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Year In Review

The Top Ten Justice Developments of 2012

November 21, 2012 11:14:06 am
Comments (9)

The editors of The Crime Report are preparing once again to spotlight the most important developments or innovations in criminal justice in 2012 for our annual year-end review next month, based on nominations from our staff and TCR contributors around the country.

With a new addition this year: we’re also naming the person, group or agency judged to have had the most profound impact on the nation’s criminal justice system in 2012.

We’d also like to extend the invitation to our readers.

A word about what we’re looking for.

The developments or innovations you choose can be at the federal or local levels. They  could be related to a news story (i.e., the wave of mass shootings in 2012; the FBI’s infiltration of Muslim groups; ), but they could be off the mainstream media’s radar screen entirely.  Your top pick could be an innovative practice, a new website or technological innovation; a game-changing event (Colorado & Washington’s votes to legalize marijuana for recreational use), or cutting-edge research that promises to change policy.

Last year’s year-end review was one of our most widely read features and attracted national attention. It’s another reason why policymakers, practitioners and the media consider The Crime Report to be the leading national forum for criminal justice news and resources.

Please don’t send us a laundry list!  Choose one or two, and send us a brief (one- or two- sentence) explanation of your choice.

Second, we’d like to hear your choice for a “Criminal Justice Person/Entity” of the year. We’re looking for those you think have had the most profound impact (negative or positive) on criminal justice in 2012—and who may continue to dominate discussions in 2013.  (examples: Trayvon Martin; the budget-strained Camden (NJ) municipal government which announced plans earlier this year to replace its police force with non-unionized law enforcement personnel.)

Again, we’re not looking for a lengthy list. Choose one, or at most two—and tell us why you think so.

We’ll tabulate all your submissions to arrive at the top ten criminal justice developments and the Criminal Justice Person of The Year (with a runner-up).  We’ll publish the most interesting comments.

You can post your comments below or email your choices to deputy editor Graham Kates at graham@thecrimereport.org. You’re also welcome to chime in on Twitter or Facebook. Be sure to put “Year-End Review” in the subject line.

The final deadline for submitting comments is Monday, Dec 3—after which comments will be closed.

We’ll publish our year-end review---and let you know how your colleagues and fellow readers voted around mid-December.

Over to you—and Happy Thanksgiving!

The Editors

« Article List

Posted by Laurie Mason Schroeder
Sunday, December 02, 2012 12:34

The Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal: Exposed problems at Penn State that allowed Sandusky to prey on kids for decades and spawned a task force that has the potential to revamp Pennsylvania’s archaic child abuse laws.

Posted by Peter Hockley
Tuesday, November 27, 2012 12:23

The 3 States that voted to legalise cannabis!

Posted by Helen Silvis
Monday, November 26, 2012 04:55

The Supreme Court decision on juvenile life sentences has to be one of the most important developments of the year. It opened the door to a more compassionate view of teens, who after all are not mature and not making adult decisions when they commit crimes.
Whether science and that more compassionate understanding of youth crime will result in real change in the states is another matter.

Posted by Tyrone Werts
Monday, November 26, 2012 03:20

The Inside Out Prison Exchange Program is a new and fresh approach to prison education, or education period! It has grown into an international program where instructors enroll in an intensive week-long training to take college and university students into prisons, jails and juveniles facilities to conduct a semester long course side-by-side with those incarcerated. At its core, it provide students both inside and out with a new pedagogy for learning, which not only inspires, but also break down the walls that separate us as people. It is having a transfomational impact on thousands of students, instructors and the incarcerated with the potential to change our world.

Posted by Joe Petro
Monday, November 26, 2012 07:31

2 States Legalize Marijuana

Many of the comments deal with prison overcrowding and the associated costs. The root of much of this overcrowding is the misguided War on Drugs. Legalizing marijuana is the first step in ending this costly and ineffective effort. Ending the War on Drugs (especially marijuana) will allow the precious few law enforcement resources and funds to be better allocated.

Posted by Joan Petersilia
Sunday, November 25, 2012 12:44

California’s massive prison downsizing experiment (called “realignment” by the Legislature and Governor).

In just 1 year, the average daily CA prison dropped by 35,000 prisoners and the average daily parole population dropped by 50,000. There has never been a shock to any prison system as dramatic as this, and we should all be watching the consequences closely. It undoubtedly will have significant impacts on jail and prison operations, county and state budgets, and community-based alternatives.

Posted by John Turner
Saturday, November 24, 2012 08:12


Living in Philadelphia, I see first-hand the crime and poverty in CAMDEN, NJ.

For a city in the USA of 70,000 to have over 60 murders is beyond comprehension.

Last year they laid off half the police department and everyday I read the paper there is another shooting or murder.

I’ll be closely watching the current move to shift the city police department into a county pd by laying off the entire force. Not sure how they will do this, but it is an unprecedented.

Posted by Andrew Davies
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 04:02

2012 was the year NIJ and BJA issued the first funding solicitations for indigent defense for a generation resulting in the distribution of $3 million for research in this area. The last significant Federally funded research in this area was in the early 1980s.

Posted by Josh Dohan
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 12:17

Two top ten developments:
1)The Supreme Court decision in Miller bringing the US ever closer to banning JLWOP. Virtually no one else in the world condemns children to die in prison.

2) The biggest development is a non-development. The US continues to have 25% of the world’s prisoners with only 5% of the world’s population. We have a huge budget deficit and yet reducing the expenditures on a corrections system that is at best ineffective was not even part of the national presidential conversation. Not only is this a proven waste of money, but the racial impact is devastating.

Criminal Justice Entity of the year: The National Juvenile Defender Center. Historically children have received the worst (or no) representation on delinquency/criminal proceedings. Over the past fifteen years the NJDC has made states and public defender agencies rethink their appraoch to juvenile justice. Largely because of NJDC efforts there is now a national movement to provide children and youth with competent counsel that combines zealous legal advocacy and the evidence based Youth Development Approach. They have proven that the zealous defense of children’s rights also promotes life success and long term community safety. This is not a one time heroic moment, this is a sustained and successful effort to change the juvenile justice systems nation wide.

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