Books in Brief

The Long View of Crime: A Synthesis of Longitudinal Research

Akiva M. Liberman, ed.
Springer, 2008

Can longitudinal research — studies that follow individuals over many years — answer questions critical to criminal justice? What is the developmental life-course of criminal behavior? Is there one general offending pattern or multiple offending patterns? Which early risk factors, if any, are strongly predictive of criminal behavior? Do particular interventions prevent or retard future criminal behavior? In The Long View of Crime, editor Akiva Liberman asserts that these studies can answer such questions. The book synthesizes findings from 200 papers based on 60 longitudinal studies into six reviews. The volume focuses on adolescent experiences with employment, gang involvement and first arrests as well as the link between early childhood and adolescence.

Evidence-Based Crime Prevention, Revised Edition

David P. Farrington, Doris Layton MacKenzie, Lawrence W. Sherman and Brandon C. Welsh, eds.
Routledge, 2006

According to the editors of Evidence-Based Crime Prevention, crime policy is sometimes driven by political ideology, anecdotal evidence and current program favorites. The book reviews more than 600 scientific evaluations of programs intended to prevent crime in a variety of settings, such as families, schools, jobs and communities. It grades the validity of programs using "the scientific methods scale." This book attempts to provide policymakers, researchers and community leaders with information about what works, what does not and what is promising in crime prevention.

Downsizing Prisons: How to Reduce Crime and End Mass Incarceration

Michael Jacobson
NYU Press, 2005

In Downsizing Prisons: How to Reduce Crime and End Mass Incarceration, author Michael Jacobson argues that mass incarceration will not reduce crime or improve public safety. The many changes over the years to sentencing and corrections policies and practices (i.e., mandatory minimum sentencing, three-strike laws and for-profit prisons) initially designed to prevent or reduce crime have also contributed to the rise of the general prison population. Jacobson contends that given the fiscal constraints in many states, the only effective answer is an overhaul of the corrections system and a slowdown of prison expansion policies. He examines various methods that states have used to initiate prison reform and discusses policy solutions, such as changing how parole and probation agencies operate and supporting drug treatment programs for low-level offenders, which the book claims could possibly increase public safety while lowering corrections costs.

NIJ Journal No. 260, July 2008

Date Created: July 15, 2008