exert may be too small to measure or too small to impact violence rates in a systematic fashion. Specialized Courts Specialized courts tailored to particu lar j udicial or social chal lenges are by no means a modern contrivance. Goldkamp (2000) notes that more than a hundred years of opinion underlies the specialized court pr actice, but solid evaluations of these programs have only been around perhaps twenty years1. Berman & Feinblatt (2001) obser ve that the beginnings of the specialized court movement coincided with seve ral notable issues in justice administration generally, including the inability of other governmental efforts to curb rising social problems, the nations upward-trending incarcera tion rate, and renewed attenti on toward public accountability for justice agencies. Further, Fagan & Malk in (2003) comment that the specialized court movement can be theorized as an outgrowth of the movement toward greater community justice, which emphasizes greater extern al scrutiny, vested partnerships between the community and the court, and a shared interest in the application of restorative justice. The combination of these factors not only impacts outcomes in terms of recidivism or treatment efficacy, but also strengthens the mechanisms of justice by buildi ng the strength and legitim acy of the court with an interactive, grassroots approach. However, not all experts concur about the bene fits of the specialized court model. Some scholars, for example, point to an overly hasty ju mp to specialize every soci al ill, possibly at the expense of reasonable doubts as to program e ffectiveness (McCoy, 2003). Some suggest that 1 For the purposes of this review, ordinary juvenile courts are excluded from scrutiny, as they possess a lengthy history and an entirely separate apparatus within the crim inal justice system. For ea rly commentary on juvenile court, see Mack (1909).

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33 specialized courts, in their co llective attempt to aggressively combat unique social problems while simultaneously decrease system costs, may be stuck in a conflict of interest (Mirchandani, 2005). Still others report that th e actors in specialized courts are concerned about compromising their role as legal advocates for their clients, and that classical jus tice is being replaced by speedy and efficient case dispositions (Davis, 20 03; Lane, 2003). While the relative cost vs. benefit of any given specialized court program is a murky and complex question to address, a central concern for all such programs is whether these elements combine to produce a net benefit for the communities in which they are implem ented. The development of a growing body of literature on specialized court pr ograms owes to the recent trend in popularity for a variety of specialized courts, beginning in th e early 1990s. Since then, a variet y of specialized courts have been described and evaluated in increasingly rigorous ways, incl uding adult drug courts, juvenile drug courts, mental health cour ts, and domestic violence courts, with most evaluations concluding that the specialized c ourt has one or more pro-social effects in terms of individual recidivism or aggregate crime re duction. A review of several di fferent types of problem-solving court interventions by Berman & Gulick (2003) indicates considerable promise for the concept, as demonstrated by several preliminary evaluations that show generally positive but not dramatic results. The authors conclude that these preliminary results have largely driven the proliferation of these courts in the past two decades. A fundamental question in any evaluation of a specialized court prog ram is exactly what definition of specialized court is to be used. Berman & Feinblatt (200 1) describe five basic elements common to specialized court programs, re gardless of the specific problem that is being addressed. First, all courts are concerned with case outcomes. Outcomes may be operationalized in a variety of ways, including re cidivism rates, completion of treatment, or

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34 community-level reductions in cr ime. Second, all specialized courts feature some level of system change. This involves changing the basic approach to the social problem, usually from a primarily retributive viewpoint to one that incorporates over lapping goals of treatment and rehabilitation. Third, sp ecialized courts feature enhanced judicial monitoring. The assumption here is that a single judge can be tter supervise all cases in all pha ses of the judici al/correctional process under the specia lized court compared to a system where many judges share oversight or where judges turn over administrative responsibil ity to another agency, such as a probation department. Fourth, specialized courts are colla borative in a way rarely achieved in standard practice. In addition to judges and attorneys that are better informed on key issues, this collaboration incorporates community outreach to better assist with issues such as intelligence gathering, treatment program development, and post-release reentry planning. Finally, specialized courts (and the actors within) frequen tly take on non-traditional roles in pursuit of their objectives. These roles va ry according to the objectives of the court, the jurisdiction, and host of other factors, but may i nvolve suspending the adversarial pr ocess or using the judge as a mediator to negotiate a course of treatment. In to tal, these features result in a markedly different type of justice that attempts to work out side the box to address complex and pervasive problems. The beginning of the movement toward specialized courts is genera lly recognized as the development of Miamis drug court in the earl y 1989. The central c oncept of drug courts involves a movement away from more punitive tr aditional courts to a model that emphasizes treatment, rehabilitation, and re investment in the will of the individual to reform. This orientation is remarkable considering general tre nds in criminal justice and the courts from the mid-to-late 1970s, when the pendulum began to swing away from rehabilitation and toward

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35 retribution. Further, that drugs specifically were regarded as a treatment issue is surprising, since major urban centers like Miami were in the midst of dealing w ith the crack cocaine epidemic, widely associated with guns and gangland homicide. Nevert heless, the Miami model has since been adopted and adapted by hundred s of other jurisdictions nationwide. An evaluation of drug courts in Portland, OR and La s Vegas has demonstrated potential in terms of crime reduction effects, with appearance before the judge, treatment part icipation, and sanctions significantly affecting offender be havior (Goldkamp et al., 2001). Several peer-reviewed studies ha ve examined the effects of drug courts on recidivism. Perhaps one of the best examples of the efficacy of drug courts is described by Gottfredson et al. (2003), who employ an experimental design in which drug-addicted offenders in Baltimore were randomly assigned to drug treatment court or pro cessed as usual. In a two-year follow-up period, drug court offenders who received treatm ent showed significantly lower recidivism than either drug court offenders who did not receive treatment or control subjects. The authors conclude that drug court is effective at reduci ng crime when treatment fidelity is maintained. However, they also find that drug court offende rs are incarcerated for approximately the same amount of time as non-drug court offenders, thus the implementation of the courts should not be expected to significantly reduce system costs in the short-term. These substantive conclusions are supported by other research. In a quasi-exp erimental study evaluating a juvenile drug court in Arizona, Rodriguez & Webb (20 04) report that juve niles showed no diffe rence in rates of marijuana use but drug court participants had si gnificantly lower cocaine use in a three-year follow-up. Moreover, the authors state that fam ily stability, academic performance, and certain legal factors were significantly a ssociated with successful progra m completion. Similarly, Peters & Murrin (2000) report that drug court graduates from two Florida counti es were significantly

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36 less likely to recidivate in a 30-month follo w-up period compared to drug court non-graduates and a matched (non-drug court) comparison grou p. Finally, a review of 37 non-peer reviewed drug court reports by Belenko (2001) indicates that most programs show consistently positive effects. The author notes that four of the six reviewed reports that included a measure of postprogram recidivism indicate lower rates for drug court participants compared to non-participants, and that per-offender costs are lower for drug cour ts compared to standard courts, primarily due to the costs associat ed with incarceration. Other specialized courts have followed the general model established by the Miami drug court, in particular with emphasis on holistic and therapeutic jurispr udence. Winick (2003) states that this emphasis has ramifications for th e psychological well-being of participants, and is both a result of and a driving fo rce behind interdisciplinary resear ch on behavioral science. In response to a preponderance of substance abuse cas es featuring mental h ealth problems for the defendant, specialized mental h ealth courts have become an important outgrowth of the drug court phenomenon. Most experts attribute Broward County, Florid as Mental Health Court as the first of its kind in the nation, with a dozen other jurisdictions following suit and federal authorization for more than 125 additional mental health court programs (Nolan, 2003). The premise of the mental health court is similar in many ways to the drug court model in terms of emphasizing treatment efficacy and better case mana gement. In contrast to the processing of drug offenders, Lurigio et al. (2001) notes that th ere is a general absence of dialogue between the mental health and criminal justice systems that se rves to impede the treatment of offenders with mental illness. This issue may frustrate and complicate justice administration for offenders and practitioners alike, who often have very different perceptions of situational details, offenders states of mind, and a host of other factors condit ioned by the understanding of mental conditions.

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37 As a result, the allocation of re sources to this population of o ffenders may be inadequate and thus their treatment or rehabilitative needs ma y go unmet. Preliminary evaluations of the Broward court indicate that the court is largel y successful at incorporating treatment in the jurisprudence process, and that treatment is targeted to individualistic needs compared to a matched control group from another jurisd iction (Boothroyd et al., 2003; Petrila, 2002). Another outgrowth of the specialized court m ovement is the establishment of specialized domestic violence courts. Beginning with Br ooklyn, New Yorks domestic violence court in 1996, more than 300 jurisdictions have implemen ted these courts to improve case monitoring, ensure treatment compliance, and attempt restor ative justice for familie s, which often involve creative sentencing options that go well beyond protective orders and in carceration (Karan et al., 1999; Nolan, 2003). Like other specialized courts, there are no standards for the functioning of domestic violence courts and thus the precise implementa tion varies across jurisdictions (Weber, 2000). Despite different approaches, Clark et al. (1996) find that domestic violence court provides greate r sentencing consistency and enha nced support for both victims and witnesses compared with that of other, non-specialized courts. Additionally, Walsh (2001) notes that victims may be more likely to report domes tic violence as a result of the rehabilitative mindset embraced by most specialized courts. However, Uekert (2003) suggests that coordinated responses such as specialized domes tic violence courts are difficult to implement because of local politics and agency non-c ooperation, resulting in inconsistencies in implementation and effectiveness across jurisdictions. Evaluations of domestic violence courts show a generally positive effect across several domains. In their evaluation of the Lexington County, SC domestic violence court, Gover et al. (2003) report that arrests for do mestic violence increased overall, and that individual offender

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38 recidivism rates were significantly lower after the implementation of the court. The authors conclude that the specialized court was succe ssful at increasing en forcement and improving victim safety in the jurisdiction. These findings are consistent with a similar evaluation from a domestic violence court in Miami, which reported lower rates of case dismissal, greater offender compliance with substance abuse treatment progr ams, and a lower rate of recidivism (6%) compared to a control group of offenders (14%) (Karan et al., 1999). As a result of these encouraging findings, Eley (2005) no tes that domestic violence cour ts have been readily adopted in the United Kindgom, Australia, and Canada, where she argues that collaboration is the most crucial of the courts features in terms of streamlining the pr ocess of negotiation between key stakeholders, including prosecutors, defense attorneys, and victims. Gun Court Gun court program s occupy a place in the anti -violence intervention pantheon somewhere between judicial gun control measures (e.g., se ntencing guidelines) and specialized problemsolving courts. Clearly, the development of the gun court model for faster processing of offenders coupled with more rigorous court-im posed conditions for those awaiting trial or sentencing and those released on probation or paro le follows trends in specialized courts for different types of criminal justice system issues. The application of similar principles of treatment and deterrence, demonstrated as succes sful in drug and domestic violence courts, is postulated to function in a similar fashion for gun offenders. Despite substantial interest from jurisdictions with pers istent gun violence issues, systematic and peer-reviewed evaluations of modern gun court programs are absent from the criminological literature. Only a few peer-r eviewed journal articles address gun court phenomena directly (Calathes, 1990a ; Calathes, 1990b). However, gun court in these studies has a very different operational definition and para meters. Even then, these analyses rely on

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39 anecdotal accounts from another country (Jamaica, in this case) rather th an experimental design and quantitative analysis to reac h conclusions about gun courts re lationship to crime patterns. As Wellford et al. (2005: p. 221) note, Little re search has been conducted on the operations and crime prevention effectiveness of gun courts. This deficit in evaluation re search suggests that gun courts are being adopted w ithout significant scholarly tho ught devoted to which problems need to be addressed, much less the best way in which to address them. Given the paucity of peer-reviewed work on gun courts in additi on to the level of specialization and va riability between programs, a systematic review or meta-analysis of the gun court model is impossible. However, to date, se veral gun court programs ha ve been identified as potentially successful anti-gun inte rventions, especially where juvenile offenders are concerned. These gun courts (and related programs) have b een established in diverse locations including Birmingham, AL; Boston; Detroit; Indianapol is; Minneapolis; New York; Providence, RI; Seattle; and St. Louis, MO. Each interventi on differs in its programming, emphasis, and the degree to which it has been evaluated with respec t to its long-term effects. Philadelphias Gun Court represents a hybrid of seve ral of these early examples, borrowing elements of deterrence, sentence enhancement, education, and re habilitation from other implementations. Providence, RI Gun Court 1994 Generally credited as the first m odern gun c ourt program in the nation in September 1994, Providence is a model for other a dult gun courts. As originally conceived, the Providence Court established a separate docket for trials that i nvolved a gun charge, and made referral to the Gun Court an administrative r outine rather than requiring a judicial hearing. These features of the program benefit the system by streamlin ing processing and saving resources. The Providence program set interesting preced ents with endorsements from both the National Rifle Association and various gun-contro l groups, resulting in bipartisan support among

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40 Rhode Islands elected representatives and a ne ar-unanimous approval of the courts enabling legislation. Rhode Island offici als presented the program to the public as a reaffirmation of the statement, If you use a gun, you go to jail. Ac cording to a summary report on the Providence Gun Court, the NRA funded suppl emental bulletin boards stating Gun Court is now in session. This strongly deterrence-oriented mechanism has been consistently appealing to other jurisdictions developing programs based on the Provi dence model, particularly for jurisdictions that emphasize adult offenders rather than juveniles. An internal evaluation of the Providence C ourt from 1994 to 1998 found that the celerity and certainty of punishment for gun charges wa s increased by virtue of shortened time to disposition and a higher number of charges en ding in sentences (Sheppard, 1999: 144). These findings support the implicit message of deterrence, but their utility is uncertain. Unfortunately, no objective evaluation of the impact of the court on gun crimes or arrests in Providence has ever been conducted, suggesting that the outcomes associated with the program are largely speculative. Jefferson County (Birmingham), AL Juvenile Gun Court 1995 Jefferson County, AL, whose count y seat is Birm ingham, was among the first jurisdictions in the nation to develop a specialized gun court specifically targeted at juvenile offenders. Although Jefferson County followed Providence in implementing its gun court, their approach was arguably more comprehensive and thus mo re likely to achieve the desired result. Specifically, the Jefferson County Court added a 28-day boot camp, a parental education component, ongoing assistance for substance abuse, a community service component, and an intensive follow-up supervision program. This mixed model attempted to simultaneously address many aspects common to the target popul ation, including family trouble, exposure to drugs and alcohol, and an overall lack of appropriate supervision.

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41 Some theoretical and practical elements of the Jefferson County model were borrowed from other courts, including the targeting of first-time offenders without other, more serious charges pending. However, the Jefferson County model differed in important ways from the standard Providence Gun Court ex ample, notably in the ways in which it attempted to address rehabilitation and education over punitive punishment and deterrence. For example, the Jefferson County Court was premised on early inte rvention and referral. The fundamental idea was that adolescents who were at-risk for future violence could be screened out and processed in order to maximize their exposure to program elem ents. By contrast, the Providence Court was developed to facilitate the appl ication of enhanced penalties fo r illegal gun carrying. Also, the Jefferson County Court was oriented toward education about the causes and consequences of illegal gun carrying. Therefore, the Court adopted a role that extended beyond adjudication for at-risk juveniles. Finally, Jefferson County actively included community members as role players in the delivery of its anti-gun message and relied on a number of different agencies to provide support for its objectives. In compar ison, the Providence Gun Court was not explicitly concerned with either the educational role or the active participation of the community, beyond a basic and general support for reducing overall levels of gun violence. The more comprehensive approach to gun court ha s potential for ancillary benefits as well. Perhaps because of the initiative on the part of the Jefferson County Court to involve multiple public agencies and community organizations, this model may result in potentially important changes in police practice: Before the gun court was implemented, police o fficers usually did not arrest youth for gun possession; they released the youth to a parent without filing any charges. Now that the court is in place, however, police arrest yout h for all gun-related offenses. First-time, nonviolent gun offenders age 17 and younger are eligible to pa rticipate in the program. (Sheppard & Kelly, 2002: p. 8)

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42 Although increasing police surveillance is not th e primary interest in the gun court model, in some cases providing an outlet for judicial and/ or correctional intervention could be associated with a natural shift in police roles after the introduction of the court. The Alabama Center for Law and Civic Edu cation and the Criminal Justice Science Department at the University of Alabama-Birm ingham conducted an evaluation of the Jefferson County Courts outcomes during its first four years of operation. Sheppard and Kelly (2002) reported in an OJJDP research brief that indi viduals processed through the Court and sentenced to the intensive superv ision group spent less time on probation overall, showed significantly greater participation in educational programs, and displayed signifi cantly lower rates of recidivism than non-intensive supervision or control groups. A separa te, unpublished evaluation found consistent results when co mparing recidivism of the intensive group to that of the nonintensive group (Sloan et al., 2000). Taken togeth er, these findings strongly suggest that the gun court model generally benefits from intensive supervision for parolees compared to other models. However, despite this generalization, the relative impact of intensive supervision associated with gun court for adult offenders is unclear. Detroit, MI Handgun Intervention Program 1993 Although not explicitly a gun court, Detroi ts Handgun Intervention Program (HIP) is a court-related anti-gun intervention that has shaped the development of other gun courts, including the program presently operating in Philad elphia. The premise for the HIP is to subject offenders to court-ordered gun education that em phasizes the consequences of gun carrying and presents alternatives to violence. The program is designed for young male offenders, especially African Americans, who are charged with guncarrying offenses and have no other pending charges that are more serious. The core elements of the program have also been adapted as a

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43 curriculum feature for Detroit-ar ea middle and high school students. OJJDP reports that more than 5,000 individuals participated from 1993 to 1999 (Sheppard, 1999: 154). Detroits Handgun Intervention Program was the subject of an ev aluation funded by the National Institute of Justice. Though the evalua tion was only preliminary in nature, it did find some evidence of positive change. In particular, participants showed improvements in 19 of 21 attitudinal measures related to situational decisi on-making, ethics, status perceptions, and related measures. However, the author notes that alth ough participants generally held the program in high regard and demonstrated improvement on a ttitudinal measures, the majority remained skeptical about the program overa ll and reported no anticipated cha nge in behavior due to the persistent necessity to defend oneself on the st reet (Roth, 1998). Thus, the linkage between attitudinal improvement and behavi or modification is tenuous at be st. To date, no evaluation has assessed the impact of the HIP on rates of gun crimes or arrests in Detroit. Hennepin County (Minneapolis), MN Juvenile Gun Program 1995 Sim ilar in many respects to the programs in Jefferson County and Detroit, the Hennepin County (Minneapolis) Juvenile Gun Program focuse s on rehabilitation and education for juvenile offenders considered to be at high risk for future violence. Like the Jefferson County program, Hennepin County integrates a multi-faceted appr oach to treatment and rehabilitation, with aggressive monitoring and referrals for substa nce abuse. Hennepin County also involves public agencies and community organizations in their education efforts and incorporates mandatory community service. Further, like the Detroit program, Hennepin County directly addresses interpersonal skills, respect, ethics, and civic responsibility in counseling participants on alternatives to gun violence. Unlike either of these two programs, adol escents participating in the Juvenile Gun Program receive out-of-home placem ents and referral to a work program in an attempt to comprehensively address factors that may influence future violent crime.

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44 As a matter of scale, the Hennepin County progr am lags behind most of the other gun court offerings, serving only about 300 in dividuals in its first three years of operation. However, preliminary comparisons between groups of adolescents who complete the program and those who enroll but do not complete it indicate some potential. The completer group differed only slightly from the non-completer group for the number of charges filed in a 7-month initial follow-up, but the majority of completers who were charged received misdemeanors or status offenses rather than felonies (88 percent vs. 12 percent) compared to the opposite trend for noncompleters (35 percent misdemeanors or status offenses, 65 percent fe lonies) (Sheppard, 1999: 163). Indianapolis, IN Project LIFE 1991 Indianapolis Project LIFE (Lasting Intense F irearms Education) is a mandatory gun education program directed at adolescents w ho are on probation for committing a weapon-related crime. The program is designed to combat apathetic attitudes toward commonplace or normative gun possession on the street. Partic ipants are subjected to graphi c media showing details of gun homicides in an effort to instill respect for th e impact of illegal gun use. Interestingly, Project LIFE also attempts some degree of reintegrat ive shaming, by encouraging adolescents to speak openly about their crimes, accept responsibility for them, and talk about alternative strategies that could prevent violence. As with other co urt-related anti-gun inte rventions, Project LIFE aspires to involve parents and community role models in disc ussions about the relative danger and costs of guns. Although mo re than 500 adolescents completed Project LIFE from 1991 to 1998, with nearly 80% of participan ts reporting that the program helped them to set better goals and refrain from illegal gun use, the program has never been formally evaluated with respect to either individual or community-level impact (Sheppard, 1999: 165).

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45 Seattle, WA Juvenile Firearms Prosecution 1996 Seattles Juvenile F irearms Prosecution program incorporates several components of other traditional gun court models. The central prem ise is that juveniles arrested for a weaponsrelated charge are processed in a centralized fashion that improves key aspects of the adjudication process, including (1) the speed w ith which charge filing, any required hearings, and trial occurs; (2) the expertis e on the part of the prosecutor in handling these types of cases, including rules of evidence for gun possession; (3) the cooperati on between agencies, including the prosecutors office and the local police. A vertical prosecution process, in which a single Deputy Prosecuting Attorney was responsible fo r managing every aspect of all juvenile gun cases, also offered the benefit of acquainting a si ngle individual with th e most chronic and/or serious offenders in Seattles jurisdiction. T hus, while the Seattle court structure itself was unchanged, special emphasis and reorganization with in the prosecutors office resulted in many innovations that mimicked the case mana gement features of other gun courts. The Juvenile Firearms Prosecution program was not subjected to formal evaluation during or after its two years of existence. However, summary statistics show that the program achieved some success: the average number of days to f ile firearms cases dropped from 53 to 17, and the conviction rate increased from 65.4 percent to 78.4 pe rcent as a result of the program. The Kings County Prosecutors Office claims that th e initiative resulted in improved communication and efficiency for all involved agencies with minimal expend iture (Scales & Baker, 2000). Brooklyn, NY Gun Court 2003 Brooklyns program most closely resembles the Providence model in that it is concerned with adult offenders primarily and lacks a rehabi litative or educational component. According to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the Gun C ourt is centered on core principles of deterrence: People who carry ille gal guns are a menace to the public and it is important that we

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46 send these criminals a clear message that they will be met with swift and certain justice, a message echoed by Queens County District Attorn ey Richard A. Brown: When criminals are afraid to carry guns, the level of violence drops significantly (New York City Office of the Mayor, 2003). In January 2004, the Brooklyn Court expanded into neig hboring boroughs of the Bronx and Queens, extending coverage from 5 to 35 precincts. In many ways, New Yorks Gun Court orientation follows closely from the zero tolerance policy shift in the late 1980s and early 1990s dealing with drugs, guns, and viol ence, which has persistently but perhaps erroneously been credited w ith a downward trend in homicide (Fagan et al., 1998). A pilot evaluation of Brooklyns Gu n Court provides interesting and mixed results. First, the author notes that arrestee and arrest charac teristics in the pre-Cour t and post-Court periods were very similar, as were the distributions of arraignment charges in both periods. Second, the author states that, contrary to expectations, the post-Court period showed a larger percentage of case dismissals, a phenomenon attributed to strict evidentiary rules in weapons cases. Finally, true to the stated objectives of the Court, the evaluation finds substantial increases in sentence length and in the number of sentences involvi ng imprisonment (Solomon, 2005). Although this pilot evaluation provides useful preliminary insights into the ch aracteristics of the Brooklyn Gun Court, it lacks sophistication, incl uding subjecting any of the rele vant hypotheses to significance testing, much less multivariate modeling. Further, although it attempts to address process issues by comparing Court defendants to pre-Court defenda nts, it fails to addr ess any aspect of the relative drop in gun-related crime as a function of the program itself. Boston, MA Firearm Prosecution D isposition Sessions 2006 Boston, the most recent major city to implem ent a gun court program, followed examples from sites such as Providence and Philadelphia in developing their inte rvention. The Court was conceived to increase processing efficiency for cases involving gun charges in Boston.

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47 According to numbers provided by the Suffolk C ounty District Attorneys Office, Bostons Gun Court was responsible for clea ring a three-year backlog in cases pending trial and reduced average time-to-trial to approximately six months (Suffolk County District Attorneys Office, 2007). In addition to the value of incr easing system efficiency overall, officials were also quick to capitalize on the get tough message aimed at gun offenders. Boston District Attorney Daniel F. Conley trumpets the program in this way: G un Court has met or exceeded every goal we set for it. Its effectiveness as a punishment and dete rrent for those who would use guns in our city is indisputable, and Gun court has been successful not only in taking guns off the street but in keeping gun offenders from returning to criminal activity. I have no doubt that the significant reduction in homicides by firearm la st year is due in part to Gun Court's effectiveness (Suffolk County District Attorneys Office, 2007). Despit e the apparent enthusiasm, these claims have not yet been subjected to external empirical review. International Perspectives Few nations in the world can ri val the num ber of firearms or the magnitude of firearms violence experienced by the United States. Becau se this discrepancy confounds empirical testing and experimental designs, studying gun cont rol measures in other countries becomes problematic. Nevertheless, there are potentially valuable lessons that inform both the gun court concept and the broader issue of firearms violence. Jamaica is ground zero for gun court history. On April 2, 1974, Jamaicas parliament passed the Gun Court Act, which authorized the cr eation of a specialized court specifically to prosecute cases involving the illegal possession or use of firearms or ammunition. Ostensibly, the Court was designed to provide a means to control a boom in gun violence stemming, in part, from deep political unrest and poor economic conditi ons (Calathes, 1990). However, in practice,

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48 the Gun Court was part court and part prison, a nd critics quickly objecte d to its procedural injustices. Among the common provisions of the Gun Court were categorical denial of bail, indeterminate sentences of incarceration up to life imprisonmen t upon conviction, and trials for defendants as young as 14. Summary trials wi thout legal representation were commonplace, rumors about corruption were persistent, and ex ecutions were not unheard of. A 1975 challenge on the basis of constitutionality was denied, w ith the Privy Council in London ruling that the Court itself was not unconstitutional. However, th e Council did rule that mandatory sentences of indefinite detention with hard labor could no longer be impose d. The Gun Court continues to operate to this day, amended in part by appeal in 1983. Clearly, the linkage between Jamaicas Gun C ourt and those in modern-day America is distant at best. Many Jamaican practices would never be tolerated in American jurisprudence, and presumably there would not be the same issues with persistent corruption and social unrest. But, those questions aside, did the Jamaican Gu n Court achieve a reduction in gun crime? At least one study (Gendreau & Su rridge, 1978: p. 57) observes that Jamaica appears to have enacted the strictest penalties for gun crimes, sp eaking to the relative severity of penalties in Jamaica compared to other nations. The authors also note that the penalties under the Gun Court Act increase celerity of punishment, and conclude that the Gun Court intervention was associated with a demonstrably lower rate of several gun crimes, including murder with a firearm. Thus, despite some (potentially serious ) misgivings about the ways in which Jamaicas gun control reforms were enacted, this example indicates th at a crackdown approa ch can result in lower gun crime overall. Other international examples lack sufficient definition to be incl uded in any discussion, theoretical or otherwise, of gun court models. In terest in creating specia lized gun courts in other

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49 nations persists, however. One such initiative in New South Wales, Australia was abandoned in May 2004 after a report by a retired Supreme Cour t Justice found that th e rates of firearms violence were too low proportionally to just ify the expenditure (Samuels, 2004). Although Australias gun laws are regarded as highly restrictive compar ed to the United States, the proposition of creating a new gun c ourt in New South Wales neverthe less resulted in controversy because the court program was viewed as not punitive enough according to Australian anti-gun groups (NSW: Drop gun court, 2003). A similar proposal in Toronto incorporated enhanced (and in many cases, more punitive) penalties for gun crimes and was premised largely on principles of general deterrence, according to the Ontario Attorney General (Brennan, 2003). Further, consistent with many domestic examples, the Toronto court followed the creation of a specialized domestic violence court in that jurisdiction in 1997, suggesting that the arti culation between specialized community courts and anti-gun initiatives is not limited to Amer ican jurisprudence. Ultimately, the Toronto proposal resulted in a broader Maj or Crimes Court that will ha ndle gang and violent offenses, including cases where guns are involved; the requis ite resources or political will for a separate, narrowly-focused gun court were apparently lacking. Thus, evidence from both New South Wales and Toronto indicates that few nations can justify the in tense focus on firearms required for the creation of gun courts in many U.S. jurisdictions. Conclusions In sum gun court programs vary by jurisd iction and emphasis, with some courts emphasizing a rehabilitative or educational focus and some cour ts attempting to apply gun laws in a more consistent (and often more punitive) fashion. The degree to which various gun court models have been empirically evaluated is inconsistent at best Some courts, including the Jefferson County, AL example, have shown some pr omise in dealing with particular groups of

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50 offenders through particular types of program ming. Preliminary studies on Jefferson County, Seattle, and Brooklyn suggest that the gun court model could be effective, but each example incorporates very different theoretical mechanis ms and operationalizes different definitions of efficacy. Additionally, measurement of treatment effects in each of these cases has been problematic, with few studies employing control/ comparison groups and none to date vetted in the peer-review process. Despite the diversity and prolif eration of gun courts in the Un ited States, as Wellford et al. (2005) state, the absence of peer-reviewed literature to date on this topi c indicates a clear need: none of the gun court models has been tested wi th respect to the effects of the program on aggregate levels of gun crime for the affected areas. Therefore, a logical next step in attempting to reach a conclusion on the efficacy of Philadelphi as Gun Court, as well as to begin to infer broader implications about gun c ourts generally, is to use time series analysis to determine whether Philadelphias Court had such an effect. The present study contri butes both a qualitative and quantitative perspective on the implementation as well as the impact of a state-of-the-art gun court model, with an eye toward the ultimate goa l of reducing aggregate gun crime rates in the Philadelphia area.

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51 CHAPTER 4 QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS Many of the nuances and intri cacies of the day-to-day func tioning of Philadelphias G un Court can be best expressed by the individuals who oversaw its development and functioned as stewards for the primary mission established for the Court, namely, to reduce the volume of illegal guns on the streets. This portion of the study is based on semi-structured, in-depth interviews with three of the four judges who have presided over Gun Court since its inception in 2005. The judges were recruited for their participation in this rese arch with the assistance of Adult Probation and Parole Department staff in March 2008. Each of the judges rotated to serve a one-year term in Gun Court before accepting various other assignments within the Firs t Judicial District. Collectivel y, they have heard an estimated 3,500 cases in Gun Court alone, in addition to their experiences on the bench of other criminal courts and serving as attorneys in the Philadelp hia system. All have substantial experience hearing cases involving cases feat uring violence and firearms. E ach of these factors make these individuals uniquely qualified to comment on the nature of violence in Philadelphia, the environment in which the Gun Court program was conceived and implemented, and what effects, if any, Gun Court may be having. Program Objectives Each of the participants was asked to relate their opinion on the orig inal purpose of the Philadelphia Gun Court. Unsurprisingly, all of them referenced the soaring violence and the emphasis on innovative anti-gun policies. As one judge indicated, the purpose was reasonably simple: Gun Court was establishe d in Philadelphia County mainly because of the influx of gunrelated crimes in Philadelphia I think Gun Courts primary purpose was targeting people who had guns, find out who had the guns, and get them off the street. One judges comments were

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52 typical of the pragmatic attitude toward the prog ram, stating, Essentially we established the Gun Court to deal with the gun problem that was percei ved to exist in Philadelphia and to try to bring some kind of uniformity to addressing those issu es. Another judge explained the distinctions between Gun Court and other models for adjudicating gun possession cases: I think it was just to have one court handle the gun cases and to put more of a focus just on the gun violations. And they were able through the computer to segregate out cases, in other words, Gun Court didnt handle cases wh ere the gun was used in a shooting, or in narcotics dealings except for some marijuana or something on a smaller level, or cases used in a robbery or a rape. It was gun po ssession only that was the focus and to treat it more seriously. To have one judge focus in on it and to see if that could have some impact on people who might slip through and who might have a gun possession charge, so we could catch these folks early when they firs t start possessing a gun before they get into narcotics. Target Population One of the central concerns about a specialized court for gun offenders is the nature of the offenders them selves. Because the gun court m odel excludes cases involving overt violence by definition, one possible consequence is that th e court is missing the offender population most directly implicated in violent street crime. Specifically, a typical gun court defendant has no criminal record and may not be at heightened ri sk for violent recidivism. However, despite the lack of habitual offenders, proscribed penalties in Gun Court were relatively harsh. One judge clarified: Most of those cases involved individuals who had no prior record so those cases would be heard in Gun Court and the [sente ncing] guidelines, which are set forth by the Legislature, the sentence would be not be mandatory, but the gui delines are 1-2 years for just possession of a gun. It is unclear whether the threat of harsher-thanusual penalties deterred specific offenders after Gun Court, or whether the population may be biased in an important way. One judge summed up this group thusly:

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53 You have people who are carrying guns through a bad neighborhood, youve got businessmen carrying guns because they have cash, and you have people whothats just their lifestyle, to carry a gun, and they never bothered to get a permit. Well, they are in violation of the law. So at least a portion of that group, th e first-time offenders, youre not going to see them back anyway. Another judge concurred: Most of these guys arent real bad guys -most of them. Again, they are first-time offenders, they stepped into the criminal sy stem by possession of a gun, and oftentimes what I would hear is that this gun is for pr otection more than anyt hing else. [They would say] I didnt pull it ou t, I didnt threaten anybody, but in my neighborhood you gotta have a gun. And while I dont condone that, I guess through some eyes that may be a reason or explanation as to why you have th e gun, although its not acceptable. The apparent emphasis on harsher-than-normal sentences for those c onvicted in Gun Court is directed at offenders who are viewed as at-risk and may exhibit escalation in offending patterns that culminated in personal crimes. These individuals fit nicely into a developmental trajectory for anti-social and criminal behavior beginning early in the life-course. One judge recalled: The trend would be a graduation of crimes. In looking a pre-sentence reports, it would start off mainly with truancy, and then your petty crimes, your drugs, and then it would escalate into guns and then as I see it now, after guns they become more violent with robberies and aggravated assault. Another judge commented that while many possessi on cases were less serious in that guns were rarely drawn or fired, the circumstances under which guns were found were sometimes illuminating and helped to shape judicial decision-making: I just remember some of the casesmost of the time it was a possession that was in a car, or somebody is in the street and they stand up with a gun. Every once in a while youd get a car that would have the guns and would ha ve bulletproof vests, and would have ski masks, then you knew something else was going on. Even for first-time offenders, those are the people I usually put in [jail or prison] initially. Therefore, although it may be difficult to detect systematic differences in terms of the legal factors involved, it seems reasonable that ther e may be a functional di chotomy of Gun Court defendants: first, those who ar e unlucky enough to be caught with an unlicensed firearm but who

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54 do not otherwise represent a risk for violence or recidivism; and second, those who may have been apprehended before they were able to comp lete a violent felony, but who were tracked into Gun Court due to the lack of evidence to support a more serious charge. This second hypothetical group represents the real target population for Gun Courts programming and intensive supervision. Context and Implementation Participants were queried about the issues surrounding the implem enta tion of Gun Court. When asked about the nature of violence in Phila delphia prior to the C ourt, one judge responded succinctly, Well basically it was the same as wh ats going on now. Another judge elaborated on aspects of the violent s ubcultures in Philadelphia: We had gang killings [in the past] but it was like one gun for the gang. Now its just like a right of passage and in some neighborhoods you have to have a gun. If you dont have a gun, youre a sort of outcast or youre a punk. Now all Im doing are homicides and I see these absolutely senseless kill ings by 19 year old kids who were responding to anger. Sometimes a good portion are drug related. But its not all drug related a lot of killings in Philly are anger killings in response to some slight that is perceived or some money that is owed something reasonably trivial that w ould have passed or maybe resulted in a fistfight years ago, now results in a killing. These properties suggest an articulation to cr iminological theory, specifically theories on criminal or deviant subcultures. Semina l works by Miller (1958), Wolfgang (1958), and Wolfgang & Ferracuti (1967) support the conceptualization of a s ubculture in which perceived respect is paramount and in which relatively minor insults to the honor of its members demand retaliation. What may distinguish Philadelphias subcultures from those theorized by Miller and Wolfgang is the apparent preponderance of read ily accessible firearms and the willingness to employ them to lethal effect. In fact, recent research conducted by the In ternational Small Arms Survey on the marginalization of young, urba n minority males (see Bevan & Florquin, 2006) reaffirms many classical statements on the relati onship between respect, violence, and firearms.

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55 Participants were further queried on the political climate dur ing the implementation of Gun Court. All three judges agreed that there was a strong mandate to address the wave of violence in an affirmative fashion. One judge illust rated by citing typical cas eloads in the Court: [The political climate was] ma inly reactionary. There were so many guns on the streets and there still are, that on any given day there would be, Id say, on the average of 10 cases listed in Gun Court, five days a week, so that s 50 cases a week. On the average, when I was in Gun Court, I would dispose of about 5 cases a day, either by trials or by guilty pleas. So thats 25 cases a weeksome days would be more, some days would be less, but nonetheless, those are cases of guns take n off the street by way of the arrest, and usually I would order that th e gun be destroyed after the tr ial was over. After 30 days pending an appeal, the gun would be disposed. In addition to acknowledging the supply-side gun problem in the Ph iladelphia area, these comments show direct support for one of the key te nets of Gun Court, namely that illegal guns must be removed from circulation. There were few problems mentioned in terms of implementation, given that the development of Gun Court was primarily an internal reorganization effort. However, the requisite relationships between Gun Court, probation services, and various rehabil itation and reintegration programs required coordination and planning. One judge explains: Well the funding is always a problem. The funding of Gun Court and for it to be effective, the trial, and afterwards, the probation department, for it to be r eally effective, I think they need more probation officers to implement it. And some of the cases, once they are in probation, if there could be a more effective step-down. Some of these guys dont need the intense probation supervision. Other guys do, a nd from what I understa nd, there is a stepdown program, or you may want to call it a step-up program, where these individuals between the ages of say 18 and 26, during what I call the stupid ag e, where they just think they are invincible and they do things that take a lot of risks, and they do things that not only put themselves in harms way, but ot her people in harms way. I know there is a component now that they have where there is more intense supervision of these individuals so that their lives can be governed, and protec t them not only from themselves, but protect them from getting shot by someone else. Each of the three judges was also asked about the degree to which Gun Court received publicity or coverage in the form of advertising or news stor ies. No advertising campaign supporting the program was planned or funded, so the task of disseminating information about

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56 Gun Court fell to media, especially local medi a, who had been characterizing the violence problem in Philadelphia for years. Responses va ried on this subject, but the judges seemed to agree that there was considerable interest in Gun Court at the outse t, but that interest has waned over the years. One judge recalls, My first day in Gun Court, I came out, it was packed as it would be for the rest of that year, and the news media was all over it. The print media is pretty good about following a story. Another judge, wh en asked about his recollection when on the bench, seemed more dubious about the media intere st, believing that there was coverage initially, Just to announce ityou know, it was something new. I did not talk to one reporter during my entire tenure. And Im not awar e of any ever being in the cour troom. The inconsistency in media attention was also expressed this way: Its been sporadic. It was [covered] up front, at first it was a fair amount but sporadically someone will do it like in the city paper, the Philadelphia Weekly. The Inquirer was just in and they wanted to ta lk about itI have a f eeling they are doing a large article on overall justic e system so that was just one piece. And the State Legislatures have been through and they are coming through and they want an update on it. Its quieter nowjust once in a while somebody will do a piece. The relative lack of publicity presents problems for the hypoth esis that Gun Court may be exerting a general deterrent effect on potential gun-carriers. Because there is no consistent message being broadcast, and because the caseload in Gun Court is relatively small compared to the number of potential offenders in the Philadelphia area, it is plausible that many individuals are not aware of the Courts existence. Probation and Gun Court The enforcem ent arm of Gun Court is pr ovided by Philadelphia s Adult Probation and Parole Department (APPD), which assigns case officers to supervise offenders convicted or pleading guilty in Gun Court. Gun Court proba tion is ostensibly an intensive supervision program, featuring provisions for more frequent drug testing, home vi sitation, and electronic

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57 monitoring. Probationers also si gn a pledge before the judge to possess no guns as one of the terms of their probation, attend anger management training, and complete co mmunity service, all of which are supervised by APPD officers. Th e intensity and time required to achieve these objectives is balanced by a lig hter-than-normal caseload of ap proximately 75 probationers per officer, about one-half of a typical Philadelphia superv ision caseload. All of the judges were quick to emphasize the interplay between Gun Court and this enhanced probation, which is one of the favored se ntences for at-risk offenders. One judge said succinctly, Their [probation enforcement] role is the most important function of Gun Court. Another judge added that the ti ght coordination between Gun Cour t and probation paid dividends in terms of communication: These cases tend to get lost in the system wh en they were with a number of judges, and there is a lot crime, of course, that comes before a judge where there is physical violence or threat of violence. Gun cases would tend not to be lost, but they also werent given [any] individualized attention. As a judge just hearing gun cases, y ou realize it sort of brought it home, how prevalent the problem is, and you se e it on a daily basis. You also have one [probation] unit that does nothi ng but the Gun Court violators. So you develop somewhat of a relationship with them, and see the same probation officers. I attended their meetings, so there was more communication. So in that sense, it was good because it focused the judge on the gun problem, it would allow the ju dge once focused on the gun problem to be in contact with th e probation services. Presumably, these benefits combined to make the relationship between Gun Court judges and APPD officers supervising Gun Co urt offenders stronger. In a ddition to greater understanding of programming requirements and progress for individua l offenders, this relationship also facilitates the punishment of offenders who vi olate their probation. Still, the possibility exists that some net-widening may occur, given the inte nsity of surveillance for this population. When asked whether the goals or objectiv es of Gun Court have changed since the programs inception, none of the judges responded that they had, and all believed that the future was promising given Philadelphias cr ime problem. One judge explained:

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58 [Have the programs objectives changed?] Not reallyI dont think so. If anything, theyve probably become more intense in te rms of seeing what can be done and how to manage offenders, what to do down the line in terms of the drug treatment, the alcohol treatment, the ability to curta il them from further crime and i nvolvement. Other than that, I mean I think weve learned a lot since the c onception or implementation of Gun Court, but I dont think that things have cha nged to the extent that there is any negative side of it that we should stop doing Gun Court. At one point, I think we were even considering having two Gun Courts because the inventory in Gun Court is, I forget what the numbers are now, but it is a huge number of cases and growing. Program Benefits A central feature of the Gun Court is the em phasis on deterring future gun crim es, and one way in which deterrence is emphasized is th rough more serious penalties for gun possession. The debut of Gun Court in Philadelphia coincided with a decision on the part of the Pennsylvania legislature to elevate illegal gun possession from a misdemeanor to a third-degree felony. One judge commented on the change while also hinting at the issue of perceive d deterrence: I know it was just decided that the penalties would be increased, which I guess the thought of that would lead to curtailing possess ion, if you had an idea that it was a more serious offense than just a misdemeanor which sometimes people tend to shr ug off. Other judges were supportive of the notion that there is some deterrent effect asso ciated with the Court, but also acknowledge the potential problems in identifying the target population: [Was there a deterrent effect?] Oh yeah, abso lutely yeah. And then too, I think that most of the people that come through are first-time offenders. They either carry for protection, or so they thought, or werent aware that because they could purchase it, that they couldnt carry it, and so they are not people who have had previous criminal involvement so they are not as likely to re-offend. One possibility is that Gun Court offers advantag es in terms of specific deterrence effects, but falls short of its goal of genera l deterrence. Additionally, the e ducative effects of Gun Court may be manifested here in the form of a greater understanding of the law for many defendants who are processed through Gun Court but do not necessarily represent the target population. One judge commented:

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59 [The] only benefit, and I think it was probabl y anticipated, has been that there has been less, given the volume of cases, less recidivism for the same offense. Those people that reoffend typically dont come back for a gun relate d offense, which is unlike a lot of other, you know, drug cases and things like that, they come back for those kind of cases. But due to the intensive supervision, and also just the awareness of th e seriousness of a gun offense, people dont get in court for that. Another potential benefit of the Court is improving consistency of judgments in gun possession cases. One judge agreed, saying, The type of cases [is] consolidated in one courtroom which makes for more uniform dispositi on. Another judge char acterized efficiency gains from judicial specialization: There was a tremendous number of motions filed, motions suppressed, because in a gun possession case, the evidence is really the cas e clearly when you are having that number of suppression motions and differe nt issues, you are becoming more efficient as a judge as far as allowing the cases that have no constitu tional violations to go through and the ones that are constitutional violations take them out. Generally, cost savings might be assumed since concentrating all cases of this type in a single courtroom frees resources for other purposes. Ho wever, one judge believed that cost savings were not as high on the prio rity list of Gun C ourt goals as were other objectives: In terms of savings, well, Im not so sure that was necessarily a goal. But I think efficiency in dealing with the problem, in that regard, I think its been efficient. And like I say, you get the consistency and you know, the j udge sitting in that program gets very versed in the applicable law. So in that regard, I guess theres an efficiency to be gained if the judge is more versed because youre not going from one case to the nextits the same thing youre doing day in and day out. Same thing with probations ystem-wide within the judiciary, theres no additional impact other than that the other judges dont have to deal with those cases. So you have an efficien cy dealing with one pa rticular problem. And same thing with probation-you have specialized Gun Court proba tion officers so they deal with those problems and like anything, if you do it over and over again, and you dont get sloppy, you do a good job. All of the judges interviewed about Gun C ourt pointed out that there are intangible benefits, both to the system and to the offende rs themselves, associated with the Courts enhanced programming. In some ways, Philade lphia has synthesized the most promising elements from other gun court models, resulting in a layered approach that attempts to address

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60 underlying problems and social issues rather th an simply incarcerate the maximum number of gun offenders. One judge explained the long-term strategies associated with conviction and correctional supervision: Most of the individuals that were convicted by me or if they plead guilty, they would have to complete 20 hours of community service, and I would leave that up to the probation department. They would have to get a GED if they didnt and I would give them usually a time-certain during their probati onary period or depending on how far they went in school, I would leave it up to the probation department because some guys, I mean they got the smarts to get a GEDsome would take a y ear, some would do it in 6 monthsso I would leave it up to the probation departme nt to establish the time that they would have to get the GED or the diploma. And they would have to get a jobI would usually give them 60 days to secure employment. If they did it du ring the term of incar ceration, Id give them 60 days after they were released from incarcera tion to get a job and that job would have to be something where taxes were taken out of thei r check as well as social security, so it could not be an under the table job, it would have to be a job above-board. Another judge expounded on the role of communi ty service, anger management, and the rehabilitative functions: We also established that they would do a certain amount of community service, between 20-30 hours. I have people say why not 100, and I asked that question actually, why is there only 20 hours of community service? And the experts in that field, the people who had been involved in community service and groups that monitor the community service, and their feeling was that you were handli ng a large number of people through this Gun Court, and even as a rule, th ey felt that community service is effective if it can be accomplished. And 20 hours is sort of a pain in that it puts somebody to the task, but its accomplished. You got 1,000 hours of communi ty service, theyre never going to accomplish it. Even 100 hours would never be accomplished, so it sets a sense of accomplishment. We also mandated that they go to anger management because we have a lot of young males between 18 and 24 who ar e on the cusp of going onto not bigger and better things, but bi gger and worse things, or more violent things. So a lot of that has to do with the anger management or anger control. So they had to complete those and I would give them those conditions at the time of sentencing. From these comments, it is evident that the Gun Court judges believe that the program has achieved some level of success, ev en if that success is measured in terms of individual-level deterrence and reform rather than in aggregate crime rates. Also, some of these benefits may be incalculable in that offender trajectories are largely unknown for first-time arrestees.

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61 Assessing Outcomes There are many outcomes of interest related to G un Court, including intermediate ones, such as the number of cases processed or the change in conviction rate s, and long-term ones, such as a drop in gun crime rates in the Philadelphi a area. When confronted with the question of whether Gun Court had accomplished its goal thus far, reactions were generally positive but varied in detail. One judge believed that the enhanced penalties and the holistic approach was a wake-up call for those headed in the wrong direction: For the most part, yeah. I thi nk that its well on the way. Th ere are a lot of benefits that have come out of Gun Court in terms of getting individuals who [had] no prior record, and steering them away from crime. Guys w ho come in and fess up, plead guilty, and dont come back. Yeah, they see that there are ot her ways and for the most part, they do right and become productive citizens. Another judge concurred with this assessment, but added that harsher penalties and sentencing guidelines also supported the educative function of the Court: After three years I think there is awareness that the gun issue in Philadelphia is being taken seriously and is being addresse d, and also I think that is a product of having increased the penalty because it previously was a misdemeanor and then raised to a felony with a minimum in the standard range of at least one year in incarceration. So, I think its probably had some impact in terms of awareness. I think that those who have been through the system view it as an educational component, and as most things in society, information and knowledge is key to changing any type of culture or perception about things criminal, or perceived to be criminal. Gun Courts impact in terms of incapacitating ille gal firearms has been substantial as well. Although precise numbers were not available, one judge estimated the effects this way: Over 3,000 guns have been destroyed, so by just pure numbers, that has to have had some kind of effect if you figure 5% of those we re guns possessed by bad guys, youre talking probably 150 guns that could have been invol ved potentially in a crime If you say 3,000 or more, well thats a lot of guns. Therefore, in the opinion of at least one judge, the effect of facilitating firearm seizures and ultimately destruction may not influence base rates of violence, but it stands to benefit victims by reducing risk in some way.

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62 Despite the perception of positive effects, the judges remain realistic about Gun Courts overall impact. No specialized court program can expect to address all of the social, environmental, and other factors predisposing individuals to seek out guns for various reasons. One judge summarized his perspective: Its a very small step in a very large problem which is not just the Gun Court problem, but hard pockets of poverty, a school system that is desperately in need of funds, we almost need a marshal plan for some parts of the city. It is a positive step but its only a drop in the bucket. But I think it focuses people on the problem in a sense that you have to have a Gun Court. We seized something like 1,200 guns [one] year in Gun Court. I think I got rid of almost 1,000 cases. Impact of Gun Court Although Gun Court m ay have some positive benefits, the question of whether the program has impacted gun violence rates is entire ly different. Perspectives on this issue ranged from optimistic to cynical, but a ll of the judges remained realistic about the potential for reform. Gun Court is clearly not a panacea, but in the opin ion of the judges, it can occupy a role in the pantheon of anti-violence initiatives. Some of the disagreement about impact may be due to the way in which the question of impact is frame d. Qualitatively, while some offenders may be diverted from reoffending because of key programming elements, there is still much work to be undertaken. One judge expresse d his sentiments this way: [Does Gun Court have any impact?] I think as a deterrent, yeah. Then there are other individuals who just dont give a damn, they continue to ge t in trouble and get locked up and a lot of that is spurred by the economics, lack of a job, and that s spurred by lack of education. In the end the drugs involved in it, the alcohol, family problems, so its a whole pool of things that sort of f eed into one when they get thes e guns and do the things they do. Although the Pennsylvania legislature has been supportive of anti-violen ce initiatives, there appears to be little support for measures that might have a greater impact on the supply-side dynamics of Philadelphias gun problem. One ju dge articulated some dou bt about the impact

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63 Gun Court can have on crime rates because of th e difficulty associated with reducing violence when there is a ready supply of illegal guns always available on the stre ets of Philadelphia: [Does Gun Court have any impact?] Not at this point, I dont think, just because the volume, theres just too many guns out there. You cant arrest your way out of the problem, you cant confiscate your way out of th e problem. Theres nothing we can do as far as limiting the number of guns. The legislat ure would not read a bill out of committee, wouldnt even get it to a vote, I dont even know if they have had hearings on it, [for] limiting the purchase to one gun a month. So that was the initial small step they wanted one gun a month I think if we got some regula tions, or if there was some way to control the flow of guns coming in, I th ink it would be an even more e ffective tool in the judiciary because you may then see some more effect. Despite the progress and the cha llenges, all of the judges echoed the persistent need for Gun Court in light of overwhelming violence. One ju dge lamented the steady flow of cases involving gun violence and death, noting that by late March 2008 he had al ready seen a dozen homicide cases: [I have judged] 12 homicides alreadyIll do probably 40 this year, maybe 50, so its volume here, and thats what Gun Court is, th ats why we need to focus too, and thats why the city needs to have that number a nd why we have the death-by-handgun problem that Philadelphia has. Its a small st ep, but we have to take that step.

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64 CHAPTER 5 QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS Data Data f or this analysis were collected fr om the Pennsylvania Uniform Crime Reporting System. The Metropolitan Serv ice Area (MSA) was used as th e unit of analysis, because it offers several advantages over the incorporated c ity limits. Specifically, the MSA offers a more accurate picture of social realit ies in Philadelphia, because: (1) the real boundaries of the city extend beyond the official city limits; (2) there ma y be reason to believe that crime is diffused in ways other than according to arbitrary polit ical boundaries (e.g., according to social networks, transit routes, or other means); (3) people from the surrounding areas arrested in Philadelphia are tried in Philadelphias First Judi cial Circuit, and therefore rece ive the Gun Court treatment under study; and (4) generally speaking, th ere may be reason to believe th at the treatment effects, if any, are unlikely to be diffused in ways that follow arbitrary political boundaries (e.g., social networks implicated in more guns confiscated, mo re offenders deterred or rehabilitated, etc.). The outcomes of interest include monthly cr ime incident counts in several different categories. One group of categor ies includes gun-related crimes (m urder with a firearm, robbery with a firearm, assault with a firearm, and weapons charge, typica lly defined as illegal possession or carrying of a handgun), while the ot her category includes non-gun property crimes (larceny, motor vehicle theft) in order to provide some comparison for a general crime baseline. The non-gun crime categories also provide a check on the observed effects, because hypothetically there should be no effect on these levels after the interv ention is introduced. Additionally, tracking non-gun crime rates offers an opportunity to monitor potential substitution effects as offenders are deterred or otherwis e dissuaded from more violent crimes involving weapons.

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65 For the purposes of standardizing values in the analysis, monthly crime counts were converted to rates per 100,000 people by dividi ng the monthly count by the population and multiplying by 100,000. The population values were taken from the PA UCR, and fluctuate yearly. For the period under st udy, population in Philadelphias MS A has increased consistently from 2003 through 2006, though this increase in overa ll population is taken into account when reporting trends in the crime categories of interest. Plan of Analysis The effects of Philadelphias Gun Court prog ram on aggregate levels of gun-related crim e at the MSA level necessitate a time series anal ysis that compares crime rates before the intervention to the same crime ra tes after the interventi on took effect. Though a simple t-test can determine mean differences, a more sophisticated approach reveals cri tical details, including month-to-month variation, the rate of increase or decrease after the inte rvention, and the degree to which the series is affected by patterns of seasonality. The proper methodological technique for controlling these factors involves examining the series for potential confounds and correcting them statistically. The former can be accomp lished with sequence plots and autocorrelation functions. The later involves Auto Regressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA), a method for estimating models for time series data. ARIMA analysis features an autoregressive term to account for temporal autocorrelation, and ARIMA generalizations are available to specifically address seasonality in the data (e.g., seasonal ARIMA, or SARIMA). The evaluation of Gun Courts three stated goals, specifica lly (1) educating defendants about gun safety, (2) providing infr astructure to punish Court Orde r violators and recidivists, and (3) providing prompt adjudicati on in order to facilitate illegal gun seizures, is a necessary prerequisite to any analysis of the ultimate im pact the program has on aggregate-level violence in Philadelphia. These goals, if satisfied, should have three basic implications for the outcome

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66 evaluation. First, gun safety education will increase following the introduction of the Gun Court program, because this treatment was not a cond ition of punishment before Gun Court. Second, the number of defendants on probation and paro le who are re-arrested and punished for violations of Court Orders and probation/pa role conditions will increase following the introduction of the Gun Court program, because in tensive supervision is emphasized as a means to control at-risk gun offenders. Third, time to di sposition will be significantly reduced for Gun Court defendants compared to non-Gun Court defendants as a result of fast tracking these offenders on the specialized docket. A preliminary analysis of Gun Courts first year of operation conducted by the Philadelphia Adult Probation and Parole Departme nt (Kurtz et al., 2007) shows that Gun Court defendants are pleading guilty ( 78%) and are being convicted (65%) at higher rates than nonGun Court defendants with similar charges (65% and 57%, respectively) from a retrospective sample. Gun Court defendants also were sentenced to county prison2 at a higher rate (vs. probation sentences), up from 34% to 47%, in the programs first 18 months of operation compared to the previous year. These prelimin ary numbers indicate that Gun Court is exerting some deterrent effect in terms of guilty pleas, conviction rates, and severity of sentences overall. Importantly, although the Gun Court may be exerting an objective deterrent effect, the degree to which past and potential future offenders per ceive that effect is unknown. Furthermore, Gun Court defendants appear to be completing thei r community service and court-ordered anger management programs at a higher rate than non-Gun Court offenders, suggesting that the program may be meeting its objective of greater surveillance. 2 In addition to dozens of state-run pris ons, Pennsylvania features county-leve l correctional facilities that are termed prisons, though in actuality their function is similar to traditional jails in that they primarily house low-level offenders serving short-term sentences (u p to two years) in addition to those awaiting trial and tr ansfer to higherlevel facilities. As of 2008, there were six such county-l evel prison facilities in operation in Philadelphia County.

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67 The evaluation of the impact that these objectives have on observable outcomes (and overriding concern), namely the reduction of gun crime rates in Philadelphia after the interventions introduction, is the objective of this study. Three basic elements are required in order to measure such a change. First, the G un Court program must be effectively implemented (e.g., the three stated goals are met); second, ther e must be sufficient causal linkage between these three goals and the outcome of interest; a nd third, the dosage of the treatment must be adequate. Under those three conditions, there should theoretically be a corresponding drop in gun crime rates in the Philadelphia MSA in comparison to an alternat ive site that did not receive the intervention in the period unde r study. Alternatively, if there was a drop in gun crime rates in the Philadelphia MSA, it is possi ble that there could be an observable displacement effect to surrounding areas, such as parts of New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. Methodology Determ ining the relationships between measures in time series data requires several overlapping techniques for univariate, bivariate, and multivariate analysis. First, descriptive statistics provide basic informa tion about data dispersion and centr al tendency. Second, bivariate analyses such as Pearsons correlations and St udents t-test provide some indication about the nature and magnitude of relationships between m easures. Finally, multivariate analyses occur in several steps, as model estimation becomes progressively more refined, accounting for systematic trends and non-stocha stic variation in the models, beginning with OLS regression and moving to ARIMA. Finally, time series data plot s illustrate trends in each of the dependent variables with a clear demarca tion for the Court intervention. Multivariate analysis using OLS regression offers a convenient comparison for assessing the relative improvement ARIMA model specification to fit the existing time series data. Although the OLS comparison models are presumed to be less efficient generally and may in

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68 some instances be in violation of traditional assumptions (as time series data are, by nature, serially autocorrelated), they offer both a conve nient metric for the improvement in parameter estimation when transitioning to more advanced techniques and an opport unity to test underlying assumptions of homoskedasticity, which is de fined as constant variance in a sequence of variables. Time series analysis also pr ovides a correction for observed se rial autocorrelation, defined as the degree of association for a given variable with time-lagged versions of itself. Serial autocorrelation is critical b ecause significant autocorrelation violates the OLS assumption of independence of error terms. Data that show evidence of serial autocorrelation and other timerelated violations of traditional OLS assumptions require more sophisticated techniques. Estimation of regression models to illustrate trends in time series data requires careful accounting to avoid underfitting (e.g., a failure to properly correct for systematic variation caused by an identifiable pattern, such as seas onality) or overfitti ng (e.g., misinterpreting randomly occurring noise in the data as systematic variation). In al l cases, ARIMA models must be estimated after specifying three cr itical components: the autoregressive ( p), integrated ( d), and moving average ( q) components. Thus, ARIMA models are sometimes referred to casually as p, q, d models because correct specifi cation requires relies on the proper values for each of the three terms. Autoregressives in ARIMA specification range in practice from zero to n, though typically models exhibit values from zero to two. The valu e p = 0 indicates that data are raw and do not show evidence of autocorrelation. The more common value p = 1 indicates that data are autocorrelated at lag = 1; lags may represent what ever time period is used to divide observations (e.g., days, weeks, months). A model estimat ed at p = 2 indicates that data value (xt) is

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69 independently correlated with values at lag 1 (xt-1) and lag 2 (xt-2), and so forth. Evidence for autocorrelation in raw data can be obtained fr om the Durbin-Watson statistic (Durbin & Watson, 1950, 1951), which uses the residual term to calculate the test statistic. Values of the DurbinWatson statistic range from 0 to 4; values around 2 indicate no autocorrelation, while values smaller than 1 indicate th e presence of autocorrelation. The moving average component in ARIMA mode ling addresses random error, or shocks, that affect the predictability of the series over time. By specifying a value for the moving average component, the ARIMA model corrects for the correlation in error terms for adjacent data occurring because of the pr esence of these shocks. Identification of the moving average depends upon the interpretation of autocorrelation functions (ACF s) and partial autocorrelation functions (PACFs). More spec ifically, trends in the ACF suggest values for the ARIMA component q; when the ACF reaches an abrupt cut-point at lag x rather than experiencing a gradual decline, the value of q = x. Finally, the integrated component in ARIMA modeling permits correction for nonstationarity in the raw data. Sta tionarity refers to observations as being stochastic in nature, with unchanging mean and variance. Assuring stationarity is critical when modeling time series data because of inferences about probability di stribution. Specification of common values d = 1 or d = 2 in ARIMA models is referred to as diffe rencing, or removing linea r or quadratic trends, respectively. Raw data stationarity is tested using one of a numbe r of criteria, the most robust of which is the Augmented Dickey-Fuller test. This diagnostic functions by removing inherent structural effects (serial autocorrelation) in the time series and then tests for the presence of a unit root, defined as non-stationarity in the differencing process of the data (Dickey & Fuller, 1979; Said & Dickey, 1984).

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70 Results Univaria te analysis illustrate s basic properties of the data. Unsurprisingly, the rate for larceny in Philadelphia is the highest among a ll of the rates in the analysis (158 per 100,000 people), while murder with a firearm in Pittsbur gh is the lowest (nearl y 0.9 per 100,000 people). Motor vehicle theft, robbery with a firearm, assault with a firearm, and weapons charges in Philadelphia range from a high mean of nearly 32 vehicle thefts per 100,000 people to a low of nearly 6 weapons violations per 100,000 people. In Pittsburgh, the ranges for these same rates vary from a high mean of almost 15 motor vehi cle thefts per 100,000 people, or about half the average number of thefts as Philadelphia over the same period, to comparatively low means of about 4 gun robberies, assaults, and weapons charges per 100,000 people. Descriptive statistics are presented in Table A-1. Further, simple biva riate correlations indicate relationships between variables used in the analysis. A matrix presen ting Pearsons correlations for the crime rates for Philadelphia and Pittsburgh is presented in Table A-2. These correlations indicate only a weak association between most of the crime rates, al though several rates in both cities appear to be correlated with larceny at or above 0.500 (including murder with a firearm, robbery with a firearm, and motor vehicle theft in Philadelphia) Most bivariate correl ations are positive in direction, but there are a few ex ceptions (e.g., between the murder with a firearm rate and the weapons violations rate in Philadelphia). The highest bivariate correlation was between larceny and assault with a firearm in Philaelphia (0.701). Although greater sophistication is usually required when anal yzing time series data, a simple t-test can provide some suggestion about the relative impact of the intervention (introduction of Philadelphias Gun Court) on the dependent variab les under examination (population-standardized crime ra tes). T-tests were performed, with the dependent variables (crime rates) separated into pr e-intervention and post-interventi on groups. Results indicate some

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71 significant differences: the rates of murder w ith a firearm and robbery with a firearm are significantly different when comparing pre-in tervention to post-int ervention observations; interestingly, the means for the post-intervention obs ervations are actually hi gher than that of the pre-intervention observations, indicating that the rates increased in the period after the introduction of the Court. This result may be due to escalating trends in violent crime generally during the period under study. The rates for assau lt with a firearm and weapons charges are nonsignificant. The first of the two control rates (larceny) is sim ilarly non-significant. Finally, the second control rate (motor vehicle theft) shows a significantly lo wer mean in the postintervention period. Multivariate Models Two sets of multivariate regres sions are estimat ed in order to assess the effect of the gun court intervention on various rate s of crime. The unit of obser vation was monthly counts of firearm-related crimes known to the police. Ba seline OLS models for each of the dependent variables of interest (c rime rates) were estimated but not included, as the more robust ARIMA models provide greater reliability for interpreting results. Each model was specified identically, with no autoregressive term and only a single independent va riable, a dichotomous measure representing the intervention eff ect. Results show that, prior to ARIMA model specification, the independent variable representing the implemen tation of the Court program is statistically significant in several of the models. In particul ar, the coefficient for the Court is positive and significant for the dependent variables murder w ith a firearm rate (p < 0.01), robbery with a firearm rate (p < 0.01), and motor vehicle theft rate (p < 0.001). The coefficient for the Court term was positive but non-significant at the p < .0 5 level for the remaining dependent variables, assault with a firearm rate, weapons violation rate, and larceny rate.

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72 The second set of multivariate regressions go beyond the baseline OLS models to correct for autocorrelation, random shocks, and other po tentially confounding issues in the series. Results are presented in Tables A-3 through A-14 (each pair of ta bles represents models from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, with odd-numbered ta bles corresponding to Philadelphia and evennumbered tables corresponding to Pittsburgh). Estimation of the ARIMA models indicates that the coefficient for the intervention term in each of the Philadelphia models, representing the date that the Philadelphia Gun Court was established, was non-significant at alpha = 0.05 in all cases except one. In that case, when the dependent variable was the Philadelphia murder with a firearm rate per 100,000 people, th e coefficient was significant (p < 0.05); however, the sign of the coefficient indicates that the introduction of the Court is positively associated with the murder with a firearm rate, contrary to expect ations. Critically, the in troduction of the Court does not affect the rate of w eapons violations, presumably the most representative measure available for gauging the impact of the Court on the central problem of illegal weapons in the Philadelphia area. Results from Pittsburgh, similar to Philadelphia, indicate no effect for the timing of the intervention in all but one model. The single exception indicate s that Pittsburgh experienced a statistically significant incr ease in weapons charges following the implementation of Philadelphias Gun Court. Because there is no co mpelling reason to believe that the Philadelphia program should have produced such an effect in Pittsburgh after its implementation in 2005, this result is considered anomalous, though one potentia l explanation is that there were concurrent anti-gun policies introduced at th e comparison site whose timing and explicit effects cannot be disambiguated.

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73 Time Series Plots Results f rom time series line plots of violent crime show interesting contrasts. First, Figures B-1 through B-5 offer a co mparison of violent crime trends in five major U.S. cities (Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York City, Ch icago, and Miami, respectively). There is an obvious discrepancy between the ge neral trend for Philadelphia co mpared to the other cities; specificially, while the other cities experience steep declines in violent crime from the 1990s through 2004, Philadelphias violent cr ime trend appears relatively st able with a slightly positive slope, indicating an increase in violent crime. These general trends help to establish the unusually pervasive nature of violent crime in Ph iladelphia compared with other large American cities. Figure B-1 shows the line plot of the murder with a firearm rate for Philadelphia and Pittsburgh from 2003 through 2006. Generally, the tre nd in murder with a firearm rate appears to be linear and positive, indica ting an increase over time. The slope of the trend line for the preintervention period appears more flat than the po st-intervention period, sugge sting an increase in murders with a firearm in the post-intervention period. Finally, there appears to be a localized drop in murder with a firearm rate in the months immediately adjacent to the interruption, but its effect is not permanent, as the rate sharpl y increases in the three periods following the intervention. The comparison rates in murder w ith a firearm from Pittsburgh shows a flat trend before the intervention and a slight increase afterwards, similar to Philadelphia. Figure B-2 shows the line plot of the rate for robberies with a firearm for Philadelphia and Pittsburgh from 2003 through 2006. The features are si milar in some ways to the plot for murder with a firearm rate, in that there is generally a positive and linear trend in the data, and that there may be a slightly greater slope for the trend line in the post-intervention period. There is also a steep but localized decrease in the robbery with a firearm ra te surrounding the intervention,

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74 followed by a sharp increase in the subsequent months. The comparison from Pittsburgh shows a flat trend before and after the intervention, sugg esting (as expected) that the Pittsburgh rate is unaffected by this intervention. Figure B-3 depicts the line plot for assault with firearm for Philadelphia and Pittsburgh from 2003 through 2006. Unlike the plots for trends in murder with a firearm rate and robbery with a firearm rate, the assault with a firearm rate trend is reasonably flat, exhibiting only a slightly positive increase over time. The slopes in the pre-in tervention and post-intervention time periods seem approximately equivalent. Als o, unlike the previous two plots, assault with a firearm rate experienced a sharp decline in the months preceding the in tervention and remained fairly stable for several months before sh arply increasing in month 32 (August 2005). The comparison trend from Pittsburgh shows similarities, with peaks in assault with firearm crimes in summer months for both sites. Figure B-4 shows the line plot for weapons vi olation rate for Phila delphia and Pittsburgh from 2003 through 2006. This plot shows consider ably more month-to-month variation than previous rates, exemplified by a sharp spike at month 15 (March 2004). The trend line for preintervention and post-interventi on periods appears reasonably m ild, with a slight positive trajectory overall. In contras ting the two periods, the post-interv ention trend appears flatter than the pre-intervention trend, which suggests that the rate of incr ease may have been affected somewhat by the introduction of the Court. The comparison trend from Pittsburgh shows additional variability between the two sites. In the pre-intervention period, Pittsburgh has a reasonably flat trend, while the post-intervention trend is increasing. Figures B-5 and B-6 show line plots for th e two comparison rates (larceny and motor vehicle theft, respectively) for Philadelphi a and Pittsburgh from 2003 through 2006. Compared

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75 to the other crime categories under study, these two trends shoul d be reasonably unaffected by the implementation of an anti-gun interventi on program, although post-intervention variation could be accountable to changes in offender speci alization or substitution effects. Thus, an anticipated positive and significan t effect of the Philadelphia Gun Court should result in a decrease in observed rates of gun-related crimes (m urder with a firearm, robbery with a firearm, assault with a firearm, and weapons charges) wh ile the non-gun crime rates are relatively stable in the post-intervention period. Larceny trends show great va riability and exhibit marked seasonality, with peaks in offending rates occurring in the summer months with low points in January and February. These patterns are repeated for each of the four years under study. Moto r vehicle theft rates differ in that peaks in offending appear to occur dur ing the fall months, although low points can be observed in February and March, similar to larceny. In both of these cases, there appears to be a short-term decrease in crime ra tes after the implementation of th e Court, but it corresponds to seasonal troughs observed in previous and subse quent years of study, thus it seems likely that any observed effects would not be accountable to the Court intervention itself. Trend lines for the same crime categories measured in the Pittsburgh MSA comparison site also illustrate several general trends. First, in each of the crime categories, the crime rates in Philadelphia are visibly higher than in Pittsbur gh. This discrepancy is greater for some categories (e.g., robbery with a firearm) than fo r others (e.g., weapons ch arges). Second, most crime types appear to possess similar trends with respect to seasonality across locations, resulting in trend lines that look symmetrical. This insight is serendipit ous but beneficial, as it provides guidance on maintaining consistency across multi variate models in addition to identifying potential effects from the intervention. In part icular, a positive and significant effect from the

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76 Philadelphia Gun Court would result in a marked drop in crime rates for the treatment site but not for the comparison site. Ultimately, however, the rate trends do not indicate this type of effect as a result of the Court in tervention. Coupled with the finding of relative ly little effect of the intervention on the non-gun crim e types of larceny and motor ve hicle theft, it appears that crime rates are largely unaffected by the Gun Court.

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77 CHAPTER 6 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION Discussion The purpose of this project was to assess the im pact of Philadelphias Gun Court on rates of gun-related crimes in the Philadelphia area. Results from the bivariate, multivariate, and time series plot analyses indicate th at there is no statistically si gnificant reduction in gun-related violent crime rates in the twoyear period following the introduction of the Court program. Importantly, the Court program itself does not app ear to be associated with a decline in the number of actual incidents of illegal weapons carrying, the best available indicator of the presence of illegal guns on the street. As previously outlined, three basic elements are required in order to establish an observable change in gun crime as the result of the Gun Court program. First, the program must be effectively implemented (e.g., the three stat ed goals of gun safety education, increased surveillance for probationers, and more illegal gun seizures are met); on this point, there seems to be general agreement based on the Philadelphia Adult Probation a nd Parole Department evaluation (Kurtz et al., 2007) as well as the opinions of three of the four judges who have presided over Gun Court. Second, there must be sufficient causal linkage between these three goals and the outcome of interest. This point also subsumes the theoretical framework under which the Court is hypothesized to work. On th is count, there seems to be some ambiguity. Third and finally, the dosage of the treatment mu st be adequate. Most sources, including both the qualitative and quantitative anal yses presented in this study, appear to favor the position that the treatment dosage in terms of the Court progr am is not adequate to stem the tide of gun violence or the flow of weapons in the Philade lphia metropolitan area. The dosage issue can be conceptualized as the quantity of gun offenders processed through the Gun Court compared to

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78 Philadelphias overall illegal gun problem. Alt hough the treatment (the Court program) may be effective at some level, it must also be sizeable enough in relation to the number of illegal guns and/or illegal gun carriers in the Philadelphia area in order to produce a detectable aggregate effect on crime rates. At first glance, these results s uggest that the Philadelphia Court has failed to meet its stated objectives. However, a lack of significance in the time series analysis does not necessarily indicate that the Court itself is ineffective. Se veral possible explanations exist. First, and most likely, the program may be effective on a scale that is too small to affect the overall levels of violence in the Philadelphia area. This amounts to a problem with the level of the treatment dosage, in which this program, perhaps like most available anti-gun inte rventions, are a relative drop in the bucket compared to the torrent of st reet-level violence. The evidence in support of this explanation includes qualitative assessments of the Courts treatment efficacy and media coverage of the violence problem in Philadelphia. Other possible explanations exist for the rela tive non-finding with resp ect to the Court. One such possibility is that an effect on aggregate-level crime ra tes, through whatever theoretical or practical mechanism, has simply not been observed yet. Addressing the root causes of gun carrying behaviors, as well as the difficult i ssue of supply and demand for guns on the street, may require years or even decades of efficacious programming in order to detect a statistically significant drop. The primary problem with this hypot hesis is that any long-te rm effect that will be eventually detected may be inexorably conf ounded with other possible explanations. Another possibility explaining the non-finding is that th e gun court model generall y may pay dividends in terms of increased systems efficiency and cost savings associated with cleared dockets and minimized time from arrest to disposition, while fa iling to impact street-level crime rates. The

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79 critical articulation between the implementation strategy and measurable outcomes, however, is missing it seems that Philadelphias Court wa s created with a single purpose (to reduce gun violence), and the mechanisms for fulfilling this purpose were supposed to be largely organic in nature rather than carefully de terministic. This is a limitation, both of the program itself (since implementation fidelity and milestones cannot be accurately assessed) and of any evaluation based on the program. An interesting discrepancy exists between th e qualitative assessments of the Gun Courts efficacy and the quantitative evidence pertaining to its impact in the aggregate. Although ARIMA regression models indicate no statistically significant eff ect for the Gun Court on rates of gun-related violent crime in Philadelphia, virtually all of the individuals interviewed about the impact of the Gun Court report a strong belief about the positive virtues of the program, both in terms of individual and community-level effect s. These findings are not necessarily in contradiction, however. Anecdotally, it seems reas onable to expect that the various educative and legal functions of a specialized court progra m should better service the needs of particular types of defendants. In this ca se, it may be possible that the re habilitative components designed to address the cause and effect relationship be tween illegal gun carrying behaviors and streetlevel violence could actually save the lives of some of the offenders processed through Gun Court. It may also be that the Philadelphia Gun Court could have a pos itive and statistically significant effect on gun crime recidivism at the individual level, which unfortunately cannot be captured in the present analysis. Further inquiry in to the nature and magnitude of these effects, if any, will require different data sources and multiple levels of analysis in order to fully address whether Philadelphias program is impacting gun crime over time.

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80 The relative success of Philadel phias Gun Court is premised on three stated goals: first, the degree to which it educates defendants a bout gun safety; second, the degree to which it provides infrastructure to punish Court Order violators and recidivi sts; third, the degree to which prompt adjudication facilitates illegal gun seizures. Accordin g to an internal evaluation conducted by Philadelphias Adult Probation and Pa role Department (Kurtz et al., 2007), these objectives have been satisfactorily met. One possible rejoinder to this finding is that organizations and programs should not rely on in ternal evaluations al one, as objectivity and fidelity may be compromised, at least in appearance if not in fact. Another possibility that could explain the null finding of this outcome evalua tion is that the program was not faithfully implemented. Certain process-related elements of Gun Court require greater attendance to implementation than others; for example, careful ove rsight to ensure that probation violations are effectively detected and punished. However, it a ppears that not only was there no formal process evaluation undertaken, but that the implementa tion strategy itself was only semi-structured. Although Gun Court may be responsible for an increas e in illegal weapons confiscated or even in total prosecutions for non-violent gun felonies si nce the program was introduced, it is difficult to illustrate precise logic for the change. Implications for Theory and Practice Although there are several underlyi ng theoretical m echanisms re lated to the functioning of the Gun Court, including educative effects and mu ltiple types of deterrence, they seem to be poorly developed overall and only indirectly observable. In mo st cases these effects may be indistinguishable because they are not assessed at the individual level in a prevs. post-test research design. Nevertheless, the lack of measurement does not preclude the possibility that one or more of these principles may be in effect Principles of deterrence, for instance, play a substantial theoretical part in the Philadelphia mode l, although it appears that there has been little

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81 attention paid to funding or im plementing initiatives that woul d address deterrence directly. Advertising the program is one example; media involvement is another. However, formal widespread advertising was apparently never funded for the Philadelphia Court, and media interest began relatively high as the Court debuted in earl y 2005 (Clark, 2005b; Caruso, 2005a, 2005b) but appeared to drop off sharply later in the year, with only occasional check up coverage of the program (Gregory, 2005). In both cases, it seems that these public visibility aspects were largely neglected, making the implications for theory more difficult to determine. Ancillary mechanisms like anti -gun education appear to have value for certain populations in evaluations of other sites, but apparently no effort was made to test offenders perceptions of these programs in Philadelphia or to improve them in a systematic way. Thus, the only theoretical implications that can be offered here are general ones based on inference and from qualitative data. One such inferential implication is that the deterrent effects underl ying the Gun Court may be distributed through informal social networks. As gun possession and ac quisition is related in many instances to social associations through gang s, street gun markets, and other peer groups, a strong deterrent message targeted at gun carrier s predisposed to violence could achieve the desired effect of increasing awareness and disc ouraging gun ownership. Ho wever, it is unclear whether Philadelphias program emphasizes th e diffusion of deterrence into primary and secondary informal networks. Moreover, there is no process in place to measure and test this hypothesis, hence it is largely sp eculative. Nevertheless, severa l sources support the existence of a deterrent effect of some kind, but the precise magnitude and na ture of that effect remains unknown. This presents an opportunity for future research and potentially also theory-building related to the empirical effects of specialized courts Additionally, this is an opportunity to

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82 recommend that future programs and evaluations in Philadelphia consid er a greater up-front investment in explicitly defining the mechanisms for creating change and the theoretical basis for those mechanisms. The findings from this study present certain impl ications for practice as well. First, it may be useful to regard the gun court model gene rally in terms of other anti-gun policies and interventions. According to Piquero (2006), a great many anti-gun interventions ar e known to be ineffective at reducing levels of gun crime. Excepti ons to this rule includ e directed police patrol, programs that increase the certa inty of punishment, and some supply-side interventions (e.g., targeting gun markets); further, programs that enjoy community support are likely to be more effective than those that do not. In light of these observations, where does the gun court model fall in relation to other anti-gun in terventions known to be successful ? First, there is no evidence to date that gun courts influen ce police patrol in any meaningf ul way. Arguably, Philadelphia police practices do not require m odification since offenders are being apprehended, charged, and processed through Gun Court in record numbers. However, in Philadelphia the Gun Court appears to have modified the intensity of pos t-conviction supervision and patterns of contact with correctional officers, which are factors asso ciated with increased cer tainty of punishment. Further, the facilitation of illega l gun seizures (and ultimately, destruction of illegal guns) has been achieved by the Philadelphia Court, although the magnitude of this achievement is as-yet untested. Finally, the Philadelphia program has al ways been and will continue to be popular among community residents and policymakers alik e. Therefore, the Philadelphia Gun Court model appears to possess several elements common to successful anti-gun initiatives. The answer to the larger question of whethe r or not the gun court model works is more complex than a simple yes or no. Philadelphias Gun Court does work in terms of increasing the

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83 number of convictions and enhancing sentences under the law compared to a sample of non-Gun Court offenders. The Court also seems to ha ve improved the likelihood of offender desistence for some individuals, at least qua litatively, as indicated in this study. Thus, gun courts generally seem to be a popular and potentially valuable as set to jurisdictions in tending to improve the processing of non-violent gun offenders and the cons istency with which punishment is delivered. There may also be gains in overall system efficien cy as a result of stream lining the processing of gun possession cases. However, in light of all available evidence rela ted to the program, it seems unreasonable at present to expect a substan tial decline in gun crime rates as a function of the court itself. Limitations This study is not without lim ita tions. First, the measures used to approximate gun crime are imperfect. Although counts for crimes commi tted with guns are a reasonable proxy, there may be many undetected or unreported crimes that are not represented in UCR figures (the socalled dark figure of crime). This limitation is especially noteworthy for UCR counts of weapons charges, which arguably may not be repres entative of the true number of individuals illegally carrying weapons in Phil adelphia. However, this limita tion also plagues virtually all research on illegal guns and gun carrying behavior; problems persist in estimating even the objective number of legal guns in private ow nership in the United States (Cook & Ludwig, 1996), much less the prevalence of illegal gun carryi ng. An idealistic measure of the impact of the Philadelphia Gun Court would be the number of illegal guns confiscated or destroyed by the program compared to the total number of ill egal guns on Philadelphia streets, which is unknowable. Similarly, the number of illegal gun carriers processed through the program compared to the total number of illegal carriers is an unknown quantity.

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84 From a methodological standpoint, some researchers have suggest ed that interrupted time series analysis is inappropriat e for evaluating the impact of po licy interventions. Specifically, the objections focus on three key areas: (1) the selection of a control series; (2) specification of the intervention model; and (3) sp ecification of the tim e series (Britt et al., 1996). Britt and colleagues first objection refers to the absence of a suitable comp arison site in the majority of policy evaluation studies, which is addressed here by comparing the MSA for the largest city in Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) against the MSA for th e second-largest city, Pittsburgh, which is the closest possible analog while hold ing variations in state law co nstant. They also note that comparing different crime series, such as vi olent crime vs. property crime, may lead to inconsistent results. Thus, in addition to havi ng an appropriate comparis on site, these analyses are presented with comparison series of various types from the same site in order to provide appropriate baselines for crime trends generally. Britt et al.s (1996) second objection refers to the nature of the interruption in an interrupted time series analysis, which, in the case of a legislative change, can be assumed alternatively to be the date that a law is passe d by the legislature, the laws effective date, the date of the first offender arrest or conviction, and so on. For an inte rvention that is not tied to an explicit change in the law, howev er, the proper specification may be disambiguated. In the case of Philadelphias Gun Court prog ram, which was not tied in an explicit way to legislative changes but instead follows from an administ rative mandate, the intervention date may be assumed to occur when the program took effect (t hat is, when the first offenders began to be processed, disposed, and sentenced) In effect, this intervention date coincides with the publicity push surrounding Gun Courts debut; an Associated Press story on January 15, 2005 was carried nationally, including in local pape rs and on CNN. However, the positioning of the intervention

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85 may still involve potential confounds, including ch anges to Pennsylvania statutes or county and local ordinances attempting to restrict firear ms. Even other anti-gun programs attempting to disrupt long-term suppl y and demand in a cumulative way (for example, by increasing the number of gun buybacks over time) could potentia lly exhibit a lagged eff ect on the gun-related crime rates of interest. In the sense that the program focuses on supply-side gun confiscation, the intervention may yield an effect in more than one way. First, as the result of pro-active policing initiatives tied to Gun Court, gun-related arrests may increase and thus gun confiscations will also increase. Second, offenders processed through Gun Court may testify against co-offenders, resulting in increased police surveillance and actionable criminal intelligen ce leading to arrests and gun seizures. To the extent that Gun Court opera tes on a demand-side phenomenon, the program is also operating in several distinctive ways. First and most importantly, it is (presumably) sending a message to gun offenders in Philadelphia: ha ving, carrying, and using a gun will result in a harsher overall sentence. Gun Court judges have stated in media intervie ws that they are less willing to consider plea deals and more likely to impose sentences that exceed current guidelines. In addition, the projected efficiency gained thro ugh diversion to Gun C ourt is substantial (a stated reduction in time from arraignment to disposition from 180 days in Philadelphias Court of Common Pleas vs. 120 days in Gun Court), which has implications in terms of celerity of punishment. The selection of Pittsburgh as a comparison/control site for the time series analysis represents the best available analog to Philadelphia while maintaining consistency in the applicability of the Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act. In esse nce, both cities operate under the same legislative umbrella and define illega l gun possession in the same way, a critical issue

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86 for evaluating potential differences due to th e adjudication of narrowl y-defined statutes. Additionally, both cities are similar in terms of the organizati on and emphasis of their district court and adult probatio n programs, with Pittsburgh featurin g specialized courts for mental health and domestic violence. However, Pittsburgh, the second larg est city in the state, also differs from Philadelphia in important ways. Fi rst, the two cities differ markedly in baseline rates of violent crime. Philade lphia consistently appears near the top of annual violent crime lists, while Pittsburgh is rarely mentioned; further, although Pittsburgh may report crime consistent with an urban inner-city, there is no evidence to suggest that the quantity of illegal firearms rivals Philadelphia. Implicit in this distinction are potential confounds in resource allocation for anti-violence initiatives and polic e practice. Secondly, Ph iladelphia and Pittsburgh differ in important compositional dimensions including total population, as well as the proportion of residents below the poverty line an d the racial and ethnic demographics for both locations. These distinctions are acknowledged as a limitation of the present study and a direction for improving future multi-site compar isons, but in light of the null finding from the quantitative analysis, the impact of the comparison site is relatively minimal. Future Research Future research on this topic should follow three critical research questions. First, a greater understanding of the theoretical m echanisms underpinning the gun court model would help to explain observations and also to shape the development of new initiatives. Most evidence to date suggests that Philadelphias Gun Court was developed and implemen ted without a thorough understanding of the theoretical reasons for w hy the program should prod uce an effect on the rates of gun violence. However, several source s indicated support for th e deterrence effects of gun court, including the qualitati ve discussions from Philadelphias own court personnel. The preliminary analysis by Philadelphias Adult Prob ation and Parole Department (Kurtz et al.,

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87 2007) posits that Gun Court is su ccessfully exerting some deterrent effect in terms of guilty pleas, conviction rates, and severi ty of sentences overall, compared to a historical sample of offenders with similar charges who were not pr ocessed through Gun Court. Critically, although the Gun Court may be exerting an objective deterr ent effect that is obs ervable in terms of aggregate rates, the degree to which past and potential future offenders perceive that deterrent effect is unknown. Second, it will be necessary to examine individual-level data including baseline characteristics, legal factors, and individual offe nder motivations in order to get a more complete picture of the type of offender for whom gun court works. For example, although Philadelphia has adopted a very progressive vision that inco rporates rehabilitative, punitive, educative, and other mechanisms in an effort to achieve maxi mum impact in response to swelling gun violence, it is possible that one or more of these mechan isms may be eliminated in order to streamline jurisprudence and enhance the f actors that matter most to gun crime desistence. Thorough accounting for legal and extra-legal factors may al so permit alternative in dividual-level analysis using techniques such as propensity score matchi ng in order to model tr ajectories of gun crime offenders. Use of propensity scores may help to identify critical differences between Gun Court defendants and those who engage in violent crime. Drawing these contrasts could lead to potentially useful information related to tr ansitions and turning points where gun carrying escalates to gun violence. Altern atively, this information could il lustrate potential problems with selective cherry pickin g of persistently non-violent offenders who are processed through the Gun Court with an expectation that the program should eventually impact violent crime rates. Third, although this study demonstrates no significant drop in gun crime rates corresponding to the introduction of the program, further inves tigation should be devoted to

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88 multi-site study of the gun court phenomenon. In many ways, it seems that Philadelphias overall gun violence problem repres ents an extreme case compared to many U.S. cities, and it is plausible to suggest that the Philadelphia mode l could result in reductions in gun crime rates elsewhere. Based on the lack of research con cerning the impact of other gun courts on gun crime rates, this would seem to be a logical extension of the efforts to compare the efficacy of various gun court models. Not only would it be valuable to know whether any other site experienced a drop in violent gun crime as a result of this type of program, but multi-site evaluations could help to determine whether individuals experience mo re positive shortand long-term recidivism outcomes through different combinations of re habilitative, educational, and supervisory conditions. Conclusion Seeking to improve American gun policy is a tr eacherous exercise replete with bad data, political hype, and baseless kn ee-jerk reactions. W ithout adequate information on which gun violence policies work, policy make rs are at a serious disadvantage Cynics may believe that the lack of guidance ultimately proves to be irrelevant and policy marches forward unhindered by such trivialities as accurate evaluation, but the reality is much less pejorative. Politicians must possess some awareness of program costs, at minimu m, if they are to app ear accountable to their constituency, even when program outcomes are exactly as expected. An ideal gun violence program synthesizes two objectives: first, to have some positive, net effect in reducing gun violence, and second, to offer some benefit to overa ll justice system efficiency. If the program cannot be shown to have an effect on crime rates, but can be shown to save administrative costs or streamline case processing, then at worst it wi ll remain politically justifiable. One might envision a scenario in which th e perfect gun violence interventi on can be shown to drive down crime rates but costs too much; undoubtedly, th ere will be calls from watchdog groups and

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89 citizens concerned about bloated bureaucracy to cut spending and perform better with fewer resources. This line of reasoning brings us to the suggestion that cost -conscious policymaking recommendations stemming from empirical policy ev aluations may be more palatable to those in office. To the extent that criminology research is going to be relevant in policy discussions, it had better take into account cost s in addition to outcomes. This is a persistent concern with research on crime and delinquency, as balancin g these issues is a difficult but important objective. In the present-day political and economic c limate, gun courts generally seem popular and well-received by policymakers and by the genera l public. However, the long-term success of gun courts may hinge largely on consideration of the cost-benef it analysis attached to the programs. One of the best things that an ev aluator can say about a program is that it is implemented with minimal cost, and that seems to be the case in Philadelphia as well as in other jurisdictions. Not only are gun cour ts relatively inexpensive to impl ement, but they may actually justify themselves financially by improving the efficiency with which cases involving guns are naturally processed and disposed. Further, at least in this example, there seems to be little upfront investment on the part of police to change strategies or practices where guns are concerned, another potential cost-savings measure. Most of the cost associated with running a gun court program seems to be invested on the back -end, where programming and enhanced probation await defendants who plead guilty or are conv icted. Without exception, Philadelphia personnel believe that the additional investment has had a positive impact and has been worthwhile. Discussing the relative benefits of gun court pr ograms seems more difficult. The results from the present study indicate that Philadelphi as Court did not produce a significant drop in gun crime rates in the 24 months following the pr ograms introduction; however, this may be

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90 accountable to a problem with the dosage rather than the effect itself. Refining the understanding of any theoretical basis for the Court, investing in th e further study of its individual-level effects while comparing outcomes to those of other sites, and continuing to develop initiatives consistent with successful programs elsewhere will allow Philadelphia to make the most of its Gun Cour t in the future. Although it will never be a magic bullet for ending gun violence, it may add to the tapestry of promising and innovative modern anti-crime measures.

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91 APPENDIX DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS AND PARAMETER ESTIMATES FOR ARIMA REGRES SION MODELS Table A-1. Descriptive statistics for crim e rates in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, 2003-2006. Crime Rate N Mean Std. Dev. Min Max Philadelphia Murder w/ firearm 48 0.898 0.177 0.466 1.336 Robbery w/ firearm 48 11.433 1.898 7.345 16.771 Assault w/ firearm 48 7.794 1.220 5.401 11.054 Weapons charges 48 5.922 1.118 3.931 8.437 Larceny 48 158.000 18.191 108.261 187.329 Motor vehicle theft 48 31.684 4.083 22.601 42.234 Pittsburgh Murder w/ firearm 48 0.371 0.162 0.123 0.790 Robbery w/ firearm 48 3.986 0.764 2.471 5.654 Assault w/ firearm 48 3.607 0.869 1.598 5.405 Weapons charges 48 3.969 0.738 2.606 6.325 Larceny 48 126.090 12.577 95.123 158.977 Motor vehicle theft 48 14.888 2.479 10.733 21.794

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92 Table A-2. Pearsons correlation matrix for Ph iladelphia and Pittsburgh crime rates, 2003-2006. Philadelphia Murder w/ firearm Robbery w/ firearm Assault w/ firearm Weapons charges Larceny MV theft Murder w/ firearm 1.000 Robbery w/ firearm 0.513 1.000 Assault w/ firearm 0.495 0.291 1.000 Weapons charges -0.031 0.063 -0.227 1.000 Larceny 0.588 0.518 0.701 -0.233 1.000 Motor vehicle theft 0.186 0.210 0.249 -0.362 0.542 1.000 Pittsburgh Murder w/ firearm Robbery w/ firearm Assault w/ firearm Weapons charges Larceny Mv theft Murder w/ firearm 1.000 Robbery w/ firearm 0.321 1.000 Assault w/ firearm 0.007 -0.015 1.000 Weapons charges 0.147 0.047 0.163 1.000 Larceny 0.148 0.072 0.617 0.097 1.000 Motor vehicle theft 0.082 0.138 0.190 -0.233 0.573 1.000

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93 Table A-3. Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average (ARIMA) (0,0,0) re gression on rate of murder with firearm in Philadelphia, 2003-2006. Semi-robust coefficient Std. err. z Sig. 95% conf. interval Gun Court Intervention .1392623** .0467721 2.98 0.003 .0475907 .230934 Constant .8285883** .0287485 28.82 0.000 .7722423 .8849343 Sigma .1603267** .016517 9.71 0.000 .1279541 .1926993 Log pseudolikelihood = 19.75695 Durbin-Watson statistic = 2.136939 Ljung-Box Portmanteau test (Q) statistic = 30.9561 Prob > 2 (22) = 0.0970 p < 0.05; ** p < 0.01

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94 Table A-4. Autoregressive Integrated Moving Av erage (ARIMA) (0,0,1) re gression on rate of murder with firearm in Pittsburgh, 2003-2006. Semi-robust coefficient Std. err. z Sig. 95% conf. interval Gun Court Intervention .0363136 .0417119 0.87 0.384 -.0454402 .1180674 Constant .3526311** .0288172 12.24 0.000 .2961505 .4091117 MA(1) -.1042205 .1235413 -0.84 0.399 -.3463571 .1379161 Sigma .1579112** .0145486 10.85 0.000 .1293965 .1864259 Log pseudolikelihood = 20.47916 Durbin-Watson statistic = 1.976543 Ljung-Box Portmanteau test (Q) statistic = 33.1680 Prob > 2 (22) = 0.0595 p < 0.05; ** p < 0.01

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95 Table A-5. Autoregressive Integrated Moving Av erage (ARIMA) (1,0,0) re gression on rate of robbery with firearm in Philadelphia, 2003-2006. Semi-robust coefficient Std. err. z Sig. 95% conf. interval Gun Court Intervention .6388359 1.212429 0.53 0.598 -1.737481 3.015153 Constant 11.14801** .625398 17.83 0.000 9.92225 12.37376 AR(1) .5859808** .1106126 5.30 0.000 .3691841 .8027775 Sigma 1.439649** .2148121 6.70 0.000 1.018625 1.860673 Log pseudolikelihood = -85.81066 Durbin-Watson statistic = 1.851249 Ljung-Box Portmanteau test (Q) statistic = 24.2079 Prob > 2 (22) = 0.3364 p < 0.05; ** p < 0.01

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96 Table A-6. Autoregressive Integrated Moving Av erage (ARIMA) (1,0,0) re gression on rate of robbery with firearm in Pittsburgh, 2003-2006. Semi-robust coefficient Std. err. z Sig. 95% conf. interval Gun Court Intervention -.1583845 .2626517 -0.60 0.546 -.6731724 .3564033 Constant 4.074434** .1705628 23.89 0.000 3.740138 4.408731 AR(1) .2171651 .1689105 1.29 0.199 -.1138934 .5482236 Sigma .7338065** .0703531 10.43 0.000 .595917 .871696 Log pseudolikelihood = -53.27674 Durbin-Watson statistic = 1.963485 Ljung-Box Portmanteau test (Q) statistic = 17.8815 Prob > 2 (22) = 0.7130 p < 0.05; ** p < 0.01

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97 Table A-7. Autoregressive Integrated Moving Av erage (ARIMA) (1,3,1) re gression on rate of assault with firearm in Philadelphia, 2003-2006. Semi-robust coefficient Std. err. z Sig. 95% conf. interval Gun Court Intervention (D3) 1.494869 1.14442 1.31 0.191 -.7481534 3.737891 AR(1) -.8227789** .0787355 -10.45 0.000 -.9770976 -.6684601 MA(1) -1** 4.25e-08 0.000 -1 -1 Sigma 1.515851** .1303962 11.62 0.000 1.260279 1.771423 Log pseudolikelihood = -85.64106 Durbin-Watson statistic = 1.932768 Ljung-Box Portmanteau test (Q) statistic = 24.2063 Prob > 2 (20) = 0.2335 p < 0.05; ** p < 0.01

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98 Table A-8. Autoregressive Integrated Moving Av erage (ARIMA) (1,1,1) re gression on rate of assault with firearm in Pittsburgh, 2003-2006. Semi-robust coefficient Std. err. z Sig. 95% conf. interval Gun Court Intervention (D1) .4310064 .4868028 0.89 0.376 -.5231096 1.385122 Constant -.0022323 .0208893 -0.11 0.915 -.0431745 .0387099 AR(1) .4966809** .1233717 4.03 0.000 .2548767 .738485 MA(1) -.999998** 1.76e-06 0.000 -1.000001 -.9999945 Sigma .7747848** .0800547 9.68 0.000 .6178805 .931689 Log pseudolikelihood = -56.10918 Durbin-Watson statistic = 2.025247 Ljung-Box Portmanteau test (Q) statistic = 26.3017 Prob > 2 (21) = 0.1952 p < 0.05; ** p < 0.01

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99 Table A-9. Autoregressive Integrated Moving Av erage (ARIMA) (1,0,0) re gression on rate of weapons charges in Philadelphia, 2003-2006. Semi-robust coefficient Std. err. z Sig. 95% conf. interval Gun Court Intervention .3050543 .4218577 0.72 0.470 -.5217717 1.13188 Constant 5.780761** .2975325 19.43 0.000 5.197608 6.363914 AR(1) .3275148** .1396091 2.35 0.019 .0538859 .6011437 Sigma 1.036466** .0799005 12.97 0.000 .8798635 1.193068 Log pseudolikelihood = -69.88661 Durbin-Watson statistic = 1.869342 Ljung-Box Portmanteau test (Q) statistic = 30.7613 Prob > 2 (22) = 0.1011 p < 0.05; ** p < 0.01

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100 Table A-10. Autoregressive Integrated Moving Av erage (ARIMA) (2,1,1) re gression on rate of weapons charges in Pittsburgh, 2003-2006. Semi-robust coefficient Std. err. z Sig. 95% conf. interval Gun Court Intervention (D1) .777423** .3324179 2.34 0.019 .1258958 1.42895 Constant .0045727 .0126232 0.36 0.717 -.0201683 .0293137 AR(1) .3641352** .1235584 2.95 0.003 .1219652 .6063053 AR(2) -.2897068** .1204541 -2.41 0.016 -.5257925 -.0536211 MA(1) -1** 1.33e-07 0.000 -1 -.9999997 Sigma .5434926** .0717633 7.57 0.000 .402839 .6841462 Log pseudolikelihood = -40.01492 Durbin-Watson statistic = 1.983317 Ljung-Box Portmanteau test (Q) statistic = 19.0987 Prob > 2 (21) = 0.5788 p < 0.05; ** p < 0.01

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101 Table A-11. Autoregressive Integrated Moving Av erage (ARIMA) (1,3,1) re gression on rate of larceny in Philadelphia, 2003-2006. Semi-robust coefficient Std. err. z Sig. 95% conf. interval Gun Court Intervention (D3) -24.57277 14.27097 -1.72 0.085 -52.54336 3.397815 AR(1) -.7910688** .1285108 -6.16 0.000 -1.042945 -.5391922 MA(1) -.9999994** 1.60e-07 0.000 -.9999998 -.9999991 Sigma 15.62712** 1.805104 8.66 0.000 12.08918 19.16506 Log pseudolikelihood = -190.5365 Durbin-Watson statistic = 1.220392 Ljung-Box Portmanteau test (Q) statistic = 19.3552 Prob > 2 (20) = 0.4989 p < 0.05; ** p < 0.01

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102 Table A-12. Autoregressive Integrated Moving Av erage (ARIMA) (4,1,1) re gression on rate of larceny in Pittsburgh, 2003-2006. Semi-robust coefficient Std. err. z Sig. 95% conf. interval Gun Court Intervention (D1) -.3697098 3.886097 -0.10 0.924 -7.98632 7.2469 AR(1) .4532657** .1137372 3.99 0.000 .2303449 .6761865 AR(2) .2363295 .1490729 1.59 0.113 -.055848 .528507 AR(3) -.0555443 .1858012 -0.30 0.765 -.4197079 .3086192 AR(4) -.4022124** .1396428 -2.88 0.004 -.6759072 -.1285175 MA(1) -1.000041** .0000232 0.000 -1.000087 -.9999961 Sigma 9.224559** .8973754 10.28 0.000 7.465736 10.98338 Log pseudolikelihood = -173.4414 Durbin-Watson statistic = 2.098796 Ljung-Box Portmanteau test (Q) statistic = 32.6162 Prob > 2 (21) = 0.0506 p < 0.05; ** p < 0.01

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103 Table A-13. Autoregressive Integrated Moving Av erage (ARIMA) (1,3,0) re gression on rate of motor vehicle theft in Philadelphia, 2003-2006. Semi-robust coefficient Std. err. z Sig. 95% conf. interval Gun Court Intervention (D3) -5.501824 3.521089 -1.56 0.118 -12.40303 1.399384 AR(1) -.7719257** .1465206 -5.27 0.000 -1.059101 -.4847506 Sigma 6.346821** .6237289 10.18 0.000 5.124335 7.569307 Log pseudolikelihood = -147.4624 Durbin-Watson statistic = 1.9882 Ljung-Box Portmanteau test (Q) statistic = 28.9697 Prob > 2 (20) = 0.0884 p < 0.05; ** p < 0.01

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104 Table A-14. Autoregressive Integrated Moving Av erage (ARIMA) (2,1,1) re gression on rate of motor vehicle theft in Pittsburgh, 2003-2006. Semi-robust coefficient Std. err. z Sig. 95% conf. interval Gun Court Intervention (D1) -2.085605 1.093759 -1.91 0.057 -4.229334 .0581228 AR(1) .5327604** .1466591 3.63 0.000 .2453139 .8202069 AR(2) .0965896 .1420133 0.68 0.496 -.1817514 .3749306 MA(1) -1** 3.52e-07 0.000 -1.000001 -.9999993 Sigma 1.955774** .1709138 11.44 0.000 1.620789 2.290759 Log pseudolikelihood = -99.42135 Durbin-Watson statistic = 1.817656 Ljung-Box Portmanteau test (Q) statistic = 14.5548 Prob > 2 (21) = 0.8446 p < 0.05; ** p < 0.01

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105 APPENDIX B FIGURES Figure B-1. Unifor m Crime Report: viol ent crime in Phil adelphia, 1960-2004. 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 Jan-60Jan-64Jan-68Jan-72Jan-76Jan-80Jan-84Jan-88Jan-92Jan-96Jan-00Jan-04 Crime Count Aggregated Not Reporting Covered By All Missing One Missing

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106 Figure B-2. Uniform Crime Report: viol ent crime in Los Angeles, 1960-2004. 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 12000 Jan-60Jan-64Jan-68Jan-72Jan-76Jan-80Jan-84Jan-88Jan-92Jan-96Jan-00Jan-04 Crime Count Aggregated Not Reporting Covered By All Missing One Missing

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107 Figure B-3. Uniform Crime Report: violen t crime in New York City, 1960-2004. 0 2000 4000 6000 8000 10000 12000 14000 16000 18000 Jan-60Jan-64Jan-68Jan-72Jan-76Jan-80Jan-84Jan-88Jan-92Jan-96Jan-00Jan-04 Crime Count Aggregated Not Reporting Covered By All Missing One Missing

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108 Figure B-4. Uniform Crime Report: vi olent crime in Chicago, 1960-2004. 0 1000 2000 3000 4000 5000 6000 7000 8000 9000 Jan-60Jan-64Jan-68Jan-72Jan-76Jan-80Jan-84Jan-88Jan-92Jan-96Jan-00Jan-04 Crime Count Aggregated Not Reporting Covered By All Missing One Missing

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109 Figure B-5. Uniform Crime Report: violent crime in Miami, 1960-2004. 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 Jan-60Jan-64Jan-68Jan-72Jan-76Jan-80Jan-84Jan-88Jan-92Jan-96Jan-00Jan-04 Crime Count Aggregated Not Reporting Covered By All Missing One Missing

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110 Figure B-6. Time series line plot: rate of murder with firearm in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, 2003-2006.

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111 Figure B-7. Time series line plot: rate of robbery with firearm in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, 2003-2006.

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112 Figure B-8. Time series line plot: rate of assault with firearm in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, 2003-2006.

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113 Figure B-9. Time series line plo t: rate of weapons charges in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, 2003-2006.

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114 Figure B-10. Time series lin e plot: rate of larceny in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, 2003-2006.

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115 Figure B-11. Time series line plo t: rate of motor vehicle theft in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, 2003-2006.

PAGE 116

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122 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Matt Nobles is a Gainesville native, graduating cum laude from Gainesville High School in 1997. He received a B.S. in psychology with dual minors in business administration and criminology from the University of Florida in 2001; followed by a B.A. in criminology in 2003; and was elected to the honor societies of Phi Kappa Phi and Delta Epsilon Iota. After a brief career in information technology, he returned to graduate school to complete an M.A. in criminology, law and society in 2005 and later worked as a research associate at John Jay College in New York City. Matt begins his career as a tenure-track Assistant Professor at Washington State University in fall 2008, but he will always be a Gator at heart.