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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NYC Dives Into Tough Neighborhoods, Emerges as Safest Big City

At Tompkins, in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, crime is down 45 percent since 2013, with no murders and just two shootings in each of the last two years. In an era when most major American cities are reporting less crime, New York’s 85 percent drop in violent offenses since 1990 outperforms them all.

Multiple Research Methods for Evidence Generation

This chapter describes tools for researchers to address the tasks of problem definition, measurement, causal processes, and generalization. We begin with an extended example of developing practice-based evidence in community-based youth justice organizations in New York City.

Street by Street: Cross-Site Evaluation of the OJJDP Community-Based Violence Prevention Demonstration Program

While one of the strengths of OJJDP’s CBVP model was its emphasis on adaptation to local context and needs, the variation across program sites posed serious challenges for the evaluation and made it impossible to assess and compare outcomes in each city.