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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 73982 Find in a Library
Title: Variation in Criminal Justice Research Designs (From Handbook of Criminal Justice Evaluation, P 357-379, 1980, Malcolm W Klein and Katherine S Teilmann, ed. - See NCJ-73970)
Author(s): A J Reiss
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 23
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Sale Source: Sage Publications, Inc
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study describes the variability of subsystems that characterize the American criminal justice network, and delineates the difficulties and advantages this variability factor poses for evaluation research.
Abstract: The American criminal justice system comprises seven major subsystems: citizen and police law enforcement, defendant and public prosecution, trial and appellate court, and corrections. This criminal justice network lacks central organization and coordination. Sources of variation include the judicial latitudes of State and local jurisdictions within the Federal system, in addition to the constitutional separation of legislative, executive, and judicial powers of the three branches of government. Other sources include the surrounding order affecting the structure of an organization, such as its size, as well as the differing degree of bureaucratization and the style of management of the organization of criminal justice in the United States, evaluation is subject to serious limitations. Evaluations of sentencing patterns (Zeisel and Diamond, 1975), a study of the social organization of juvenile justice (Cicourel, 1968), an evaluation of the measurement of delinquency (Sellin and Wolfgang, 1964), and two 1979 studies (Cantor and Cohen, Sherman and Langworthy), using the National Center for Health Statistics as the standard for assessing possible biases or errors in police-generated statistics on homicide all point up the shortfalls of criminal justice evaluation which does not initiate from a clear understanding of the system. Other significant studies concern prosecutorial discretion (Jacoby, 1979) and the use of systematic social observation in the study of criminal justice agencies and agents, particularly studies of policing (Reiss, 1979). One extensive explanatory endnote and 50 references are appended.
Index Term(s): Behavioral science research; Evaluation; Evaluation techniques; Judicial process; Juvenile justice system
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