The Marshall Project—Gangs of New York

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.

Chronicle of Social Change—Positive Youth Justice: Curbing Crime, Building Assets

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.”

JJIE—Scared Straight Programs Remain Popular Among Parents

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.

Center for Public Integrity—Georgia’s Troubled Effort to Reduce Juvenile Crime

Juvenile justice expert Jeffrey Butts said he's not surprised that JJIE's analysis found the similar recidivism rates. "It's a finding I would predict in all states," he said. In part, that's because society holds a false expectation about juvenile lockups, "a fantasy that incarceration is treatment," said Butts, director of the Research and Evaluation Center at New York's John Jay College of Criminal Justice. "We lock them up and then we convince ourselves it's good for the kids too."

JJIE—Interpreting the Juvenile Incarceration Drop

Even if we observe a number of instances when state reforms are followed by lower incarceration, we have to test whether the causal hypothesis holds up in the absence of reform? If we lined up all the states according to whether they had enacted meaningful reforms in their juvenile justice systems, would their incarceration trends line up in the same way, with high reform states showing more decline and low reform states showing less? Moreover, does the relationship persist over time and under varying circumstances?