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Less Prison, More Police, Less Crime: How Criminology Can Save the States From Bankruptcy - Interview With Lawrence Sherman

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2010
4 pages
This video and transcript from an NIJ Research for the Real World Seminar cover a five-part interview with Lawrence Sherman following his presentation on how criminological research can guide States toward a more cost-effective criminal justice system.
The first segment of the interview, which is entitled "The 'Power Few' and 'Push-Button' Criminology" notes that the "power few" consists of the relatively small percentage of offenders who commit most of the crime; consequently, these habitual/serious offenders should receive the most attention from the criminal justice system. The second segment, entitled "The Crime Harm Index," suggests that research identify the harms (cost) that various types of crimes cause and whether they are expected to increase or decrease (crime prediction). This would guide criminal justice systems to focus its resources on the most costly crimes and those predicted to increase. The third segment of the interview, entitled "Crime and Justice Research Needs To Evaluate Cost-Effectiveness" recommends that the Justice Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ) encourage researchers to include cost data in their studies and research grants. This will enable policymakers to be more realistic about how much crime control a State can afford and how the money that is available can be effectively used to reduce crime. The third segment, entitled "The Role of the Federal Government in Solving Crime and Justice Problems," argues that only the Federal Government has the "economies of scale" to promote the kind of research and development that could transform local and State criminal justice operations and reduce excessive prison costs. The fifth segment, "Criminological Forecasting," argues that research has continued to improve the accuracy of crime-prediction tools and expand the number and sizes of crime-related databases, which can guide priorities in criminal justice investments.

Date Published: April 1, 2010