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9 J. Res. Crime & Delinquency 1 (1972)

handle is hein.journals/jrcd9 and id is 1 raw text is: 








journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency


Introduction


  This issue presents additional pa-
pers invited under an unusual solici-
tation. As was the case for Volume
Eight, Number Two,  it had been my
pleasure, as Editor, to be able to
write to a number of persons known
for their interest both in mathemati-
cal models and  the criminal justice
field and to tell them that, for once,
if they wished to  submit a manu-
script no limits would be set on the
quantity and complexity of their no-
tation, so long as it was conventional
in form. This issue includes, like the
last, the significant papers which re-
sulted.
  Frances   Baker  Simon's  paper,
which  could almost have  been en-
titled, Inefficient Statistics Are
Best, presents  some   unexpected
results. Her comparisons of different
methods   for  building  prediction
tables (base expectancies) show that
the  statistical methods which  we
have  all been taught to respect -
such as multiple regression, discrim-
inant analysis, and even predictive
attribute analysis - are, upon vali-
dation, no  better than the simple
weighting method   used by Burgess


about half a century ago for one of
the first prediction tables. These
results do not seem   to be freaks,
since similar findings  have  been
noted  in  the United  States with
quite different kinds of data.
  The  reasons for poor predictions
would  seem  to lie, not in the ab-
sence of powerful  methods, but in
the poor  quality of the data base.
Data about  offenders are badly re-
corded, badly encoded, and  subject
to  poor collection methods.   The
purpose to be served by data collec-
tion, if any, is too often seen as the
protection of the  system, rather
than  careful description of either
persons or events. If the models re-
ported in this issue (and others) are
to be of more than theoretical inter-
est, we must have  serious attempts
at honest description in the field and
more  careful recording in offices of
administration throughout the crimi-
nal justice system.
                   Leslie T. Wilkins
Professor of Criminal justice
  State University of New York
  at Albany


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