Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2014, $58,545)
Historically, criminal justice policy has been largely influenced by ideology, public opinion and media coverage of isolated but powerfully stirring incidents. And while some criminological researchers have worked to improve the use of scientific evidence in the policymaking process, the specific mechanisms,influential features and barriers have yet to be codified. Currently, our understanding of how research evidence is used to shape policymakers, assessments of social problems and potential solutions is limited.
The translation or transfer of knowledge is complicated within the field of criminal justice where ideologies, fear, public pressure, the media and competing bureaucracies influence and drive the policymaking process. It remains unclear how, under what conditions and in what capacity research is acquired, interpreted and used by decision makers. The growing interest in an evidence-based system makes it imperative that the specific mechanisms of knowledge translation within a dynamic criminal justice system are understood.
The purpose of this study is to conduct a theory driven case study that tests and describes the process of Translational Criminology, using the knowledge translation model that is common in the medical field.
Florida State Universitys (FSU) College of Criminology and Criminal Justice proposes a case study to examine the translation of knowledge and use of research evidence by Florida's state-level decision makers in the field of juvenile and adult corrections. The case study involves gathering, analyzing and triangulating data from multiple sources; including interviews with state-level decision makers, observations of public hearings and a review of relevant policies and documents. We will assess the process of knowledge translation across four separate and recent criminal justice policy events in Florida, two in adult corrections and two in juvenile justice. The study will be guided by the following goals.
1. Identify the mechanisms for the translation of knowledge that are most commonly used by Florida,s criminal justice policymakers to inform their decision making.
2. Describe the process of how research knowledge is translated into policy.
3. Identify the non-research based factors that influence the translation of knowledge process.
4. Assess the impact that formal researcher-practitioner partnerships have on policy development.
5. Identify strategies to improve the use of research evidence in state-level criminal justice decision
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