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National Institute of Justice: Office of Justice Programs
Using Officer-Driven Research to Meet Policing Challenges
By Lt. Jason Potts, Vallejo Police Department
The challenges of implementing evidence-based policing are immense. Policing is a career in which relationship building and sound emotional intelligence are critical to success — but these elements are not necessarily scientifically based.
Policing is also highly nuanced and varies by agency based on the demographics it serves, its internal culture, and criminogenic issues particular to the agency’s location. The United States has 18,000 police departments, and many of them have fewer than 10 officers as well as significant budgetary and resource limitations. Given the variety in size, culture, and demographics among agencies, many law enforcement practices are based on traditions, experiences, and instincts that are indoctrinated through police academy and field training programs — these traditions are not typically based on data or research. This indoctrination is problematic, not only for its lack of empirical evidence but also because training may occur in unorganized, chaotic environments, with little standardization across the United States. A significant challenge in bringing research into the ranks of policing is addressing the anecdotal tradition of policing practices while still recognizing the significance of officer discretion.
For the full article, go to:
From the Crime Justice Statistics Digest
New Evidence-Based Judicial Decision Making Curriculum Resources
NCSC has just released new Evidence-Based Judicial Decision Making curriculum resources, which were developed by the National Center for State Courts in response to requests for information about pretrial and sentencing practices affecting persons facing potential local jail sentences. It is a follow up to the NCSC’s Evidence-Based Sentencing curriculum, originally developed in 2007, when the Conference of Chief Justices called for the adoption of state sentencing and corrections policies based on “evidence-based practices,” those shown through research to be effective in reducing recidivism.
These resources include an introduction to the curriculum, PowerPoint slides and faculty notes for the curriculum, and companion briefs on effective court responses. These resources are available through the links below and are also available on the NCSC Courts and Jails webpage at: www.ncsc.org/Topics/Criminal/Courts-and-Jails/…
Arrest Rates Plummet to Historic Low in California
California’s arrest rate has declined by more than half since its peak in 1989, according to a report released today by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC). In the first statewide examination of long-term trends in the state, the report finds that the demographics of who is arrested have also changed. But even as racial disparities have narrowed, African Americans today are three times more likely to be arrested than whites.
Accompanying the report, PPIC released an interactive tool that allows deeper exploration of arrest rates across California counties, as well as a fact sheet, Arrests in California.
The report is titled New Insights into California Arrests: Trends Disparities, and County Differences. It is supported with funding from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. In addition to Lofstrom, the coauthors are PPIC research associates Brandon Martin, Justin Goss, and Joseph Hayes, and Steven Raphael, professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley.
The California Research Bureau published this summary of a report on police use of force (U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Nov. 2018. 230 p.)
“The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights urged the Trump administration Thursday to resume federal oversight of troubled police departments and reinstate the Justice Department’s community policing office—steps that would reverse an effort by Jeff Sessions, the recently departed attorney general, to limit federal oversight of local police departments. [The report] concludes that black Americans, among others, have valid concerns about police violence and lack of officer accountability.” The link to the report is:
An editorial in the Star Ledger reports on whether the bail reform in New Jersey has been a success. Here is the link to the editorial:
FROM THE CJS DIGEST
State Corrections in the Wake of California’s Criminal Justice Reforms: Much Progress, More to Do
In recent years, lawmakers and voters in California have adopted a variety of significant reforms to the state’s criminal justice system. These reforms have produced a number of important positive effects, such as reduced incarceration in state facilities and a greater emphasis on rehabilitation and crime prevention.
However, even with this significant progress, three key challenges still confront state corrections in California: the state’s prison system is still operating at well above its capacity; spending on state corrections remains high; and there are still significant racial and ethnic disparities in California’s criminal justice system.
A new chartbook from Budget Center Director of Research Scott Graves takes a close look at California’s state corrections system. This analysis discusses the impacts of recent reforms, examines the current challenges facing our state’s criminal justice system, and highlights the potential for further reforms.
Anti-Jail Group Urges Supervisors To Speed Up Hall Of Justice Closure
Dozens of community activists rallied outside of San Francisco City Hall this afternoon, urging city supervisors to speed up the closure of the jail at the city’s Hall of Justice. Additionally, the group, No New SF Jail Coalition, is asking supervisors to, instead of building a new jail, invest the funds into community resources that would keep people out of jail. In 2016, supervisors rejected an $80 million state grant for the construction of a new jail and instead created a work group to identify alternatives to incarceration.
In Looking To Treat The Whole Patient, VA Tests Behavioral Health Platform
In an effort to create a collaboration between primary care physicians and behavioral health specialists to treat the “whole person,” the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has turned to a mental health technology company that will roll-out at the Corporal Michael J. Crascenz VA Medical Center in Philadelphia. In this pilot – which is being funded by an National Science Foundation (NSF) grant – could be a substantial step forward for those in the VA system suffering from mental illness.
County program offers mental health safety net
One of many Assisted Outpatient Treatment programs offered in counties throughout the state, the county’s program is the local implementation of Laura’s Law, a bill passed by the state Legislature in 2002, said Terry Rittgers, clinical services manager with County Health’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services Division.
Drafted after the death of Laura Wilcox, a Nevada County mental health worker killed by a psychiatric patient, Assembly Bill 1421 is aimed at supplementing mental health services in counties to prevent similar tragedies, said Rittgers.
Approved by the Board of Supervisors in June of 2015, the program was designed so county staff receive referrals and screen potential program clients, and once they’re deemed eligible for the program, Caminar provides the treatment they need, he said. With a phone line, email address and website open to take calls from anyone who thinks they know someone in need of treatment, Rittgers said the program has received 340 referrals and 82 calls seeking information about mental health resources since it first started.
FROM THE PEW PUBLIC SAFETY PERFORMANCE PROJECT (www.pewtrusts.org/en/projects/public-safety-performance-project)
42% Fewer Facilities Holding Juveniles
The number of residential facilities holding juveniles in custody fell by nearly half nationwide from 2000 to 2016, according to the latest federal data.
Pennsylvania Launches Mental Illness Treatment Center
A new resource center in Pennsylvania aims to help county jail officials identify and treat inmates with mental illnesses. The Council of State Governments explains.
Family Connection is Key to Successful Re-Entry
New research from R Street highlights how strengthening the family connections of people in the justice system offers critical emotional and psychological support for re-entering society.
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