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Professor Welsh’s new book takes a critical look at evidence-based crime and justice policy

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Professor Brandon Welsh’s new book, The Oxford Handbook of Evidence-Based Crime and Justice Policy, written with Steven Zane and Daniel Mears, was published in December 2023 and explores best practices, as well as the rhetoric, in evidence-based policy in crime and justice here in the U.S. and across the world.

While the term “evidence-based,” is often used to underscore the legitimacy of a new policy or practice, especially in the criminal justice space, Welsh and his co-authors found that the research and data set forth as evidence does not always meet rigorous standards.

“Our book explores the question, ‘how can we make sure high-quality research and data are center stage in discussions around crime and justice policy,’” said Welsh.

Professor Welsh’s work asserts that high-quality research is the cornerstone of creating the most effective, socially just, and cost-beneficial policies for preventing crime and violence.

“It all starts with an emphasis on high-quality research,” said Welsh. “Garbage in is garbage out. The book makes clear that high-quality research is needed for policymakers and the public to trust the results—whatever the results say.”

Professor Welsh’s book features research by additional members of Northeastern’s School of Criminology and Criminal Justice faculty, including, Eric Piza, Natasha Frost, Dan O’Brien, and PhD student Heather Paterson. The Oxford Handbook of Evidence-Based Crime and Justice Policy, looks at evidence-based policy through the lens of the criminal justice system, the juvenile justice system, and alternative system response, like early interventions to prevent crime.

Order Professor Welsh’s book here. Learn more about Professor Welsh and his work here, including his expert testimony on evidence translation for crime prevention at a recent public seminar of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC.

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