Easily Overstated

Policymakers, advocates, and even some researchers claim that youth confinement rates across the United States dropped in recent years due to changes in policy and practice. Such claims remain unproven, but voters and elected officials are inclined to accept them as factual because they are offered by reputable agencies and repeated in news media sources. Without reliable evidence, however, the notion that state-level youth confinement rates fall primarily in response to progressive policy reforms is merely appealing rhetoric.

It’s About Quality: Private Confinement Facilities in Juvenile Justice

Quality youth justice systems (a) limit the use of confinement to cases where it is objectively necessary, (b) ensure the health and safety of all confined youth, (c) provide effective treatments and developmentally appropriate programming, and (d) continually monitor and evaluate their effectiveness. These goals apply to all forms of secure confinement regardless of financing or organizational configuration.

Going Back to College? Criminal Stigma in Higher Education Admissions in Northeastern U.S.

Access to education is a constant theme in discussions germane to correctional reform, particularly to reduce rule breaking while incarcerated and re-offending after release from prison. Focusing on the latter, we examine the extent to which education is accessible for individuals who have felonious non-violent records in the United States (US). We generated a stratified random sample of 85 institutions of higher education (IHE) in the northeastern US and analyzed emails from admission departments in response to inquiries about how a felony record would affect admissions decisions. Results from multivariate models indicate that the institution type (public vs. private) significantly predicts how an IHE would use an individual’s criminal history in admissions decisions. Public IHEs are less likely to consider criminal history when reviewing an individual’s application and IHEs with higher proportions of minority students are associated with reduced consideration of an applicant’s criminal history in admissions decisions.

It’s Not About the Art; It’s About the Artist

We actually need young people who are bold, willing to challenge conventional thinking, and to break rules, but we also need them to respect others, to rely on logic rather than force, and to appreciate the corrosive effects of violence and exploitation. In short, our communities need powerful and creative young people who want to improve us and not simply to fight us. These should seem like obvious concepts to anyone working around the youth justice system, but it is often surprisingly difficult to implement them in practice.

Associations Between Mass Incarceration and Community Health in New York City

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 different rates of jail admission. Respondents in both neighborhoods self-reported similar ratings of their physical health. Significant differences between neighborhoods include incidence of fast food consumption over the past week, alcohol use over the last 3 months, and perceptions of the occurrence of teen pregnancy in the neighborhood. This study hopes to inform future researchers and interventionists about associations between mass incarceration and health-related behaviors/perceptions to facilitate consideration of this increasingly common social factor as a determinant of community health in future research.

Conducting Prison Research in a Foreign Setting

This paper discusses the process of conducting prison research in France. Drawing on a study conducted with a sample of prisoners in a maximum-security facility in Paris, this article outlines the major challenges relating to access, data collection, and dissemination of results in correctional research.

Imperative for Inclusion of Long Termers and Lifers in Research and Policy

Although numerous studies have highlighted the negative consequences of mass incarceration, life-course and criminal career research has largely failed to document psychological, social, and behavioral changes that occur during periods of incarceration.

Out-of-Home Placements Falling Among Younger Juveniles

by Jeffrey A. Butts September 5, 2014 The number of young people referred to court for delinquency offenses plummeted after the 1990s. According to juvenile court data maintained by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and disseminated by the National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ), the number of delinquency cases nationwide fell [...]

Spring 2014 Pinkerton Symposium

A CLOSER LOOK: Examining "Close to Home" and New York's Transformation of Youth Justice Pinkerton Symposium on Youth Justice Sponsored by the Pinkerton Foundation and the Pinkerton Fellowship Initiative at John Jay College in Collaboration with the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation of New York City John Jay College of Criminal Justice 524 West 59th Street New [...]

Is the Decline in Juvenile Incarceration Due to Reform or Falling Crime Rates?

Butts, Jeffrey A. (2013). Is the Decline in Juvenile Incarceration Due to Reform or Falling Crime Rates? Research and Evaluation Data Bits [2013-01]. New York, NY: Research and Evaluation Center, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. Juvenile justice advocacy groups in the United States are celebrating the nation’s falling rate of juvenile incarceration. How [...]

Does Law Matter? An Old Bail Law Confronts the New Penology

Kazemian, Lila, Candace McCoy and Meghan Sacks (2013). Does law matter? An old bail law confronts the New Penology. Punishment & Society, 15(1): 43-70. The New Penology paradigm stipulates that governments increasingly incarcerate ‘unruly classes’ in order to manage rather than punish these groups. Even more than in previous decades, post-industrial society is said to [...]

The French Prison System…

Kazemian, Lila and Catrin Andersson (2012). The French Prison System: Comparative Insights for Policy and Practice in New York and the United States. New York, NY: Research and Evaluation Center, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. Despite many differences between French and American correctional practices, the two countries have common challenges [...]

Less Serious Offenses Account for 90 Percent of the Growth in Juvenile Placements

Butts, Jeffrey A. (2012). Less Serious Offenses Account for 90 Percent of the Growth in Juvenile Placements. Research and Evaluation Data Bits [2012-08]. New York, NY: Research and Evaluation Center, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. Juvenile court cases involving charges of obstruction of justice, simple assault, drug law violations, vandalism, and [...]