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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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Former US Reps. Announce Federal Corrections Task Force (Press Release)
Urban Institute

Former US Representatives J.C. Watts, Jr. and Alan Mollohan announced the establishment of the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections: a nine-person, bipartisan blue-ribbon panel mandated by Congress to examine challenges in the federal corrections system and develop practical, data-driven policy responses. Watts will serve as the Colson Task Force’s chair and Mollohan will serve as its vice-chair.

Posted to Web: December 09, 2014Publication Date: December 09, 2014

The Justice Reinvestment Initiative: Experiences from the Local Sites (Research Report)
Lindsey Cramer, Samantha Harvell, Dave McClure, Ariel Sankar Bergmann, Erika Parks

Local governments across the U.S. are striving to improve public safety and optimize criminal justice investments. The Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) supports these efforts by convening justice system decision-makers to devise data-driven approaches to criminal justice reform that will generate savings that can be reinvested in evidence-based public safety strategies. The Urban Institute has monitored the progress of the 17 local jurisdictions currently engaged in JRI. This brief summarizes interim findings on the activities of those sites, including major contributors to system costs and corrections populations, policy options to address those issues, and expectations for savings and reinvestment of resources.

Posted to Web: November 03, 2014Publication Date: October 31, 2014

Labeling Effects of First Juvenile Arrests: Secondary Deviance and Secondary Sanctioning (Research Report)
Akiva Liberman, David S. Kirk, KiDeuk Kim

Does arresting juveniles deter or promote future offending, and how does it affect the chances of future arrests? These questions were studied through official arrest data and self-reported offending data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, using propensity score methods. First arrests increased subsequent offending and subsequent arrest through separate processes, and the effects on rearrest were substantially larger. Being labelled as an arrestee seems to trigger "secondary sanctioning" processes beyond any effects on offending. Attempts to ameliorate deleterious "labeling" effects should include efforts to dampen their escalating punitive effects on societal responses.

Posted to Web: October 24, 2014Publication Date: October 24, 2014

Understanding the Organization, Operation, and Victimization Process of Labor Trafficking in the United States (Research Report)
Colleen Owens, Meredith Dank, Amy Farrell, Justin Breaux, Isela Banuelos, Rebecca Pfeffer, Ryan Heitsmith, Katie Bright, Jack McDevitt

This study chronicles the experiences of labor trafficking victims from the point of recruitment for work, their forced labor victimization, their attempts to escape and get help, and their efforts to seek justice through civil or criminal cases. The report finds that legal loopholes and lax enforcement enable labor traffickers to commit crimes against workers in major US industries: agriculture, domestic work, hotels, restaurants, and construction. Interview and case file data detail the ubiquity of trafficking, which occurs both in plain sight and behind lock and key. Detailed recommendations propose next steps for policy and practice.

Posted to Web: October 21, 2014Publication Date: October 21, 2014

Lax Enforcement and Legal Loopholes Enable Labor Trafficking Victimization: Broadest look ever at victim experiences in five major US industries (Press Release)
Urban Institute

This study chronicles the experiences of labor trafficking victims from the point of recruitment for work, their forced labor victimization, their attempts to escape and get help, and their efforts to seek justice through civil or criminal cases. The report finds that legal loopholes and lax enforcement enable labor traffickers to commit crimes against workers in major US industries: agriculture, domestic work, hotels, restaurants, and construction. Interview and case file data detail the ubiquity of trafficking, which occurs both in plain sight and behind lock and key. Detailed recommendations propose next steps for policy and practice.

Posted to Web: October 21, 2014Publication Date: October 21, 2014

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