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13 J. Res. Crime & Delinquency 1 (1976)

handle is hein.journals/jrcd13 and id is 1 raw text is: 








Journal of Research in Cri e anil Delinquency


JANUARY   1976


NUMBER   1


Editorial Notes


Public   life in America has never been
   without an abundance of sages will-
ing to make some kind of pronounce-
ment   on  all or at  least some  of
the  aspects of the crime  problem.
Some have explained it, some have pro-
posed remedies, some have been  con-
tent merely to denounce it. Out of all
these perceptions and prescriptions our
national response to a persisting epi-
demic  has taken its confusing forms.
Obviously the response is pathetically
inadequate for the times in which we
live but the dialogue continues.
  There  is a difference in this age of
disillusion. Whereas in the ebullience
of victory in a world war our boundless
confidence led some of our leaders to a
conviction that even the crime prob-
lem  could be solved, there are now
overtones of despair and desperation.
Punishment  and restraint seem to some
to be the only answers, and we do not
lack for prophets to tell us that the
punishment  should be more severe and
the restraint more constricting.
  But  there is another difference. We
are also living in an age in which em-
piricism is supported by a competent
social science. The prophets who used
to function on a priori fantasies about
what the rational man (usually a sensi-
ble fellow like themselves) might do
when  confronted with the occasion for
a criminal act have been replaced by
writers who carefully refer to research
findings supporting  the contentions
which  they wish to make. The impact
                                    1


of  their recommendations   on  our
policy-makers begins to be impressive.
We  have had a bumper  crop of crim-
inal justice prognostication in 1975. In
our  last issue we re-visited Robert
Martinson, whose documented  review
of evaluative research on correctional
rehabilitation has become a kind of
benchmark  for future charting of cor-
rectional policy. In this issue we pre-
sent a pair of reviews of a comparably
significant study by Paul Lerman, deal-
ing with two of the most renowned in-
novations generated by California cor-
rections. We hope that the controversy
which  this volume has  already pro-
duced  will intensify for the common
benefit of the general public and our
own  research community. In our next
issue we will present reviews of several
other members of the class of 1975. The
works of Ernest van den Haag, James
Q. Wilson, Norval Morris, and David
Fogel all present points of view which
scrupulously look to research for illu-
mination. Clearly research in criminal
justice has come of age; clearly it is put
to use by  writers of sensitivity and
learning. The questions before us now
are new and complex: How  well is re-
search being put to use by its inter-
preters? What are the rules for the in-
terpretation of research for the creation
of policy? What responsibilities must
the researchers bear for the interpreta-
tion of their own work? In our next
issue, the final one for this editor, we
shall attempt some preliminary resolu-


VOLUME   13

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