Editorial Reviews

Criminal justice policy in the United States is most often based on outdated customs, ideologically based politics, and ill-conceived common sense.  Sober but also optimistic in his outlook, Daniel Mears seeks to sophisticate crime control discussions by showing us how to use various evaluation strategies to create informative, policy-relevant evidence.  Masterfully written and rich with real-world examples, this volume is, at once, essential reading for scholars, ideal for teaching students the nature and importance of evaluation research, and invaluable as a blueprint for policymakers wishing to design effective and humane criminal justice interventions.  —Francis T. Cullen, Distinguished Research Professor of Criminal Justice, University of Cincinnati

Dan Mears has written an important book for criminal justice.  He provides a compelling and comprehensive case for the role of evaluation in criminal justice.  The stakes for an effective and efficient criminal justice system have never been higher.  Mears argues that the system is broken, but can be fixed.  Sound evaluation research provides a foundation for repairing the system.  This book should appeal to a broad readership.  Those who don’t heed its lessons will do so at their own peril.  There is a sound prescription for fixing criminal justice, and Mears has it.  —Scott Decker, Arizona State University

Reading this book made me excited about teaching a course in evaluation.  Mears addresses research and policy issues in a new way and clearly places evaluation as a priority in achieving an accountable and effective criminal justice system.  American Criminal Justice Policy forces the reader to reevaluate our criminal justice policies.  It is a must-read for students, researchers, practitioners, and policymakers interested in or advocating for an evidence-based criminal justice system.  —Doris Layton MacKenzie, The Pennsylvania State University

The world would be a better place if evaluation methods and findings were understood, valued, and most importantly used as the basis for criminal justice policy.  Policies and programs would be designed in response to the causes of social problems.  Gone would be the days of social experiments and engineering that are ideologically based.  Dan Mears’s American Criminal Justice Policy illuminates how policy would change.  Even more so, he illustrates how solid evaluation methodologies can eliminate idiosyncratic policymaking.  No doubt, every elected official could use a copy of this book.  Then again, every staffer of the same elected politicians should be required to read this book and also pass a test on evaluation methods before they can develop policies and legislation.  This book signals how new policies can be shaped by better methods.  —Faye S. Taxman, George Mason University

The book should be required reading for all criminal justice researchers who seek federal and state funding, for all staff of federal and state agencies that fund criminal justice research, and for scholars and practitioners who serve on grant review panels for these agencies.  —R. Barry Ruback, Pennsylvania State University