CCJS 100 – Criminal Justice Policy – DUE FRIDAY Please see the discussion assignment below. The assignment MUST be at least 2 pages, APA format, and MUST u

CCJS 100 – Criminal Justice Policy – DUE FRIDAY Please see the discussion assignment below. The assignment MUST be at least 2 pages, APA format, and MUST u

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CCJS 100 – Criminal Justice Policy – DUE FRIDAY Please see the discussion assignment below. The assignment MUST be at least 2 pages, APA format, and MUST use the attached course materials. THIS IS DUE FRIDAY! Please do not accept this assignment if you cannot meet this short time constraint.

Based on what you have learned in this class, come up with a solid policy that you think should be implemented into the Criminal Justice system. Base this recommendation off of everything you have learned (e.g., crime, why people commit crimes, victimization, police, courts, corrections, CJ policy, etc..). Your policy should be directed at either controlling crime or changing police, courts, or corrections. Be sure to use several resources to back up your justification for the policy. Also, be sure to give your policy a name! 4: Criminal Justice Policy

Learning Objectives

In this section, you will be introduced to policy in the criminal justice system. Policies that can be examined

include issues related to juvenile justice, drug legislation, intimate partner violence, prison overcrowding, school

safety, new federal immigration laws, terrorism, and national security. After reading this section, students will be

able to:

• Examine the relationship between theory, research, and policy.

• Understand the factors involved in creating moral panics.

• Identify the stages involved in creating policy.

• Understand the role of evidence-based practice in policy.

• Reflect on how current events and politics shape policy.

Critical Thinking Questions

1. What is a current example of a moral panic?

2. How does the media help influence policy?

3. If the media has so much influence over policy, how can we ensure fair and just laws and practices?

4. Think of a crime problem in your area. What policy would you enact to combat it and how would you

evaluate this policy to see if it was working?

5. What are some policies you can think of that have changed over time? (eg. Marijuana legalization)?


4.1. Importance of Policy in Criminal Justice


Why is Policy so Important in Criminal Justice?
Everyone is affected by the criminal justice system through public policy. Policy represents social control

and ensures members of society are compliant and conform to the laws. Policies include issues related: to

juvenile justice, drug legislation, intimate partner violence, prison overcrowding, school safety, new federal

immigration laws, terrorism, and national security.

Modern-day crime policies can be traced to changes in crime and delinquency in the 1960s. That decade

saw major increases in the crime rate along with widespread social unrest as a result of the Vietnam War and

the Civil Rights movement. The work of the 1967 President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the

Administration of Justice highlighted the crime problem, and the criminal justice system’s failure to address

the problem. The commission called for new approaches, programs, policies, funding models, and research

on the cause of crime. In addressing the causes of crime (theory), and using appropriate data collection

(research), effective policies and programs could be proposed.



When discussing crime policies, it is important to understand the difference between “crime prevention”

and “crime control.” Policies and programs designed to reduce crime are crime prevention

techniques. Specifically, crime prevention “entails any action designed to reduce the actual level of crime
and/or the perceived fear of crime.”

On the other hand, crime control alludes to the maintenance of

the crime level. Policies, such as the three strikes law or Measure 11, seek to prevent future crime by

incapacitating offenders through incarceration. Other policies like sex offender registration acknowledge

that sex offenders exist and registering them will control the level of deviation, sometimes preventing-or

perceiving to prevent future offenses.

Public policies and laws are created at different levels of government, with micro-level policies enacted on

the local level and macro level applied at the federal or state level. For example, at the local level, some towns

and cities might create specific ordinances tailored to their unique needs, such as banning cigarette smoking

in the downtown area. At the federal level, policies are created that apply to the federal criminal justice

system and can apply to states as well. However, federal laws can differ from state laws, such as marijuana

legalization. Individual organizations can also make policies that address their individual agency needs, such

as requirements for local police officers. Therefore, depending on who creates the policies, they can be far-

reaching or extremely localized.

Fake News Exercise

1. Lab, S. (2016). Crime Prevention: Approaches, Practices, and Evaluations. (9th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
2. Lab, S P., Williams, M.R. Holcomb, J.E., Burek, M.W., King, W.R., & Buerger, M.E. (2013). Criminal Justice: The Essentials (3rd ed.).

New York, NY. Oxford University Press.



Fake News has received a lot of press lately. In fact “fake news” was the top word in 2017. For people under 30,

online news is more popular than TV news and people under 50 get half of their news from online sources.

Here are 4 steps for evaluating News:

1. Vet the Publisher’s Credibility.

• What is the domain name? A domain name that ends with “” is not to be trusted. Something

like looks legit, but if it is listed as, be wary.

• What is the publication’s point of view? Check out the “About Us” section to learn more about the

publishers. It will also tell you if the publication is meant to be satirical, like the Onion.

2. Pay Attention to Writing Quality.

• Does the publication have all caps or way too many emphatic punctuation marks?!?!?!? Proper

reporting does not adhere to such informal grammar. The article you are reading is probably not vetted.

3. Check out the Sources and Citations.

• Does the publisher meet academic citation standards? Your teachers and professors constantly tell you

to cite and reference appropriately. This is how we can check your sources. The same is true for online

news. Check the sources.

Ask the Pros

• Check out fact-checking websites like


Take the Fake News Quiz!

Introduction to the American Criminal Justice System


4.2. The Myth of Moral Panics


Moral panic has been defined as a situation in which public fears and state interventions greatly exceed the
objective threat posed to society by a particular individual or group who is/are claimed to be responsible for

creating the threat in the first place.

Moral panics arise when distorted mass media campaigns create fear and reinforce previously held or

stereotyped beliefs, frequently centered around ethnicity, religion, or social class. Often, moral panics occur

swiftly, focusing attention on the behavior and then fluctuating concern over time. The most problematic

aspect of the moral panic is that the hysteria often results in a need to “do something” about the issue and

most commonly “results in the passing of legislation that is highly punitive, unnecessary, and serves to justify

the agendas of those in positions of power and authority.” Moral panics focus attention on what we should

fear and who we should blame for that fear. Instigators of moral panics frequently misinterpret data for their

own agenda. Cohen (1972) said at least five sets of social actors are involved in a moral panic. These include

1) folk devils, 2) rule or law enforcers, 3) the media, 4) politicians, and 5) the public.

Moral Panics, Sex Offender Registration, and Youth

In her article, “There Are Too Many Kids on the Sex Offender Registry,” Lenore Skensazy discusses the

unpopular view that perhaps sex offender registration is more harmful than helpful.

The purpose of sex offender registries is to prevent one of the worst of the worst crimes: sexual assault.

However, Roger Lancaster, author of “Sex Panic and the Punitive State” suggests that “Only a tiny fraction

of sex crimes against children are committed by people who are on the registry.” About 5 percent of people

on the list go on to commit another crime, a far lower recidivism rate than almost any other class of

criminals, including drug dealers, arsonists, and muggers (Skenazy, 2018, para 4).

1. Bon, S.A (2015, July 20). Moral Panic: Who benefits from fear? Psychology Today,

2. Cohen, S. (1972). Folk devils and moral panics: The creation of the mods and rockers. London: MacGibbon and Key Ltd.


“Available research indicates that sex offenders, and particularly people who commit sex offenses as

children, are among the least likely to re-offend,” Human Rights Watch has found. Furthermore, the U.S.

Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that the “single age with the greatest number of offenders from the

perspective of law enforcement was age 14.” This means that 14-year-olds, more than any other age, are

being placed on a lifetime registry.

Sometimes this results from minors engaging in consensual sexual encounters simply because they are

underage and cannot legally consent. And in some states, sexual contact is not required to end up on

the registry. In some instances, sexting under the age of 18 is a felony and can earn someone a place on

the registry. Until recently, Missouri offenders were grouped together in one category regardless of the

offense so individuals who urinated in public endured lifelong registration and were categorized with the

worst of the rapists and molesters. There was no distinction or tier structure.

Is lifelong registration appropriate punishment or is it being strictly punitive? Most offenders serve their

time in prison and therefore serve their debt to society. This is not the case with life long sex offender

registrants who can’t live near a school, park, or playground and must report to authorities anytime they

get a new job, a new place to live, or even a new hairstyle. They can never fully re-enter society and are

seen as never being able to be rehabilitated.

All these requirements are based on the “flawed but pervasive idea that those convicted of sex offenses

became incurable and predatory monsters requiring—and deserving—lifetime punishment,” writes Emily

Horowitz, a professor of sociology at St. Francis College and author of two books on this subject.

What would happen if the registry were to disappear? All other criminal laws would remain in place,

including increased penalties for repeat offenses. Only the list, and the dehumanization it wreaks would be


“If my child was victimized, I’d want to kill a person,” Horowitz says. “But what if my child was a

victimizer? I’d also want them to have a chance” (Skenazy, 2018, para 15).

Read more at:

Ted Talk: How Fake News Does Real Harm

First, folk devils are the people who are blamed for being allegedly responsible for the threat to society. Folk
devils are completely negative and have no redeeming qualities. This is how juvenile offenders, or “super-

predators” as they were referred to in the 1990s. The narrative went like this:

We’re talking about kids who have absolutely no respect for human life and no sense of the future….And

Introduction to the American Criminal Justice System


make no mistake. While the trouble will be greatest in black inner-city neighborhoods, other places are

also certain to have burgeoning youth-crime problems that will spill over into upscale central-city districts,

inner-ring suburbs, and even the rural heartland…They kill or maim on impulse, without any intelligible

motive…The buzz of impulsive violence, the vacant stares and smiles, and the remorseless eyes…they

quite literally have no concept of the future….they place zero value on the lives of their victims, whom

they reflexively dehumanize…capable of committing the most heinous acts of physical violence for the

most trivial reasons…for as long as their youthful energies hold out, they will do what comes “naturally”:

murder, rape, rob, assault, burglarize, deal deadly drugs, and get high.

Folk devils are the embodiment

of evil and center stage of the moral panic drama. They have no redeeming qualities so it is easy for the

population to fear and hate them.

Second, the police or other law enforcement officials (prosecutors or even the military) are essential

for propagating the moral panic since they are responsible for upholding and enforcing codes of conduct

and expectations of the citizens. They are expected to protect society from the folk devils by detecting,

apprehending, and punishing their evil ways. Furthermore, the moral panic can offer law enforcement

legitimacy as moral crusaders and protectors. Law enforcement has a purpose to defend society and rid it of

the folk devils which threaten their safety and well being.

Third, the media are particularly powerful in creating and advancing the moral panic. Generally, news

media coverage of folk devils is often skewed and exaggerated. The media coverage often displays the folk

devils as much more threatening to society than they really are. Journalists feed public anxiety and fear,

which heightens the moral panic. Media influences policy in two ways:

(1) they select the “important” issues (agenda setting),

(2) they problematize policy by attaching meaning to it. In this way, the frame and construct the


Agenda setting is the way the media draw the public’s eye to a specific topic. Framing refers to a type
of agenda setting in a prepackaged way and narratives are about the story that is told. Said another way,
framing focuses on the broad categories, segments, or angles through which a story can be told. Frames

include factual and interpretive claims that allow people to organize events and experiences into groups.

Narrative construction involves decisions by storytellers that determine the specific characters, plot, causal

implications, and policy solutions presented. Narratives are pictures that the public already accepts and

embraces (See Table 1 for examples of criminal justice frames and narratives). Journalists and reporters are

taught to tell stories through first-hand accounts and experiences people have because audiences care about

these human experiences and their stories more than they care about abstract societal issues. In theory, then,

journalists and reporters are the gatekeepers to the information and they choose how they organize and

present ideas to the public. This helps us create social meaning from events or actions (See Table 2 for

framing techniques).

Table 1: Criminal Justice Frames and Examples of Narratives

3. Dilulio. (1995).
4. Crow, D.A., & Lawlor, A. (2016). Media in the policy process: Using framing and narratives to understand policy influences. Review of

Policy Research. 33(5): 472-495



Frame Cause Policy

Faulty system Crime stems from criminal justiceleniency and inefficiency. The criminal justice system needs to get tough on crime


Crime stems from poverty and

The government must address the “root causes” of crime by creating
jobs and reducing poverty.


Crime stems from family and
community breakdown Citizens should band together to recreate traditional communities.

Racist system The criminal justice system operates ina racist fashion African Americans should band together to demand justice

Violent media Crime stems from violence in the massmedia The government should regulate violent imagery in the media

Narrative Costume Characteristic

The PI Cheap suit and car Loner, cynical, shrewd, shady but dogged

The rogue cop Plainclothes, disguise, often has specialhigh tech equipment Maverick, smart, irreverent, violent but effective

The sadistic
guard Unkempt uniform

Low intelligence, violent, racist, sexist, perverted, and enjoys
cruelty, inflicting pain, and humiliation

The corrupt
lawyer Expensive suite and office

Smart, greedy, manipulative, dishonest, smooth talker and liar, able
to twist words, logic, and morality

The greedy

Very expensive office and home, trophy

Very smart, decisive, and a polished, unquenchable sometimes
psychotic need for power and wealth

[Footnote]Surette, R. (2011). Media, crime, and criminal justice: Images, realities, and policies (4th ed.). Belmont,
CA: Wadsworth Publishing. [/footnote]

Table 2: Framing Techniques

Framing techniques per Fairhurst and Sarr (1996):

• Metaphor: To frame a conceptual idea through comparison to something else.

• Stories (myths, legends): To frame a topic via narrative in a vivid and memorable way.

• Tradition (rituals, ceremonies): Cultural mores that imbue significance in the mundane, closely tied to artifacts.

• Slogan, jargon, catchphrase: To frame an object with a catchy phrase to make it more memorable and relate-able.

• Artifact: Objects with intrinsic symbolic value – a visual/cultural phenomenon that holds more meaning than the object

• Contrast: To describe an object in terms of what it is not.

• Spin: to present a concept in such a way as to convey a value judgment (positive or negative) that might not be
immediately apparent; to create an inherent bias by definition. (Fairhurst, G. & Sarr, R. 1996. The art of Framing. San
Francisco: Jossey-Bass.)

Introduction to the American Criminal Justice System


Fourth, politicians are also protagonists in a moral panic. They spin the public opinion and present

themselves as the safeguards of the moral high ground. They are similar to law enforcement in this drama

and they have an obligation to protect society from folk devils.

The fifth and final category of moral panic is the public. The public is the most important actor on the

stage. Public anxiety and fear over the folk devils is the central theme of moral panics. A moral panic only

exists because the public cries out for policymakers and law enforcement to “do something” and save them

from the alleged threat that has been created.

Carlson, M. (2018). Fake news as an informal moral panic: The symbolic deviance of social media during

the 2016 US presidential election. Information, Communication, and Society.



4.3. The Stages of Policy Development


The stages of policy development can generally be categorized into 5 general stages. U.S. policy

development encompasses several stages. Most policy models generally include the following stages: (1)

identifying the issue to be addressed by the proposed policy, (2) placement on the agenda, (3) formulation

of the policy, (4) implementation of the policy, and (5) evaluation of the policy. This is similar to the

community police response acronym SARA (scanning, analysis, response, and assessment) and uses some of

the same techniques, but on a much bigger, national level.

Dangerous Myths about Juvenile Sex Offenders

Identifying the Problem and Agenda Setting
Identifying the problem involves addressing what is happening and why it is an issue. In criminal justice,

this might look at the increase of opioid use and overdoses or acts of youth violence. Once the issue is

identified, there can be a serious debate about the plans of the policy. Once it is decided what the policy will

look like, it is placed on the agenda. This is perhaps the most politicized part of the process as it involves

many different stakeholders. It involves identifying the legislative, regulatory, judicial, or other institutions

responsible for policy adoption and formulation.

Formulation and Adoption
The next stage involved adopting the policy. Depending on the nature of the policy, this could involve a

new law or an executive order.

Implementation of the Policy
Implementation is about moving forward, taking action, and spending money. It involves hiring new staff

or additional police officers. This is where policies often stall because of the lack of funding. For example,

a popular program in 1990, Weed and Seed, involved “weeding” out criminals (targeting arrest efforts) and

“seeding” new programs (instituting after-school programs, drug treatment facilities, etc.). The weeding


portion of the program was a great success, but the program ultimately failed because of a lack of funding to

adequately seed new community programming. Funding is a major roadblock for proper implementation.

Finally, the evaluation examines the efficacy of the policy. There are three different types of evaluation:

Impact, Process, and Cost-benefit analysis. Impact (outcome) evaluations focus on what changes after
the introduction of the crime policy.

Changes in police patrol practices aimed at reducing the level of

residential burglaries in an area are evaluated in terms of subsequent burglaries. The difficulty with impact

evaluations is that changes in the crime rate are rarely, if ever, due to a single intervening variable. For

example, after the implementation of curfew laws for juvenile offenders, juvenile crime decreased. Can

we say that was because of curfew laws? The entire crime rate for America decreased at the same time.

Attributing a single outcome based on a solitary intervention is problematic.

Process evaluations consider the implementation of a policy or program and involve determining the
procedure used to implement the policy. These are detailed, descriptive accounts of the implementation of

the policy including the goals of the program, who is involved, the level of training, the number of clients

served, and changes to the program over time.

Unfortunately, process evaluations do not address the actual

impact policy has on the crime problem, just what was done about a specific issue or who was involved.

While this is indeed a limitation, it is essential to know the inner workings of a program or policy if it is to

be replicated.

Cost-benefit evaluations, or analysis, seeks to determine if the costs of a policy are justified by the
benefits accrued. A ubiquitous example of this would be an evaluation of the popular anti-drug D.A.R.E.

program of the 1980s and 1990s. The D.A.R.E. program was a school-based prevention program aimed at

preventing drug use among elementary school-aged children. Rigorous evaluations of the program show

that it was ineffective and sometimes actually increased drug use in some youth. The cost of this program

was roughly $1.3 billion dollars a year (about $173 to $268 per student per year) to implement nationwide

(once all related expenses, such as police officer training and services, materials and supplies, school resources,

etc., were factored in).

Using a cost-benefit analysis, is that a good use of money to support an ineffective


Policy formation is often a knee-jerk reaction to the current problem. Many policies are the result of

grassroots efforts to change something in their communities. For example, let us pretend the issue is youth

crime in our city. Kids are roaming the streets like packs of wild dogs, jeering at the elderly, and generally

making us feel unsafe. A proposed policy might be to hold parents accountable for their child’s misbehavior.

If parents are responsible, then they will take better care of their kids, right? Take, for example, Little Skippy.

He’s kind of a jerk. He smokes, curses, and recently stole his neighbor’s car. Arrested after crashing into the

drive-thru sign at the local Taco Bell, based on parental responsibility law, his mom and dad are to blame for

his reckless driving fiasco. Let’s look at the policy process.

1. Lab, S. (2016). Crime Prevention: Approaches, Practices, and Evaluations (9th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
2. Lab, S. (2016). Crime Prevention: Approaches, Practices, and Evaluations (9th ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.
3. Shepard, E. (Winter 2001-2002) A new study finds. We wasted billions on D.A.R.E. Reconsider Quarterly,



1. How can this be instituted? Fine the parent? Sentence the parents to jail time? The policy

needs to be a concrete solution to a problem. Many states use fines instead of jailing the parents.

(Who’s to watch over the children if the parents are locked up?) Fines sound great. This will

make sure parents take an active interest in their children because they do not want to have to

pay money if their kid gets into trouble.

2. Who needs to be involved in lobbying for this law? Legislators? Senators? Local police?

Maybe even city officials, local school boards, and religious organizations. So it’s put on the

agenda and gets moved onto a ballot for an official vote. The citizens who think their city needs

to be tough on crime vote to approve this policy.

3. Bam, it’s law. It is implemented and now parents of juveniles delinquents are charged

fines. This actually is a law in nearly every state. In the 1990s, Silverton, Oregon, was a

model for communities interested in imposing ordinances that hold parents accountable for

their children’s behavior. In Silverton, parents can be fined up to $1,000 if their child is

found carrying a gun, smoking cigarettes, or using illegal drugs. Parents who agree to attend

parenting classes can avoid fines. Within the first two months after the law was passed in early

1995, seven parents were fined and many others registered for parenting classes.

Oregon has ORS 30.761 (2017), which states:

(1)In addition to any other remedy provided by law, the parent or parents of an unemancipated minor

child shall be liable for actual damages to person or property caused by any tort intentionally or recklessly

committed by such child. However, a parent who is not entitled to legal custody of the minor child at the

time of the intentional or reckless tort shall not be liable for such damages.

(2) The legal obligation of the parent or parents of an unemancipated minor child to pay damages under

this section shall be limited to not more than $7,500, payable to the same claimant, for one or more acts.

4. It is law, but is it effective? The evaluation stage of policy is critical. The goal is to curb youth crime

and we might expect to see a decrease in the juvenile crime rate. However, charging parents fines for the

misdeeds of their children actually increases recidivism! It’s true! A study of 1,167 youth in Pennsylvania
found that the total amount of fines, fees and/or restitution significantly increased the likelihood of

Introduction to the American Criminal Justice System


. Justice system–imposed financial penalties increase the likelihood of recidivism in a sample of

adolescent offenders

In particular, males, non-whites, and youth with prior dispositions and adjudicated

with a drug or property offense were at an increased likelihood of recidivism associated with owing fines

and fees (Piquero and Jennings, 2016). This is problematic as fees not only increase recidivism but also

increase the likelihood of a “revolving door” juvenile justice system for minority youth.

In the end, what is law is not always effective and what is effective is not always law. This is where evidence-

based practices come in.

4. Piquero and Jennings, 2016, Piquero, A. and Jennings, W.G. (2015)
5. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 15 (3) p. 325-340).



4.4. Importance of Evidence Based Practices


In the 1970s, Martin Robinson issued his infamous claim that “nothing works” in rehabilitating offenders.

In the 1980s, numerous research studies were published that contradicted this claim and proposed

alternative approaches to combating crime and effective interventions. Since then, countless researchers,

agencies, and even Congress have adopted the need to create comprehensive evaluations of effective


Evidence-based practices mean utilizing research in pursuit of identifying programs, policy initiatives, or

practices that work. The Office of Justice Programs (OJP) “considers programs and practices to be evidence-

based when their effectiveness has been demonstrated by causal evidence, generally obtained through high-

quality outcome evaluations,” and notes that “causal evidence depends on the use of scientific methods to

rule out, to the extent possible, alternative explanations for the documented change.”

National research

clearinghouses are great resources for systematic literature reviews of effective public programs across a

plethora of areas, such as:

• the U.S. Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse,

• the U.S. Department of Justice’s,

• Blueprints for Healthy Youth Development,

• the …

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