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Preparing for the Future: Criminal Justice in 2040

NCJ Number
National Institute of Justice Journal Issue: 255 Dated: November 2006 Pages: 8-11
Date Published
November 2006
4 pages
Publication Series
Three leading criminal justice experts--Bryan J. Vila, Christopher Stone, and David Weisburd--discuss which forces will influence the characteristics of criminal justice in 2040 and to what degree.
Bryan Vila advises that crime will continue to change as opportunities for various types of crime change, which will be influenced by technological and law enforcement countermeasures for specific crime types. Vila also mentions demographic changes, including a slight decline in the number of males in the crime-prone age and an increase in the elderly population, which could provide more vulnerable victims for crime. Chris Stone predicts that global trends will have a significant role in how criminal justice is delivered throughout the world in 2040. The growing diversity in national populations poses potential for cultural clashes, conflicting values, the marginalization of minorities, and social instability. These factors present a high risk for increasing antisocial and criminal behavior. Stone also notes prospects for a new professional culture in the justice system across five arenas: bilateral transfer of information between countries, multilateral innovation, global dissemination of justice products, media global influence on public perceptions of criminal justice, and the role of evaluation research in determining criminal justice decisionmaking. David Weisburd believes that the nature of criminal justice in 2040 will depend largely on the primary research methodology. The competition will be between reliance on the experiences and opinions of practitioners (the clinical experience model) and research that tests programs and measures outcomes (the evidence-based model). Weisburd proposes making the evidence-based model "more realistic" by streamlining the process of developing evidence and conducting evaluation, building an infrastructure that provides guidance for what research is conducted, devising more efficient procedures for conducting research, and reinforcing a professional climate that relies on empirical data for planning and decisionmaking.

Date Published: November 1, 2006