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NCJ Number: 221624 Find in a Library
Title: Towards Rational and Evidence-Based Crime Policy
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:35  Issue:6  Dated:December 2007  Pages:667-682
Author(s): Daniel P. Mears
Date Published: December 2007
Page Count: 16
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: After addressing the question as to whether current crime policies are rational in the sense of being evidence-based and cost-efficient and concluding that current crime policies are not rational from an evaluative research perspective, this article discusses the implications of the problem and explores several steps that might be taken to place crime policy on a more rational, evidence-based foundation.
Abstract: Rational crime policy constitutes a basic goal for society. If, however, evidence-based, cost-efficient crime prevention is the standard, there is little indication that current policies, such as programs, laws, and court decisions are rational. To support that assessment, this article uses an evaluation research perspective to highlight five prominent problems with extant crime policies: (1) a lack of empirical assessment of the need for them; (2) a range of design issues, including gaps between crime theory and policy and the pursuit of silver bullet solutions; (3) a range of implementation issues, including disjunctures between ideal and actual practice; (4) the lack of rigorous impact evaluation and the sometimes misplaced emphasis on them; and (5) a scarcity of cost-efficiency analyses for guiding investment decisions. The sum result from the assessment is that crime policy on the whole lacks a rational foundation in the sense of resting on an evidence-based, evaluation research platform that would ensure that it is effective and efficient. However, solutions do exist. For example, research could be accorded a prominent role in policy development and implementation. Institutionalized support for and mandates to conduct each of the types of evaluation for all crime policies would facilitate this role. Colleges, schools, and departments of criminology and criminal justice could give greater emphasis to teaching and conducting evaluation research. In addition, stronger links between researchers and the policymaking community could be forged to better inform debates about policy options and the design and implementation of specific policies. References
Main Term(s): Crime control policies
Index Term(s): Evaluative research; Research uses in policymaking
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