Our key journals in this field are the Journal of Poverty and Social Justice, an internationally unique forum for leading research on the themes of poverty and social justice, Policy & Politics, a world-leading journal that is committed to advancing our understanding of the dynamics of policy making and implementation, and Evidence & Policy, dedicated to comprehensive and critical assessment of the relationship between researchers and the evidence they produce and the concerns of policy makers and practitioners.
There has been a rapid increase in the number of, and demand for, organisations offering behavioural science advice to government over the last ten years. Yet we know little of the state of science and the experiences of these evidence providers.
Aims and objectives:
To identify current practice in this emerging field and the factors that impact on the production of high-quality and policy-relevant research.
A qualitative study using one-to-one interviews with representatives from a purposeful sample of 15 units in the vanguard of international behavioural science research in policy. The data were analysed thematically.
Relationships with policymakers were important in the inception of units, research conduct, implementation and dissemination of findings. Knowledge exchange facilitated a shared understanding of policy issues/context, and of behavioural science. Sufficient funding was crucial to maintain critical capacity in the units’ workforces, build a research portfolio beneficial to policymakers and the units, and to ensure full and transparent dissemination.
Discussion and conclusion:
Findings highlight the positive impact of strong evidence-provider/user relationships and the importance of governments’ commitment to co-produced research programmes to address policy problems and transparency in the dissemination of methods and findings. From the findings we have created a framework, ‘STEPS’ (Sharing, Transparency, Engagement, Partnership, Strong relationships), of five recommendations for units working with policymakers. These findings will be of value to all researchers conducting research on behalf of government.
To support evidence-informed decision making in a health service context, there is a need to better understand the contextual challenges regarding evidence use.
Aims and objectives:
To examine experiences of evidence use and perceived barriers, facilitators and recommended strategies to increase research use among senior decision makers in the national health service in Ireland.
We conducted semi-structured interviews with decision makers in Ireland’s national health service (n= 17) from August 2021 to January 2022. Criterion sampling was used (division in the organisation and grade of position), and interviews were analysed using thematic analysis. Barriers and facilitators were mapped according to multiple-level categories (individual, organisational, research, social, economic, political) identified in the literature.
Health service decision makers described a blended and often reactive approach to using evidence; the type and source of evidence used depended on the issue at hand. Barriers and facilitators to research use manifested at multiple levels, including the individual (time); organisational (culture, access to research, resources, skills); research (relevance, quality); and social, economic and political levels (external links with universities, funding, political will). Strategies recommended by participants to enhance evidence-informed decision making included synthesising key messages from the research, strengthening links with universities, and fostering more embedded research.
Discussion and conclusion:
Evidence use in health service contexts is a dynamic process with multiple drivers. This study underlines the need for a multilevel approach to support research use in health services, including strategies targeted at less tangible elements such as the organisational culture regarding research.
This book aims to make clear the interconnections between social policy and criminal justice practice, bringing together key social policy concepts within a framework for reducing reoffending rates. The book focuses on the key social policy issues of employment, health and mental health, low income and poverty, housing and family. It shows how understanding and treating these as issues interconnected to criminal justice outcomes can and does lead to improvements in criminal justice practice.
This book enables students and criminal justice practitioners to understand how a social policy focus can better inform practice with those involved in the criminal justice system. It features:
A 10 point summary of key points for learning;
Chapter heading questions to support independent learning;
In this chapter, the CJS approach to children and families is analysed. First, the chapter outlines how children and families are defined both legally and socially, with key observations about the criminal age of responsibility in England and Wales and the historic importance of the nuclear family to policy. When considering how the CJS engages with children and families, it becomes evident that the emphasis is primarily negative, with a focus on their ‘delinquent’ and ‘troublesome’ nature, as expressed through the notion of intergenerational transmission, and this has led to a punitive approach to children and families. The chapter considers the evidence for and against this approach, together with the wider implications of this approach. The chapter concludes by suggesting what criminal justice practice can learn from the lessons of the punitive approach in social policy, as expressed through the TFP, to improve criminal justice practice for children and families.
A standard requirement of probation or parole is often involvement in employment, making evident employment’s importance to criminal justice practice as a route towards rehabilitation It is also relevant to note that rehabilitation through employment is one of the very few types of rehabilitation programmes for which there is definitive evidence that it works – for most type of rehabilitation programmes there is mixed or no evidence of evidence that it works (Ministry of Justice, 2013). The chapter begins with an outline of the evidence of a link between employment and positive criminal justice outcomes, with employment having been shown to increase desistance and reduce recidivism. The specific factors that limit the effectiveness of employment for criminal justice practice are then considered. The importance of employment to social policy outcomes is detailed, together with the changed context over the last 40 years that is impacting the nature of employment policies. Finally, what criminal justice practice can learn from this changed context is considered, in order to identify ways in which social policy can improve criminal justice practice.
This chapter outlines key issues related to housing, and how these impact on criminal justice practice. In particular, the focus is on changes since the 1980s in housing and housing policy that have had significant actual or potential implications for criminal justice practice and practitioners. The chapter shows that changes in housing tenure have had a signifcant impact on criminal justice practice in significant ways, either directly or indirectly, through for example the issues of homelessnes and residualisation. The chapter concludes with the argument that there are a number of ways in which social policy could improve criminal justice practice, such as a particular focus on the individual and structural causes of homelessness and housing need, and policies that emphasise the prevention of homelessness.
The key objective of this book is the improvement of criminal justice practice. It takes as its starting point the assertion that social policy and criminal justice practice are inextricably interconnected, meaning that the issues, policies and practices that affect criminal justice practice also affect social policy, and vice versa. The book outlines that a key way for criminal justice practitioners to improve their practice is to address the interconnected social policy and criminal justice needs that individuals have. The book focuses on the key social policy issues of employment, health and mental health, housing, family, and low income and poverty, and details how understanding and treating these as issues interconnected to criminal justice outcomes can and does lead to improvements in criminal justice practice, which has beneficial outcomes not just for criminal justice practice, but also for wider society in general. This makes the book relevant not just to students, but to anyone concerned with improving criminal justice practice.
This chapter sets out the key aims of the book. It explains that the book’s key focus is on highlighting how an understanding of key social policy theories, concepts and policies can better inform the work of those directly and indirectly involved in criminal justice practice. The chapter then details that the book is relevant to those both studying and/or working as criminal justice practitioners in a policy and practice context. It concludes by describing the structure of the book, in terms of its sections and chapters.
In this chapter, the focus is on low income and poverty and their links to crime. There are a number of criminological and non-criminological theories that make an explicit link between crime and poverty. The chapter starts by distinguishing between absolute low income and poverty, and then rationalises the rest of the chapter’s focus solely on poverty. It then analyses the evidence for and against a link between poverty and crime. This shows that crime and its effects hurt those living in poverty the most, something that should lead to a primary focus on what should be done to stop people living in poverty being victims of crime. However, criminal justice practice strongly emphasises crime prevention through what is typically referred to as crime reduction strategies, particularly situational crime prevention. The chapter analyses the limitations of this approach, and this leads to a discussion of how a social policy focus on the social problems leading to poverty, particularly a lack of power, can improve outcomes for criminal justice practice.
The chapter’s key focus is on detailing why and how criminal justice practice currently deals with physical and mental health conditions and how this could be improved. The chapter opens with an outline of the current context of physical and mental health in relation to the CJS, discussing the evidence of a criminogenic link between physical and mental health and criminal justice outcomes, and also the factors that increase the likelihood of CJS involvement, such as comorbidity, dual diagnosis and ACEs. An analysis of how the CJS manages those with physical and mental health conditions follows, with a particular focus on the cost of prison, but also the wider costs to the CJS. The chapter outlines measures that have been identified as ways to improve the outcomes for those with physical and mental health conditions in the CJS. Finally, there is a summary of how a social policy approach to dealing with physical and mental health, focused on universalism, citizenship, equivalence and integration, could improve the outcomes for criminal justice practice.