Criminal Justice in 2014: The Stories That Really Counted

What were the most significant criminal justice stories and trends of 2014? Which person had the most significant impact? In a year overshadowed by the unfolding tragedy of Ferguson, the country came face to face with long-festering issues that challenged some of our principal institutions of justice—police, prisons, courts—as well as our core principles of fairness and equity. For The Crime Report's fourth annual year-end feature, TCR staff, columnists and contributors have come up with a preliminary list of the stories or developments that, in our judgment, have had a critical impact on the criminal justice landscape this year. We've also identified a handful of key players whose work or actions during 2014 were especially noteworthy.

Boston's former Top Cop: “We must be prepared for the Worst Now”

Most Americans were introduced to Ed Davis for the first time on April 15, 2013 when a shocked country learned that bombs had exploded at the legendary Boston Marathon. But the calm, determined leadership that reassured Americans nationwide during the crisis was already familiar to Bostonians who knew him as their city's big-voiced police chief over the previous seven years. In voting him criminal justice Person of the Year 2013, readers of The Crime Report took note of the crisis management skills he deployed—in a story that virtually played itself out in real time in social media—as well as his record of achievements as one of America's most effective top cops. In a candid telephone conversation with The Crime Report's Deputy Managing Editor Graham Kates, Davis revealed that Boston cops had received over 200 reports of suspicious packages in the weeks following the bombing—and warned that U.S. law enforcement executives, post-bombing, must be “prepared for the worst.” One example: police departments need to have in place a social media strategy in order to handle future mass catastrophes or threats.

Top Criminal Justice Stories of 2013: You Choose

The Crime Report's third annual survey of the most significant criminal justice stories and developments, and the most significant newsmakers, will be published next month. Your participation is part of the story. Our staff, columnists and contributors have come up with a preliminary list of stories or developments that, in our judgment, have had a significant impact on the criminal justice landscape this year. We've also identified a handful of key players whose work or actions during 2013 were especially noteworthy. We don't pretend to have the last word.