Working to base more criminal justice policy on scientific evidence, the U.S. Justice Department is developing an Evidence Integration Initiative, known within the department as “E2I.” The department’s Office Of Justice Programs plans to put a resource center on its Web site to enable easy searches for information about evidence-based programs, the agency’s Phelan Wyrick told a gathering of criminal-justice organization officials yesterday.
The project’s goals are to increase the quantity and quality of evidence that the agency produces, improve the management of knowledge and integration of evidence to inform program and policy decisions within
the agency and in the field, and improve the translation of evidence into practice. Criminologist Cynthia Lum of George Mason University told the session that more “strategic leadership” is necessary to adopt evidence-based practices in criminal justice. As it is, too many policy decisions are now made based on “whims, hunches, feelings, guesses, and hopes,” as well as anecdotes, and pressure from political and interest groups, she said.