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Strengthening the National Institute of Justice Appendix E Research Recommendations in Previous National Research Council Reports The 1977 National Research Council (NRC) report, Understanding Crime, recommended that the National Institute of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, having been in existence for only eight years, pursue a course that would maximize its capacity to produce useful knowledge about crime problems and their control and to better inform criminal justice policies. That report encouraged the institute, the forerunner of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), to organize its research portfolio around program areas, noting that they should be “designed on the assumption that producing reliable and useful knowledge is a cumulative process” (National Research Council, 1977, p. 110). Furthermore, program areas should be defined by fundamental efforts to control crime and not by the current funding streams. For the past 12 years, NIJ has funded a standing body at the NRC, the Committee on Law and Justice (CLAJ), to hold meetings, workshops, and seminars on crime and justice topics of mutual interest to the committee and NIJ. In addition, NIJ has, by itself or with others, funded a number of major NRC studies in such areas as firearms and violence, ballistics, forensic sciences, and policing. Other sponsors have supported NRC studies on illegal drugs, juvenile crime, school violence, violence against women, and elder abuse. In addition, several workshops have offered important ideas in neglected areas of research. Research recommendations from 19 NRC reports on various topics are summarized below. This list is not intended to be exhaustive or exclusive; it is intended to be illustrative of the areas in which NIJ has done work and can continue to do so and for which recommendations for research
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Strengthening the National Institute of Justice agendas are available. In addition, we have included four recommendations that CLAJ has repeatedly identified as having high priority for a crime and justice research agenda: (1) racial disparities, (2) mass incarceration, (3) deterrence and the death penalty, and (4) crime trends. Rather than listing the research agendas by report, broad categories needing research attention are listed, and relevant recommendations from various reports are described. There are eight categories: understanding the nature of crime and what influences criminal behavior; the effect of crime on victims; deterring criminal behavior through policy, policing, community actions, and safety technologies; detecting criminal behavior and threats to personal and global security; enhancing the collection and forensic analysis of evidence; advancing the application of justice; developing effective practices for recidivism and desistance; and improving criminal justice research, assessment, and evaluation. References to the relevant studies are provided for each recommendation. All referenced reports can be found on the National Academies website, http://www.nationalacademies.org. UNDERSTANDING THE NATURE OF CRIME AND WHAT INFLUENCES CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR This category includes recommendations calling for baseline data collection, basic research to ascertain numerous factors, including demographic and situational ones that influence criminal behavior; risk factors for juvenile offending; extended examination of known influences, such as drugs and gambling; and the availability of firearms. These recommendations call for research on the following topics and issues: Development and maintenance of new data collection systems for gun violence (National Research Council, 2005a). Individual-level studies of the association between gun ownership and violence as well as individual-level studies of the link between firearms and both lethal and nonlethal suicidal behavior to determine whether a causal link can be firmly established (National Research Council, 2005a). Role of factors in prenatal, perinatal, and early infant development on mechanisms that increase the likelihood of healthy develop-
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Strengthening the National Institute of Justice ment, as well as the development of antisocial behavior through longitudinal studies (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 2001). Effects of interactions among various risk factors. In particular, the effects of differences in neighborhoods and their interactions with individual and family conditions should be expanded (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 2001). Etiology, life course, and societal consequences of female juvenile offending (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 2001). Role of childhood experiences, neighborhoods and communities, and family and individual characteristics as well as the role of psychiatric disorders in the etiology of female juvenile crime (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 2001). Nature and causes of school violence, including seriousness of behavior, motivation of perpetrators, and the role of recognized gangs, crews, and cliques or informal social groups inside and outside the school in both crime and other antisocial behavior, such as serious bullying (National Research Council, 2003d). Illegal gun carrying by adolescents, especially carrying a gun to school. This research should examine the circumstances and motivations related to illegal gun carrying, the sources of and ease of access to guns, socialization to illegal gun use, and the relationship, if any between legal and illegal gun use by adolescents (National Research Council, 2003d). Measurement of the prevalence of developing mental illness in young adolescents (National Research Council, 2003d). Nature and causes of crimes committed against teachers in middle school and high school (National Research Council, 2003d). Effects of rapid change in increasingly affluent rural and suburban communities on youth development, socialization, and violence (National Research Council, 2003d). Identification and analysis of parental styles of supervision for youth in grades 6-10 when parents are at work or when their children are away from home (National Research Council, 2003d). Identification of the situational contexts and dynamic interactions that lead to violence against women, with special attention given to the processes underlying victim selection, location selection, and victim-offender interaction patterns (National Research Council, 2004b). Analysis of demographic factors among census tracts or small neighborhoods, police precincts or districts, or other theoretically meaningful social area aggregations and their influence on the vari-
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Strengthening the National Institute of Justice ation in violence against women, including which features of area composition influence rates and types of violence against women (National Research Council, 2004b). Nature and frequency of transnational organized crime and white-collar crimes (National Research Council, 1999c). KNOWING THE EFFECT OF CRIME ON VICTIMS This category includes recommendations calling for basic research on victimization of the elderly and persons with physical and mental disabilities, new methods and surveys for obtaining this information, and expanded research on violence against women. Integration of federally funded research on violence against women with efforts to determine the causes, consequences, prevention, treatment, and deterrence of violence more broadly (National Research Council, 2004b). Expansion of the research on the violent victimization of women to include other kinds of relationships than intimate partner violence (National Research Council, 2004b). Linkage of existing data sets on violence against women and the information from these data sets with findings from clinical research. This effort should include creating a framework for developing standard definitions to overcome the lack of conceptual and operational clarity, comparable samples, and interview protocols (National Research Council, 2004b). Basic research on the phenomenology of elder mistreatment (National Research Council, 2003c). Development of operational definitions and validated and standardized measurement methods for the elements of elder mistreatment (National Research Council, 2003c). Development of improved household and geographically referent sampling techniques as well as new sampling and detection methods to detect elder mistreatment in the community and in institutional settings, including hospitals, long-term care, and assisted living situations (National Research Council, 2003c). Population-based surveys of elder mistreatment (National Research Council, 2003c). Development and testing of measures for identifying elder mistreatment (National Research Council, 2003c). Design and fielding of national prevalence and incidence studies of elder mistreatment. These studies should include both a large-scale,
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Strengthening the National Institute of Justice independent study of prevalence and modular add-ons to surveys of aging populations (National Research Council, 2003c). Longitudinal investigations, including follow-up studies of the clinical, social, and psychological outcomes of elder mistreatment cases (National Research Council, 2003c). Nature and extent of crimes against victims, including situational contexts with developmental disabilities (National Research Council, 2001b). Personal, behavioral, and developmental characteristics of victims and perpetrators (National Research Council, 2001b). Impacts (e.g., physical, psychological) on victims with developmental disabilities or mental retardation (National Research Council, 2001b). Identification of risk factors for personal and financial victimization (National Research Council, 2001b). DETERRING CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR THROUGH POLICY, POLICING, COMMUNITY ACTIONS, AND SAFETY TECHNOLOGIES This category includes recommendations calling for an understanding of a wide range of policies and their impacts, such as firearms policies, sanctioning policies for violence against women perpetrators, police practices involving discretion, school policies, illegal drug policies, and organized crime and international crime policies. It also includes the impact of safety technologies. Studies of the link between firearms policy and suicide (National Research Council, 2005a). Effects of different safety technologies on violence and crime (National Research Council, 2005a). Examination of the covariation of individual and social area factors with the responses of both victims and offenders to legal sanctions and social interventions directed at violence against women (National Research Council, 2004b). Folding of deterrence research on violence against women into broader efforts to study the decision making of potential perpetrators and the deterrence of criminal behavior generally (National Research Council, 2004b). Examination of how social stigma for acts of violence against women is generated and either sustained or eroded (National Research Council, 2004b).
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Strengthening the National Institute of Justice Generation and implementation of sanctions and how perceptions of these sanctions affect future offending (National Research Council, 2004b). Impact of policy on levels of violence against women in specific cities or states rather than research on the average response across all cities and states (National Research Council, 2004b). Collection and analysis of systematic data on the lawfulness of police activities, including the extent of police compliance, associated practices to promote lawfulness, and organizational mechanisms that foster police rectitude (National Research Council, 2004a). Experiences of crime victims, individuals stopped by the police, and the public, focusing on practices in policing that support or undermine public confidence (National Research Council, 2004a). Evaluation of police performance programs and other practices designed to ensure crime control effectiveness and public legitimacy (National Research Council, 2004a). Police organization, innovation processes, and organizational change, and particularly more research on police training (National Research Council, 2004a). Development of measures that better document at the jurisdiction level the nature and extent of nonenforcement services delivered by police (National Research Council, 2004a). Evaluation of new crime information technologies in local police agencies (National Research Council, 2004a). Evaluation research on citizen review boards, assessing their impact on a range of police practices (especially features that are frequent targets of citizens’ complaints) that go beyond examining the effect of civilian review on complaints filed and consider other data sources (National Research Council, 2004a). Effects of school policies and pedagogical practices, such as grade retention, tracking, suspension, and expulsion on delinquency, educational attainment, and school atmosphere and environment (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 2001). Evaluation studies on school shooting prevention programs, including security measures and police tactics and police protocols that have been developed to uncover and respond to plans for rampages in schools (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 2003). Effects of elder mistreatment interventions, including reporting practices and the effects of reporting as well as adult protective services interventions (National Research Council, 2003c). Impact of interdiction and domestic enforcement activities on drug production, transport, and distribution (National Research Council, 2001c).
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Strengthening the National Institute of Justice Declarative and deterrent effects, costs, and cost-effectiveness of sanctions against the use of illegal drugs, with particular attention to the relationship between severity of prescribed sanctions and conditions of enforcement and the rates of initiation and termination of illegal drug use among different segments of the population (National Research Council, 2001c). Study of inaccurate responses in the national drug use surveys and development of methods to reduce reporting errors to the extent possible (National Research Council, 2001c). Effects of drug prevention programs implemented under both normal conditions and outside the boundaries of the initial tightly controlled experimental tests; the effects of different combinations of prevention programs; and the extent to which experimentally induced delays in tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana use yield reductions in later involvement with cocaine and other illegal drugs specifically and long-term effects of prevention programming more generally (National Research Council, 2001c). Nature of the adverse consequences of various forms of transnational organized crimes, including impact on national security and international treaties (National Research Council, 1999c). Extent to which transnational organized crime increases crime and drug-related mortality and morbidity in the United States (National Research Council, 1999c). Development of mechanisms for collecting better estimates of illicit goods and illegal immigrants smuggled across U.S. borders and identifying the conditions, including vulnerabilities in industries, that facilitate the development of transnational organized crime (National Research Council, 1999c). Development of systematic classification of enforcement activities geared to transnational national crime and measurement (National Research Council, 1999c). Development of measures to assess enforcement activities beyond the apprehension and sanctioning of the targeted individuals and organizations (National Research Council, 1999c). DETECTING CRIMINALS AND THREATS TO PERSONAL AND GLOBAL SECURITY Methods for detecting and deterring major security threats, including efforts to improve techniques for security screening (National Research Council, 2003b).
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Strengthening the National Institute of Justice ENHANCING THE COLLECTION AND FORENSIC ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE This category includes recommendations calling for basic research to advance the field of forensics and to improve existing forensic capabilities. Studies on the impact and effectiveness of the Local National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (National Research Council, 2008b). Development of a mechanism for validating and documenting future changes to the Federal Bureau of Investigation laboratory’s analytical protocol once it is revised to contain the plasma-optical emission spectroscopy procedure and to provide a better basis for the statistics of bullet comparison (National Research Council, 2004c). Development of new technical methods or in-depth grounding for advances developed in the forensic sciences disciplines (National Research Council, 2009b). Development of scientific bases demonstrating the validity of scientific methods (National Research Council, 2009b). Development and establishment of quantifiable measures of the reliability and accuracy of forensic analyses (National Research Council, 2009b). Development of quantifiable measures of uncertainty in the conclusions of forensic analyses (National Research Council, 2009b). Development of automated techniques capable of enhancing forensic technologies (National Research Council, 2009b). ADVANCING THE APPLICATION OF JUSTICE This category includes recommendations calling for assessments of the quality, effectiveness, and transparency of decision making and the processes used to move juveniles and adults through the criminal justice system as well as the conditions of their confinement and operational impacts. It also includes research on mass incarceration, racial disparities, and deterrence and death penalty research—three of the four topics identified as research priorities by CLAJ. Effect of targeting policing and sentencing aimed at firearms offenders (National Research Council, 2005a). Ability of victims with disabilities to provide court testimony and useful and legal accommodations to assist them to be effective witnesses (National Research Council, 2001b).
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Strengthening the National Institute of Justice Evaluation of the viability of prosecution against persons with disabilities as a hate crime and the deterrent effect of legislatively mandated special sentencing for hate crimes (National Research Council, 2001b). Impact of police decisions and current police practices on number, type, and outcomes of juveniles in the system (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 2001). Evaluation of the American Correctional Association standards for juvenile detention and correctional facilities to ensure that the needs of juveniles in these facilities are met (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 2001). Long-term effects of transferring juveniles to adult court and incarcerating them in adult facilities as well as the effect of using informal sanctions for juveniles committing first offenses if they are not serious crimes (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 2001). Unwarranted racial disparity in the juvenile justice system to include a focus on multiple decision-making points and processing stages; the role of organizational policy and practice in the production of juvenile arrest, adjudication, and confinement rates; and the organizational policy/practice and the decisions of individual officials (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 2001). Racial disparities in the criminal justice system to include investigation of the selectivity of certain minority groups to be overrepresented; the effects of such a negative outcome for minorities; analysis of individual development in community context; and an examination of the social policies and process that lead to disparate treatment (CLAJ). Causes in the explosion in incarceration rates since the 1980s; the role played by incarceration in the decline in crime rates since the mid-1990s; alternatives to incarceration that would better serve public safety at less cost; the role that deep unaddressed social divisions and issues of social justice in American society has played in mass incarceration (CLAJ). Risk of error in death penalty cases and identification of methods to determine potential rates of error as well as questions regarding the deterrent effect of the death penalty on homicide and the reasons for differing conclusions about deterrence; the fairness of the death penalty; the need for the death penalty when there is a parole alternative; the benefits of the death penalty, whatever they may be and their costs; and the arbitrariness of the death penalty. Also the impact of death penalty prosecutions on priority-setting for
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Strengthening the National Institute of Justice homicide prosecutions and on levels of punishment for noncapital homicides and deterrence (CLAJ). Approaches to overcome methodological limitations of much existing research on racial disparity in the juvenile justice system, including sample selection biases and traditional emphasis on black-white differences and a focus on primarily urban jurisdictions (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 2001). Data on charging decisions, conviction rates, and police arrest rates to increase their transparency (National Research Council, 2001a). Development, enforcement, and impact of special initiatives in prosecutors’ offices (National Research Council, 2001a). Assessment of “decisions to prosecute” policies and activities for reviewing adherence to policies (National Research Council, 2001a). Role that theory or empirical evidence plays in prosecutorial decision making (National Research Council, 2001a). Evaluation of community prosecution outcomes that looks at individual offenders and neighborhood welfare (National Research Council, 2001a). Role of prosecutorial discretion in high-crime versus low-crime periods (National Research Council, 2001a). Impact of other innovations, such as special units and applications of technology, and procedural innovations, such as prosecution-initiated waivers of juveniles to adult court (National Research Council, 2001a). Role that prosecutors’ perceptions of constituents plays in their actions (National Research Council, 2001a). Impact of victims’ movement on the politics of prosecution (National Research Council, 2001a). Criminal justice system responses to victims with developmental disabilities, including identification of barriers to access and eligibility and how can they be eliminated and improvement of system coordination (National Research Council, 2001b). Management of prosecution offices, including how decisions are made, impact of various organizational structures, coordination with other players, witness notification and cooperation, case review, and performance monitoring (National Research Council, 2001a). Nature and extent of abuse of prosecutorial discretion (National Research Council, 2001a).
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Strengthening the National Institute of Justice DEVELOPING EFFECTIVE PRACTICES FOR RECIDIVISM AND DESISTANCE This category includes recommendations calling for well-designed evaluations that look at the impact of specific factors and the effectiveness of interventions on future offending behavior. Effectiveness of such programs as the use of secure detention and secure confinement as well as community-based alternatives for delinquent youth (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 2001). Nature of decisions made in juvenile court by key actors and the impact of the decisions on subsequent juvenile behavior as well as on the system (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 2001). Identification of appropriate treatments for female juveniles. Long-term outcomes for well-designed interventions that have shown short-term promise for reducing risk factors for delinquency (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 2001). Evaluation of interventions with perpetrators of violence (National Research Council, 2004b). Examination of whether access to local services can affect localized rates of intimate partner violence and consideration of implications for planning and locating preventive services (National Research Council, 2004b). Impact of community supervision on desistance of crime and development of standard measures of desistance (National Research Council, 2008a). Evaluation of interventions to include cost-effectiveness studies (National Research Council, 2008a). Evaluation of cognitive-behavioral approaches that take into account implementation issues (National Research Council, 2008a). Evaluation of the effectiveness of promising mental health treatments (e.g., cognitive-behavioral and pharmacotherapy treatments) (National Research Council, 1999b). Evaluation of the extent of unmet needs and what barriers contribute to compulsive gambling, such as lack of insurance coverage, stigmatization, or the unavailability of treatment (National Research Council, 1999b). Assessment of the effects on pathological gambling of remote access to gambling (e.g., Internet gambling), new gambling machines, and gambling while alone (National Research Council, 1999b).
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Strengthening the National Institute of Justice IMPROVING CRIMINAL JUSTICE RESEARCH, ASSESSMENT, AND EVALUATION This category includes recommendations calling for activities that will improve the quality of criminal justice research, including identification of selection criteria for subjects of evaluations, development of specific kinds of studies, development of methodological approaches, and creation of and improved use of data sources and surveys. Feasibility or design studies that include site visits, pipeline studies, piloting data collection instruments and procedures, and evaluability assessments prior to conducting a full impact study (National Research Council, 2005b). Adaptation of impact evaluation designs for criminal justice applications—for example, development and validation of effective applications of alternative designs, such as regression discontinuity, selection bias models for nonrandomized comparisons, and techniques for modeling program effects with observational data (National Research Council, 2005b). Development and improvement of new and existing databases that expand the repertoire of relevant outcome variables and knowledge about their characteristics and relationships for purposes of impact evaluation (e.g., self-reported delinquency and criminality, official records of arrests, convictions, and the like, measures of critical mediators) (National Research Council, 2005b). Reliability and validity of self-report surveys (National Research Council, 2003c). Comparison and contrast of the understanding of crime and victimization in self-report and official data (National Research Council, 2003c). Assessment of whether differential validity for African American males in surveys exists and, if so, its source and magnitude and identification of techniques for eliminating it (National Research Council, 2003c). Measurement of the effect size of repeated measures and its sources and the identification of methods to reduce its threat to the validity of self-reported data in longitudinal studies (National Research Council, 2003c). Methodological studies designed in a cross-cutting fashion so that reliability and validity, improved item selection, and panel bias can be investigated simultaneously (National Research Council, 2003c).
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Strengthening the National Institute of Justice Feasibility and cost-effectiveness of longitudinal studies on violence against and by women in U.S. populations (National Research Council, 2004b). Theoretical integration of economic and criminological perspectives around the issue of crime trends; development and testing of substantive explanation of crime trends; testing a variety of models and estimation strategies to describe trends, to illuminate the causes of fluctuations, and to provide forecasts of future trends; and analysis of local crime trend data to determine its reliability and utility in developing and forecasting neighborhood-level crime trends (CLAJ). NRC REPORTS INCLUDED IN THIS SUMMARY Committee on Law and Justice Reports Ballistic Imaging (2008) Parole, Desistance from Crime, and Community Integration (2007) Improving Evaluation of Anticrime Programs (2005) Advancing the Federal Research Agenda on Violence Against Women (2004) Fairness and Effectiveness in Policing: The Evidence (2004) Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review (2004) The Polygraph and Lie Detection (2003) Deadly Lessons: Understanding Lethal School Violence (2003) Measurement Problems in Criminal Justice Research: Workshop Summary (2003) Elder Mistreatment: Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation in an Aging America (2002) Crime Victims with Developmental Disabilities: Report of a Workshop (2001) Informing America’s Policy on Illegal Drugs: What We Don’t Know Keeps Hurting Us (2001) Juvenile Crime, Juvenile Justice (2001) What’s Changing in Prosecution? Report of a Workshop (2001) Pathological Gambling: A Critical Review (1999) Transnational Organized Crime: Summary of a Workshop (1999) Other NRC Reports Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward (2009)
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Strengthening the National Institute of Justice Forensic Analysis: Weighing Bullet Lead Evidence (2004) Existing and Potential Standoff Explosives Detection Techniques (2004) NRC REPORTS CONSIDERED BUT NOT INCLUDED Committee on Law and Justice Reports Understanding Crime Trends: Workshop Report (2008) Education and Delinquency: Summary of a Workshop (2000) Assessment of Two-Cost Effectiveness Studies on Cocaine Control Policy (1999) Understanding Violence Against Women (1996) Violence in Urban America: Mobilizing a Response (1994) Understanding and Preventing Violence, 4 Volumes (1993-1994) Criminal Careers and “Career Criminals,” 2 Volumes (1986) Research on Sentencing: The Search for Reform (1983) Other NRC Reports Surveying Victims: Options for Conducting the National Crime Victimization Survey (2008) Assessment of Millimeter-Wave and Terahertz Technology for Detection and Identification of Concealed Explosives and Weapons (2007) Ethical Considerations for Research Involving Prisoners (2006) Technological Options for User-Authorized Handguns: A Technology-Readiness Assessment (2005) Owner-Authorized Handguns: A Workshop Summary (2003) An Assessment of Non-Lethal Weapons Science and Technology (2003) Assessment of Two Cost-Effectiveness Studies on Cocaine Control Policy (1999) The Evaluation of Forensic DNA Evidence (1996) Pathways of Addiction: Opportunities in Drug Abuse Research (1996) Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect (1993) DNA Technology in Forensic Science (1992)