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This Week in The Crime Report

The ‘Deflection’ Surge: Key to Reducing Re-Arrests

A public health approach to better public safety.

Getting Away With Murder: The National Crisis of Cold-Case Homicides

The unsolved rate of homicides is also on the rise, that means more people are getting away with murder.

Women Shortchanged by Justice Reforms: Report

Criminal justice reform has not helped women to the same extent that it has benefited men, says a study from the Prisoner Reentry Institute at John Jay College.

Texas Eyes Sweeping Changes in Police-Community Relations

Last week, Texas legislators begin examining a package of bills aimed at cooling off the strained relations between cops and civilians.

Americans Favor ‘Rehabilitation’ Over Jail Time, Survey Finds

A significant majority of Americans believe putting people behind bars for non-violent offenses is wrong—and almost three-quarters favor “rehabilitation” over jail when such offenses are committed by those who suffer from mental illness.

Report Cites Mass Incarceration, ‘Racial Achievement Gap’

When parents are incarcerated, children do worse across both cognitive and noncognitive outcome measures, and the incarceration issues are a key cause.

To read more on these stories go to



Mental Illness, Untreated Behind Bars

So it might have come as a surprise to him when a member of the National Sheriffs’ Association at a White House meeting earlier this month brought up an urgent problem sheriffs’ offices all face — the mental health crisis that has filled jails to bursting with mentally ill people who would be more effectively dealt with through treatment.

An Editorial in the New York Times, February 27th. Go to, click on “opinion” and scroll down to the editorial.


Shackled to Debt – Criminal Justice Financial Obligations and the Barriers to Re-entry They Create. By Karin D. Martin, et al. Harvard Kennedy School. Jan. 13, 2017. 26 p.

A significant number of formerly incarcerated people face criminal justice financial obligations, such as fines, forfeiture of property, court fees, supervision fees, and restitution, all of which complicate life after incarceration. “Between bad credit ratings, loss of voting rights, wage garnishment and a whole host of other sanctions, the ripple effect of being unable to pay off criminal fines and fees can last decades. This only serves to reinforce and deepen the marginalization and isolation that the justice-involved face from mainstream social, economic, and political institutions.” This report describes trends in assessment of these financial obligations, discusses historical context, and considers alternative models for the effective and fair deployment of restitution.


Minor Crimes, Major Challenges

From The Crime Report

Only 18%of arrests are for crimes in one of the seven major categories.


Everything You Think You Know About Mass Incarceration Is Wrong

In his new book, “Locked In,” the economist and law professor John Pfaff challenges popular assumptions about how America became the most incarcerated nation on Earth. The war on drugs did not generate the wave of incarceration, punitive sentencing and private prisons are not mainly to blame, and if we want to dig our way out we have to start at the beginning: with the vast discretion prosecutors have to charge defendants in the first place.


Big data may be reinforcing racial bias in the criminal justice system

Big data has expanded to the criminal justice system. In Los Angeles, police use computerized “predictive policing” to anticipate crimes and allocate officers. In Fort Lauderdale, Fla., machine-learning algorithms are used to set bond amounts. In states across the country, data-driven estimates of the risk of recidivism are being used to set jail sentences.



“Sentencing Outcomes in US District Courts: Can Offenders’ Educational Attainment Guard
Against Prevalent Criminal Stereotypes?” By Travis W. Franklin. Crime and Delinquency vol. 63 no. 2 (2017) pp. 137-165.

The research demonstrated that high school graduates are 10% less likely to be sent to prison than those who did not finish high school and, when sent to prison, their average sentence is 1.4% shorter. Additionally, those who were either Hispanic or Asian faced greater chance of being incarcerated than whites (24% and 38%) and males faced greater chance of imprisonment compared to females.


PEW RESEARCH completed a major study on how approximately 8,000 police officers feel about their work and community relations.  One article from this survey finds that black and white officers see many key aspects of policing differently. The link to this article is:


A RAND video on why correctional education matters, including filming inside Mule Creek State Prison of a college program for inmates and interviews with Senator Loni Hancock and DCR’s Correctional Education Director, Brant Choate.   Find it at: