1932

Abstract

The relevance of criminology to matters of public policy has been hotly debated throughout the history of the discipline. Yet time and again, we have borne witness to the consequences of harmful criminal justice practices that do little to reduce crime or improve the lives of our most vulnerable populations. Given the urgent need for evidence-informed responses to the problems that face our society, we argue here that criminologists can and should have a voice in the process. Accordingly, this review describes challenges and prospects for evidence-informed policymaking on matters of crime and justice. In terms of challenges, we review discourse on what constitutes evidence, issues with providing guidance under conditions of causal uncertainty, and practical constraints on evidence-informed policymaking. For prospects, we consider the important roles of institutional support, graduate training, and multiple translational strategies for the evidence-informed movement. Finally, we end with several considerations for advancing translational criminology through expanded promotion and tenure criteria, curricula revision, and prioritizing the organization of knowledge. More broadly, our goals are to stimulate disciplinary thinking regarding the ways in which criminology may play a more meaningful role in effectively confronting the ongoing challenges of crime in society.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-criminol-022422-124116
2024-01-26
2024-04-23
Loading full text...

Full text loading...

/deliver/fulltext/criminol/7/1/annurev-criminol-022422-124116.html?itemId=/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-criminol-022422-124116&mimeType=html&fmt=ahah

Literature Cited

  1. Abt TP. 2017. Towards a framework for preventing community violence among youth. Psychol. Health Med. 22:Suppl. 126685
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Austin J. 2003. Why criminology is relevant. Criminol. Public Policy 2:355764
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Becker HS. 1963. Outsiders: Studies in the Sociology of Deviance New York: Free Press
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Berk R. 2010. What you can and can't properly do with regression. J. Quant. Criminol. 26:448187
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Berk R, Heidari H, Jabbari S, Kearns M, Roth A. 2018. Fairness in criminal justice risk assessments: the state of the art. Sociol. Methods Res. 50:1344
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Blomberg TG 2010. Profiles in crime and justice. Exploring Criminal Justice: The Essentials R Regoli, J Hewitt 6 Burlington, MA: Jones Bartlett Publ.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Blomberg TG. 2019. Making a difference in criminology: past, present, and future. Am. J. Crim. Justice 44:467088
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Blomberg TG, Copp JE, Thrasher J. 2022. Translational criminology, politics, and promising practices. Am. J. Crim. Justice 47:61099115
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Blomberg TG, Mestre J, Mann K. 2013. Seeking causality in a world of contingency: criminology, research, and public policy. Criminol. Public Policy 12:457184
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Blumstein A. 2011. Bringing down the U.S. prison population. Prison J. 91:Suppl. 312S26S
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Bogenschneider K, Bogenschneider BN. 2020. Empirical evidence from state legislators: how, when, and who uses research. Psychol. Public Policy Law 26:441324
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Bowers J, Testa PF. 2019. Better government, better science: the promise of and challenges facing the evidence-informed policy movement. Annu. Rev. Political Sci. 22:52142
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Boyle P. 2022. Why do so many Americans distrust science?. AAMCNEWS https://www.aamc.org/news-insights/why-do-so-many-americans-distrust-science
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Braga AA. 2022. Gun violence is a public health crisis that needs more applied criminologists. Criminol. Public Policy 21:481137
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Braga AA, Apel R. 2016. And we wonder why criminology is sometimes considered irrelevant in real-world policy conversations. Criminol. Public Policy 15:381329
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Braga AA, Turchan BS, Papachristos AV, Hureau D. 2019. Hot spots policing and crime reduction: an update of an ongoing systematic review and meta-analysis. J. Exp. Criminol. 15:289311
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Buchanan L, Bui Q, Patel JK. 2020. Black Lives Matter may be the largest movement in U.S. history. New York Times July 3. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/07/03/us/george-floyd-protests-crowd-size.html
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Burawoy M. 2004. Public sociologies: contradictions, dilemmas, and possibilities. Soc. Forces 82:4160318
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Burawoy M. 2005. For public sociology. Am. Sociol. Rev. 70:1428
    [Google Scholar]
  20. Cartwright N 2011. Predicting “it will work for us”: (way) beyond statistics. Causality in the Sciences PM Illari, F Russo, J Williamson 75068. Oxford, UK: Oxford Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Clear TR. 2010. Policy and evidence: the challenge to the American Society of Criminology: 2009 presidential address to the American Society of Criminology. Criminology 48:1125
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Cloward RA, Ohlin LE. 1960. Delinquency and Opportunity: A Theory of Delinquent Gangs New York: Free Press
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Cohen AK. 1955. Delinquent Boys: The Culture of the Gang New York: Free Press
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Copp JE, Casey W, Blomberg TG, Pesta G. 2022. Pretrial risk assessment instruments in practice: the role of judicial discretion in pretrial reform. Criminol. Public Policy 21:232958
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Cressey DR. 1978. Criminological theory, social science, and the repression of crime. Criminology 16:217191
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Cullen FT. 2005. Twelve people who saved rehabilitation: how the science of criminology made a difference. Criminology 43:1142
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Cullen FT. 2011. Beyond adolescence-limited criminology: choosing our future—the American Society of Criminology 2010 Sutherland address. Criminology 49:2287330
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Cullen FT, Gilbert K. 2012. Reaffirming Rehabilitation New York: Routledge
  29. Cullen FT, Pratt TC, Turanovic JJ. 2016. It's hopeless: beyond zero-tolerance supervision. Criminol. Public Policy 15:4121527
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Cullen FT, Pratt TC, Turanovic JJ, Butler L. 2018. When bad news arrives: project HOPE in a post-factual world. J. Contemp. Crim. Justice 34:1334
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Currie E. 2007. Against marginality: arguments for a public criminology. Theor. Criminol. 11:217590
    [Google Scholar]
  32. DiIulio JJ. 1994. Instant replay: three strikes was the right call. Am. Prospect 18:1215
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Doleac JL. 2019.. “ Evidence-based policy” should reflect a hierarchy of evidence. J. Policy Analysis Manag. 38:251719
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Drakulich K, Baranauskas AJ. 2021. Anger versus fear about crime: how common is it, where does it come from, and why does it matter?. Crime Law Soc. Change 76:45172
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Duret D, Li W. 2023. It's not just a police problem, Americans are opting out of government jobs. The Marshall Project Jan. 21. https://www.themarshallproject.org/2023/01/21/police-hiring-government-jobs-decline
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Elder GH. 1974. Children of the Great Depression: Social Change in Life Experience Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press
    [Google Scholar]
  37. Esberg J, Mummolo J. 2018. Explaining misperceptions of crime SSRN Work. Pap. 3208303. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3208303
  38. Farrall S, Gray E, Jones PM. 2021. Worrying times: the fear of crime and nostalgia. Curr. Issues Crim. Justice 33:334058
    [Google Scholar]
  39. Farrington DP, Lösel F, Braga AA, Mazerolle L, Raine A et al. 2020. Experimental criminology: looking back and forward on the 20th anniversary of the Academy of Experimental Criminology. J. Exp. Criminol. 16:464973
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Fridel E. 2021. The futility of shooting down strawmen: a response to Kleck 2020. Justice Q. 38:592541
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Garcia M, Cain CM. 2016. Restrictive housing in the U.S. Natl. Inst. Justice Rep. NCJ 250315 Off. Justice Progr. Washington, DC: https://www.ojp.gov/pdffiles1/nij/250315.pdf
  42. Gendreau P, Smith P. 2007. Influencing the “people who count”: some perspectives on the reporting of meta-analytic results for prediction and treatment outcomes with offenders. Crim. Justice Behav. 34:12153659
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Giordano PC, Cernkovich SA, Rudolph JL. 2002. Gender, crime, and desistance: toward a theory of cognitive transformation. Am. J. Sociol. 107:49901064
    [Google Scholar]
  44. Hay C. 2009. Examining key causes of crime in terms of their potential responsiveness to policy manipulation. Criminologist 34:258
    [Google Scholar]
  45. Hirschi T. 1969. Causes of Delinquency Berkeley: Univ. Calif. Press
  46. Jalbert S, Rhodes W, Kane M, Clawson E, Bogue B et al. 2011. A multi-site evaluation of reduced probation caseload size in an evidence-based practice setting Natl. Inst. Justice Rep. NCJ 234596 Off. Justice Progr. Washington, DC: https://www.ojp.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/234596.pdf
  47. Jasanoff S. 2007. Technologies of humility. Nature 450:33
    [Google Scholar]
  48. Jasanoff S. 2022. The discontents of truth and trust in 21st century America. Daedalus 151:42542
    [Google Scholar]
  49. Kazemian L. 2021. Pathways to desistance from crime among juveniles and adults: applications to criminal justice policy and practice Natl. Inst. Justice Rep. NCJ 301503 Off. Justice Progr. Washington, DC: https://www.ojp.gov/pdffiles1/nij/301503.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  50. Kenrick DT, Cohen AB, Neuberg SL, Cialdini RB. 2018. The science of antiscience thinking. Sci. Am. 319:13641
    [Google Scholar]
  51. Kittler M. 2018. Do we understand each other? Discussing academic exchange from a cross-cultural communication perspective. Int. Stud. Manag. Organ. 48:333351
    [Google Scholar]
  52. Latessa EJ, Johnson SL, Koetzle D. 2020. What Works (and Doesn't) in Reducing Recidivism New York: Routledge
  53. Lattimore PK, MacKenzie DL, Zajac G, Dawes D, Arsenault E, Tueller S. 2016. Outcome findings from the HOPE demonstration field experiment: Is swift, certain, and fair an effective supervision strategy?. Criminol. Public Policy 15:4110341
    [Google Scholar]
  54. Laub JH. 1983. Criminology in the Making: An Oral History Boston: Northeastern Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  55. Laub JH. 2006. Edwin H. Sutherland and the Michael-Adler Report: searching for the soul of criminology seventy years later. Criminology 44:223558
    [Google Scholar]
  56. Laub JH, Frisch NE 2016. Translational criminology: a new path forward. Advancing Criminology and Criminal Justice Policy TG Blomberg, JM Brancale, KM Beaver, WD Bales 5262. New York: Routledge
    [Google Scholar]
  57. Lemert EM. 1951. Social Pathology New York: McGraw-Hill
  58. Lipsey MW, Cullen FT. 2007. The effectiveness of correctional rehabilitation: a review of systematic reviews. Annu. Rev. Law Soc. Sci. 3:297320
    [Google Scholar]
  59. Low S, van Ryzin MJ, Brown EC, Smith BH, Haggerty KP. 2014. Engagement matters: lessons from assessing classroom implementation of steps to respect: a bullying prevention program over a one-year period. Prev. Sci. 15:216576
    [Google Scholar]
  60. Lum C, Nagin DS. 2017. Reinventing American policing. Crime Justice 46:33993
    [Google Scholar]
  61. MacDonald J. 2023. Criminal justice reform guided by evidence: social control works—the Academy of Experimental Criminology 2022 Joan McCord Lecture. J. Exp. Criminol. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11292-023-09558-w
    [Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  62. Martinson R. 1974. What works? Questions and answers about prison reform. Public Interest 35:2254
    [Google Scholar]
  63. Merton RK. 1938. Social structure and anomie. Am. Sociol. Rev. 3:67282
    [Google Scholar]
  64. Michael J, Adler MJ. 1933. Crime, Law and Social Science New York: Harcourt Brace
    [Google Scholar]
  65. Mihalic SF, Elliott DS. 2015. Evidence-based programs registry: blueprints for healthy youth development. Eval. Progr. Plan. 48:12431
    [Google Scholar]
  66. Miller JM, Miller HV. 2015. Rethinking program fidelity for criminal justice. Criminol. Public Policy 14:233949
    [Google Scholar]
  67. Nagin DS. 2022. Unraveling mass incarceration: criminology's role in the policy process. Criminology 60:34015
    [Google Scholar]
  68. Nagin DS, Sampson RJ. 2019. The real gold standard: measuring counterfactual worlds that matter most to social science and policy. Annu. Rev. Criminol. 2:12345
    [Google Scholar]
  69. Nagin D, Weisburd D. 2013. Evidence and public policy: the example of evaluation research in policing. Criminol. Public Policy 12:465179
    [Google Scholar]
  70. Nowotny H. 2003. Democratising expertise and socially robust knowledge. Sci. Public Policy 30:315156
    [Google Scholar]
  71. Park RE, Burgess EW. 1921. Introduction to the Science of Sociology Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press
  72. Parkhurst JO, Abeysinghe S. 2016. What constitutes “good” evidence for public health and social policy-making? From hierarchies to appropriateness. Soc. Epistemol. 30:5–666579
    [Google Scholar]
  73. Pesta GB, Blomberg TG, Ramos J, Ranson JA. 2019. Translational criminology: toward best practice. Am. J. Crim. Justice 44:3499518
    [Google Scholar]
  74. Petersilia J. 1991. Policy relevance and the future of criminology—the American Society of Criminology 1990 presidential address. Criminology 29:1115
    [Google Scholar]
  75. Petersilia J. 2008. Influencing public policy: an embedded criminologist reflects on California prison reform. J. Exp. Criminol. 4:433556
    [Google Scholar]
  76. Petrich DM, Pratt TC, Jonson CL, Cullen FT. 2021. Custodial sanctions and reoffending: a meta-analytic review. Crime Justice 50:1353424
    [Google Scholar]
  77. Pfaff J. 2016. The complicated economics of prison reform. Mich. Law Rev. 114:695181
    [Google Scholar]
  78. Pratt TC. 2008. Rational choice theory, crime control policy, and criminological relevance. Criminol. Public Policy 7:14352
    [Google Scholar]
  79. Pratt TC. 2019. Addicted to Incarceration: Corrections Policy and the Politics of Misinformation in the United States New York: Sage. , 2nd ed..
    [Google Scholar]
  80. Puddy RW, Wilkins N. 2011. Understanding evidence part 1: best available research evidence. A guide to the continuum of evidence of effectiveness Rep. Cent. Dis. Control Prev. Atlanta, GA: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/understanding_evidence-a.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  81. Putnam L, Chenoweth E, Pressman J. 2020. The Floyd protests are the broadest in U.S. history—and are spreading to white, small-town America. Washington Post June 6. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/06/06/floyd-protests-are-broadest-us-history-are-spreading-white-small-town-america/
    [Google Scholar]
  82. Quinney R. 1970. The Social Reality of Crime Boston: Little Brown
  83. Reingle Gonzalez JM, Akers TA 2017. Transdisciplinary research perspective: epidemiological criminology as an emerging theoretical framework for substance abuse research. Research Methods in the Study of Substance Abuse J VanGeest, T Johnson, S Alemagno 2740. New York: Springer
    [Google Scholar]
  84. Rosenfeld R. 2011. The big picture: 2010 presidential address to the American Society of Criminology. Criminology 49:1126
    [Google Scholar]
  85. Rosenfeld R, Boxerman B, Lopez E. 2022. Pandemic, social unrest, and crime in U.S. cities: mid-year 2022 update. Council on Criminal Justice https://counciloncj.org/mid-year-2022-crime-trends/
    [Google Scholar]
  86. Ross-Hellauer T, Tennant JP, Banelyte V, Gorogh E, Luzi D et al. 2020. Ten simple rules for innovative dissemination of research. PLOS Comput. Biol. 16:4e10007704
    [Google Scholar]
  87. Russell J, Greenhalgh T, Byrne E, McDonnell J. 2008. Recognizing rhetoric in health care policy analysis. J. Health Serv. Res. Policy 13:14046
    [Google Scholar]
  88. Sampson RJ. 2010. Gold standard myths: observations on the experimental turn in quantitative criminology. J. Quant. Criminol. 26:4489500
    [Google Scholar]
  89. Sampson RJ, Laub JH. 1993. Crime in the Making: Pathways and Turning Points Through Life Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  90. Sampson RJ, Winship C, Knight C. 2013. Translating causal claims: principles and strategies for policy-relevant criminology. Criminol. Public Policy 12:4587616
    [Google Scholar]
  91. Schildkraut J, Turanovic JJ. 2022. A new wave of mass shootings? Exploring the potential impact of COVID-19. Homicide Stud. 26:36278
    [Google Scholar]
  92. Shames A. 2013. Performance incentive funding: aligning fiscal and operational responsibility to produce more safety at less cost. Fed. Sentencing Rep. 25:3197206
    [Google Scholar]
  93. Sherman LW. 2009. Evidence and liberty: the promise of experimental criminology. Criminol. Crim. Justice 9:1528
    [Google Scholar]
  94. Sherman LW, Gottfredson D, MacKenzie D, Eck J, Reuter P, Bushway S. 1997. Preventing crime: what works, what doesn't, what's promising Natl. Inst. Justice Rep. NCJ 165366 Off. Justice Progr. Washington, DC: https://www.ojp.gov/pdffiles/171676.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  95. Skolnick JE. 1995. What not to do about crime—the American Society of Criminology 1994 presidential address. Criminology 33:1115
    [Google Scholar]
  96. Smith HP. 2021. Introduction to the special edition on correctional officer wellness and resiliency. Crim. Justice Stud. 34:435360
    [Google Scholar]
  97. Sparrow MK. 2015. Measuring performance in a modern police organization. Psychosociol. Issues Hum. Resour. Manag. 3:21752
    [Google Scholar]
  98. Sutherland EH. 1934. Principles of Criminology Philadelphia: Lippincott. , 2nd ed..
  99. Sweeten G. 2016. What works, what doesn't, what's constitutional? The problem with assessing an unconstitutional police practice. Criminol. Public Policy 15:16773
    [Google Scholar]
  100. Tittle C. 2004. The arrogance of public sociology. Soc. Forces 82:4163943
    [Google Scholar]
  101. Tonry M. 2010.. “ Public criminology” and evidence-based policy. Criminol. Public Policy 9:478397
    [Google Scholar]
  102. Tonry M 2019. American Sentencing: What Happens and Why? Chicago: Univ. Chicago Press
    [Google Scholar]
  103. Turanovic JJ, Pratt TC. 2021. Meta-analysis in criminology and criminal justice: challenging the paradigm and charting a new path forward. Justice Eval. J. 4:12147
    [Google Scholar]
  104. Turanovic JJ, Pratt TC, Kulig TC, Cullen FT. 2022. Confronting School Violence: A Synthesis of Six Decades of Research Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press
    [Google Scholar]
  105. Turanovic JJ, Siennick SE. 2022. The causes and consequences of school violence: a review Natl. Inst. Justice Rep. NCJ 302346 Off. Justice Progr. Washington, DC: https://www.ojp.gov/pdffiles1/nij/302346.pdf
    [Google Scholar]
  106. Turk AT. 1969. Criminality and Legal Order Chicago: Rand McNally
  107. Uggen C, Inderbitzin M. 2010. Public criminologies. Criminol. Public Policy 9:472549
    [Google Scholar]
  108. Weisburd D, Piquero AR. 2008. How well do criminologists explain crime? Statistical modeling in published studies. Crime Justice 37:1453502
    [Google Scholar]
  109. Weiss CH. 1986. The circuitry of enlightenment: diffusion of social science research to policymakers. Sci. Commun. 8:227481
    [Google Scholar]
  110. Wellford CF. 2010. Criminologists should stop whining about their impact on policy and practice. Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice Policy: Policy Proposals from the American Society of Criminology Conference NA Frost, JD Freilich, TR Clear 1724. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth
    [Google Scholar]
  111. Wetzel JE, Davis JM. 2020. The response to the COVID-19 crisis by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. Vict. Offenders 15:7–81298304
    [Google Scholar]
/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-criminol-022422-124116
Loading
/content/journals/10.1146/annurev-criminol-022422-124116
Loading

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Review Article
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error