Throughout the course of the twentieth century notable advancements in science and technology has enabled researchers choose significantly improve their overall ability to conduct empirical research. Although the advancements have taken place have impacted almost every field of study, and a precursor he overview of the field of criminal justice suggests that there has been a paucity of development in this area for a number of decades. While this dearth of information may stem from a the inability of researchers to accurately apply technology, it seems more reasonable to argue that in the context of criminology and criminal justice the evolution of theory in these disciplines has not advanced substantially in more than four decades. Therefore, even though significant and notable improvements in science and technology have been acquired, research in the areas of criminology and criminal justice have not expanded notably in recent years.
[...] Despite the fact that criminology and criminal justice have been codified as scientific disciplines, capable of producing reliable empirical data for practical application, the overall opinion that has been developed with respect to these areas is that research produced will not provide a salient basis for significant improvements with respect to crime and/or criminal behavior. Criminology and Criminal Justice as Scientific Disciplines Given the notable disdain that has developed with respect to research in the areas of criminology and criminal justice, it is pertinent to consider the specific reasons as to why social scientists claim that these disciplines can be codified as scientific in nature. [...]
[...] The fifth and final turning point for criminal justice research as identified by Laub can be seen in the work of James Q. Wilson. As noted by Laub, “Wilson has argued that criminology should abandon its fundamental mission—understanding crime—to focus more on policy analysis, specifically the prediction and management of dangerous offenders in order to reduce crime and disorder” (p. 15). Laub argues that the push toward policy through research and criminology establishes the pertinence of data collected in this area for the development and evolution of social policy. [...]
[...] Critically reviewing what has been written about the development of research and criminal justice, Petersilia and Wilson (1995) make the observation that while salient data on criminal behavior has been collected in recent years the overall number of programs that have been developed to conduct research in criminology and criminal justice is quite small overall. According to these authors, “There are already in place a number of federal research programs concerned with crime and criminal justice. Any reasonable observer, however, would find that collection of programs to be far smaller and more fragmented than is appropriate for developing necessary knowledge for the issue that is now rated as the principal concern of the American public” (p. [...]
[...] What this effectively suggests is that research and criminology and criminal justice only serves as the impetus for scholarly analysis of criminal behavior. Therefore, with no real ability to provide empirical data which leads to efficient social policy development research in the areas of criminology and criminal justice has been effectively abandoned in recent years. Given the overall importance that has been assigned to producing research with applicable results it is not surprising to find that this course of evolution has occurred in the context of these particular areas of research. [...]
[...] In an attempt shoe and locate the specific areas in which criminology and criminal justice research have served as a boon to policymaking, Laub (2004) considers the history of criminological research in the United States identifying five critical turning points which demonstrate the overall efficacy of criminological research toward the positive development of policy. According to Laub, the first turning point in the history of criminology research occurred with the work presented by Clifford Shaw and Henry McKay. The work of Shaw and McKay is seen as essential to the evolution of policy and criminal justice because it forced professionals to look at crime and criminal behavior as a multidimensional process with a wide range of antecedents. [...]
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