Associations Between Mass Incarceration and Community Health in New York City

Davis, Rindcy E. and Douglas N. Evans (2018). Associations Between Mass Incarceration and Community Health in New York City. Public Health, 161: 43-48. Incarceration has escalated over the past four decades in the United States, creating a number of negative consequences for individuals, families, and communities. This study seeks to identify the associations between mass incarceration and health behaviors/perceptions on a neighborhood level. Using the street intercept method, we collected in-person survey data from residents in two New York City neighborhoods (one in the South Bronx and the other in Northern Manhattan) with similar levels of social disadvantage but significantly…

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Good Questions: Building Evaluation Evidence in a Competitive Policy Environment

Butts, Jeffrey A. and John K. Roman (forthcoming, 2018). Good Questions: Building Evaluation Evidence in a Competitive Policy Environment. Justice Evaluation Journal, 1(1). Criminal justice evaluations are funded and executed in a social environment increasingly characterized by intense competition that creates a premium on studies utilizing experimental methods. Randomization, however, is not a universally suitable method for answering all questions of criminal justice policy and practice. Experimental designs are particularly ill-suited for addressing key analytical challenges and exploiting important opportunities in justice, including discontinuity effects, interventions that depend on the perceptions and beliefs of individuals, and models of general policy…

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Gun Violence is not an “Inner City” Problem

by Jeffrey A. Butts JohnJayREC DataBits 2018-01 Policy debates about gun violence focus on cities. Every year, when federal law enforcement authorities release the latest compilation of U.S. violent crime statistics, news media across the country publish stories ranking cities on the severity of violence, with some labeled as “America’s deadliest cities.” Big city mayors and police chiefs anxiously await this annual data cycle, hoping their cities avoid the new list of “murder capitals.” Voices from the political Left and Right make cities the central focus of discussions about violence, especially gun violence. During the 2016 Presidential campaign, Donald Trump…

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Critical Care: The Important Role of Hospital-Based Violence Intervention Programs

Douglas Evans and Anthony Vega In Denormalizing Violence: A Series of Reports From the John Jay College Evaluation of Cure Violence Programs in New York City Introduction Crime has been decreasing since the mid-1990s, but violence is still a serious concern in many neighborhoods throughout the United States. Victims of violence often suffer psychological trauma as well as physical injuries, and research suggests the effects do not end there. Nearly half of all victims experience subsequent violent victimization. The criminal justice system may respond effectively to incidents of violence, but preventing violence and addressing the needs and ongoing risks of…

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Lockup guard slugged a skinny kid. Prosecutors say it’s justified. Here’s the video.

BY CAROL MARBIN MILLER cmarbin@miamiherald.com Broward County prosecutors have ruled that a former detention center officer was justified when he slugged a 14-year-old boy in the face — breaking the teen’s nose in two places — because the juvenile was aggressive with staff and causing a disturbance in the county’s long-troubled lockup. … … An expert in juvenile justice policy and research said that prosecutors’ justification for declining to press charges suggests an office-wide bias in favor of officers. “The memorandum from the state attorney uses language revealing the intent of the office, which is to minimize the violent nature…

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The New ‘Superpredator’ Myth

by Alex S. Vitale March 23, 2018 — read the original The criminologist John DiIulio sparked a panic in 1995 when he predicted there would be an explosion of juvenile superpredators in the coming years, resulting in widespread violence. His baseless theory was wrong; youth crime has fallen dramatically ever since. … Instead of doubling down on gang-suppression policing, New York City should invest in better alternatives. The city supports 18 Cure Violence programs to reduce shootings. The program’s sites, often a substantial portion of the area’s police precincts, rely on community-based “violence interrupters” who work with young people. New…

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The Recidivism Trap

Commentary Counting failure is no way to encourage success Jeffrey A. Butts and Vincent Schiraldi Any discussion of criminal justice policy inevitably includes the word “recidivism.” Usually more than once. Recidivism is the reoccurrence of crime among people known to have committed crimes before. At all levels of justice, from local probation offices to the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, if we judge the impact of interventions at all, we do so in part by measuring recidivism. In a report we published today with the Harvard Kennedy School, we conclude that recidivism is often the wrong measure. And using it exclusively…

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Recidivism Reconsidered

  Preserving the Community Justice Mission of Community Corrections Jeffrey A. Butts and Vincent Schiraldi Recidivism is not a robust measure of effectiveness for community corrections agencies. When used as the sole measure of effectiveness, recidivism misleads policymakers and the public, encourages inappropriate comparisons of dissimilar populations, and focuses policy on negative rather than positive outcomes. Policymakers who focus on recidivism as evidence of justice effectiveness are confusing a complex, bureaucratic indicator of system decision-making with a simple measure of individual behavior and rehabilitation. Recidivism is at least in part a gauge of police activity and enforcement emphasis and, because…

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