Quasi-Experimental Comparison Design for Evaluating the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety

To evaluate the New York City Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety (MAP), an initiative to improve the safety of public housing developments, researchers estimated the counterfactual (no intervention) by selecting a set of comparison housing developments not involved in the initiative. The study relied on the statistical method known as propensity score analysis (PSA) to select the comparison group.

Trying to Cut Crime in Public Housing by Making it More Livable

Working elevators, summer jobs for teenagers, community centers open till midnight, residents who know what to do when the trash piles up — no one would doubt that these are good things. But it seems a stretch to call them crime prevention measures. Will people really commit fewer robberies and shootings if the trash gets picked up?

Good Questions: Building Evaluation Evidence in a Competitive Policy Environment

Experiments are also rarely able to reliably measure and isolate the effects of very complex justice interventions. Policymakers and practitioners in the justice sector should consider evaluation research as a portfolio of strategic investments in knowledge development. Randomized controlled trials are merely one asset in a broader investment strategy.

It’s Not About the Art; It’s About the Artist

We actually need young people who are bold, willing to challenge conventional thinking, and to break rules, but we also need them to respect others, to rely on logic rather than force, and to appreciate the corrosive effects of violence and exploitation. In short, our communities need powerful and creative young people who want to improve us and not simply to fight us. These should seem like obvious concepts to anyone working around the youth justice system, but it is often surprisingly difficult to implement them in practice.

Gun Violence is not an “Inner City” Problem

Using data from the National Center for Health Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau in states with sufficient data, this analysis tests whether states conform to the conventional narrative of “urban gun violence.” Of 33 states in the analysis, 19 failed to conform to the urban gun violence narrative. Gun homicides in those states are just as likely (often, more likely) to occur in small, rural communities.

Lockup guard slugged a skinny kid. Prosecutors say it’s justified. Here’s the video.

BY CAROL MARBIN MILLER cmarbin@miamiherald.com [ read original article ] Broward County prosecutors have ruled that a former detention center officer was justified when he slugged a 14-year-old boy in the face — breaking the teen's nose in two places — because the juvenile was aggressive with staff and causing a disturbance in the county's long-troubled lockup.... Continue Reading →

Testimony to New York City Council

New York State’s Raise the Age legislation is an important opportunity to improve public safety, but it is just that – an opportunity. The success of Raise the Age depends on the efforts of every partner in the larger justice system, from police, to prosecutors, probation agencies, and the broad network of service providers who work with youth to keep them from becoming more deeply involved in the justice system.

The New ‘Superpredator’ Myth

The John Jay College of Criminal Justice reported last fall that neighborhoods with Cure Violence sites had significant crime reductions compared with similar areas without them. In the East New York site run by Man Up, gun injury rates fell by 50 percent over four years; the control site in East Flastbush fell by only 5 percent. Similarly, shootings were down by 63 percent in the Save Our Streets South Bronx area, but only 17 percent in the East Harlem control neighborhood.

The Recidivism Trap

Rather than asking “what’s the recidivism rate?” we should ask an entirely different set of questions about justice interventions. Are we really helping people convicted of crimes to form better relationships with their families and their law-abiding friends? Are we helping them to advance their educational goals? Are they more likely to develop the skills and abilities required for stable employment? Are we helping them to respect others and to participate positively in the civic and cultural life of their communities?

Recidivism Reconsidered

Recidivism is not a comprehensive measure of success for criminal justice in general or for community corrections specifically. When used to judge the effects of justice interventions on behavior, the concept of recidivism may even be harmful, as it often reinforces the racial and class biases underlying much of the justice system. We encourage justice systems to rely on more flexible and more responsive outcome measures. Community corrections agencies should encourage policymakers to rely on outcomes related to criminal desistance and the social integration of people on probation or parole. Measures focused on social development and community wellbeing are more useful for evaluating the effects of justice interventions, and they are less likely to distort policy discussions.

Program Keeping Convicted Youths Closer to Home Enjoys Success, Faces Cuts

by Wendy Davis March 2, 2018 City Limits Seventeen-year-old “Jim” landed in a Leake & Watts group home for juvenile delinquents last August, after he stole money from his father to purchase a new phone. Jim, who had previously been arrested for trespassing in a neighbor’s apartment, is now among the oldest of the eight... Continue Reading →

Positive Outcomes

Measuring positive outcomes in youth justice requires a shift away from recidivism as the sole indicator of program effectiveness. A youth justice system embracing the PYD approach would gauge its success by tracking positive youth outcomes, such as the formation of strong and supportive relationships, academic engagement, labor market readiness, and improved socio-emotional skills.

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