The COPS Office and the Campbell Collaboration Crime and Justice Coordinating Group (CCJG) are pleased to continue our partnership on the Crime Prevention Research Review (CPRR) series. This series synthesizes research findings for a law enforcement audience, to help better connect effective evaluations with practitioners.
The CCJG conducts systematic reviews on the best available evidence in the practice of crime and justice, synthesizes rigorous studies, and creates a transparent picture of the relevant research.
The COPS Office has published 10 CPRRs since 2007, ranging in topics from street-level drug markets to hot spot policing and neighborhood watch programs. This year we have published three new reviews. Below are some findings from the reviews:
Stressful work and life events have the potential to affect police officers' and recruits' physiological, psychological, and behavioral wellbeing negatively. As such, studies have examined the effects of stress management training in these areas. Law enforcement organizations provide a variety of stress management interventions aimed at helping officers to cope with the various stressful events they may encounter. The purpose of this systematic review was to examine the evidence assessing the efficacy of these interventions. Using a variety of methods to search literature over a 10 month period between August 1, 2009 and May 31, 2012, the researchers located 678 titles and abstracts. Upon further screening to include only randomized controlled trials or quasi-experimental designs, the researchers focused on 12 primary studies in a meta-analysis. Results show that the stress management interventions were neither effective nor ineffective. These results should be interpreted with caution because the analysis contained a small number of low-quality studies that investigated multiple interventions using varied measurement approaches.
Formal System Processing of Juveniles: Effects on Delinquency by Anthony Petrosino, Carolyn Turpin-Petrosino, and Sarah Guckenburg
Justice practitioners have tremendous discretion on how to handle less serious juvenile offenders. Legal authorities can decide whether the juvenile should be “officially processed” by the juvenile justice system, diverted from the system to a special program such as counseling, or to do nothing at all. An important policy question is: What strategy leads to the best outcomes for youth?
Formal System Processing of Juveniles: Effects on Delinquency summarizes the results from 29 randomized experiments that tested the impact of processing versus diversion options on subsequent juvenile delinquency. The studies included 7,304 juveniles reported on over a 35-year period. Juvenile system processing appears to have consistently negative effects on crime measures of prevalence, incidence, and severity, as well as that measured by self-report. The results are not uniform across every study. For example, studies that compared system processing to a diversion program reported much larger negative effect sizes than those that compared it to “doing nothing.” Given the additional financial costs associated with system processing (especially when compared to doing nothing) and the lack of evidence for any public safety benefit, jurisdictions should review their policies regarding the handling of less serious juvenile offenders.
Legitimacy in Policing by Lorraine Mazerolle, Sarah Bennett, Jacqueline Davis, Elise Sargeant, and Matthew Manning
Research shows that citizens are more likely to cooperate with the police when they view the police's authority as legitimate. One way the police can increase their legitimacy is by using “procedurally just” dialogue that treats citizens with dignity and respect, conveys trustworthy motives, allows citizens to express their views, and shows neutrality in decision making. The objective of this review was to systematically assess the direct and indirect benefits of interventions led by the public police that contained elements of this type of dialogue. A final set of 30 studies contained data suitable for meta-analysis. The direct outcomes analyzed were legitimacy, procedural justice, and citizen cooperation/compliance and satisfaction/confidence in the police. The review found that interventions that comprised dialogue with a procedural justice component, or that specifically stated the intervention sought to increase legitimacy, did enhance citizens' views on the legitimacy of the police, with all direct outcomes apart from legitimacy itself being statistically significant.
To stay up to date on the latest reviews, visit the “Campbell Collaboration Crime and Justice Group” page on the COPS Office website at www.cops.usdoj.gov/Default.asp?Item=2614. And for more information about the CCJG, please refer to www.campbellcollaboration.org/crime_and_justice/.
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