The purpose of this research paper was to review the position of criminology and criminal justice relative to the world of public policy. Despite an obvious relevance, the field of criminology has historically exhibited a reluctance to engage in questions of public policy in any systematic or concerted manner. Although there are some notable individual exceptions, as a group criminologists have been reticent to participate in the process. Criminological associations have expressed even more reservations regarding such participation.
We should be clear that the state of criminology as a field related to public policy is changing. Where it is headed we cannot say, but there is almost a certainty that the extremely limited participation of the field that has characterized its history is ending. Debates today are less about whether to participate and more about how best to participate in the policy arena.
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