Crime and Justice

Published by University of Chicago Press
Online ISSN: 0192-3234
Publications
Article
Recorded all physical assaults that occurred during a 1-yr period among 142 male psychiatric patients and the staff of the maximum security unit of an Ontario mental health center. A small minority of patients committed the majority of the 198 assaults tallied. Assaults were primarily directed toward attendant staff and took place most frequently in the corridor or patient's room of one ward during nonmeal times, particularly in the evenings. There was no relationship between the frequency of assault and the month of the year, day of the week, phase of the moon, or time since the last occurrence of an assault. The staff and patient connected with an assault gave different reasons for the occurrence of the event: Staff most frequently said there was "no reason" for an assault, whereas the patients would most often report that they were teased by other patients or provoked by staff. Implications for the reduction of assaultive incidents are discussed. (French summary) (6 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
 
Article
This article examines the origins, purposes, evolution, and impact of Minnesota's pioneering sentencing guidelines reform. The Guidelines, related sentencing laws, and charging and sentencing practices have evolved considerably since 1980, and so have Minnesota's reform goals. Most of these goals have been achieved: sentences are more uniform and proportionate; policy formulation is more systematic and informed by data; sentencing has been coordinated with available correctional resources, avoiding prison overcrowding and ensuring that space is available to hold the most serious offenders; "truth in sentencing" has been achieved; custodial sanctions have been used sparingly; and the Guidelines remain fairly simple to understand and apply. The Guidelines have been least successful when they have attempted to change firmly-established practices and values. In particular, the Guidelines Commission's emphasis on Just Deserts was undercut by subsequent appellate caselaw, legislation, and sentencing practices (although the system created by the enabling statute and the Commission was always a hybrid, allowing utilitarian purposes to play a very important role). Minnesota has achieved a workable and sustainable balance not only between sentencing purposes but in other important areas - in the tradeoff between uniformity and flexibility, and in the powers of the Commission, the Legislature, appellate courts, and practitioners to control sentencing policy and case outcomes.
 
Article
All legal systems have clemency measures. These include statutes of limitation, legal restoration of rights, pardons, and amnesties. Pardons and amnesties, once considered exceptional in contemporary France, have become routinized policy instruments aimed at reducing prison overcrowding. In the past, amnesties were used as an instrument of national reconciliation after political crises; they are now a regular feature of presidential elections, aimed at ordinary crimes. Pardons, formerly conceived as discretionary decisions by the head of state, are now extended annually to entire categories of offenders. Thousands of inmates benefit from early release, whereas others never serve their sentences. There is no widespread political or media controversy. Reasons include the subordinate place of courts in French constitutional tradition, the dominant principle of individualization of punishment, widespread political consensus on the evils of imprisonment, and the benefit many people receive from clemency measures, especially for parking offenses. Nevertheless, clemency increasingly tends to be restrictive, with new categories of offenses excluded, for reasons of political consistency or because a specific crime has received media attention.
 
Article
Miranda v. Arizona required that police inform suspects, prior to custodial interrogation, of their constitutional rights to silence and appointed counsel. It also required that suspects voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently waive these rights in order for any resulting confession to be admitted into evidence at trial. The rationale of Miranda as elaborated by the Supreme Court has evolved from encouraging suspects to resist police interrogation to informing suspects that they have a right to resist. Reflecting a fundamental tenet in American culture and law, Miranda today seeks to protect the free choice of a suspect to decide whether to answer police questions during interrogation. Two generations of empirical scholarship on Miranda suggest that the Miranda requirements have exerted a negligible effect on the ability of the police to elicit confessions and on the ability of prosecutors to win convictions. There is no good evidence that Miranda has substantially depressed confession rates or imposed significant costs on the American criminal justice system. The practical benefits of Miranda to custodial suspects may also be negligible. Police have developed multiple strategies to avoid, circumvent, nullify, or simply violate Miranda and its invocation rules.
 
Method of Calculating Key Variables
Combined Overall Rates of Conviction from Flow and Snapshot Studies by Country
Combined Overall Rates of Conviction from Flow and Snapshot Studies by Victim Age and Offense Type
Article
Despite legal reforms, there has been little improvement in police, prosecutor, and court handling of rape and sexual assault. In the past 15 years in Australia, Canada, England and Wales, Scotland, and the United States, victimization surveys show that 14 percent of sexual violence victims report the offense to the police. Of these, 30 percent proceed to prosecution, 20 percent are adjudicated in court, 12.5 percent are convicted of any sexual offense, and 6.5 percent are convicted of the original offense charged. In the past 35 years, average conviction rates have declined from 18 percent to 12.5 percent, although they have not fallen in all countries. Significant country differences are evident in how cases are handled and where in the legal process attrition is most likely. There is some good news: a victim's “good” character and credibility and stranger relations are less important than they once were in police or court outcomes. However, evidence of nonconsent (witness evidence, physical injuries to the victim, suspect's use of a weapon) continues to be important. Yes Yes
 
Article
Contemporary conceptions of the police and of the problems of policing in the United States have been shaped by the political upheavals and crisis of legitimacy that confronted all institutions of government in the 1960s. Recent research has focused attention on the structural aspects of discretion and peacekeeping in police work, and on the emergence of the ideology of police-community relations. Such studies have provided a critique of traditional police rationales and have demonstrated the complexity and contradictions inherent in the exercise of police power. Meanwhile, police reform in the 1970s has become an established enterprise, increasingly under the technical and administrative control of a class of professional change-makers. The present direction of technologically and legalistically determined reforms reflects an accelerated movement away from concerns of "substantive rationality" to those of "formal rationality" so that the reform process has become depoliticized and lacks policy direction. While helping to insulate the police from arbitrary political manipulation, this movement also attenuates the aims of substantive political justice, including those of police accountability, local community review, and control of police discretionary policy-making powers. Moreover, the prevailing forms of change-making in police organizations have not been substantively aimed toward creating the informed, skilled, and judicious police officer.
 
Article
International migration processes have drastically changed the face of Dutch society. Following changes in migration patterns, the research on migrants and crime is developing into two distinct lines of research. The postcolonial guest worker migrations from the 1950s and 1960s and subsequent family reunification led to attention to problems of crime among second-generation youngsters. More recently, asylum migration (peaking in the 1990s) and irregular migration generated problems of crime among first-generation asylum seekers and immigrants without a residence status. These groups are much more fragmented than the preceding immigrant groups, and their societal position is even more vulnerable. Findings in both fields make clear that research on immigrants and crime should take into account the changing contexts of reception and incorporation. The role of the state has become crucial in understanding some of the patterns found.
 
Article
Over the past quarter century crime and penal policy have come to occupy a central place in political and public debate. Declining faith in rehabilitative interventions has been accompanied by an increasingly harsh form of penal populism that emphasizes the general deterrent and incapacitation effects of imprisonment and has disparaged welfare-oriented approaches as being "soft on crime." One consequence is a significant increase in the use of imprisonment-making England and Wales the highest incarcerator in western Europe. Although the last decade has seen substantial drops in overall levels of crime, this is not reflected in public opinion, which continues to believe that crime and disorderliness are rising. The shift toward a more punitive and populist penal politics has been visible since the early to mid-1990s. From around 1993/94 both main political parties became joined in a contest to present themselves as tougher on law and order. This occurred just as crime was peaking and beginning its downward path. The consequence has been a proliferation of crime-oriented legislation, the broadening of the agenda to "antisocial behavior," and a rapid and sustained rise in the number of people incarcerated.
 
Article
The study of desistance from crime is hampered by definitional, measurement, and theoretical incoherence. A unifying framework can distinguish termination of offending from the process of desistance. Termination is the point when criminal activity stops and desistance is the underlying causal process. A small number of factors are sturdy correlates of desistance (e.g., good marriages, stable work, transformation of identity, and aging). The processes of desistance from crime and other forms of problem behavior appear to be similar. Several theoretical frameworks can be employed to explain the process of desistance, including maturation and aging, developmental, life-course, rational choice, and social learning theories. A life-course perspective provides the most compelling framework, and it can be used to identify institutional sources of desistance and the dynamic social processes inherent in stopping crime. Sociology
 
Article
School violence, drug use, vandalism, gang activity, bullying, and theft are costly and interfere with academic achievement. In this review, we consider those school characteristics that influence concurrent levels of crime, victimization, violence, and substance use both in and out of schools. We begin with a review of the statistics on crime in school and youth crime more generally, documenting trends and patterns using a variety of data sources (which unfortunately tend to give different answers). Section II makes the case that crime in school is not simply the sum of criminal propensities of the enrolled students; that the organizational characteristics of the school have considerable influence. Sections III through V consider just what aspects of school organization or "climate" matter, including such factors as school size and composition of the student body, school discipline and delinquency prevention curricula, and culture. Section VI discusses next steps in research and policy. Given the limitations of the evidence base, we are more confident in making recommendations about research priorities than about effective policy. The place to begin the research agenda is with a close look at the quality of the data in current use: different data sets yield wildly disparate results for no obvious reason. We also have several recommendations to guide evaluation research on interventions, beginning with a recommendation that evaluation be built into the policy design and adoption process.
 
Article
Although racial discrimination emerges some of the time at some stages of criminal justice processing-such as juvenile justice-there is little evidence that racial disparities result from systematic, overt bias. Discrimination appears to be indirect, stemming from the amplification of initial disadvantages over time, along with the social construction of "moral panics" and associated political responses. The "drug war" of the 1980s and 1990s exacerbated the disproportionate representation of blacks in state and federal prisons. Race and ethnic disparities in violent offending and victimization are pronounced and long-standing. Blacks, and to a lesser extent Hispanics, suffer much higher rates of robbery and homicide victimization than do whites. Homicide is the leading cause of death among young black males and females. These differences result in part from social forces that ecologically concentrate race with poverty and other social dislocations. Useful research would emphasize multilevel (contextual) designs, the idea of "cumulative disadvantage" over the life course, the need for multiracial conceptualizations, and comparative, cross-national designs. Sociology
 
Article
Dutch criminology was influenced first by France, then by Germany, and, since World War II, by the United States. American influence has been strong in many fields of science, particularly in the social sciences, including criminology. The Netherlands has mainly followed American developments in criminological theory. There have been few original Dutch theoretical contributions. Most criminologists, including those mainly interested in qualitative research, respect generally acknowledged methodological rules, increasingly using proven research techniques and sophisticated statistical analysis. Policy research has become prevalent, with most research oriented to answering policy questions. The reason is that in a country without big private foundations, most funding is government-related.
 
Article
Racial disparity in prison and jail populations, measured by the ratio of black to white per capita incarceration rates, varies substantially from state to state. To understand these variations, researchers must examine disparity at earlier stages of the criminal process and also racial differences in socioeconomic status that help explain disparity in cases entering the system. Researchers must adjust disparity ratios to correct for limitations in available data and in studies of prior incarceration rates. Minnesota has one of the highest black/white incarceration ratios. Disparities at the earliest measurable stages of Minnesota’s criminal process – arrest and felony conviction – are as great as the disparity in total custody (prison plus jail) populations. Disparities are substantially greater in prison sentences imposed and prison populations than at arrest and conviction. The primary reason is the heavy weight sentencing guidelines give to offenders’ prior conviction records. Highly disparate arrest rates appear to reflect unusually high rates of socioeconomic disparity between black and white residents.
 
Article
Youth justice policies in Germany, except for three years under the Nazi regime, have been remarkably stable. The governing premise has been the desirability of directing responses to crimes by children, youth, and- often-young adults toward sanctions that foster prosocial development. Young offenders are dealt with by specially designated judges in the crime court. The age of responsibility is fourteen. A considerably larger percentage of young offenders receive some confinement, but Germany has the lowest youth incarceration rate in Europe. A variety of special sanctions apply to young offenders, and maximum prison sentences are much lower than for adults. Recent regimes have stressed procedural protections, strengthened victims' rights, and introduced mediation and restitution. Overall, though, despite media and public support for more repressive policies, continuing stability is likely.
 
Article
Money laundering is a very modern crime created by the late twentieth-century state to enlist the financial sector in its search of the proceeds of crime and prevention of career criminality, particularly transnational crime. This article presents examples that illustrate the variety of methods available and kind of persons involved, along with some classifications. It discusses the relationship of money laundering to corruption control and analyzes the effects of anti-money laundering controls. It provides a brief assessment of the consequences of the control system. A broad and intrusive set of controls has been erected to prevent money laundering. The system generates substantial crime or corruption control benefits which must be high on the agenda of the relevant policy-making community.
 
Article
Special issue. Incl. biographic & bibliographic references
 
Article
Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden have collected criminal justice data since at least the first half of the nineteenth century. These data can be used to describe basic trends in criminal justice interventions as regards violent and property offenses. They can also be used to screen the potential effects of criminal justice interventions on crime compared with more basic structural factors such as urbanization, industrialization, migration, and control of substance use. The marginal effects of changes in criminal sanctions appear to be negligible for the development of recorded crime. These changes include use and abolition of the death penalty, the gradual replacement of imprisonment with alternative sanctions, and the shifting use of fines. The influence of urbanization and industrialization appears to be insignificant, but measures to control alcohol use have had a great effect on violence, as have changes in the opportunity structure on theft. Viewed over the long term, criminal justice interventions during the twentieth century were inefficient in controlling the development of crime and criminals in Scandinavia.
 
Article
American sentencing policy has gone through four stages in the past 50 years. Indeterminate sentencing was followed by a sentencing reform period in which policy initiatives sought to make sentencing fairer and more consistent, a tough on crime period in which initiatives sought to make sentences harsher and more certain, and the current period, which is hard to characterize. Most tough on crime initiatives remain in place, coexisting with rehabilitative and restorative programs that aim to individualize sentencing and programming. Social science evidence was influential in the second period and to a limited degree in the current period. Indeterminate sentencing was broadly compatible with prevailing utilitarian ideas about the purposes of punishment and the sentencing reform period was broadly compatible with retributive ideas. The initiatives of the tough on crime period are difficult to reconcile with any coherent set of normative ideas. Current sentencing policies are a crazy quilt, making it impossible to generalize about prevailing normative ideas or an “American system of sentencing.”
 
Article
Crime and Justice has been published by the University of Chicago Press since 1979, originally as a hardcover annual journal and more recently both in print and electronically. In 2016–17, it was possible to investigate the scholarly influence of 374 articles published in 44 volumes between 1979 and 2015, according to Google Scholar and the Web of Science. The most-cited articles and authors are identified, adjusting the number of citations for time at risk of citation since publication date and for the number of articles published by each author. Scholarly influence was also examined by identifying characteristics of the most-cited articles and by reviewing online access to articles. Articles on explanations and theories of crime and delinquency were most likely to be cited; the most-cited article was “Family Factors as Correlates and Predictors of Juvenile Conduct Problems and Delinquency” by Rolf Loeber and Magda Stouthamer-Loeber (1986). The most-accessed scholar was David P. Farrington; his most-accessed article was “Understanding and Preventing Bullying” (1993).
 
Article
North Carolina's Fair Sentencing Act of 1979 emphasized the need to reduce sentence disparities. Because the statute lacked any enforcement mechanism, judges reverted to earlier practices within five years. In the Structured Sentencing Act of 1993, legislators put concerns about disparity to the side and concentrated on changing the state's prison use priorities. The new law lengthened prison terms for violent crimes and assigned more property offenders to nonprison sanctions. It also guided judicial choices among "intermediate" and "community" punishments for lesser crimes. Tight controls on judges made it possible to match corrections resources to sentencing practices. The intended effects took hold during the first five years. Judges imposed longer prison terms for violent crimes and sentenced a larger proportion of property felons to intermediate and community sanctions. The longer-term effects may prove more difficult to manage. Appellate judges have remained uninvolved in sentencing policy; no "common law" of sentencing is developing. Prosecutors are dismissing and discounting more charges while at the same time obtaining more serious felony convictions overall.
 
Article
The substantial rises in crime in Scotland during the golden era between 1950 and 1973 tended to level off after 1980, although this did not apply to the most serious crimes of rape and homicide. There was no sustained or substantial rise in the production of convictions for homicide, rape, robbery, serious assault, burglary, or motor vehicle theft. The chance that an offender would be caught and punished tended to decline over the period 1981-99, with only minor and short-term exceptions. In broad terms, rising crime leveled off in Scotland even though the system was becoming less effective at catching and punishing offenders. The Scottish case suggests that the effectiveness of criminal justice in catching and punishing offenders is not a major factor influencing changes in the level of crime.
 
Parallel Trends Before 1981 Between Violent and Non-violent Municipalities
Article
Over the twenty years from 1980 to 2000, Australia experienced sustained increases in the incidence of robbery, serious assault, and rape; declines in motor vehicle theft; and stability in homicide and burglary. Persons convicted of homicide, serious assault, burglary, and motor vehicle theft received longer sentences. The exceptions were robbery and rape. Limited access to uniform national crime statistics and time-series data on crime-related socioeconomic factors makes explaining these trends difficult. Differences in the responses of states and territories to crime and lack of uniform court and prison statistics make identification of the factors underlying the risk of offending complicated. The risk of punishment seems to be negatively associated with crime rates, but trying to explain this apparent relationship is adventurous. Development of uniform and integrated national crime statistics systems remains a priority.
 
Article
According to police data, crime rates in the Netherlands increased for almost all offenses from 1980 to 1999. Victim survey data often show different patterns. Victim survey questions, however, do not always match police categorizations, and victim surveys are often too short or unstable to investigate these differences well. The system has become increasingly efficient in identifying offenses that have a greater likelihood of ending up in conviction. Sanctioning increasingly is deflected to the prosecutor's office, probably at the expense of conditional sentences. Pressure on prison space was mitigated through increasing use of community sanctions for less serious offenses. Sentence severity appears fairly stable for most offenses except rape, for which sentence lengths increased strongly.
 
Article
According to police data, crime rates in the Netherlands increased for almost all offenses from 1980 to 1999. Victim survey data often show different patterns. Victim survey questions, however, do not always match police categorizations, and victim surveys are often too short or unstable to investigate these differences well. The system has become increasingly efficient in identifying offenses that have a greater likelihood of ending up in conviction. Sanctioning increasingly is deflected to the prosecutor's office, probably at the expense of conditional sentences. Pressure on prison space was mitigated through increasing use of community sanctions for less serious offenses. Sentence severity appears fairly stable for most offenses except rape, for which sentence lengths increased strongly.
 
Article
Serious property crimes in England and Wales increased from 1981 to 1993 and then decreased, while serious nonlethal violence increased during the entire period 1981-99. Increases in unemployment may have caused increases in property crime rates, and increases in prosperity may have caused increases in nonlethal violence. Increases in the risk of punishment may have caused decreases in crime rates, but increases in the severity of punishment probably did not. Conclusions are tentative because many factors that might possibly influence national crime rates over time could not be measured and controlled for.
 
Article
The average Canadian enjoys a high standard of living bolstered by a social safety network that includes universal health care coverage, generous benefits for unemployed workers and families in need, and year-long maternity leave. While crime ranks among the public's top concerns nationally, Canada is viewed as a safe and peaceful country in which to live and visit. But how safe is Canada? Police records indicate that Canada experienced a substantial fall in rates of serious crimes in the 1990s. Reasons include an aging population and an improved economy. There is mixed evidence on whether the Canadian criminal justice system's response to serious crime influenced crime trends during the 1990s. There is a need for increased public investment in many facets of basic research on crime and punishment in Canada. Such an investment may go some way to bring about more informed and efficacious crime policy.
 
Article
The federal sentencing system was conceived in one era and delivered in another. When the first bills that culminated in passage of the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 were introduced, they aimed at reducing the worst excesses of indeterminate sentencing and achieving greater fairness, consistency, equality, accountability, and transparency in sentencing federal offenders. The overriding goal was reduction of unwarranted racial and other disparities. In the different political climate of the mid-1980s the federal sentencing commission instead sought to achieve greater rigidity and severity and to respond to the law-and-order policy preferences of the Reagan administration and the Republican-controlled US Senate. Probation, formerly the sentence of half of convicted federal offenders, was nearly eliminated as a stand-alone punishment. Lengths of prison sentences increased enormously. After the federal guidelines took effect, buttressed by a plethora of mandatory minimum sentence laws, the growth of the federal prison population far outpaced that of the states, and the federal system became the extreme example nationally and internationally of the dangers of politicization of crime policy. The political climate may be changing and the federal system may change with it. Only time will tell.
 
Article
Significant changes in Italian political, socioeconomic, and institutional contexts since 1985 have led to markedly harsher policies and laws. Sentencing law and penal policies have changed substantially. In the late 1980s, the legislature embraced rehabilitation in corrections and enacted a new Code of Criminal Procedure modeled on principles and values typical of adversarial legal systems. The demise in the early 1990s of the so-called First Republic due to the massive bribery scandal known as Mani Pulite ("Clean Hands") profoundly affected the structure and functioning of the political system, perceptions of crime, and shaping of penal policies. Despite stable and declining crime rates, over time governments have enacted policies overrelying on criminal sanctions. Particular categories of offenders, undocumented immigrants and drug offenders, have been hit especially hard. Rapidly growing imprisonment rates produced overcrowding that was tackled mostly with alternatives to implementation of custodial sentences and pretrial detention. Persisting signs of punitive moderation for the most part are attributable to the inherent inefficiency of the criminal justice system, the "disintegration" of punishment at different stages of the process, and realpolitik policies adopted to address supranational concerns.
 
Article
Sentencing practice in Germany has long been stable, reflecting slightly falling crime rates. Public prosecutors dismiss the majority of cases that the police file with them as "cleared." In a significant percentage of provable cases, prosecutors demand a penance payment of suspects in exchange for dismissal; many others are dismissed without any consequence for the suspect. Criminal courts dispose of more than half of cases in a written procedure, routinely accepting the sentence proposals of prosecutors. A growing number of trials result in "bargained" sentences, that is, sentences agreed on among the judge and the parties. Sentence severity in Germany is generally low. Life sentences are exceptional, and release on parole is available. Overall, only 5 percent of convicted offenders must serve a prison sentence. Another 12 percent receive a suspended prison sentence, and the rest are fined. German society at present does not appear to regard crime and criminal justice as pressing problems. Operating in the shadow of the public interest, agents of criminal justice can pursue a fairly liberal and rational course.
 
Article
Sentencing in England and Wales has evolved in a direction apart from other common law countries. Although sentencing problems found in many Western nations are present, legislative and judicial responses have been very different. The use of custody rose steeply in the 1990s and has remained stable around that level in recent years. Crimes of violence and sexual aggression have, however, attracted increasingly longer sentences. The other principal changes are a steep increase in indeterminate sentence offenders, now accounting for some 19 percent of the prison population, and a striking rise in the volume of suspended sentences that has reduced the use of community sentences rather than terms of imprisonment. Net widening has therefore occurred. The principal distinction between England and most other jurisdictions is that statutorily binding guidelines now exist for both magistrates’ and higher courts. Unlike most US guidelines that assign offenses to levels of seriousness within a single sentencing grid, the English guidelines are offense specific. The Sentencing Council has also issued “generic” guidelines applying to all categories of offending. The guidelines have been evolving for over a decade now and cover most common offenses. Growing, but still limited, research suggests modest positive effects on consistency and proportionality in sentencing.
 
Article
Two principles should form the bedrock for effective policing in a democratic society. The first is that crimes averted, not arrests made, should be the primary metric for judging police effectiveness. The second is that citizens’ views about the police and their tactics for preventing crime and disorder matter independently of police effectiveness. Each principle is important in its own right and supported by research evidence. Neither has standing to trump the other and must be balanced on a case-by-case basis. In turn, these two principles should guide twenty-first-century efforts to reinvent American policing. Seven steps are essential to reinvention of democratic policing: Prioritize crime prevention over arrest. Create and install systems that monitor citizen reactions to the police and routinely report results back to the public and police supervisors and officers. Reform training and redefine the “craft of policing.” Recalibrate organizational incentives. Strengthen accountability with greater transparency. Incorporate the analysis of crime and citizen reaction into managerial practice. Strengthen national-level research and evaluation.
 
Article
The number of countries to abolish capital punishment has increased remarkably since the end of 1988. A "new dynamic" has emerged that recognizes capital punishment as a denial of the universal human rights to life and to freedom from tortuous, cruel, and inhuman punishment, and international human rights treaties and institutions that embody the abolition of capital punishment as a universal goal have developed. We pay attention to the political forces important in generating the new dynamic: the emergence of countries from totalitarian and colonial repression, the development of democratic constitutions, and the emergence of European political institutions wedded to the spread of human rights. Where abolition has not been formally achieved in law, we discuss the extent to which capital punishment has been bridled and by what means. Finally, we examine the prospects for further reduction and final abolition in those countries that hang on to the death penalty. More and more of these countries are accepting that capital punishment must be used sparingly, judiciously, and with every safeguard necessary to protect the accused from abuse and wrongful conviction. From there, it is not a long step to the final elimination of the death penalty worldwide.
 
Article
Although the prevalence of drug use among high school students and household members has been declining in recent years, high rates of substance use among arrestees, homeless individuals, and school dropouts, and an increasing trend in the number of drug-related hospital emergency room incidents, suggest that substance abuse among some populations has not declined. Prospective longitudinal studies have identified a number of risk factors that consistently predict greater likelihood of substance abuse. Individuals experiencing multiple risk factors and few protective influences during infancy, childhood, and early adolescence are at greatest risk for abusing substances during late adolescence and early adulthood. Efforts to reduce risk and enhance protective factors in multiple domains hold promise for effective substance abuse prevention among high-risk populations.
 
Article
A meta-analysis of naturalistic studies of the academic performance-delinquency relationship and of intervention studies aimed both at improving academic performance and reducing delinquency found that children with lower academic performance offended more frequently, committed more serious and violent offenses, and persisted in their offending. The association was stronger for males than females and for whites than for African Americans. Academic performance predicted delinquency independent of socioeconomic status. Some intervention and prevention programs, using law-related or moral education components with adolescent children and self-control, social skills, and parent training components with young school-age children, were found to effect significant improvements in academic performance and delinquency.
 
Article
The literature on the effects of sentence severity on crime levels has been reviewed numerous times in the past twenty-five years. Most reviews conclude that there is little or no consistent evidence that harsher sanctions reduce crime rates in Western populations. Nevertheless, most reviewers have been reluctant to conclude that variation in the severity of sentence does not have differential deterrent impacts. A reasonable assessment of the research to date-with a particular focus on studies conducted in the past decade-is that sentence severity has no effect on the level of crime in society. It is time to accept the null hypothesis.
 
Article
Arizona prosecutors focus on solving local crime problems and administrative challenges. Both workaday habits and provocative innovations emerge without much attention being paid to statewide or national concerns. Arizona prosecutors dramatically downplay their own power and discretion. They do not recognize the risk of disparity highlighted in the scholarly literature. They see themselves as operating within a context of established habits, office structures, and procedures including supervisory review. The local perspective is not a barrier to innovation, but innovations are largely restricted to the places where they take root. Institutions that invite statewide interaction and priority setting, such as the Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys Advisory Council, the Arizona Attorney General Office, and the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission, do not in practice facilitate statewide developments. Other collaborations, including various initiatives under the label “community prosecution,” work toward local variation rather than toward statewide consistency.
 
Article
Little work has sought to establish whether the homicide decline is affecting both male and female victims, and in the same or different ways, and whether patterns vary between countries. Little cross-national work has been done to establish whether rape rates are generally rising or falling and to explain similarities and differences between countries. The picture for homicide is straightforward. Rates are falling almost everywhere but usually more rapidly for men. The rape picture is complex, varies between countries, and often looks different depending on whether official or victimization data are consulted. In the United States, both show declines. Victimization data in Canada and Sweden show stable rates, though official data show declines in Canada and steep rises in Sweden. No generalizations can be offered about common, cross-national trends in rape. Much more can be learned. Focusing on gender differences in crime victimization demonstrates that they exist and need explanation. Both general and gender-specific theories must be considered if long-term trends are to be understood.
 
Article
The gender gap in deviance is well known. Why women's offending levels are much lower than men's is less evident. Three theoretical perspectives are influential. The first perspective applies mainstream criminological theories, typically based on male offenders, to female-samples. The second perspective focuses on gender differences to explain differences in deviant behaviors of adolescent females and males. The third perspective emphasizes male-dominated constructions of knowledge. Each offers theoretical insights and generates numerous empirical studies. For better understanding of deviant behavior of adolescent females, constructs from all three theoretical perspectives should be integrated into comprehensive models.
 
Article
Most state legislatures have instituted punitive reforms in response to rising rates of youth crime, including provisions that transfer an increasing number and range of adolescents to criminal courts for adult prosecution. Proponents assert that juvenile court sanctions and services constitute neither just nor effective responses to savvy juvenile offenders and propose that criminal prosecution will insure more proportionate punishments, provide more effective deterrence, and achieve greater incapacitation. The empirical evidence is too limited to be definitive, but it suggests that most of those assertions are wrong. Expansive transfer policies send many minor and nonthreatening offenders to the adult system, exacerbate racial disparities, and move adolescents with special needs into correctional systems ill prepared to handle them. Transfer results in more severe penalties for some offenders, but there is no evidence that it achieves either general or specific deterrent effects. There is credible evidence that prosecution and punishment in the adult system increase the likelihood of recidivism, offsetting incapacitative gains. Transfer also exposes young people to heightened vulnerability to a host of unfortunate experiences and outcomes.
 
Article
Macro-social theories posit that societies become more civil as they modernize. An open question is whether these changes affect major social indicators of crime. To produce level and change estimates, national data collection systems employ safeguards to promote stability. Cultural changes, though, might affect these systems in more subtle ways by affecting what citizens view as criminal violence and how these behaviors are recounted in crime surveys and reported to police. Three subclasses of violence appear most susceptible: Rape and sexual assault, domestic violence, and lesser forms of violence such as verbal threats. Findings are strongest that changing cultural definitions have affected official statistics for domestic violence. Rape and sexual assault also have shown changes in the willingness of victims to report to the police. Evidence does not indicate that the cultural definition of lesser violence has changed in a way that has affected trends in official statistics. Estimating change over time is a key reason statistical systems employ safeguards to remove shifting views of violence. These safeguards may limit an accurate view of victimization risk and exposure. Balancing the need for stability with a desire to capture emerging crimes and risks requires developing careful systematic processes for reviewing and updating national crime statistics.
 
Article
Enforcement against drug selling remains the principal tool of drug control in the United States and many other countries. Though the risk of incarceration for a drug dealer has risen fivefold or more over the last 25 years in the United States, the prices of cocaine and heroin have fallen substantially. Different models of how enforcement affects drug supply may help explain the paradox. There are substantial periods in which drug markets are not in the stable equilibrium that has informed much of the empirical research. Enforcement is likely to be more effective in preventing the formation of a mass market than in suppressing such a market once it has formed. Once a mass market is established, there may be little return to intense enforcement. A modest level of enforcement may generate most of the benefits from prohibition.
 
Article
Predictions of dangerousness are more often wrong than right, use information they shouldn’t, and disproportionately damage minority offenders. Forty years ago, two-thirds of people predicted to be violent were not. For every two “true positives,” there were four “false positives.” Contemporary technology is little better: at best, three false positives for every two true positives. The best-informed specialists say that accuracy topped out a decade ago; further improvement is unlikely. All prediction instruments use ethically unjustifiable information. Most include variables such as youth and gender that are as unjust as race or eye color would be. No one can justly be blamed for being blue-eyed, young, male, or dark-skinned. All prediction instruments incorporate socioeconomic status variables that cause black, other minority, and disadvantaged offenders to be treated more harshly than white and privileged offenders. All use criminal history variables that are inflated for black and other minority offenders by deliberate and implicit bias, racially disparate practices, profiling, and drug law enforcement that targets minority individuals and neighborhoods.
 
Article
A new conception of justice in punishment is needed that is premised on respect for offenders’ human dignity. It needs to acknowledge retributive and utilitarian values and incorporate independently important values of fairness and equal treatment. Punishment principles, policies, and practices lined up nicely in mid-twentieth-century America. Utilitarian principles implied a primary goal of crime prevention through rehabilitation and avoidance of unnecessary suffering by offenders. Judges and parole boards were empowered to tailor decisions to fit offenders’ circumstances and interests. Corrections officials sought to address rehabilitative needs and facilitate achievement of successful, law-abiding lives. The system often did not work as it should, but its ideals, aspirations, and aims were clear. In our time, there are no commonly shared principles; sentencing laws and practices are unprecedentedly rigid and severe; judges and parole boards often lack authority to make sensible or just decisions; corrections officials are expected simultaneously to act as police officers, actuaries, and social workers; and injustice is ubiquitous.
 
Article
While much new work has been done over the past decade to add to our knowledge of nineteenth-century police and crime, the field is still not as "useful" to policymakers as might be hoped. Two trends observable ten years ago are even clearer now: the productive use of other "social sciences" to enrich more traditional approaches to history, and paradoxically, the failure of "social science" to answer some of the most important questions in the field. The history of police, first, is subject to the kinds of controversy, mostly involving class and politics, familiar throughout academe. With allowance for these, it can still be reconstructed in ways that most historians and laymen can recognize. The study of crime, however, is much more difficult. Some of the difficulty results from ideology and political differences that make even definition problematic; the nineteenth century and the late twentieth were concerned, often, with very different kinds of "crime," and in neither period was or is there a consensus on morality or priorities. The problem of quantification is even more difficult, as we grow increasingly aware of holes in the record that make it impossible to answer natural questions about the comparative extent of various offenses, then and now. What is offered here, finally, is, at best, a series of educated guesses.
 
Top-cited authors
John H. Laub
  • University of Maryland, College Park
Alfred Blumstein
  • Carnegie Mellon University
Philip J. Cook
  • Duke University
Lawrence William Sherman
  • University of Cambridge
Alex R Piquero
  • University of Texas at Dallas