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Science cannot fix this: the limitations of evidence-based practice

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The use of evidence-based practice as a guide for correctional investment is widely lauded as a positive shift away from punitive approaches to criminal justice. The value-neutral language of science, however, supplants a more fundamental and necessary dialog about core principles of our justice system. We raise concern that the discourse of evidence-based practice serves to avoid accountability for the dominant correctional regime which remains overwhelmingly invested in the imposition of punishment. Furthermore, evidence-based practice privileges academic expertise and de-legitimizes the knowledge base within affected communities stifling grassroots innovation and creativity.

Keywords: alternatives to incarceration; community justice; criminal justice policy; evidence-based practice; restorative justice

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology,Suffolk University, Boston,MA, USA 2: Southwest Minnesota State University, MN, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2012

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