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Discuss why it is important to utilize evidence based practices when evaluating criminal justice initiatives.

Quick answer:

Evidence based practice is the objective and balanced use of research and data to guide policy. It allows lawmakers to determine what policies and approaches are more likely to work. In criminal justice, evidence based practice is often focused on reducing the risk of a person becoming an offender, leading to less crime and a safer community.

Expert Answers

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Most criminal justice reform is based in evidence; lawmakers and experts need to analyze data and research in order to determine what is working and what is not in the criminal justice system. Evidence based policies can also help inform how law enforcement officials should respond to certain situations.

One of the most useful ways evidence based practice can be utilized in criminal justice reform is through risk assessments. This allows law enforcement to analyze how likely a person is to commit a crime, especially a violent crime. For example, experts have seen trends like antisocial behavior or substance abuse issues among certain offenders. Evidence of the way these factors impact someone's risk of offending allows lawmakers to tailor policies toward addressing multiple issues at once.

Researching motivation in criminal issues can be immensely helpful to counselors and mental health experts who work with people who have committed a crime, whether they have been incarcerated or not. By better understanding the motive behind the crime committed, a mental health professional can pinpoint the specific issues they should address with their patient. Further, they can anticipate how those issues may factor into the criminal actions of others. This also allows officials to spot an issue in a community or even in someone's life that could lead to crime, so they are better equipped to intervene.

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