Empirical research has the potential to have profound impact on crime prevention and control. Such research can lead researchers to abandon ill-conceived policies and facilitate the development of new policies that may more effectively control crime or have a less disparate impact upon different populations. For example, research on the crack/cocaine sentencing disparity, established by the U.S. Sentencing Commission in the 1980s, reveals how these sentencing schemes have had a disproportionately negative impact on minority communities. As new research highlights how attempts to address a crime problem may be creating new problems, legislators must reexamine intent and outcome for existing laws.
For this assignment, identify a research-based change in policy relevant to crime. Examine how the policy changed after research on a topic indicated the need to modify the response to crime.
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Provide (500 words) an example of a public policy that changed as a result of new findings in criminal justice research. Then, explain what you consider to be the most compelling evidence that influenced the change in policy. Finally, as a future criminal justice policymaker, explain how you might use research to make ethical, informed policy decisions.
- Drug Policy Alliance. (2014). Cocaine and crack facts. Retrieved from http://www.drugpolicy.org/drug-facts/cocaine-and-crack-facts
This site provides a variety of facts about crack and cocaine. These facts include the forms, usage rates, and effects of the drugs. The site also highlights law and policy prohibiting the sale and use of both drugs.
- The Sentencing Project. (2010). Federal crack cocaine sentencing. Retrieved from http://www.sentencingproject.org/publications/federal-crack-cocaine-sentencing/
This publication outlines the development of federal sentencing guidelines for drug offenses and the challenges related to these guidelines.