Sociologists and criminologists theorize as to why violence can erupt from such seemingly inconsequential concerns. Jeffrey Butts, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York, says that the dynamics of parking provocations are sometimes similar to those of gang violence: Individuals who think their territory is threatened feel that they have to respond with violence to protect it.
But while the numbers show New York City is shifting gears on criminal justice reform, much harder is to establish, the experts said, is whether new policies are causing the drop in crime or whether they are a consequence of it.... Crime numbers have been decreasing for a long time nationwide, and even worldwide, said Jeffrey Butts, a professor who leads the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He has researched the juvenile justice system since the late 1980s.
The John Jay College of Criminal Justice Research and Evaluation Center analyzed the New York City experience with the Cure Violence model in 2017, seven years after the strategy was adopted. It found reductions in gun injuries of 37–50 percent in the South Bronx and Brooklyn. The center also documented a 14 percent reduction in attitudes supporting violence, with no change in control populations. However, more research is needed.
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?
At the height of the War on Drugs, policymakers generally split along partisan lines about how to respond to criminal acts by youth. The right wing saw unchangeable “super-predators” who needed to be incarcerated to restore law and order, while leftists saw victims of poverty who needed counseling and therapy, says Dr. Jeffrey Butts, director of John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s Research & Evaluation Center.
... Americans have “a deep cultural instinct to punish as a way of changing behavior,” says Jeffrey Butts, director of the Research and Evaluation Center at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. “And most people making decisions about policy are thinking about someone else's kid,” not their own.
“There’s never a good reason to send kids away,” said Dr. Jeffrey A. Butts, director of the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “It could be about convenience, fear, politics or a way of adding jobs to outlying areas where there aren’t enough jobs. But it’s never about public safety.”
Jeffrey Butts, a director of research at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, co-wrote an ongoing analysis of Cure Violence’s presence in high-crime New York City neighborhoods and found that homicide rates are on a downward trend in three areas that employed the interrupters in Brooklyn and in northern Manhattan. “They can form relationships in high-violence communities that police, social workers and ministers simply can’t,” Butts said.
The model is most succinctly explained in a recent brief written by Dr. Jeffrey Butts, a noted juvenile justice researcher at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a leading proponent of PYJ: “The PYJ Model suggests that youth justice systems should focus on youths’ acquisition of two core developmental assets: learning/doing and attaching/belonging. These two assets should be acquired and experienced by every youth within six distinct domains: work, education, relationships, community, health and creativity.”
Scared straight programs are also fall in line with “tough on crime” mentality in the justice system, said Jeffrey Butts, director of research and evaluation at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and expert on criminal behavior. “It’s a strong thing in America that we believe that being tough on people, punishing people, coercing them – basically forcing them to behave the way we want them to behave – it will somehow work,” he said.