American Criminal Justice Policy examines many of the most prominent criminal justice policies on the American landscape and finds that they fall well short of achieving the accountability and effectiveness that policymakers have advocated and that the public expects. The policies include mass incarceration, sex offender laws, supermax prisons, faith-based prisoner reentry programs, transfer of juveniles to adult court, domestic violence mandatory arrest laws, drug courts, gun laws, community policing, private prisons, and others. Optimistically, Daniel P. Mears argues that this situation can be changed through systematic incorporation of evaluation research into policy development, monitoring, and assessment. To this end, the book provides a clear and accessible discussion of five types of evaluation - needs, theory, implementation or process, outcome and impact, and cost-efficiency. It identifies how these can be used both to hold the criminal justice system accountable and to increase the effectiveness of crime control and crime prevention efforts.
Daniel P. Mears is a Professor at the Florida State University College of Criminology and Criminal Justice. He has published widely in criminology, including more than 80 articles, chapters, and reports, and has examined a wide range of criminal justice policies. His work has appeared in Criminology, the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, the Law and Society Review and other journals, and his views, including editorials, have been frequently cited in such media outlets as the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, and USA Today.
1. Introduction; 2. Irrational criminal justice policy; 3. A solution for improving criminal justice policy: evaluation research; 4. Needs evaluations; 5. Theory evaluations; 6. Implementation evaluations; 7. Outcome evaluations and impact evaluations; 8. Cost-efficiency evaluations; 9. Conclusion.