Vital City — Balancing Deterrence and Prevention: The Role of Research

Prevention is different than deterrence, and it uses other tools and resources. It lowers risks and builds assets. Risks are obstacles to safety that often metastasize across individuals and increase harm to entire communities, including substance abuse, antisocial peers, unemployment, and family violence.

Toledo Blade — Violence Interrupters: How to Measure Success in Toledo and Beyond

“They should not operate in hostility to law enforcement…but they need to operate almost autonomously,” said Jeffrey Butts, director of the Research and Evaluation Center of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. “If the neighborhood starts to think that these programs are in cahoots with law enforcement, the young people in the neighborhood will stop talking to the workers.”

Assessing the Efficacy of Alternatives to Incarceration within Seven Federal Districts

Though alternatives to incarceration (ATI) courts have existed in the state system for 30 years, such courts are a relatively new phenomena at the federal level. We assess the impact of participation in an ATI program on a number of outcomes using a quasi-experimental matching design. Results suggest that defendants who successfully completed an ATI program were employed a greater percentage of the days, and received favorable case dispositions and less severe sentences.

America Magazine

A John Jay College study compared a South Bronx neighborhood served by Cure Violence with a demographically similar neighborhood that did not have violence interrupters. But perhaps more promising than the decrease in shootings were the shifts in attitudes toward violence the John Jay survey found among young men in the neighborhood.

Nonprofit Quarterly

The John Jay College of Criminal Justice Research and Evaluation Center analyzed the New York City experience with the Cure Violence model in 2017, seven years after the strategy was adopted. It found reductions in gun injuries of 37–50 percent in the South Bronx and Brooklyn. The center also documented a 14 percent reduction in attitudes supporting violence, with no change in control populations. However, more research is needed.

Recidivism Reconsidered

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 [...]

Positive Outcomes

This report reviews a number of prominent frameworks that are available to help youth justice systems rely on positive outcomes rather than recidivism to measure their effectiveness. These include the Developmental Assets model, the 5Cs model, the Youth Program Quality Assessment model, the Positive Youth Justice model, and the Youth Thrive framework. Each model or framework aligns with the key principles of positive youth development as well as the large body of research on desistance from crime, which is also presented in this report.

Discussing Evidence-Based Policy and Practice

The Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE.org) hosted a Google Hangout (online live chat) between the director of the Research & Evaluation Center, Jeffrey Butts, and Cynthia Lum from the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University. The conversation covered a number of topics, including the nature of evidence-based practices, how programs or practices become [...]

The U.S. Juvenile Justice Policy Landscape

Willison, Janeen B., Daniel P. Mears, and Jeffrey A. Butts (2011). The U.S. Juvenile Justice Policy Landscape. In U.S. Criminal Justice Policy: A Contemporary Reader. Karim Ismaili (Editor). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning, Inc. The diverse mix of policies and practices introduced in recent years raises important questions about the posture of juvenile justice today. Most [...]