In Episode #14, Laurie Robinson, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs at the U.S. Department of Justice, discusses bridging the gap between researchers and practitioners, the promise of problem-solving courts, strengthening the indigent defense system, partnering with state and local law enforcement, and more.
Robinson Interview Highlights
Robinson on Making Research Accessible to Practitioners and Policymakers
“I’ve been frustrated for years by the fact that we have a lot of the results of our research in academic journal articles, and yet busy police detectives and busy practitioners of all stripes don’t have time to go and read those journal articles and synthesize the results and figure out what that means for their day-to-day practice or policy. A Capital Hill staffer racing around does not have time to read that material and distill it for his or her boss. So we’re focusing on how to get information out to the field in a format that is accessible and useful for practitioners and policymakers.”
Robinson on the Promise of Problem-Solving Courts
“[Problem-solving courts are] quite a different approach that at base has the judge in the central role exercising the kind of coercive power of the court to shape offender behavior. And that model, which is coupled with, in the case of drug courts, drug testing as a measure of the offender’s behavior, keeping the offender on a short leash and having him or her appear back frequently before the judge; that model, and we know this from research, from rigorous research in the drug court model, has been proven to be very effective. We’ve seen that in the reduction of recidivism, in the reduction of drug use, and in much lowered costs as well.”
Robinson on Federal Relationships with State and Local Law Enforcement
“This administration is extraordinarily committed to a strong, strong working relationship with both state and local law enforcement. Very early on, during the spring of 2009, Attorney General Holder held a law enforcement summit in which he invited, into his own office, leaders from all of the major law enforcement organizations at the state and local level and many of the leaders from around the country – not just to hear their views but just to meet with them, to tell them that they were welcomed in his office, and of course to listen to them about what they viewed as priorities for the young administration. We have tried to keep an open door ever since that time and I think we have very good relationships with them; we value those relationships, and have urged them to simply pick up the phone and call anytime.”
The Criminal Justice Conversations Podcast with David Onek features in-depth, thirty-minute interviews with a wide range of criminal justice leaders: law enforcement officials, policymakers, advocates, service providers, academics and others.
The Podcast gets behind the sound bites that far too often dominate the public dialogue about criminal justice, to have detailed, nuanced conversations about criminal justice policy.
Podcast host David Onek is a Senior Fellow at Berkeley Law School and a former Commissioner on the San Francisco Police Commission.
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