New Robinson Professor, Laurie Robinson, was recently interviewed by The Crime Report regarding major issues in criminology today and her work in the Justice Department.
From the interview:
“The Crime Report: You’ve mentioned on many occasions that you are an advocate of evidence-based programs. How much progress have we made on that front in the criminal justice area?
Robinson: We have made progress, but I completely agree with those who said at the recent Jerry Lee Symposium on Crime Prevention that we still have a good road ahead of us that we need to go down. If we look back 10 or 15 years, we can see that we have traveled a good way. I remember back in the 1990s it was very common for organizations to come out with lists of best practices or local programs they thought were good. This was based on mostly anecdote, however.
People are much, much less apt to do that now, because there is more understanding that programs need to be evaluated and there needs to be some kind of evidence, measures that prove things work. There still must be education on what constitutes evidence and what kinds of measures need to be produced.
I think the criminal-justice field, particularly police and corrections—the front and back ends of the system, less so in the adjudicatory part—practitioners are far, far more sophisticated about realities of evidence-based programs. The field is open to and demanding evidence-based programs.
I am given a lot of credit for advocating this when I came back to DOJ in 2009, but the field was really ripe for it. I was announcing a platform that everybody out there was ready for. Much more needs to be done, but the reception to crimesolutions.gov— OJP’s “what works” clearinghouse—has been terrific.”