Criminal Justice Policies

Good Essays
The current criminal justice system has implemented countless policies that are unsupported or are determined ineffective by research and evaluation. Research and evaluation play an extremely limited role in policy making. Rather than having policy supported by empirical testing our current system promotes policies that are designed to win the approval of organizations and individuals that can promote polices and accelerate their implementation. When research and evaluation does not provide specific answers or raises more questions, it causes policy makers to dismiss research. Research often provides complex answers to our complex crime issues and this does not allow for policy makers to create quick fix policies for crime issues. The implications…show more content…
While many criminal justice policies are loosely based on criminological theories if at all. The lack of consideration for criminological theories could come from the reluctance of scholars to test out the implications of theories on policy. In addition policymakers may simply be unfamiliar with crime theories and therefore have no theoretical knowledge to inform polices. Programs that lack theoretical support are more likely to fail, proving that many criminal justice policies are unlikely to be effective due to poor conceptualization. Even polices that are grounded in theory often are not well supported or are difficult to implement. An example of this would be the scared straight program. While these visitation programs are extremely popular and have a logical appeal to the public there is little research to suggest that their support is justified. Scared straight programs focus on the severity rather than the swiftness or certainty of crime, therefore lacking two fundamental components of deterrence theory. Evaluation of scared straight programs has proven that they have no effective or actually harmful (Mears,…show more content…
Informed policy needs to be created so the appropriate steps can be made to move from our current system of mass incarceration to a system that effectively rehabilitees offenders which results in lower crime rates. After all our criminal justice system was not established solely to incapacitate offenders, it should also aid in reducing recidivism. Rehabilitation, alternative sentencing, and mental health all used to be crucial components of the criminal justice system. Then our society saw a massive decrease in mental health facilities as well as a perceived increase in crime. Crime was perceived to have increased due to politicians and the federal government preying on society’s fear of crime to further their political campaigns and agendas. Once our nation believed poverty, drugs, or race were the driving factors of crime countless policies were brought about to imprison anyone who seemingly threatened America’s future. These policies were not informed by any research and many have been evaluated and deemed ineffective. But society wants quick fixes to crime issues and incapacitation has been our quick fix. Despite research determining that mandatory minimums, capital punishment,
Get Access