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JAMA Study: Strict Gun Laws Reduce Firearm Homicides

A Journal of the American Medical Association study found strong evidence that laws strengthening background checks and purchase permits helped decrease gun homicide rates. A second JAMA paper found an increase in gun homicides following implementation of Florida’s stand-your-ground law in 2005. Such scientific studies of firearms have been rare since Congress began withholding funding for gun violence research 20 years ago.

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Support for Prisoner Reentry Policy Tied to Religious Beliefs

A belief in divine forgiveness leads to a more positive attitude toward providing help to individuals returning from prison, according to a study published in Criminal Justice Policy Review. The study, based on a survey of 915 randomly selected Missouri residents, examined the impact of religious beliefs on support for rehabilitative programs such as housing assistance and transitional counseling, noting that support for prisoner reentry initiatives often “fades dramatically” when serious and chronic offenders are the recipients of such services. […]

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Can New Technology Improve Policing?

While new developments in technology have given law enforcement organizations potentially important tools, such developments will have a minimal impact unless police managers pay closer attention to how they are deployed and used at every level of their organizations, says a study conducted by researchers at the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy at George Mason University, the Police Executive Research Forum, and Southern Illinois University. The multi-site study, supported by the National Institute of Justice, focused on four large U.S. […]

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NYC Study Finds Decline in Misdemeanor Arrests Following Changes in Policing Strategy

A survey tracking enforcement rates in New York City found a significant decline in misdemeanor arrests and summonses in what authors suggested was a result of significant changes in NYPD policing strategy, such as a reduction in the use of stop-and-frisk tactics by officers. According to the study, prepared by Prof. Preeti Chaudhan of John Jay College and five other authors, there were “approximately 800,000 fewer enforcement activities” between 2011 and 2014. The study by the Misdemeanor Justice Project at […]

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Identity Theft Tops Maine Survey on Crime

More than one-third of Maine residents responding to a survey on crime said they had been a victim of identity theft—partly as a result of an increase in corporate data breaches and smaller-scale scams—according to a report published by the Muskie School of Social Service at the University of Southern Maine and the Maine Statistical Analysis Center Advisory Group. The rate of victimization for identity crime represents a 15 percent increase from the last survey conducted in Maine in 2011, […]

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Why Immigrant Communities Have Less Crime

Do strong ties to family and neighborhood institutions explain why immigrant communities experience less crime and delinquency than communities of native-born residents? Building on previous research that determined foreign-born youth are less likely to commit violent acts, a study in the journal Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice tries to pinpoint why. Its findings are inconclusive. In “The Power of Place Revisited: Why Immigrant Communities Have Lower Levels of Adolescent Violence,” researchers used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent […]

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Teen Cigarette Smoking Declines, But More Americans Using Pot, Study Finds

Cigarette smoking among teenagers has declined significantly since 2002, but more people are using marijuana, according to a newly released report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The “2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health in the United States” — which measured substance use and mental illness statistics between 2002 and 2014—found that while tobacco use among young adults aged 12 to 17 declined by about 50 percent since 2002, along with a slight decrease […]

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Raising the Age of Juvenile Court Jurisdiction

The age of juvenile court jurisdiction should be raised to at least 21 years old, researchers propose in a new report released by Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government citing studies that show brain development continues past the teenage years. The research is part of a series published by the Executive Session on Community Corrections at the school, which aims to develop new correctional policy and explore the role communities could play in a more “age-responsive” criminal justice system. The age […]

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Learning from “Forgotten Prisoners”

Inmates serving long prison sentences have been neglected by both researchers and policy makers despite their potential to be “valuable leaders” within the prison community, write Lila Kazemian and Jeremy Travis in a research paper titled “Forgotten Prisoners” published in Criminology & Public Policy, a journal of the American Society of Criminology. Kazemian, an associate professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Travis, the president of the college, argue that investing in the well-being of “long termers” […]