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Inside Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice: What Works? What Doesn’t?

June 21, 2011 12:54:46 am
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New York City treatment courts, Hawaii’s Project HOPE, and "parent-child interaction therapy" are among top-rated programs highlighted by a new online evaluation project of the federal Office of Justice Programs.

The U.S. Justice Department has a new website, http://crimesolutions.gov, to help taxpayers judge the effectiveness of state and local anticrime programs.

The site, unveiled yesterday at the National Institute of Justice’s annual crime research conference near Washington, D.C., was billed by federal officials as a “single, credible, online resource to inform practitioners and policymakers about what works in criminal justice, juvenile justice, and crime victim services.”

Laurie Robinson, Assistant Attorney General for Justice Programs, started the project when she returned to government service in 2009. A team of experts from her office and the Maryland-based private firm Development Services Group (DSG) assembled the database by reviewing academic studies that have reviewed hundreds of anticrime programs under accepted scientific standards.

Each program was classified in one of three categories: effective, promising, or no effects.

Officials emphasized that the CrimeSolutions.gov site is a work in progress, with new evaluations added almost daily. In the last week before the NIJ conference, the number listed jumped from 125 to 145.

The programs are divided into eight categories. As of yesterday, crime and crime prevention had the most evaluations (24) while drugs and substance abuse had the fewest (8) Other categories are corrections and prisoner reentry, courts, forensics and technology, juvenile justice, law enforcement, and victims and victimization.

Many programs didn’t make the cut, either because they were judged ineffective or there wasn’t enough evidence to make a  judgment.

Phelan Wyrick, an assistant to Robinson, said good but unproved programs would not have to make the list to qualify for federal funding. “We must continue to support innovation,” he told the NIJ conference.

Some highlights of the initial site listings:

Corrections:. A training program for probation officers, Strategic Training Initiative in Community Supervision, was the only one judged effective. Fifteen were called promising, including a widely praised Hawaii program called HOPE that promotes swift sanctions for errant probationers. One program, Project Greenlight, was pronounced ineffective.

Courts. Six programs were listed as effective, including treatment courts in New York City’s Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens boroughs. Ten programs were called promising.

Crime Prevention. Eleven programs were called effective. Although most categories stressed U.S.  programs, a majority of the effective prevention projects were from the United Kingdom or Australia. Twelve programs were listed as promising.

Drugs. Only three were found effective, including a methadone maintenance program. Five made the promising category.

Victims. Only three were effective, including one called “parent-child interaction therapy.” Fifteen were called promising. Crime expert Carol Petrie of the DSG firm noted that most victims programs that could be evaluated were in the domestic violence or child abuse fields and that other crime-victim-aid programs should be studied.

Ted Gest is contributing editor of The Crime Report and president of Criminal Justice Journalists

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Posted by Michael Juliano (MikeAlike)
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 08:58

It would be interesting to compare crime statistics per demographic of race, sexual preference and region. As myself growing up with absoultely no form of rights granted to protect me as an individual, being that the federal government in our “free” country, until recently placed no laws in order to make homosexuals legal, protected citizens. While I maintain a clean record I understand my capability to commit crime and the psychology behind this. Thankfully my parents were both involved in municipal roles as workers, they instilled a form of discipline which I rarely use(d) but the same, it has kept me at least somewhat abiding. For the countless numbers of men and women that also until recently ALSO had no government, schools or churches as role models or safe places to turn to, because they are “gay” and yes believe me “blacks” experience(d) something similar as gays, its understanded that these persons as well as me suffer the same afflicition with mental disorders included in the scheme. I think the criminal justice system is part bullshit, a zoo of sorts, and retracing our steps as a society I can see a different picture, one that doesn’t have a family unit holding hands and singing lullabies to neighbors and dropping off a cup of sugar to bake some fucking cookies.
Being I am from the midwest and Illinois at that and John Wayne Gacy lived in the next township, my mind wanders to a dark place wondering what made Jeffery Dahmer so self powerful or permitted to commit such heinous acts to black boys and asians that are “gay”. Maybe he felt that because the government never bothered to gainfully protect “blacks” at that time and homosexuals were not just an abomination but desecrated by religions, schools and the public, that he had some sort of privelege to kill such unwanted types of people-(was he expecting a cheering section?). Jeffery Dahmer ate his victims, their bodies became as the holy eucharist, a body to be eaten in ceremony. Or possibly he was just some blood thirtsy fiend.
I find my views expressed not so extreme, but confrontational, and after dealing with mess after mess of persons in my sub culture and recieving very goddamn little, forcing respect from others and living in fear as millions or countless of others have as well. I wonder if you can explain what makes people not give a shit about the government and commit acts onto others which cause harm and expresses a complete lack of “care”?
Compasionate programs work for a reason, something to ponder, next time one of these bigotted politicans using law and order to control people opens their mouth in public causing a reaction on the doorsteps of America or a bunch of otherwise could be sweet people get locked up for disobeying.
Slowly as we become more aware, our culture evolves, what was once accepted is no longer, and vice versa.

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