Nothing Works Northeastern University Alternati
In the 2013 article by Welsh and Pfeffer (one of our former
Ph.D. students!), the authors claim that the growth of alternative (or
non-criminal justice) crime prevention approaches in past decades in the
United States has been attributed largely to a loss of faith in the
criminal justice system. This loss of faith is mostly a function of
three major research findings/claims: (1) in the 1970s, the claim that
“nothing works” in the treatment of offenders; (2) in the 1970s,
research evidence showing that traditional police practices had very
little or no effect on crime rates; and (3) from the 1970s through the
early 1990s, the dramatic growth in the use of prisons with no evidence
of a decline in crime.
In your opinion, which one is the most important as an
explanation for the growth in alternative crime prevention approaches?
And why is it the most important? In your response, give some thought to
how it may relate to developmental crime prevention, community crime
prevention, situational crime prevention, or some combination. (There is
no right or wrong answer here. Dig into the article and let us know
what you think.)
In Welsh and Farrington (2007), there is a long, drawn-out discussion
about how evaluations used to assess the impact or effectiveness of
crime prevention programs are not all made equal. Some are high-quality,
providing a great deal of confidence in reported or observed effects;
others are weak, providing little confidence in reported effects.
Important to this discussion is the Scientific Methods Scale (SMS), a
5-level instrument for assessing the rigor of evaluations based on
internal validity, and first developed by Sherman et al. (1997).
Describe the key features of a level 3 evaluation on the SMS. Also, what
makes level 3 evaluations so important? In your response, give some
consideration to key threats to internal validity.