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Crime and Justice

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The criminal justice system's actions in both preventing and responding to criminal behavior have implications for the safety, well-being, and financial stability of communities throughout the country.

In an era of diminishing state and federal budgets and limited resources for community services, it is critical that research and analysis is available to guide the allocation of scarce criminal justice resources in a manner that yields the most beneficial impact on the individuals and jurisdictions affected by crime.

Justice Policy Center

Researchers in the Urban Institute's Justice Policy Center produce such research, evaluating programs and analyzing data in an effort to guide federal, state, and local stakeholders in making sound decisions that will increase the safety of communities nationwide.

Featured Justice Policy Center Research

 
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The Framework for Safer Return: A Research-Based Community Initiative (Research Report)
Shelli B. Rossman, Jocelyn Fontaine, Rochelle Perry

Safer Return—funded by the MacArthur Foundation, and designed jointly by Urban Institute researchers and Safer Foundation staff—was an action research demonstration implemented in Chicago's Garfield Park neighborhood between 2008 and 2013. This brief retrospectively describes the context in which the program model was developed, the activities performed during the strategic planning process, existing evidence-based or promising programs examined for possible inclusion in Safer Return, features of the model as it was initially conceptualized, and the proposed multi-method research design that uses a quasi-experimental approach and primary and secondary data collection to capture individual, family, and community results.

Posted to Web: March 28, 2014Publication Date: March 28, 2014

Community Ties, Public Safety and Reentry: Residents' Perspectives (Research Brief)
Jocelyn Fontaine, Douglas Gilchrist-Scott

This brief focuses on community surveys conducted in Garfield Park and West Englewood in November 2009 as part of the evaluation of the Safer Return Demonstration. The brief discusses residents’ perspectives on community resources, social control and cohesion, police officials, crime and victimization, and perceptions of individuals returning from prison to the community. It finds the two neighborhoods comparable in sociodemographic characteristics and that the reentry context in both neighborhoods is depressed overall, but worse in West Englewood than Garfield Park. There is tremendous support for returning prisoners among community residents, which assists Safer Return and other community-based reentry programs.

Posted to Web: March 28, 2014Publication Date: March 28, 2014

Interim Reincarceration Outcomes of Safer Return (Research Report)
Jocelyn Fontaine, Samuel Taxy, Shelli B. Rossman

Safer Return provided supportive services to 727 individuals returning from state prison to Chicago's Garfield Park neighborhood. This interim analysis uses administrative data from the Illinois Department of Corrections to compare one-year reincarceration outcomes of: Safer Return participants, nonparticipants paroled to a comparison neighborhood, and nonparticipants paroled to Garfield Park. Of the three groups, program participants had the lowest reincarceration rate. Statistical analyses find that participants' did not fare significantly better than nonparticipants paroled to the comparison neighborhood, but they did fare significantly better than Garfield Park nonparticipants. Differences in reincarceration rates were driven largely by differences in technical violations.

Posted to Web: March 28, 2014Publication Date: March 28, 2014

Innovations in NYC Health and Human Services Policy: Young's Men's Initiative (Research Brief)
Nan Astone, Michael Katz, Julia Gelatt

The New York City Young Men's Initiative is dedicated to reducing the inequities in adult success between young men of color and other young people in New York City. YMI has brought attention to the inequities between young black and Latino men and other young people and ensured that targeted education, employment, health, and justice policies and programs are a priority citywide. It is a model for harnessing the enormous human resources of young men of color toward economic progress for all. This brief is one in a series examining selected social service initiatives undertaken during the Bloomberg administration.

Posted to Web: March 17, 2014Publication Date: March 17, 2014

Estimating the Size and Structure of the Underground Commercial Sex Economy in Eight Major US Cities (Research Report)
Meredith Dank, Bilal Khan, P. Mitchell Downey, Cybele Kotonias, Debbie Mayer, Colleen Owens, Laura Pacifici, Lilly Yu

The underground commercial sex economy (UCSE) generates millions of dollars annually, yet investigation and data collection remain under resourced. Our study aimed to unveil the scale of the UCSE in eight major US cities-Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Miami, Seattle, San Diego, and Washington, DC. Across cities, the UCSE's worth was estimated between $39.9 and $290 million in 2007, but decreased since 2003 in all but two cities. Interviews with pimps, traffickers, sex workers, child pornographers, and law enforcement revealed the dynamics central to the underground commercial sex trade-and shaped the policy suggestions to combat it.

Posted to Web: March 12, 2014Publication Date: March 12, 2014

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