The Importance of Criminal Justice Research to Current Crime Trends and the Future Direction of the Criminal Justice Field

In the world of research, specifically criminal justice research there are many practices, patterns, ideas, and other perceived notions that have already been uncovered and accepted as factual knowledge. Common sense, opinion, and bias also factor into the total equation of criminal justice research. Main themes to consider during the course of such research are ethics and standards in the overall context of the research that is being conducted.

Crime and criminal justice related concepts are ever changing and develop over time. It is important to understand current trends as well as having a vision for the future of the field. For these reasons, it is of vital importance to have updated research readily available to understand and to combat growing or problematic crime trends. Therefore, it is important that research can be conducted at any reasonable time and on nearly any subject with a certain few exceptions. Research should be conducted at any time and on any subject so long as the research is done ethically, the research is conducted in a professional manner, subjects have the right to be confidential, there is free and open access of the findings, the results are not skewed based upon bias or discrimination, and that there is no deception involved during the course of the research.

Other important factors to consider are the type of analysis being conducted whether it be crime, intelligence, operations, or investigative; and what the purpose or the intent of the research is. For example, it is important to consider the target group or subject of the research. If the goal of the research is to determine why crime is occurring, why certain individuals are carrying out criminal acts, or recidivism, than convicted offenders should be used as subjects at any given time within the noted ethical boundaries. However, if crime victims are the subjects of research, it is crucial not to re-victimize those individuals during the course of any research. It is the responsibility of the researcher in those cases to create a hypothesis, research design, and collect data in such a way as to not further traumatize or victimize those who are already victims.

As long as the research conforms to the established standards and conforms to ethical procedures, it is also important to ensure that research is free of plagiarism and research fraud. It is my opinion as well that any participants in the research that are not convicted offenders or inmates are either voluntarily participating in the research, provide consent, or are properly compensated. Confidentiality is also an important consideration for innocent participants and especially for victims. Researches must consider the risk-benefit ratio while conducting their research.

In conclusion, criminal justice research is an important aspect to current crime trends as well as the future direction of the criminal justice field. Research helps us to understand certain aspects of social and human impact on crime. The research needs to be conducted on an as needed basis. While this research is important it is also important to follow certain ethical and professional standards that have been set. Furthermore, certain individuals such as victims and innocent participants need to be granted certain protections and confidentiality to avoid re-victimization. Overall, so long as these procedures and precedents are followed it is important for any research to be conducted when necessary to help further the advancement of the field.

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