Randomized experiments in criminal justice policy: Prospects and problems

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Abstract

In theory, experimental designs provide the most reliable method to establish a relationship between interventions and outcomes. However, in practice, randomized experiments have remained a much less common choice for criminal justice evaluators than have nonexperimental methods. This article focuses on factors that have traditionally inhibited the use of randomized experiments as a tool for developing criminal justice policy. In this context, the main ethical, political, and practical barriers that face experimenters are described. General principles for identifying circumstances less or more amenable for developing randomized experiments are also defined. In concluding, it is argued that experiments are possible in many circumstances and can provide a powerful tool for developing criminal justice policy.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)181-193
Number of pages13
JournalCrime and Delinquency
Volume46
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2000

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