Saturday, August 25, 2007

More NCJRS Abstracts, August 25, 2007

I don't usually point out any single abstract in these posts, but Brownstein's rec's on how and why crim just researchers need to take a more proactive and even political role in bringing and forcing findings and data on our kindergarten criminology public and its leaders is very important. If any foundation is out there, wondering why its well publicized then promptly ignored reports don't have a bigger impact, it may be because there isn't the institutional support and legitimacy available that funding Brownstein's recommendations would provide. A foundation on its own is known for its advocacy and can be written off more easily than a nonpartisan, scientific organization devoted to this proactive dissemination and defense of accurate, nondogmatic, nonideological data and findings. WA's State Institute for Public Policy (sh)could be repeated in every state and go farther than issuing reports in a legislature's or foundation's name. Just saying.


NCJ 219272
Henry H. Brownstein
From an Editorial Board Member: How Criminologists as Researchers Can Contribute to Social Policy and Practice
Criminal Justice Policy Review
Volume:18 Issue:2 Dated:June 2007 Pages:119 to 131

This article discusses two main ways for criminal justice research to contribute to justice policy and practice. The main argument is that researchers can use their research findings in two ways to help contribute to criminal justice policy and practice: (1) criminologists can provide the findings of their research to policymakers and practitioners; or (2) they can be advocates for certain policy and practice positions based on their knowledge and experience as scientists. The author notes that this shift in the role of social scientists, and in particular criminologists, has brought more competition and collaboration into the scientific and policy processes. Social scientists who wish to impact public policy will need to feel increasingly comfortable taking on the role of claims maker in a forceful and persistent manner in order to be heard in the political marketplace. While the first line of action was more consistent with the training and socialization that social scientists receive in terms of remaining objective toward the subject matter, the author argues that the second line of action may be more effective for policymaking. In particular, it is argued that for criminologists and other social scientists to be effective, they must learn how to compete and collaborate in the political process that includes other scientists who may make contradictory claims. This may be a difficult stretch for some social scientists because throughout the 20th century, social scientists in the United States have tried to maintain a strict separation of science and policy. Science, they were taught, was to contribute to policymaking only if the findings of their research happened to have policy implications. However, in increasing numbers, criminologists are entering the policymaking arena as researchers are casting off old notions of scientific objectivity in an effort to influence the direction of criminal justice policy. References

NCJ 219275
Jill S. Levenson; David A. D'Amora
Social Policies Designed to Prevent Sexual Violence: The Emperor's New Clothes?
Criminal Justice Policy Review
Volume:18 Issue:2 Dated:June 2007 Pages:168 to 199

This literature review analyzes the history of current sexual offender policies, their development, and their implementation. The literature review reveals that the development and implementation of sexual offender policies did not appear to be based on sound scientific evidence of their effectiveness. Indeed, the scant research literature that had evaluated sexual offender policies suggests that the policies do not achieve their stated goals of preventing sex crimes, protecting children, and safeguarding the community. It appears, in fact, that many of the sexual offender policies developed and implemented in recent years have been based largely on myths and misconceptions regarding sexual offenders rather than on facts. The authors make recommendations for more effective legislative measures, such as enlisting the media to inform the public of evidence-based information regarding sexual offenders, requiring the use of evidence-based risk assessment measures to identify high-risk offenders, and effective resource planning that reserves the most restrictions and interventions for the most dangerous offenders. The literature review and analysis focus on the effectiveness of the most common sexual offender restrictions, including community notification, residence restrictions, civil commitment, and electronic monitoring. Future research should focus on the unintended consequences of community protection policies on sexual offenders, their victims, and society. Tables, references

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