Criminologists and criminal justice practitioners spend their professional lives studying crime and justice issues. The problem is the difficulty of ascertaining the current state of affairs regarding crime in America.
Research and developing practice are often years behind current events. To discover what’s happening now, you have to read today’s national and local newspapers.
If this indicates a bias for print journalism, it’s well founded. Newspaper reporters remain the primary source for thoughtful and probing review and analysis. People may have issues with the print side or journalism in general but they remain the standard for news coverage.
As I write this, the obvious major event within criminal justice is the impact of the economy and substantial budget cuts that are closing prisons and causing layoffs in law enforcement, courts and corrections. But in “official” documents, virtually nothing is said about the economy’s impact on the justice system. Research and analysis documents take years to develop.
This is why public affairs staff in justice agencies spends considerable time collecting news stories and circulating them to senior staff.
There are three primary sources of current information for crime and justice news. They are:
- The Crime Report, a joint project of Criminal Justice Journalists and the John Jay Center on Media, Crime and Justice. You can sign up for a daily feed via e-mail. See http://TheCrimeReport.Org.
- Stateline.org http://www.stateline.org/live/ . Select “Crime and Courts” from the “Issues” menu. Stateline is a product of the Pew Center on the States.
- Go to your Google account (or create one) and click on “More” in header and go to “Alerts.” Follow the instructions and insert the topic you are interested in. If you want data on crime prevention you will get a daily feed of new articles and reports dealing with that topic. Create all the Google Alert accounts you want.
Beyond these, national news sources with RSS feeds (which provide a daily update) are listed on the left side of this site.
On the right side of the site are crime and justice blogs from individual cities.
Most of the listed blogs, however, are simply resting places for the latest crime related stories from one newspaper.
Please see Criminal Justice Resources (at the top left of this site) for sources of information from criminal justice agencies.