2013 Top 20 Crim Articles

Been exactly a year since I’ve posted.  Here is my sixth annual list of top 20 criminology articles published in leading peer-reviewed journals in the field.  Here is my list for 2013 (in no particular order):

1. “An Evaluation of Day Reporting Centers for Parolees: Outcomes of a Randomized Trial” by Douglas Boyle, Laura Ragusa-Salerno, Jennifer Lanterman, and Andrea Fleisch in Criminology & Public Policy

2. “What Do Panel Studies Tell Us About a Deterrent Effect of Capital Punishment? A Critique of the Literature” by Aaron Chalfin, Amelia Haviland, and Steven Raphael in Journal of Quantitative Criminology

3. “Deterrence In The Twenty-First Century” by Daniel Nagin in Crime & Justice

4. “Statistical Procedures for Forecasting Criminal Behavior: A Comparative Assessment” by Richard Berk and Justin Bleich in Criminology & Public Policy

5. “Translating Causal Claims: Principles and Strategies for Policy-Relevant Criminology” by Robert Sampson, Christopher Winship, and Carly Knight in Criminology & Public Policy

6. “Evidence and Public Policy: The Example of Evaluation Research in Policing” by Daniel Nagin and David Weisburd in Criminology & Public Policy

7. “Sanctions, Perceptions, and Crime: Implications for Criminal Deterrence” by Robert Apel in Journal of Quantitative Criminology

8. “Fixed Sentencing: The Effect on Imprisonment Rates Over Time” by Mark Harmon in Journal of Quantitative Criminology

9. “Estimating the Causal Effect of Gun Prevalence on Homicide Rates: A Local Average Treatment Effect Approach” by Tomislav Kovandzic, Mark Schaffer, and Gary Kleck in Journal of Quantitative Criminology

10. “The Effect of Incarceration on Re-Offending: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Pennsylvania” by Daniel Nagin and Matthew Snodgrass in Journal of Quantitative Criminology

11. “Prisons and Crime: Backwards in High Heels” by William Spelman in Journal of Quantitative Criminology

12. “Alternative Models of Instant Drug Testing: Evidence from an Experimental Trial” by Eric Grommon, Stephen Cox, William Davidson, and Timothy Bynum in Journal of Experimental Criminology

13. “Procedural Justice and Police Legitimacy: A Systematic Review of the Research Evidence” by Lorraine Mazerolle, Sarah Bernett, Jacqueline Davis, Elise Sargeant, and Matthew Manning in Journal of Experimental Criminology

14. “Increased Homicide Victimization of Suspects Arrested for Domestic Assault: A 23 Year Follow-Up of the Milwaukee Domestic Violence Experiment (MilDVE)” by Lawrence Sherman and Heather Harris in Journal of Experimental Criminology

15. “The Causal Impact of Exposure to Deviant Peers: An Experimental Investigation” by Raymond Paternoster, Jean McGloin, Holly Nguyen, and Kyle Thomas in Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency

16. “Actuarial Sentencing: An “Unsettled” Proposition” by Kelly Hannah-Moffat in Justice Quarterly

17. “Reducing Gang Violence Using Focused Deterrence: Evaluating the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV)” by Robin Engel, Marie Tillyer, and Nicholas Corsaro in Justice Quarterly

18. “Joint Utility of Event-Dependent and Environmental Crime Analysis Techniques for Violent Crime Forecasting” by Joel Caplan, Leslie Kennedy, and Eric Piza in Crime & Delinquency

19. “Active Supervision and Its Impact Upon Parolee Recidivism Rates” by Michael Osterman in Crime & Delinquency

20. “Offender Perceptions of Graduated Sanctions” by Eric Wodahl, Robin Ogle, Colleen Kadleck, and Kenneth Gerow in Crime & Delinquency

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2012 Top 20 Crim Articles

To close the year out, my fifth annual list of top 20 criminology articles published in leading peer-reviewed journals in the field.  Here is my list for 2012:

1. “Long-Term Crime Desistance and Recidivism Patterns- Evidence from the Essex County Convicted Felon Study” by Megan Kurlychek, Shawn Bushway, and Robert Brame in Criminology

2. “Residential Change as a Turning Point in the Life Course of Crime: Desistance or Temporary Cessation?” by David Kirk in Criminology

3. “The Ecology of Gang Territorial Boundaries” by Jeffrey Brantingham, George Tita, Martin Short, and Shannon Reid in Criminology

4. “A Signaling Perspective on Employment-Based Reentry Programming: Training Completion as a Desistance Signal” by Shawn Bushway and Robert Apel in Criminology & Public Policy

5. “Getting Deterrence Right?: Evaluation Evidence and Complementary Crime Control Mechanisms” by Anthony Braga in Criminology & Public Policy

6. “The Impact of Drug Market Pulling Levers Policing on Neighborhood Violence: An Evaluation of the High Point Drug Market Intervention” by Nicholas Corsaro, Eleazer Hunt, Natalie Hipple, and Edmund McGarrell in Criminology & Public Policy

7. “Assessing the Earned Parole Discharge Pilot Project: The Importance of Context, Capacity, and Content” by Sarah Smith, Marisa Omori, Susan Turner, and Jesse Jannetta in Criminology & Public Policy

8. “Hyperbolic Time Discounting, Offender Time Preferences and Deterrence” by Thomas Loughran, Ray Paternoster, and Douglas Weiss in Journal of Quantitative Criminology

9. “Is Plea Bargaining in the “Shadow of the Trial” a Mirage?” by Shawn Bushway and Allison Redlich in Journal of Quantitative Criminology

10. “Assessing the Impact of Imprisonment on Recidivism” by William Bales and Alex Piquero in Journal of Experimental Criminology

11. “Re-Examining the Functional Form of the Certainty Effect in Deterrence Theory” by Thomas Loughran, Greg Pogarsky, Alex Piquero, and Ray Paternoster in Justice Quarterly

12. “The Long-Term Effects of Parental Imprisonment on Criminal Trajectories of Children” by Marieke van de Rakt, Joseph Murray, and Paul Nieuwbeerta in Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency

13. “The Effects of Focused Deterrence Strategies on Crime: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Empirical Evidence” by Anthony Braga and David Weisburd in Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency

14. “Effects of First-Time Imprisonment on Postprison Mortality: A 25-Year Follow-Up Study with a Matched Control Group” by Anja Dirkzwager, online casino Paul Nieuwbeerta, and Arjan Blokland in Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency

15. “Partners in Crime? Criminal Offending, Marriage Formation, and Partner Selection” by Marieke van Schellen, Anne-Rigt Poortman, and Paul Nieuwbeerta in Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency

16. “Differential Deterrence: Studying Heterogeneity and Changes in Perceptual Deterrence Among Serious Youthful Offenders” by Thomas Loughran, Alex Piquero, Jeffrey Fagan, and Edward Mulvey in Crime & Delinquency

17. “The Effectiveness of Policies and Programs That Attempt to Reduce Firearm Violence: A Meta-Analysis” by Matthew Makarios and Travis Pratt in Crime & Delinquency

18. “Beyond Boston: Applying Theory to Understand and Address Sustainability Issues in Focused Deterrence Initiatives for Violence Reduction” by Marie Tillyer, Robin Engel, and Brian Lovins in Crime & Delinquency

19. “Assessing the Effectiveness of Drug Courts on Recidivism: A Meta-Analytic Review of Traditional and Non-Traditional Drug Courts” by Ojmarrh Mitchell, David Wilson, Amy Eggers, and Doris MacKenzie in Journal of Criminal Justice

20. “The Impact of Determinate Sentencing on Prisoner Misconduct” by William Bales and Courtenay Miller in Journal of Criminal Justice

Nothing really overwhelmed me this year.  Deterrence research was alive and well though, which does put a smile on my face.  Two books were especially enjoyable to read this year: 1) David Kennedy”s “Don”t Shoot” and, 2) Frank Zimring”s “The City That Became Safe.  Mark Kleiman and colleagues wrote a great reader discussing the whole marijuana legalization debate.  Steven Pinker”s “The Better Angels of Our Nature” made some noise, and was a thought-provoking read, but in the end was pretty unimpressive and a not very convincing thesis.  Daniel Kahneman”s ”Thinking, Fast and Slow” received a lot of attention by criminologists this year, although not a book specifically on crime.  Frankly it was too thick to get through, so I haven”t read all of it yet.  And then Rob Sampson released his new book, “Great American City”, at the end of year, which is sitting in my Kindle app not yet read but with high hopes.

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Goosebumps!

My six-year-old daughter Kayla is now a big fan of a TV series called Goosebumps, which is an adaptation of the scary children’s book series of the same title by author R.L. Stine.  Every Saturday all I hear about from Kayla is Goosebumps.  Well it struck me today that this time of year (advent season) gives me goosebumps.  

Mostly it is the music of this time of year that does it.  We sang “Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel” in church today and I could feel the goosebumps.  The anticipation of Christmas is full in this song.   I feel the somber waiting of the children of Israel, waiting for the promised Messiah but never knowing when He would arrive.  Even the tune of this song, written in a minor chord progression, reflects this somber waiting.  But it is not just the vicarious somber mood of the Israelites waiting for the first coming of the Messiah that gives me goosebumps when I sing this song, it is the somber waiting in anticipation for the second coming of the Messiah as I reflect on the current fallen world around me.  Sometimes I groan for Christ’s return.  I feel like I’m singing “Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel” right there with the children of Israel, as I reflect on the stinking fallenness of this world.  And then the harmony of the refrain…”rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel, shall come to thee oh Israel!”  The goosebumps are all over now!

I have a new appreciation for the advent season every year, but especially this year.  I pray that you will take it in with me.  Hear the songs, feel the goosebumps.  Wait in anticipation with me.  The Christ child is almost here!!

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Say It Ain’t So, Joe (SNL Style)

Hilarious!  Check out the opening Saturday Night Live skit from this past Saturday, spoofing the Vice Presidential debate:

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Poker Skill: He's Got Game!

Those down-to-earth economists at Freakonomics have done it again, with on how important chance vs. skill is in the game of poker.  Levitt”s conclusion, from his research, is that skill is an important influence in determining outcomes in poker.  Looks like some interesting linked academic papers on the topic here too.  Apparently at least one Federal judge is considering the weight of the evidence in reconsidering the ruling of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, which effectually locked all of us poker lovers out from playing poker for money online.

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Thy Mercy, My God

A co-worker of mine sent these lyrics to a hymn I have never heard.  I found these lyrics to be  extremely uplifting, so I thought I would share:

 

Thy Mercy, My God

Thy mercy, my God, is the theme of my song,
The joy of my heart. and the boast of my tongue;
Thy free grace alone, from the first to the last,
Hath won my affections, and bound my soul fast.

Without Thy sweet mercy I could not live here;
Sin would reduce me to utter despair;
But, through Thy free goodness, my spirits revive,
And He that first made me still keeps me alive.

Whene’er I mistake, Thy kind mercy begins
To melt me, and then I can mourn for my sins;
And, led by Thy Spirit to Jesus’s blood,
My sorrows are dired and my strength is renew’d

Thy mercy is more than a match for my heart,
Which wonders to feel its own hardness depart;
Dissolved by Thy goodness, I fall to the ground,
And weep to the praise of the mercy I’ve found.

Thy mercy is endless, most tender and free;
No sinner need doubt, since ’tis given to me;
No merit will buy it, nor sin stop its course;
Good works are the fruits of its freeness and force.

The doors of Thy mercy are open all day
To the poor and the needy who knock by the way;
But those that bring cash in the mouth of their sack;
The rich and the proud, shall be empty sent back.

Dear Father, Thy merciful word I my all;
Thy promise supports me when ready to fall;
When enemies crowd, to cause doubt and despair,
I conquer them all by the spirit of prayer.

Thy mercy, in Jesus, exempts me from hell;
Of Thy mercy I’ll sing, of Thy mercy I’ll tell;
‘Twas Jesus, my Friend, when He hung on the tree,
That open’d the channel of mercy for me.

Great Father of mercies, Thy goodness I own,
And the covenant love of Thy crucified Son;
All praise to the Spirit, Whose whisper divine
Seals mercy, and pardon, and righteousness mine.

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Paul Ryan – VP Pick

In April of last year, I blogged on this site, here and here, about an impressive Paul Ryan.  Today we learn that Romney has picked Ryan to be his VP candidate.  This, I believe, is a pretty good choice; a solid fiscal conservative and a pretty smart dude.  I’m still not thrilled with Romney, and I don’t like this strategy of picking a moderate as the main act while the backup guy is the true conservative, but I think we’ve got a decent ticket now to go up against the train wreck of the Barack Obama administration.

Check out this video of Ryan demolishing Obama on the Affordable Care Act in just six minutes:

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On Facebook

So Facebook went public last week.  Facebook stock didn’t get off to the strong start expected.  Nevermind that, I’m a big Facebook fan.  From a sociological perspective, I view its benefits as outweighing its costs.  The power of social media like Facebook can be harnessed for good and for the betterment of mankind, I believe. 

Nonetheless, we live in a fallen world where tools like Facebook have the real potential for destruction to relationships.  By way of illustration, check out this thoughtful piece by Keith Humphreys that I read the other night.

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Remembering Chuck Colson

Charles (“Chuck”) Colson, ex-Nixon aide, ex-prisoner, founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries, and faithful servant of Jesus Christ, passed away today at age 80.  Chuck was a true inspiration to me as both a Christian and a professional working in the arena of criminal justice system policy-making.  He served as a constant reminder to me that the only real and ultimate way to stop crime is by “stopping it the only way it will ever be stopped and that’s by changing the human heart.” 

I have been following so many tweets, blogs, and articles about Chuck Colson’s life today, in the wake of his passing.  He truly lived an amazing life.  I like the one tweet I received today, which said “I have to believe Mr. Colson just heard a Galilean voice say “I was in prison and you visited me.”"  Also a good read on Chuck Colson’s life is this article released today by World Magazine entitled “Setting Captives Free.” 

If you’ve never seen the logo for Prison Fellowship Ministries, it is a symbol of a reed half broken and bent over.  The logo was inspired by Isaiah 42:3 – “a bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.”  Colson ministered to countless imprisoned “bruised reeds” during his over 35 years of prison ministry, some of whom I’m sure he is rejoicing with in heaven right now.   

Oh, that power of the old gospel message that Colson reminded us of.  The power of Jesus Christ to save and redeem even the most despised and broken among us.  Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me…

Check out the below 5-minute biographical video clip released by Prison Fellowship Ministries today on Chuck Colson’s life.  Well done faithful servant!

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And now I endorse…

…nobody yet.  Private citizen Bucklen here, and I still don”t know who I”m voting for in our presidential primary near the end of this month.  Of course my options are significantly limited at this point now.  I”ve been meaning to write on some of my thinking though.

Bottom line, I just don”t trust Romney.  Sorry folks, I don”t.  I have some friends here who have the reputation of being hardcore, down-the-line conservatives and have tried to convince me that Romney is a safe vote.  They”ve even pointed me to this intriguing book entitled “Why Evangelicals Should Support Mitt Romney (And Feel Good about It).”  I”m just not buying it though.

So before this Tuesday, that left me with either Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, or Ron Paul.  Let me throw out the easy one; Ron Paul.  As my one friend says, Ron Paul makes about 90% sense but the other 10% is just plain crazy.  No vote from private citizen Bucklen for Ron Paul. 

I was thus left with an interesting choice before Tuesday.  Do I go with Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich?  I had been leaning Newt”s way until I attended a Santorum event which was actually on the day he quit.  That brought me full circle, because early on I really liked Santorum, but had shifted more towards Newt in recent months.  Santorum was impressive.  He spoke with the courage of conviction.  He spoke more clearly than any other candidate about the one single issue most important to me – abortion.  In the talk I heard him give the other night, he made a convincing case for the connection between the breakdown of the American family and our economic downturn.  It just made so much sense.  Ironically, I think I could have actually been persuaded to vote for him on the very night that he dropped out of the race.  Regardless, before I move to my thoughts on Gingrich, I should say that Santorum ran a hell of a campaign.  You have to admire what he accomplished.  He ran on a shoestring budget (had less money than any of the other candidates).  He had very little name recognition outside of Pennsylvania.  And he ended up in the top four standing.  Nothing to be ashamed of Rick; nice job.  His campaign people who I know personally did a spectacular job too. 

So now by grationbonus.net process of elimination I”m seemingly left with Newt.  I like Newt.  I think he”s the best choice among those who are left.  His cerebral approach to breaking down policy issues particularly draws me to him.  He is clearly a smart guy, and well versed on the issues.  From the perspective of the one policy issue that I care most about professionally (criminal justice), Newt is clearly the best candidate too.  His leadership as a co-signer on the Right On Crime movement represents a good model for other conservatives to follow when it comes to smart thinking on crime.  Newt would also tear Obama apart in a substantive debate. 

But the issue I”ve been wrestling with in voting for Newt is that he clearly is not going to win.  So should I and other conservatives get behind Romney simply to get this primary over with and enable Romney to be better positioned to beat Obama?  The longer Newt stays in the race, the more money is spend by Romney in a primary race rather than spent in a general election beating Obama.  And Romney will need all the money he can get, given the estimate I heard that Obama will outspend him by something like 7 to 1.  But the reason why I think it may be good for Newt to ride this thing out (and get my vote) is that the longer Newt stays in as the conservative alternative, the longer he forces Romney to take conservative positions which will then be more difficult to back off of when it comes around to the general election.  Let”s get Romney on record as taking as many hardline conservative positions as possible before he inevitably tries to swing to the middle in a general election.  I think Newt can be somewhat successful in this regard, even given that he will lose in the end. 

So do I vote for the inevitable winner Romney so that I voice my opinion that we need to move on to Obama and unite the party, or do I vote for who I believe is actually a better candidate and who may be somewhat successful in at least continuing to keep the pressure on the party candidate to stay to the right on key positions?

That”s where I am right now – private citizen Bucklen, the “undecided” voter.  By the way, check out my picture with Santorum the other night:

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