Vol 4 | Issue 1 | Spring 2009

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The Influence of Research on Criminal Justice Policy Making

Arthur H. Garrison

Criminal justice policy making is a vertical and horizontal political dynamic. The criminal justice researcher who understands the decision-making process within state criminal justice policy-making agencies can influence decisions by providing research to meet policy makers’ needs. This paper provides a schematic view on the criminal justice decision-making process and discusses how researchers can make their work relevant within it.

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Assessing HIDTAs and Vehicle Stops in Narcotics Trafficking Research

Durant Frantzen and Salih Hakan Can

The efficacy of drug interdiction methods raises important policy questions regarding programs designed to achieve stated organizational goals. High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) entities are one example of a program that has come under fire in the last several years due to a lack of productivity in drug enforcement output goals (e.g., possession or sale arrests) hampered by a diffusion of resources across the nation to target local drug epidemics. HIDTA is a multijurisdictional task force endeavor that is charged with drug interdiction in 28 high-level drug distribution jurisdictions across the country. Drug arrests derived through searches and seizures during traffic stops also make up a significant number of total drug interdiction incidents; however, few empirical studies have compared organizational outputs for these two interdiction methods. Data for this study were gathered in a U.S.-Mexico border jurisdiction, one of the HIDTA areas initially funded by the Byrne Grant Program to stop drug trafficking. The study offers a comparison of vehicle drug related arrests and HIDTA arrests and provides policy implications and suggestions for future research in narcotics trafficking research.

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Professionalism in Policing: Assessing the Professionalization Movement

Philip E. Carlan and John A. Lewis

This study examines police professionalism by using Hall’s professionalism scale. Questionnaires (N = 1,953) were mailed to all municipal police departments with 50 or more sworn personnel in one southern state, producing 1,114 responses (57% response rate) from 16 participating departments. Analysis revealed that professionalism attitudes did not differ significantly among agencies. Findings also revealed above-average professionalism attitudes on all dimensions (organizational referent, public service, self-regulation, calling, and autonomy). Based on these findings, the authors conclude that policing is closely aligned with the primary components of professionalism. Findings also reveal, however, that officers are content with low levels of actual autonomy; thus, policing must maintain progressive efforts if it hopes to one day achieve status as a profession.

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A Tribute to Ken Kerle

Cliff Roberson, Editor-in-Chief, PICJ

In March 2009, Ken Kerle, the founding editor of American Jails magazine retired. Many professionals in criminal justice will miss him. Ken has visited more jails than any other known person. He was worked hard not only to improve our jails but also to advance the cause of the many professionals employed in our correctional system. I am honored to know him, to have been provided with the opportunity to contribute to his magazine, American Jails, and to consider myself as one of his many friends.

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How Ken Kerle Changed the Corrections World (and My Life)

Mary K. Stohr

As I have said many times, Ken Kerle is the modern day John Howard, and John Howard, like Ken Kerle, changed the corrections world. As you know, John Howard was an English ex-sheriff of the 1700s. He spent his life traveling and speaking out in favor of the reformation and standardization of the treatment of those held in English and European gaols (or jails). Howard was a major influence in the movement to improve general conditions for jail inmates, in their separation or classification, and in the cessation of the fee system, whereby an inmate was required to pay a fee for even such basics as food and clothing. Ironically, or perhaps fittingly, Howard literally gave his life for jail reform, as he died of gaol fever, or typhus.

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A Jail Guru Reminisces

Ken Kerle

Life sometimes changes unexpectedly. In June 1968, I had already resigned from a West Virginia college and looked forward to a job offered by the Robert F. Kennedy presidential primary campaign team. My residence in Washington, D.C., had already opened up political opportunities with jobs in Congress on Capitol Hill and a three-year stint as a volunteer with the Democratic National Committee. Much of this occurred while I was still in graduate school in Government and Public Administration at The American University. However, Kennedy’s assassination in Los Angeles jolted me into reality. I needed employment, and ten minutes after I turned off the radio after hearing the news, my phone rang, and I listened to a voice offer me a position in a small community college in Hagerstown, Maryland.

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About Us

This journal is dedicated to the men and women serving and those who have served in our criminal justice agencies. America is fortunate to have such fine and devoted professionals serving on our behalf. Thank you.

Professional Issues in Criminal Justice (PICJ), which started in 2005, has evolved from a newly established journalin criminal justice to an established peer-reviewed journal in the field.