Trial and Error

Overview

The Center for Court Innovation, with the support of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, has embarked on a multi-faceted inquiry designed to promote trial and error in criminal justice reform. The Center is attempting to encourage honest self-reflection and thoughtful risk-taking among criminal justice agencies. Among the products of the Center's efforts are two books: Trial & Error in Criminal Justice Reform: Learning from Failure (Urban Institute Press) and Daring to Fail: First-Person Stories of Criminal Justice Reform, a collection of interviews with leading criminal justice thinkers.

Publications

Innovation in the Criminal Justice System

Innovation in the Criminal Justice System

By Melissa Labriola, Emily Gold and Julia Kohn

The results from a survey of over 600 national criminal justice leaders provides a snapshot of the current state of innovation in criminal justice. It seeks to answer such questions as: Is innovation a priority? Are criminal justice leaders aware of emerging research? Do they use research to inform policymaking? What obstacles stand in the way of innovation?

Download a summary of the report

Presentation about the report with audio commentary

Publications

Learning by Doing: What Demonstration Projects Can Teach Us About Innovation

Learning by Doing: What Demonstration Projects Can Teach Us About Innovation

By Staff of the Center for Court Innovation

Awarded the 2011 PASS Award, this comic-book guide that highlights the lessons to be learned from demonstration projects that seek to reform the criminal justice system.

Publications

The F-Word: Learning from Failure in Criminal Justice Reform in the USA

The F-Word: Learning from Failure in Criminal Justice Reform in the USA

By Greg Berman and Aubrey Fox

An edited version of the conclusion to "Trial and Error in Criminal Justice Reform: Learning from Failure" (Urban Institute Press 2010). This version appeared in the inaugural issue of Scottish Justice Matters, June 2013.

Interviews

Mark Kleiman, Professor and Director, Drug Policy Analysis Program at UCLA

Mark Kleiman, Professor and Director, Drug Policy Analysis Program at UCLA

Professor Mark Kleiman reflects on innovation and trial-and-error, with the recent insight having seen his innovative probation model, now called HOPE, revolutionize the way probationers are treated in Hawaii.

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Video

Measurements That Matter

Measurements That Matter

In an interview at the National Institute of Justice, Greg Berman of the Center for Court Innovation discusses how to assess criminal justice reform efforts.

Most Popular Research

Books

Trial and Error in Criminal Justice Reform: Learning from Failure

Trial and Error in Criminal Justice Reform: Learning from Failure

By Greg Berman and Aubrey Fox

Trial and Error in Criminal Justice Reform: Learning from Failure argues that public policies cannot be neatly divided into successes and failures. The book examines well-intended programs that for one reason or another fell short of their objectives yet also had positive effects.

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Books

Daring to Fail

Daring to Fail

The winner of the 2010 PASS Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency,  Daring to Fail is a collection of interviews with leaders in a variety of fields – prosecution, policing, community corrections, indigent defense and others – about leadership, management and innovation.

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Publications

Avoiding Failures of Implementation: Lessons from Process Evaluations

Avoiding Failures of Implementation: Lessons from Process Evaluations

By Amanda Cissner and Donald J. Farole, Jr.

This paper examines failures that occur during the implementation of a new initiative, seeking to identify lessons that may help practitioners avoid future pitfalls.

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