Early onset of delinquent behavior is a predictor of chronic offending. To maximize the cost-effective benefits in fighting crime, policies need to take a proactive, multifaceted approach starting as early as the prenatal stage, with three concerns in mind – improving physical health of mother and child, improving family environment/parenting skills, and improving pre-school education. This policy brief is intended to reach the decision makers in the United States Department of Justice. Adequate funding should be set aside for family-based programs that start as early as the prenatal stage and continue across early childhood (5 years old). For cost effectiveness, programs should adopt a narrow targeting strategy and enroll populations at the highest risk: low-income, teenage mothers with no previous births.
Despite multiple national initiatives, the suicide rate among police officers remains constant and higher than line of duty deaths. Recent research identifies mindfulness techniques as an effective way to improve mental health, including the risk factors of depression and suicide. While a significant portion of resources and funding are allocated to ensure the safety and physical fitness of officers, including firearms training and physical fitness programs, there is a limited number of holistic programs that ensure officers’ mental health wellness. Based on current research and pioneer initiatives, this document explores the following question: What role can mindfulness practices play in reducing the risk of suicide among police officers? The document concludes with recommendations for law enforcement agencies, including implementation of evidence-based mindfulness practices and cultivation a pro-wellness work etiquette.
The purpose of this report is to inform and advise state correctional agencies about the known use of body worn cameras (BWCs) and how they can be utilized to address some of the major problems that are faced within correctional settings. Discussions of what is known about the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), use of force, and staff burnout are offered, along with consideration of policing research on the use of BWCs, its advantages and disadvantages, and how state correctional agencies can benefit. Policy recommendations are offered that include a phased roll out of BWCs in pilot facilities, with monitoring and evaluation plans, in conjunction with enhanced training.
Sara R. Jeffries, M.A. David L. Myers, Ph.D. Anne Kringen, Ph.D. University of New Haven
Ronald W. Schack, Ph.D. The Charter Oak Group
Acknowledgements: Connecticut Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) was organized around a task force, consisting of agencies from both New Haven and Bridgeport, to support crime prevention and gun violence reduction efforts for at-risk youth in inner cities. The Project Safe Neighborhood initiative would not have been successful without the cooperation of the task force members and their representatives:
• Connecticut Board of Education • Bullard-Havens Technical High School • Connecticut Business and Industry Association • Eli Whitney Technical High School • Integrated Wellness Group • New Haven Office of the Mayor • The Charter Oak Group • The Justice Education Center, Inc. (TJEC) • Researchers at University of New Haven • U.S. Attorney’s Office • Workforce Development Board in Bridgeport • Youth STAT Youth Services Program • Veterans Empowering Teens Through Support (or VETTS) • Clinical Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Staff at Fairfield University • Court Support Services Division of the Judicial Branch
Note: This project was supported by Grant No. 2016-GP-BX-0012 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Points of view in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.
This article previously appeared in ACJS Today. Permission was granted to republish it here.
In the recent issue of Justice Policy Journal, Johnson and colleagues explore the use of research evidence by criminal justice professionals. In particular, the researchers discuss the underutilization of research evidence into policies and practices. Evidence-based practices serve an important role in the development and continued success of criminal justice policies and practices. Through use of research evidence, the criminal justice system can better understand the impact of various programs and develop targeted strategies. In the absence of these evidence-based practices, strategies are at a much higher risk of failing or even worsening a current situation. For criminal justice practitioners, successfully integrating this research into policy decisions can be accomplished in variety of ways. In this article, the authors provide a thorough review of current practices and describe different ways of improving evidence-based practices. To do so, three core issues are addressed in this article: the research-practice gap in the criminal justice system, strategies for increasing the use of research evidence in decision-making, and suggestions for future research.
In the recent decades, research concerning juvenile offenders has greatly expanded and become quite influential in the shaping of policies and practices. In particular, research has consistently shown that juvenile populations represent a unique population of offenders and that distinct treatments are appropriate. Based on these findings, Harvell and colleagues (2018) argue that the criminal justice system must recognize such differences. Unlike adult offenders, juveniles are still developing both psychologically and biologically. As a result, juveniles often have lower self-control, especially during emotional situations. In these instances, behavior can be widely affected and delinquency can result (Harvell et al., 2018; National Research Council, 2013). Creating strategies that are specifically tailored to juvenile offenders is the most effective course of action to reduce reoffending. In their research report, Harvell et al. (2018) stress collaboration between researchers and practitioners, particularly within juvenile probation.
One of the greatest human rights violations in today’s world is human trafficking, which has been growing at an alarming rate. Every year, 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders; 80% of them are females, of which about half of those are children (U.S. Department of State, 2004, p. 6). This epidemic is complicated, involving not just neighboring or within countries, but across different continents. In 2014, the number of different trafficking flows was more than 500 (UNODC, 2016, p. 1). With the United States being one of the top 10 destination countries, an outrageous number of persons are trafficked into this country every year. According to the annual report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), most of the victims brought into North America are from Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Most of these trafficked persons are brought into the country for sexual exploitation and forced labor, and the direst part is that due to the covert nature of this crime, it is hard to find the source countries for this trafficking (U.S. Department of State, 2009).
Sexual assaults, regardless of when and where they occur or to whom they victimize, are a serious public health problem that brutally harms victims, both physically and mentally. The statistics demonstrating the pervasiveness of sexual assaults in the United States are astounding. Nearly one in three women and approximately one in six men suffer from some form of sexual violence during their lifetime (Zapp, Buelow, Soutiea, Berkowitz, & DeJong, 2018). Non-majority populations, inclusive of “persons with disabilities, certain racial/ethnic groups and those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender,” are more likely to be victimized than their peers (Zapp, et al., 2018, p. 2). More particularly, females between the ages of 18- and 24-years old experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assaults (Moore & Baker, 2018). Research indicates that “depression, anxiety, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicidal ideation” are both the long and short-term health consequences for victims following attacks (Fedina, Holmes, & Backes, 2018, p. 76). Assault victims may be even more susceptible to revictimization, academic suffering, and the engagement of risky behaviors, including drug experimentation and binge drinking (Fedina, et al., 2018). Therefore, any reductions in sexual assaults will benefit at-risk victim populations.
Crime detection and prevention are two important duties performed by police on a daily basis. There is a fine line to observe when it comes to crime prevention and protecting an individual’s Constitutional rights. Advocates for implementing the crime control model would agree with routine enforcement of stop-and-frisk, as a proactive police response. On the other end of the spectrum, proponents of the due process model pose it is just another form of bias-based policing and racially motivated. This paper will discuss the concept of stop-and-frisk, while giving the reader an opportunity to determine if it is a proactive police response to crime or bias-based policing.
Suicide, “an inward-directed act of violence,” has been a consistent problem in the United States and internationally (Title & Paternoster, 2000). According to the 2016 National Center for Health Statistics Brief, “suicide is an important public health issue involving psychological, biological, and societal factors” (Curtin, Wagner, & Hedegaard, 2016, p. 1). Based on data between 1999 and 2013, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) places suicide as one of 15 leading causes of death for individuals between 10 and 64 years of age, especially among adolescents and young adults. In 2013, suicide was the second leading cause of death among all races and sexes for ages 10-24, and the fifth for ages 25-44 (see Figure 1.)