Catching up with Science: A Forum on Young Adults in the Criminal Justice System

A forum co-hosted by the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice and the John Jay College of Criminal Justice Research & Evaluation Center. Video highlights July 15, 2015 Justice-involved young adults in the transition between adolescence and fully mature adulthood have been increasingly recognized as a unique population in need of special policies, programs and practices to reduce their incarceration and collateral system consequences and improve their outcomes. In Catching up with Science, national and local experts, including Assistant Attorney General Karol Mason, will discuss why this is a population in need of special attention, what New York…

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Strengthening Youth Justice Practices with Developmental Knowledge and Principles

The insights and lessons of developmental science do not translate easily into the day-to-day tasks of youth justice systems, which often focus on control and compliance. Youth justice practitioners require assistance as they apply developmental principles. The Positive Youth Justice (PYJ) Model was developed to meet this challenge.

The Debt Penalty

Depending on the jurisdiction, offenders are charged fees at nearly every phase of the criminal justice process. In addition to fines, interest, and penalties for late payments, offenders may be required to pay “user fees,” which differ from court-imposed fines. The sole purpose of user fees is to raise revenue for criminal justice systems, while court-imposed fines are intended to punish offenders or to provide financial compensation to victims.

Punishment Without End

Evans, Douglas N. (2014). Punishment Without End. New York, NY: Research & Evaluation Center, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. Criminal justice punishments are an investment that societies make to protect the safety and order of communities. Following decades of rising prison populations, however, U.S. policymakers are beginning to wonder if they have invested too much in punishment. Policies adopted in previous decades now incarcerate large numbers of Americans and impose considerable costs on states. Mass incarceration policies are costly and potentially iatrogenic—i.e. they may transform offenders into repeat offenders. Public officials and citizens alike…

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Compensating Victims of Crime

Evans, Douglas N. (2014). Compensating Victims of Crime. New York, NY: Research & Evaluation Center, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York. Victims of violent crime are often unable to access financial compensation to offset the costs of victimization (e.g., medical, lost wages, funeral expenses) despite the massive amounts of money set aside for just that purpose. Currently, there is about $11 billion in the federal Crime Victims Fund (CVF). Less than 10 percent of this amount is allocated to state victim compensation programs. This report explores the funding mechanisms used by federal and state governments to…

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Line Drawing

The differential response to childhood criminality is an established legal principle. Setting the operational legal boundaries between children, youth, and adults is complicated and contentious. It has been so for centuries. It is easy to agree that a specialized juvenile court is the proper forum for handling cases involving law violations by young people, but where exactly should states draw the line between juvenile and adult status?

Justice Fellowship — Research on Criminal Justice Policy Reform

Center staff provided expertise and support to Justice Fellowship designed to advance JF’s goal of changing the national narrative on criminal justice. The project resulted in three research reports on issues related to criminal justice practices. The goal of each report was to influence ideas, beliefs and political leadership on criminal justice issues and to shift from an emphasis on incarceration to approaches that demonstrate a positive impact while maintaining public safety, showing respect to crime victims, and rehabilitating offenders. The long-term objective of the Research & Evaluation Center’s partnership with Justice Fellowship was to assist JF in strengthening its…

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Monitoring Reforms in Youth Justice

With funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice is conceptualizing and designing a process for monitoring the quality of youth justice reforms at the state and local level. The project convened a one-day meeting in Washington, DC and is producing a white paper that summarizes the results of the meeting and presents an action plan for future efforts. The meeting focused on the value of developing a monitoring system and the practical and economic feasibility of implementing and maintaining the system in a way that generates reliable and…

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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 as well. This report offers a brief overview of the French prison system and describes how the elements of that system compare with the policies and practices of corrections agencies in New York and the United States as a whole.

Better Research for Better Policies

Butts, Jeffrey A. and John Roman (2011). Better Research for Better Policies, in Juvenile Justice: Advancing Research, Policy, and Practice. Sherman, Francine and Francine Jacobs (Editors). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. To do their jobs effectively, policymakers, professionals, and community partners must be able to access high-quality information about the impact of policies and programs for youth. Recent years have seen an increasing, and appropriate, focus on evidence-based policy. In setting priorities for funding and support, intervention programs demonstrated to be effective and efficient are preferred over programs that are well intentioned but untested by rigorous evaluation. An evidence-based…

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Data Informed Strategies for Improving Policy and Practice

With funding from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice extended its program of research and technical assistance on juvenile justice realignment, or efforts to shift programs and resources for young offenders away from centralized, state-run facilities and into locally-operated, community-based, and non-residential programs. The Center reviewed the research literature and compiled the results of previous studies and investigations. The effort was also supported with $30,000 in funding from the New York Community Trust. Jeffrey Butts on the Project Findings Core Staff Jeffrey Butts (PI), Douglas Evans, Rhoda Ramdeen Funding $12,000. Annie…

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Positive Youth Justice

Butts, Jeffrey A., Gordon Bazemore, and Aundra Saa Meroe (2010). Positive Youth Justice: Framing Justice Interventions Using the Concepts of Positive Youth Development. Washington, DC: Coalition for Juvenile Justice. Positive youth development could be an effective framework for designing general interventions for young offenders. Such a framework would encourage youth justice systems to focus on protective factors as well as risk factors, strengths as well as problems, and broader efforts to facilitate successful transitions to adulthood for justice-involved youth. The positive youth development approach supports youth in making successful transitions from adolescence to early adulthood by encouraging young people to develop…

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