Data-based Justice Solutions

Since the mid-1990s, violent crime in the United States has decreased 29 percent. Despite this significant drop, there are pockets in our nation where violence thrives and extraordinarily high levels of homicides, assaults and gun crimes occur.

On March 15, 2015, Marcus Ladson killed Curtis Avent in Cleveland as part of a shooting spree in revenge for the gang-related killing of his cousin. Without eyewitnesses or DNA evidence, there were few leads. Through the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN), investigators were able to link shell casings from the crime scene to four prior incidents.

As both a trauma surgeon AND police Lieutenant with the Dallas Police Department, I spend an inordinate amount of time mitigating the aftermath of violence. 

Armstrong v. Village of Pinehurst is a clear reminder that legal standards around police de-escalation are rapidly evolving.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
Albert Einstein

Numbering somewhat fewer than four in every 100 adults in America, individuals with severe mental illness (SMI) generate at least one in 10 calls for police service.

How do you prove the value and effectiveness of a program? — With evidence.

December 22, 2015

As a judge serving on the bench for 20 years in the 20th Judicial Circuit in Illinois, I worked with several problem-solving courts and learned the many pros they provide for both an offender and a community at large. These courts included domestic violence, drug, veterans’ and teen courts.

December 7, 2015 Problem-solving courts began in the 1990s to accommodate offenders with specific needs that were not adequately addressed in traditional courts. Chief Judge Donald Hudson of the 16th Judicial Circuit, State of Illinois, stated, “Unless you treat the underlying cause, you’re like a doctor who’s attempting to cure a disease by only treating the symptoms. We need to reduce recidivism.”1 Problem-solving courts provide an effective tool to treat the underlying cause.

September 15, 2015 Burglary is one of the most common, yet frequently unsolved, crimes across the world (UN Survey of Crime Trends, 2004). In the United States, it is estimated that more than 2.5 million burglaries occurred in 2008, though fewer than 12 percent of these crimes were solved (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2008). There rarely is an eyewitness, forensic evidence or probable suspects available to guide police to the burglar (Bennell & Canter, 2002). As a result, cases go cold, victims suffer and perpetrators are free to reoffend.