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What's Wrong With Criminal Justice Research And How To Make It Right

1736 words - 7 pages

The main argument is that recent criminal justice research is seen by the policing community as both irrelevant to their actual work and derogatory toward police work in general. In making this argument, Chief Bratton claims that for the last half of the 20th century, crime researchers and practitioners disagreed about the causes of crime and how to control it. While most researchers claim that crime is caused by a combination of different factors such as poverty, economic disparities, and racism, most law enforcement practitioners view the main cause of crime as human behavior. Moreover, while most research seems to play down the role of police officers in controlling crime, Chief Bratton argues that his experience has shown him that police officers can control and change behavior, even within the confines of contributing factors to crime, like poverty and neighborhood disadvantage.Chief Bratton in his article does not mention specific data sources, but is writing from his experience as an executive manager of six different police agencies in the United States. These agencies include major cities like New York, Boston, and now the city of Los Angeles. Chief Bratton challenges all researchers to collaborate "between practitioners and academics." Researchers of law enforcement agencies will get their information from crime statics from all areas of research. Chief Bratton discussed the sometimes "rocky relationship" between criminal justice practitioners (police) and criminal justice researchers.Many sociological studies of crime and deviance are based on a large extent on official statistics which are produced annually by the police, courts, and the probation service. The United States Justice System has several different ways of reporting crimes. The main way is the Uniform Crime Report, but there are also two smaller methods that are Victim Surveys and Self-Reported. All of these methods have their advantages, yet each of them also have their disadvantages. With Victim Surveys, the victims of crimes are asked about the wrong that was done to them. This survey is mailed to many different households, asking citizens what, if any, crimes have they been the victim of. This allows people to report crime, even if they never actually filed a report with the police. With the survey, people can report exactly what was done to them, without fear that the police will take action against the perpetrators.Chief Bratton challenges criminal justice researchers to conduct more research on the ground, with police practitioners as partners, rather than continuing to conduct their research from the "ivy towers of the academy." Chief Bratton also challenges researchers to conduct field-relevant research that offers findings and theories that can be implemented in the field.Chief Bratton states that social scientist are committed to the belief that crime is caused by the "structural features of a capitalist-based democratic society-especially demographics, economic...

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