Bergin, T. (2011). How and why do criminal justice public policies spread throughout U.S. States? A critical review of the diffusion literature. Criminal Justice Policy Review 22(4):403-421. doi: 10..1177/0887403411381443
The purpose of this article is to examine the factors that make a criminal justice policy spread throughout the United States by looking at geographic proximity, interest groups, media attention, current economics, and public opinion as variables. States in geographic proximity of one another compete highly with each other, therefore, when a policy is working for one state its neighboring states are more likely to implement the same policy. The use of research is important to ensure effective policy implementation is spreading, as opposed to counterproductive and harmful ones. The findings of this study suggest that more research is needed in order to fully understand the spread of criminal justice policies.
Bratton, W.J. (2011). Reducing crime through prevention not incarceration. Criminology & Public Policy 10(1): 63-67. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-9133.2010.00688.x
The author of this essay is the former Commissioner for the New York Police Department and Chief of Los Angles Police Department. He discusses the idea of reducing crime through improving policing as opposed to incarceration, stating that an increased number of people incarcerated does not necessarily have a negative correlation on the crime rate. His essay discusses the continued financial stress incarceration puts on the government, without necessarily creating a safer community. The unintended consequences of prison are discussed, while providing a ‘solution’ for how to eliminate these consequences by changing the way police departments provide policing; advocating that ‘predictive policing’ is an effective way to reduce crime.
Durlauf, S.N. & Nagin, D.S. (2011). Imprisonment and crime: can both be reduced? Criminology & Public Policy 10(1):13-54.
This article looks at the possibility of both crime and imprisonment being reduced by changing how resources are spent within the criminal justice system. The authors suggest that focusing on early childhood education may also be an effective way to prevent crime, but acknowledge that this may be challenging for policy makers to accomplish as education comes from a separate budget within the governments’ system. Therefore, it is more likely to be able to increase the presence of police force to serve as a deterrent for future crime; which in return will reduce crime, prison costs, and the number of those incarcerated.
Grimes, P.W. & Rogers, K.E. (1999). Truth-in-sentencing, law enforcement, and inmate population growth. Journal of Socio-Economics 28:745-757.
This article discusses the implications the “Truth-in-sentencing” law has had on the state and federal correctional system. The law was implemented in July 1995 and requires offenders to serve 85% of their sentence. There are three primary ways policy makers determine state corrections’ budgets: trend forecasting models, behavioral models, and regime-switching models. Using the behavior model, the article uses economic theory to hypothesis why there has been a continual incline in correctional growth since stats first started being collected by the Bureau of Prisons in 1926. Grimes and Rogers focus their study primarily on the state of Mississippi, which is considered a relatively poor state and has a steep inclination of correctional growth. The following factors were used in the research study: state population, unemployment rate, poverty, the number of law enforcement members employed, and “truth-in-sentencing” data. The findings of this research study inform the reader that the issue of population growth within correctional facilities is too complex to identify a single driving factor linked to the growth. The authors emphasize the importance for policy makers to consider socioeconomic factors when looking at the implications of this laws ineffectiveness.
Schmertmann, C.P., Amankwaa, A.A., & Long, R.D. (1998). Three strikes and you’re out: demographic analysis of mandatory prison sentencing. Demography 35(4): 445-463.
In this article simulation is used to project the rate of prison population growth using the “Three Strikes and You’re Out” (3X) policy. This policy is used for offenders who have three or more felony convictions. Those who support it believe it will reduce the amount of crime in the long run, making the cost of it beneficial. Those who are against it feel the cost of the policy out-weighs its benefits. The authors set out to examine the relationship between sentencing policies and prison population growth through examining demographics and the crime committed. The findings of the demographic simulations conclude that 3X policies are not cost-effective from a demographic view. The authors suggest it is much more cost-effective to incarcerate high-risk offenders, which is only a small percentage of those currently incarcerated. Using the 3X policy on multi-felon individuals only causes prison populations to increase and does not reduce crime.