Crime and Justice
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.
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
Publications on Crime/Justice
Stop and Frisk: Balancing Crime Control with Community Relations (Research Report)
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Police have been stopping, questioning, and frisking pedestrians for decades in an effort to protect themselves and the public from harm. However, pedestrians may view the stop and frisk experience as unjustified and perceive that they are subject to unfair and overly aggressive treatment. These feelings are most pronounced for those residing in high-crime areas that are targets for intensive stop and frisk activities. Because citizens’ views of the police contribute to their willingness to cooperate with and empower law enforcement, minimizing the negative effects of stop and frisk is crucial for overall police effectiveness and is especially important for improving relations with communities of color. This publication discusses the constitutionality and legal precedents of stop and frisk and the theory and practice behind these street stops. This background is followed by a discus¬sion of stop and frisk’s unintended consequences and a series of practical recommendations for the lawful and respectful use of pedestrian stops in the context of community policing.
Evaluation of the Allegheny County Jail Collaborative Reentry Programs: Findings and Recommendations (Research Report)
|Posted to Web: October 15, 2014||Publication Date: October 15, 2014|
This study evaluates two of Allegheny County (PA)’s programs to improve the successful reintegration of jail inmates following their return to the community. Both programs were designed to reduce re-offending through the use of risk/needs assessment, coordinated reentry planning, and the use of evidence-based programs and practices. Urban researchers conducted process and outcome evaluations of these programs to answer critical questions about program performance and effectiveness. The process evaluation examined alignment with core correctional practices, while the outcome evaluation examined rearrests for reentry program participants and two comparison groups of offenders (total N=798). Analyses indicate that both reentry programs reduce rearrest and prolong time to rearrest. These findings are supported by ample evidence of strong program implementation.
Improving Recidivism as a Performance Measure (Research Report)
|Posted to Web: October 06, 2014||Publication Date: October 06, 2014|
Improving recidivism data collection and reporting is a critical first step to advancing our knowledge about what works in sentencing and corrections policy. This brief outlines the necessary elements that every state should use when defining, collecting, analyzing, and disseminating recidivism data. It offers a blueprint for gathering a broad range of reoffending indicators, accurately comparing across groups and over time, and using the results to inform decisionmaking and improve outcomes. Improving our ability to accurately track data on reoffending is critical for the next generation of policy-relevant and action-oriented recidivism research.
Aging Behind Bars: Trends and Implications of Graying Prisoners in the Federal Prison System (Research Report)
|Posted to Web: October 01, 2014||Publication Date: October 01, 2014|
This new Urban Institute study provides an in-depth examination of the growth patterns in the largest correctional system in the United States—the US Bureau of Prisons. The number of prisoners age 50 or older experienced a 330 percent increase from 1994 to 2011. The authors find that the proportion of these older prisoners is expected to have an even steeper growth curve in the near future and they may consume a disproportionately large amount of the federal prison budget. Recommendations for policy and research include expanding data-driven knowledge on older prisoners and developing cost-effective management plans for them.
|Posted to Web: September 05, 2014||Publication Date: September 05, 2014|