Correctional population in the United States, 2012

Research methods

Question 1

Outline written for the journal: Correctional population in the United States, 2012. Retrieved from: Correctional population in the United States, 2012

Thesis: Determining the correctional population in the united states involves obtaining statistics of the offenders living in the community, under the supervision of probation or parole agencies, and those held in the custody or federal prisons or local jails. Introduction

Describe the trend observed, in the correctional population as from the 2000 to 2012, in form of a graph, and the source of statistics used.

Thesis: Determining the correctional population in the united states involve obtaining statistics of the offenders living in the community, under the supervision of probation or parole agencies, and those held in the custody or federal prisons or local jails.

Available statistics

By yearend 2012, the rate of offenders under correctional supervision dropped below the 2000 level: Approximately 2870 offenders per 100000 US adult residents were under a given type of correctional supervision at the yearend 2012 while the correctional supervision rate dropped to less than 2900 per 100000 adult residents.

During 2012, the community supervision and incarcerated populations had the smallest decreases since 2009 : The decline of about 40,500 offenders, as accessed during the community supervision in 2012 represented the smallest decrease in this population since it first decline in 2009 (down 46,300). State that the decrease in the incarcerated population occurred due to reduction in the number of inmates, by 1.4%, held in the custody.

Decreases in probation and prison populations accounted for nearly the entire decline in the total correctional population during 2012: Approximately 38300 fewer probationers were present during the supervision at yearend 2012 in comparison to the beginning of the year, thereby accounting for 64% of the recorded decrease in the correctional population. The drop of 500 parolees (down 1.0%) between the beginning and end of 2012 had minimal impact on the total decline in the correctional population.

Describe the methodology used in collecting data

Sources of data

Annual probation survey; Annual Parole Survey: this began in 1980, with collection data across 50 states in the United States and federal system. Persons under the age of 18 but considered as adults in the court of law were put in the category of adults while those younger than 18 but prosecuted in the juvenile court were excluded.

Annual survey of jails: includes accessing inmates under the age of 18, held after or before adjudication; a total of 5400 persons in 2012.

Census in jails: census in jails aimed at accessing jails in US and the total inmate populations

Survey of jails in Indian country: involves collection of comprehensive information on the adults and juvenile confinement facilities and any other facilities controlled by the tribal authorities of the nation.

National prisoner statistics program: gather detailed information from the nation’s state department of corrections and the federal Bureau of Prisons.

Probation and parole population: State that annual change in the probation and parole populations was calculated within the year 2012. The correctional populations count makes use of the December 31 2012 population count for the probation and parole population.

Local jail and custody prison populations: The number of inmates’ calculation involves determining the population count recorded for the last weekday in June.

Decomposing the decline in the correctional supervision rate: calculated by subtracting the 2011 rate from the 2007 rate.


Summarize the trend in statistics as observed in the correctional population count.

Question 2

The New York Times: Does Media Violence Lead to the Real Thing? Retrieved from: et al uses the article to discuss the link between media violence and violence in real life. After presenting specific evidences, particularly about the link between cigarette smoking and cancer, the authors conclude that media violence is a risk factor for violence. The evidence presented refutes the argument presented by their critics, who argue that the presence of violence scenes in TV shows and movies has no any link to the latter. As stated in the article, the opponents asserts that many of American households view violent imagery TV shows and films, but it turns out that only few involve in violent behaviors. The writers consider the reasoning as off-base by asserting, “Exposure to violent imagery does not preordain violence, but it is a risk factor”(Pozios et al, 2013). Somebody saying that he or she has smoked cigarette for long but does not have cancer cannot trigger the conclusion that there is no link between the two (smoking cigarette and cancer).

Research methods used

The authors make use of both basic and applied research. The evidence of use of basic research is in the nature of argument presented. Intuitively, the writers present their argument for human welfare rather than commercial purposes. They only clarify the point on the close link between media violence and real-life violence. Barely would the discoveries highlighted in the article yield commercial value for the subjects since they are more of knowledge enhancement. The article per se does not include the measurement of quantity or amount to validate the use of quantitative research (Thomas, 2011).

Further, the writers make use the discussion of link between media violence and real-life violence has acted as topic for public debate in the contemporary world, controlled by technology. The main objective of the article is to provide solution to social and real life problems, which in this case is to clear the air among the people in the society. Consequently, the presentation of this discussion means that the writers have interest in improving human conditions, as the result of the growing concern about the link between the two. Further, the completion of the research required support from growing body of research, as indicated. This validates the use of applied research which always involves attaining support from other bodies(Hucker, 2001).

Errors in research reasoning

A closer look at the body of the article shows that the writers have not provided clear evidence to support their argument. The article only talks about “a growing body of research” without indicating the name for further reference. They assert, “But a growing body of research indicates that this reasoning may be off base” (Pozios et al, 2013). This will leave a reader in doubts of whether this growing body of research is in existence. Further, the critics will also utilize prove that, in real sense, the argument of the writers is off base since they do not provide adequate evidence for their argument. Further, the writers incorporate a study published in the journal Pediatrics hazily, without providing a link for the readers to confirm their assertion (Nutley, 2007).


Lauren E. and Erinn J.(2013).Correctional Populationsin the United States, 2012.Bureau of Justice Statistics, NCJ 243936. Retrieved from:

Nutley, S. M., Walter, I., & Davies, H. T. O. (2007).Using evidence: How research can inform public services. Bristol, U.K: Policy Press.

Smith, D. (2004). Social work and evidence-based practice.London ; Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Hucker, K. (2001).Research methods in health, care and early years. Oxford: Heinemann.

Pozios, K., Kambam, R. & Bender, E (2013).Does Media Violence Lead to the Real Thing?.Retrieved from:, L. S., & Powell, R. R. (2010).Basic research methods for librarians. Santa Barbara, Calif: Libraries Unlimited.

Blankenship, D. (2010). Applied research and evaluation methods in recreation. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Thomas, J. R., Nelson, J. K., & Silverman, S. J. (2011).Research methods in physical activity.Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.