The history of violent crime decline in the U.S. favors Democratic Presidents.
Researching the effectiveness of social policies is like pointing a flashlight inside a dark room. You can can only see what passes through the beam of light.
All researchers want their studies to have an impact on policy and practice, but few do. It's often the researcher's own fault -- at least in part. Here are some basic strategies for increasing the chances that your research will have an effect.
Adolescence does not end with a single birthday and it lasts well beyond the point of legal adulthood. Our science-blind courts have yet to accept this fact.
Jeffrey Butts answers 20 key questions about the U.S. juvenile justice system.
If our goal is to mitigate whatever factors are most likely to draw young people into contact with the justice system, the interventions we provide should reflect what we know about adolescents and the conditions facing young people in the United States today.
Equating the deepest end of juvenile justice with “the system” distorts the significance of whatever problems affect the youth in secure care. Young people in secure facilities represent a small proportion of the entire youthful offender population.
by Jeffrey A. Butts, March 20, 2013 Juvenile Justice Information Exchange On March 17, Nate Balis and Tom Woods from the Annie E. Casey Foundation responded to my JJIE opinion column from March 7 in which I cautioned that it was too soon to claim intentional reform as the cause of recent declines in juvenile … Continue reading Interpreting the Juvenile Incarceration Drop
As we celebrate falling incarceration numbers, those of us who work in juvenile justice should take a few moments to contemplate the true origins of the decline. We venture onto thin ice — empirically — if we conclude that incarceration is down because of changes in practice and policy.
by Jeffrey A. Butts May 16, 2015 1. use the word “jail” as a synonym for juvenile incarceration, or use the word “detention” as a synonym for all forms of juvenile incarceration 2. use the words “juvenile justice system” when what they mean is juvenile corrections or incarceration facilities 3. assume that because someone says … Continue reading Stuff I wish journalists would NOT do when covering juvenile crime and juvenile justice …
Jeffrey Butts, Guest Columnist April 20, 2012 The state of Florida transfers far more juvenile offenders to the criminal (adult) court system than any other state in the nation. In this sense at least, Florida can rightly claim to be No. 1. Florida's population is roughly half that of California's, but it transfers youths to adult … Continue reading Transfers to Adult Court don’t Explain Drop in Youth Crime
February 16, 2011 by Jeffrey A. Butts Ph.D. Gail Wasserman and her colleagues from the Center for the Promotion of Mental Health in Juvenile Justice at Columbia University published an important new study that was released just this week in Criminal Justice and Behavior: "Psychiatric Disorder, Comorbidity, and Suicidal Behavior in Juvenile Justice Youth." It … Continue reading How Prevalent are Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues in Juvenile Justice? The Answer May Surprise You
John Roman and Jeffrey A. Butts (2011). The Bond Market and Public Safety. Commentary. Washington, DC: Urban Institute. At least 40 states face swelling budget deficits. Likely targets for reductions include the discretionary social programs that protect public safety. Rather than jeopardize the public's safety and well-being with imprudent cuts, a different and better way … Continue reading The Bond Market and Public Safety
Reclaiming Futures (2011). Blog: News & Information. Portland, OR: Reclaiming Futures, Portland State University. Many people believe that agencies can assess their effectiveness entirely with pre/post comparisons of youth outcomes, such as recidivism or drug use before and after treatment. Apparently, they do not know about the statistical bias present in that sort of comparison. These sort … Continue reading Assessing Program Outcomes can be Tricky
Jeffrey A. Butts and Jennifer Ortiz (2011). "Teen Courts – Do They Work and Why?" New York State Bar Association Journal, 83(1): 18-21. Despite their popularity, there are many unanswered questions about the effectiveness of teen courts. The overall impression one gets from the evaluation literature is positive, but researchers have yet to identify exactly … Continue reading Teen Courts – Do They Work and Why?