Ted Gest is the editor of “Crime and Justice News” for The Crime Report. He also writes a blog for the site. Gest covered the White House, Justice Department, Supreme Court, and legal/justice news during a 23-year career at U.S. News & World Report. A native of St. Louis, Gest began his career at the Post-Dispatch. Currently, he is the founder and president of Criminal Justice Journalists.
It was the third consecutive year that the total of state and federal prisoners dropped. Much of the change was due to a major drop during the Obama administration of 7,300 federal prisoners. The federal system remains the nation’s largest, with about 60,000 more than are behind bars in California.
The Supreme Court, voting 6 to 3, ordered a lower court review of an appeal by Georgia death row inmate Keith Tharpe because a juror said Tharpe “wasn’t in the ‘good’ black folks category in my book, should get the electric chair for what he did.” Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch said the review was unwarranted and “callously delays justice” for the victim.
The national crime rate last year remained about the same as the 2015 total, the U.S. Justice Department’s National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) reported Thursday. Residents aged 12 or older experienced 5.7 million violent victimizations, a rate of 21.1 per 1,000 persons in 2016.
For two decades, criminal justice advocates have been promoting the idea of basing anticrime policy on scientific evidence. But is anyone listening? Leading criminologists address the question at a Philadelphia conference.
Pennsylvania corrections chief John Wetzel launched the two-day Washington meeting with an appeal to legislators, corrections administrators, police chiefs and health officials to work together on evidence-based solutions. Another speaker said the White House would back unspecified reforms.
A National Academy of Sciences panel praises such tactics as “hot spots policing,” problem-oriented policing and “focused deterrence.” There were mixed results for “stop-question-frisk” tactics and broken-windows policing, and “the lack of data on the role of racial bias in proactive policing was startling.”