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Viewpoints

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The Paradigm Shift in Criminal Justice

By James M. Doyle

We may look back on 2014 as the year in which the criminal justice system finally agreed to see itself as a system.

Of course we have always used the phrase “criminal justice system,” but we usually have only a vague ecosystem in mind:  something like a pond or a swamp, where choices made on the near coast produce mysterious unanticipated consequences on the far shore. This mindset warps the way we diagnose our problems.

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Cybercrime and Probation: Out of the Loop

By Art Bowker

Over the years, society has become much more technologically dependent. Computers and Internet access have become not only widespread but generally essential to everyday life. Courts, recognizing technology’s role in today’s society, have also become increasing reluctant to impose wholesale computer or Internet prohibitions on offenders. As an alternative, courts have gravitated towards conditions that authorize computer searches and/or monitoring.

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Reforming the NYPD—Beyond Stop and Frisk

By Judy Greene

With Bill Bratton back at the helm of the New York Police Department (NYPD), many New Yorkers who remember his term of service in that post during the Giuliani administration are experiencing a bit of déjà vu. We recall his launch of CompStat, the NYPD system for ensuring command accountability at the precinct level, now replicated by police executives across the globe.  And the return of George Kelling as an NYPD management guru appears to signal a reaffirmation of Bratton’s famous “broken windows” approach to crime control in New York City.

Many New Yorkers welcome these developments, believing that Bratton’s strict enforcement of “quality of life” crimes was the driving force that won our city’s victory against the 1980’s epidemic of violent crime. However, New York University sociologist David Greenberg disagrees.  He says that while crime rates have plummeted, it’s not because of the NYPD.

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Sentenced to the Max Without Benefit of a Trial

By Erik Roskes

From the time of the philosopher-physician Maimonides, individuals with mental impairments were known to be unable to participate meaningfully in judicial proceedings.  Thus, for at least a millennium, it has been the expectation in civilized societies that individuals accused of crimes must be competent in order to plead, go to trial, and be sentenced. 

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TCR at a Glance

ACLU: Women in Solitary Face 'Unique Harms'

new & notable April 24, 2014

Rules governing the use of isolation should note differences between women and men, according to a new policy brief by the American Civil...

How Teens' Outlook on Life Impacts Crime

new & notable April 21, 2014

Youth who believe they'll live a long time are more likely to take seriously the consequences of committing crime, according to a new stu...

Smack Madness

April 16, 2014

Have the media and policymakers overblown the latest heroin “epidemic?”