Rachael Rollins says she has seen the criminal justice system from "almost every angle." Now, as Boston's first female African-American district attorney, she's setting the agenda. On New Thinking, she explains her approach of "services not sentences" as a response to low-level "crimes of poverty" and the urgency of changing the traditional role of the prosecutor.
How effective is therapy or treatment when it's used instead of incarceration, and what are the challenges to conducting it inside the coercive context of the criminal justice system? New Thinking host Matt Watkins is joined by clinical psychologist Jacob Ham who works with justice-involved young people affected by trauma, and John Jay College's Deborah Koetzle who evaluates programs aiming to help participants rebuild lives outside of the justice system.
About two out of three people in local jails are being held awaiting trial, often because they can't afford bail. What if a mathematical formula could do a more objective job of identifying who could be safely released? That's the promise of risk assessments. But critics call them "justice by algorithm," and contend they're reproducing the bias inherent to the justice system, only this time under the guise of science.
This report details the design, implementation, and impacts of Up & Out, a brief, non-custodial intervention to help misdemeanor defendants critically consider ways to avoid future justice-involvement. The intention of the program is to offer a meaningful, proportionate alternative to short-term incarceration. Research suggests this population has a strong propensity to repeat justice-involvement fueled by needs for treatment and services in areas such as housing, substance use, and mental health.
Who gets to decide which reforms to the criminal justice system receive the imprimatur of "evidence-based"? To combat what she sees as the monopoly over these decisions created by the high cost of the current evaluation model, Angela Hawken founded BetaGov, offering free and fast evaluations of public policy programs. What is more, as Hawken explains on our New Thinking podcast, the ideas tested generally come from practitioners, or even clients, inside the systems themselves.
A brief assessment tool designed for high-volume criminal justice environments is a strong predictor of recidivism as administered to pretrial defendants in New York City, according to this comprehensive validation study. Unlike many such tools, the Criminal Court Assessment Tool, developed by the Center for Court Innovation, identifies a defendant's risk of re-offending and also ascertains the needs potentially fueling criminal behavior, facilitating referrals to effective interventions.
This study examines 16 programs seeking to divert cases out of the criminal justice system finding significant reductions in the probability of a conviction, jail sentence, and future re-arrest, along with sizable savings in costs and resources.
This monograph summarizes what justice-system practitioners can learn from the growing body of research into effective ways to manage sex offenders and incorporate evidence-based best practices such as procedural fairness, risk and need assessments, and deterrence. As part of that summary, the paper offers an in-depth profile of the Fifth Judicial District of Pennsylvania’s Sex Offender Court. Located in Allegheny County, Pa.
This report lays out a series of reforms to significantly reduce New York City's jail population, a move that would also cut costs substantially. To identify ways to safely reduce the use of jail, the New York City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice commissioned research on the path of criminal cases from arrest through bail decisions to sentencing.