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  Citation statistics : Table of Contents
   2017| July-September  | Volume 3 | Issue 3  
    Online since September 29, 2017

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Depression in prison population: Demographic and clinical predictors
Oluyinka Emmanuel Majekodunmi, Adetunji Obadeji, Lateef Olutoyin Oluwole, Raifu Olawoye Oyelami
July-September 2017, 3(3):122-127
Studies have shown that mental illnesses are more common among the prison population than the general population. However, most studies in this environment had only looked at nonspecific psychiatric morbidities. The objective of this study was to assess the prevalence of major depressive disorder, its associated sociodemographic and clinical variables in a population of inmates in Nigeria. Institution-based cross-sectional study was conducted among 196 prisoners consisting of 136 awaiting trials (AT) and 60 convicted inmates (CI). Simple random sampling technique was used to select the study participants. Data were collected using a structured interviewer-administered questionnaire. Depression was assessed with the depression module of the Structured Clinical Interview Schedule for Axis 1 Diagnostic Statistical Manual-IV (DSM-IV) Disorders. The diagnosis was made according to the DSM-IV criteria and severity assessed with the Montgomery–Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS). Forty-one (30.1%) of AT compared with 21 (35.0%) of the CI were depressed. The mean total MADRS score for AT was 23.90 standard deviation (SD) ±7.97 while the mean total MADRS score for the convicted was 25.50 SD ± 8.70, P= 0.479. Unlike the general population, there were no sociodemographic predictors of depression. Among the ATs, depression was associated with the presence of physical complaints, having a chronic illness and family history of psychiatric illness among the CI. The prevalence of depression among prisoners was found to be high and associated with clinical variables. Due attention needs to be given to address the mental health needs of the prisoners.
  9 9,218 874
Analysis of errors in forensic science
Mingxiao Du
July-September 2017, 3(3):139-143
Reliability of expert testimony is one of the foundations of judicial justice. Both expert bias and scientific errors affect the reliability of expert opinion, which in turn affects the trustworthiness of the findings of fact in legal proceedings. Expert bias can be eliminated by replacing experts; however, it may be more difficult to eliminate scientific errors. From the perspective of statistics, errors in operation of forensic science include systematic errors, random errors, and gross errors. In general, process repetition and abiding by the standard ISO/IEC:17025: 2005, general requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories, during operation are common measures used to reduce errors that originate from experts and equipment, respectively. For example, to reduce gross errors, the laboratory can ensure that a test is repeated several times by different experts. In applying for forensic principles and methods, the Federal Rules of Evidence 702 mandate that judges consider factors such as peer review, to ensure the reliability of the expert testimony. As the scientific principles and methods may not undergo professional review by specialists in a certain field, peer review serves as an exclusive standard. This study also examines two types of statistical errors. As false-positive errors involve a higher possibility of an unfair decision-making, they should receive more attention than false-negative errors.
  8 15,293 1,011
Association between the types of offence, demographic profile, and level of intoxication among substance abusing violent offenders in a Nigerian prison
Aishatu Yusha置 Armiya置, Francis John Davou, Micheal Tekura Agbir, Friday Philip Tungchama, Yusufu Taru Maigari, Taiwo James Obindo
July-September 2017, 3(3):132-138
The association between substance use and criminality can be deduced from the acknowledgment of the increase of what are commonly called drug-defined offences, and those offences committed while under the influence of drug and/or alcohol. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of substance use disorder, the relationship between type of crime and demographic profile, and the relationship between offence committed and degree of intoxication with alcohol and illegal drugs at the time of crime among convicted and awaiting trial violent offenders. A cross-sectional descriptive study was carried out among 432 male inmates either convicted or awaiting trial in Jos maximum security prison, Plateau state. They completed a pro forma questionnaire containing their demographic and forensic profiles. They were screened with self-administered General Health Questionnaire item 28 and interviewed with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview questionnaire. The prevalence of substance use disorder was 54% (233). A significant correlation was found between type of offence committed and intoxication with substance at the time of crime (odds ratio = 0.3003; P= 0.001). High prevalence of substance use disorder was found among violent offenders in the prison.
  3 1,672 52
Case of fatal air embolism during double-J ureteral stent placement
Peng Zhang, Chen Qing, Jianbo Li, Shisheng Zhu
July-September 2017, 3(3):177-179
Air embolism is a severe and fatal complication, but it is very rare during transurethral surgery. This report describes a case of air embolism during double-J ureteral stent placement in a 45-year-old woman. During ureteroscopy, a sudden decrease in oxygen saturation and end-expiratory carbon dioxide pressure and cyanosis of the face were observed. Subsequent echocardiography confirmed an air embolism by detecting bubbles in the heart. Despite resuscitative measures, the patient died rapidly. Detailed autopsy was performed to clarify the cause of death and the route of air entering into the circulatory system. The report presented here reminds urologists and pathologists that air embolism can occur during double-J ureteral stent placement and offers some suggestions regarding identification of air embolism at autopsy.
  2 4,702 296
Cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1-based human RNA quantification to enhance mRNA profiling in forensic biology
Dong Zhao, Xi Chen, Zhiyuan An, Erin Hanson, Jack Ballantyne
July-September 2017, 3(3):115-121
RNA analysis offers many potential applications in forensic science, and molecular identification of body fluids by analysis of cell-specific RNA markers represents a new technique for use in forensic cases. However, due to the nature of forensic materials that often admixed with nonhuman cellular components, human-specific RNA quantification is required for the forensic RNA assays. Quantification assay for human RNA has been developed in the present study with respect to body fluid samples in forensic biology. The quantitative assay is based on real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction of mitochondrial RNA cytochrome c oxidase subunit I and capable of RNA quantification with high reproducibility and a wide dynamic range. The human RNA quantification improves the quality of mRNA profiling in the identification of body fluids of saliva and semen because the quantification assay can exclude the influence of nonhuman components and reduce the adverse affection from degraded RNA fragments.
  1 4,493 443
Analysis of contested narratives in Cui Yingjie case
Luping Zhang
July-September 2017, 3(3):161-176
This paper endeavors to explore how to analyze the lateral difference between factual narrative texts to the same case, as well as the narrative mechanism that caused such lateral difference. It applies its four perspectives of the story model, namely, (1) coverage, (2) coherence, (3) uniqueness, and (4) goodness of fit to the study of evidence in Cui Yingjie case. The author explores why different interpretations the prosecution and defense adopted in the trial of the case could not provide a reliable logic to illustrate the necessity of their statements. In light of the story model, this paper explains the mechanism behind the techniques of evidence presentation both prosecution and defense adopted in the trial of Cui Yingjie case.
  - 3,082 222
Determining the electrical conductivity of rat cadaveric liver, spleen, and kidney to estimate early postmortem interval
Zhe Zheng, Xiandun Zhai, Zhiyuan Xia, Yaonan Mo
July-September 2017, 3(3):111-114
Previous research has found that electrical conductivity (EC), an important index to predict meat freshness and shelf life, is very promising for estimating the late postmortem interval (PMI). However, whether it has potential use in the early PMI has not been fully studied yet. To test this possibility in the present study, EC of three internal organs of rat liver, spleen, and kidney were determined within 24 postmortem hours, and then, EC changes at different PMIs were carefully analyzed. The overall results showed that EC of liver and spleen increased significantly with PMI while EC of kidney had minor changes during the same period. Specifically, significant linear positive correlations between EC of liver and spleen and PMI were found and the coefficients of their regression functions were R2 = 0.98 and R2 = 0.95, respectively. It can be concluded that determination of EC in certain internal organs such as liver and spleen may be a potential tool in the early PMI estimation. However, more researches on its influencing factors are needed to facilitate its final use in practice.
  - 3,876 459
Prison types and inmates' psychosocial profiles: A comparison between medium and maximum security prison
Tajudeen Abiola, Aisha Y Armiyau, Laipo Adepoju, Owoidoho Udofia
July-September 2017, 3(3):128-131
Studies on the impacts the type of prison's environment had on the psychosocial well-being of their inmates were few. To contribute more study on this, the current study explored the psychosocial health profiles of inmates and the type of prison environment by comparing inmates' psychosocial profiles of a medium security prison to a maximum security correctional facility located in north central Nigeria. Participants were male inmates of medium security prison located in Bida, Niger-State and Jos maximum security facility in Plateau-State. All the participants filled the study instruments (i.e., a sociodemographic questionnaire, the ten-item personality inventory, resilience scale, and Oslo Social Support Scale) after obtaining informed consent from them. There was a significant positive association of prison types with resilience and social support which was reversed for spirituality. The multivariate analysis showed that inmates of medium security prison had significantly higher resilience and social support scores compared to those in maximum security correctional facilities. There was no difference in the five dimensions of personality among the inmates and in their experience of spirituality. The findings add to extant knowledge on the impact that the level of “indigenous” deprivations had on inmates psychosocial wellness factors. The study hence advocated to the department of correctional services to modify the indigenous measures that promote resilience and social support without compromising security.
  - 4,429 449
Study of the system of the witness appearing in court: From the perspective of criminal proceedings
Shanshan Zhao
July-September 2017, 3(3):144-151
It is of great significance for witnesses to appear in court in criminal cases so as to safeguard the right of confrontation of the defendant and achieve judicial justice. However, the witnesses in criminal cases refuse to appear in court and only give written testimony, and this has become a long-standing problem in the judicial practice of China. To solve this problem, the Criminal Procedure Law of China, amended and improved the system of the witness appearing in court in 2012. Nevertheless, if the underlying problems in the judicial system of China are not settled, the system of the witness appearing in court in criminal cases still cannot turn into practicable measures.
  - 3,188 294
How to ensure children's credibility of testimony in sexual abuse cases
Wei-Hsin Chang
July-September 2017, 3(3):152-160
There were several sexual abuse cases in Taiwan where the defendants having committed child rapes either received light punishment or held not guilty. This led to the White Rose Movement in 2010, whereby the court decisions were criticized ruthlessly by people. Among those problematic court decisions with absurd reasoning, we have suspected that the legislative purpose of statutory rape and that of forcible rape applied to children and adults separately were mistakenly mixed. It resulted in the consent of intercourse becoming a legal constituent requirement taken into consideration in child rape cases. However, a child's consent on sex is invalid in the U.S. laws. Since the child's testimony was thought less creditable by some psychologists, Taiwanese courts have admitted the reports of defendant's polygraph and child victim's hymen tests to be presented in court to ensure the child's credibility. This paper, thus, based on Taiwan's judicial experience, aims to explore the child's credibility of testimony from legal and forensic linguistic aspects and to present an assessing method for reference.
  - 5,142 365