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Criminal Law

State Responses to Mass Incarceration

June 2011

Researchers have devoted considerable attention to mass incarceration, specifically its magnitude, costs, and collateral consequences. In the face of economic constraints, strategies to reduce correctional populations while maintaining public safety are becoming a fiscal necessity. This panel will present strategies that states have undertaken to reduce incarceration rates while balancing taxpayer costs with ensuring public safety.

Why Is the United States the Most Homicidal Nation in the Affluent World?

December 2013

Ohio State University Since World War II, the homicide rate in the U.S. has been three to ten times higher than in Canada, Western Europe, and Japan. This, however, has not always been the case. What caused the dramatic change? Dr. Roth discussed how and why rates of different kinds of homicide have varied across time and space over the past 450 years, including an examination of the murder of children by parents or caregivers, intimate partner violence, and homicides among unrelated adults.

How Collaboration Between Researchers and Police Chiefs Can Improve the Quality of Sexual Assault Investigations: A Look at Los Angeles

June 2011

Panelists discuss the application of research findings from an NIJ-sponsored study of sexual assault attrition to police practice in Los Angeles. There are three main focal points: (1) the mutual benefits of researcher/practitioner partnerships, (2) the implications of variation in police interpretation of UCR guidelines specific to clearing sexual assault (with an emphasis on cases involving nonstrangers), and (3) the content of specialized training that must be required for patrol officers and detectives who respond to and investigate sex crimes.

Don't Jump the Shark: Understanding Deterrence and Legitimacy in the Architecture of Law Enforcement

November 2010

Deterrence theory dominates the American understanding of how to regulate criminal behavior but social psychologists' research shows that people comply for reasons that have nothing to do with fear of punishment; they have to do with values, fair procedures and how people connect with one another. Professor Meares discussed the relevance of social psychologists' emerging theory to legal theory and practice and how deterrence and emerging social psychology theories intertwine.

The State of the Police Field: A New Professionalism in Policing?

June 2010

Panelists debate the premise of a Harvard Executive Session working paper that suggests police organizations are striving for a "new" professionalism. Leaders are endeavoring for stricter standards of efficiency and conduct, while also increasing their legitimacy to the public and encouraging innovation. Is this new? Will this idea lead to prematurely discarding community policing as a guiding philosophy?