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Crime and Justice

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The criminal justice system's actions in both preventing and responding to criminal behavior have implications for the safety, well-being, and financial stability of communities throughout the country.

In an era of diminishing state and federal budgets and limited resources for community services, it is critical that research and analysis is available to guide the allocation of scarce criminal justice resources in a manner that yields the most beneficial impact on the individuals and jurisdictions affected by crime.

Justice Policy Center

Researchers in the Urban Institute's Justice Policy Center produce such research, evaluating programs and analyzing data in an effort to guide federal, state, and local stakeholders in making sound decisions that will increase the safety of communities nationwide.

Featured Justice Policy Center Research

 
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Labeling Effects of First Juvenile Arrests: Secondary Deviance and Secondary Sanctioning (Research Report)
Akiva Liberman, David S. Kirk, KiDeuk Kim

Does arresting juveniles deter or promote future offending, and how does it affect the chances of future arrests? These questions were studied through official arrest data and self-reported offending data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, using propensity score methods. First arrests increased subsequent offending and subsequent arrest through separate processes, and the effects on rearrest were substantially larger. Being labelled as an arrestee seems to trigger "secondary sanctioning" processes beyond any effects on offending. Attempts to ameliorate deleterious "labeling" effects should include efforts to dampen their escalating punitive effects on societal responses.

Posted to Web: October 24, 2014Publication Date: October 24, 2014

Understanding the Organization, Operation, and Victimization Process of Labor Trafficking in the United States (Research Report)
Colleen Owens, Meredith Dank, Amy Farrell, Justin Breaux, Isela Banuelos, Rebecca Pfeffer, Ryan Heitsmith, Katie Bright, Jack McDevitt

This study chronicles the experiences of labor trafficking victims from the point of recruitment for work, their forced labor victimization, their attempts to escape and get help, and their efforts to seek justice through civil or criminal cases. The report finds that legal loopholes and lax enforcement enable labor traffickers to commit crimes against workers in major US industries: agriculture, domestic work, hotels, restaurants, and construction. Interview and case file data detail the ubiquity of trafficking, which occurs both in plain sight and behind lock and key. Detailed recommendations propose next steps for policy and practice.

Posted to Web: October 21, 2014Publication Date: October 21, 2014

Lax Enforcement and Legal Loopholes Enable Labor Trafficking Victimization: Broadest look ever at victim experiences in five major US industries (Press Release)
Urban Institute

This study chronicles the experiences of labor trafficking victims from the point of recruitment for work, their forced labor victimization, their attempts to escape and get help, and their efforts to seek justice through civil or criminal cases. The report finds that legal loopholes and lax enforcement enable labor traffickers to commit crimes against workers in major US industries: agriculture, domestic work, hotels, restaurants, and construction. Interview and case file data detail the ubiquity of trafficking, which occurs both in plain sight and behind lock and key. Detailed recommendations propose next steps for policy and practice.

Posted to Web: October 21, 2014Publication Date: October 21, 2014

Stop and Frisk: Balancing Crime Control with Community Relations (Research Report)
Nancy G. La Vigne, Pamela Lachman, Shebani Rao, Andrea Matthews

Police have been stopping, questioning, and frisking pedestrians for decades in an effort to protect themselves and the public from harm. However, pedestrians may view the stop and frisk experience as unjustified and perceive that they are subject to unfair and overly aggressive treatment. These feelings are most pronounced for those residing in high-crime areas that are targets for intensive stop and frisk activities. Because citizens’ views of the police contribute to their willingness to cooperate with and empower law enforcement, minimizing the negative effects of stop and frisk is crucial for overall police effectiveness and is especially important for improving relations with communities of color. This publication discusses the constitutionality and legal precedents of stop and frisk and the theory and practice behind these street stops. This background is followed by a discus¬sion of stop and frisk’s unintended consequences and a series of practical recommendations for the lawful and respectful use of pedestrian stops in the context of community policing.

Posted to Web: October 15, 2014Publication Date: October 15, 2014

Evaluation of the Allegheny County Jail Collaborative Reentry Programs: Findings and Recommendations (Research Report)
Janeen Buck Willison, Samuel Bieler, KiDeuk Kim

This study evaluates two of Allegheny County (PA)’s programs to improve the successful reintegration of jail inmates following their return to the community. Both programs were designed to reduce re-offending through the use of risk/needs assessment, coordinated reentry planning, and the use of evidence-based programs and practices. Urban researchers conducted process and outcome evaluations of these programs to answer critical questions about program performance and effectiveness. The process evaluation examined alignment with core correctional practices, while the outcome evaluation examined rearrests for reentry program participants and two comparison groups of offenders (total N=798). Analyses indicate that both reentry programs reduce rearrest and prolong time to rearrest. These findings are supported by ample evidence of strong program implementation.

Posted to Web: October 06, 2014Publication Date: October 06, 2014

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