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Models of the Criminal Justice System: A Review of Existing Impact Models

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 1990

Models discussed in this paper are abstract representations of selected aspects of the criminal justice system (CJS); the models can be used to predict how the CJS will adjust to such changes as increases in arrest rates, additional resources for police, and the introduction of sentencing guidelines.


Existing computer models of local, State, and Federal criminal justice systems are described that are used to estimate the impact of policy changes on resource needs and flows through the CJS. The applicability of these models to requirements of modeling the Federal criminal justice system is examined, and modifications to existing computer models and new models that may need to be developed to meet the requirements of the National Drug Control Strategy are considered. Statistical models, disaggregated models, and microsimulations are detailed. Modeling techniques and their benefits to policymakers are described, and capabilities and levels of CJS models are discussed and illustrated. 30 references and 5 illustrations

Date Published: June 1, 1990