The University of Cincinnati’s John Paul Wright writes, “In short, while academic criminology has had much to say about crime, most of it has been wrong.” He blames a predominant liberal bent in his profession.
Writing in the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal, University of Cincinnati criminologist John Paul Wright suggests that a dominant liberal mindset of his profession has led to a preponderance of flawed academic research. He writes, “In short, while academic criminology has had much to say about crime, most of it has been wrong. How can an academic discipline be so wrongheaded? And should we listen to criminologists today when, say, they call for prisons to be emptied, cops to act as glorified playground attendants, and criminal sentences to be dramatically reduced, if not eliminated?”
His 3,600-word essay concludes, “The current national conversation about criminal-justice reform is well intentioned, but we run the risk of succumbing to passionate rhetoric and to being misled by promises built on flimsy evidence. Gains made in reducing crime have been hard-won, but faulty reform can easily erode them. Its costs will be measured in lost lives and suffering. The reality of crime does not easily lend itself to analysis by spreadsheet; nor is it a matter of arcane theory or philosophical principles to those who’ve been victimized. Reform efforts must recognize these stubborn facts. We encourage policymakers to listen to what criminologists have to say—but we also encourage them to pay attention to what they don’t say, which is often more important.”