How does what happens inside the criminal justice system affect you? If you’re reading this, it has likely touched your life in ways you’re well aware of. Maybe it’s been the focus of your career in research or advocacy. Perhaps it occupies the bulk of your daily work as a prison staff member, attorney, or judge. You may have been the victim of a crime. You may have been incarcerated. Or you may be the partner, child, or friend of an incarcerated person. For many of us, more than one of these categories applies.
What many members of the public don’t realize is that what happens inside the criminal justice system affects all of us, even if we’ve never personally been involved in a crime or a legal proceeding. Our tax dollars are involved, of course, but the connection goes far beyond that.
The health of our justice system, including what happens inside our prisons and jails, is intimately connected to the safety and security of our communities. When the justice system works well, safety is preserved inside and outside prisons; courts and judges are empowered to make independent decisions and are trusted by the community; and incarcerated people receive services that are appropriate to their needs with the goal of preventing recidivism.
Congress established March as National Criminal Justice Month to bring public attention to the need for an effective criminal justice system. As the nation’s oldest criminal justice research nonprofit, founded in 1907, NCCD celebrates National Criminal Justice Month and its purpose. We are proud of over one hundred years of justice work and remain deeply committed to improving our criminal justice system. We continue to work toward a just and equitable justice system, helping jurisdictions across the nation become more effective through applied research as well as exploring new frontiers in the field, including restorative justice and realignment.
NCCD has published numerous reports and papers on criminal justice; you can scan the entire archive in our Publications section. Below are some recent publications to get you started.
Santa Clara County Adult Reentry Strategic Plan Ready to Change: Promoting Safety and Health for the Whole Community, December 2012, by Marilyn Barnes, Dr. Angela Irvine, and Natalie Ortega
Key Findings From the California Cities Gang Prevention Network Process Evaluation, August 2012, by Dr. Angela Wolf
Evaluation of the Insight Prison Project, June 2012, by Christopher Hartney and Fabiana Silva
Prison Bed Profiteers: How Corporations Are Reshaping Criminal Justice in the US, May 2012, by Christopher Hartney and Caroline Glesmann
Attitudes of US Voters Toward Nonserious Offenders and Alternatives to Incarceration, June 2009, by Christopher Hartney and Susan Marchionna
Created Equal: Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the US Criminal Justice System, March 2009, by Christopher Hartney and Linh Vuong
A Question of Evidence: A Critique of Risk Assessment Models Used in the Justice System, February 2009, by Christopher Baird
Erin Hanusa is the Senior Communications Manager at NCCD.