brain

What Were You Thinking? How Jurors Read Your Guilty Mind

A series of thought experiments by a team of law and neuroscience experts explore whether a defendant’s claim that he was unaware of committing an offense makes any difference to jurors. What they found, to be published in a forthcoming article for the Vanderbilt Law Review, isn’t good news for the accused.

Study: Crime Drops When Neighborhoods Get a Makeover

A combination of hot-spot policing and a redevelopment project resulted in crime reduction by as much as 49 percent in one at-risk community. The study of Pittsburgh’s East Liberty neighborhood underlines the link between community participation, improved real estate and public safety.

police

‘Proactive Policing’ Credited With Crime Reductions

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.”

opioid

Drug-Induced Homicide Charges Ineffective and Inhumane: Report

Prosecutors around the country have intensified their pursuit of homicide charges–hoping to send a clear warning to drug dealers in response to the epidemic of drug deaths in the U.S. But the Drug Policy Alliance says there is “not a shred of evidence” to indicate that these charges result in fewer overdose deaths.

gangs

Disengaging From Gang Life: What Works?

A close look at studies of why and when gang members leave their groups offers clues to the types of interventions that can divert young people from further criminal involvement, according to a Journal of Crime and Justice paper.

mind

The ‘Double-Edged Sword’ of the Insanity Defense

A Vanderbilt Law School professor says evidence of mental impairment could be a useful tool in a reformed justice system that focused on rehabilitation rather than blame. But, he argues in a recent study, under the current system, neuroscience can be used by both prosecutors and defense, and has only limited value in assessing guilt.