Fueled by Purpose

To kick off the new school year, I am delighted to welcome Dean Vicky Wilkins to JPO’s blog. Not only is Vicky a dear friend of my mine, she is the dean of the School of Public Affairs at American University, which houses JPO, and she has been an incredible partner to and administrator for this center. We share a commitment to providing opportunities for purpose-driven students to connect their learning to their passions. I’m proud of the students who have come to work for us at JPO and excited to see where their futures take them. I am also incredibly proud of leading an office filled with passionate professionals fueled by purpose.

– Director Kim Ball, Justice Programs Office

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The Dangerous Oversimplification of Addiction

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Addiction is both a personal health crisis and a public health concern; it wreaks havoc on individual lives and can damage entire communities. The opioid crisis, for example, has led to the deaths of thousands of people, devastated families, and left cities and towns struggling financially from the loss of a workforce. How we understand addiction, therefore, has significant policy implications. The trouble is, addiction is difficult to treat, relapse is common, and there is no scientific rule to explain why any given drinker, user of prescription drugs, or recreational marijuana user becomes dependent or addicted.

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New Beginnings – Fun and Stressful at the Same Time

packinglargeThis month is full of new beginnings for JPO and for me. JPO is packing up and cleaning out, preparing for an office reconfiguration. We’ve grown and changed over the last two years and so have our needs. We’re losing our library and conference room to create more office space to house our growing team of experts and leaders—but isn’t everything online now, anyway, and, really, who meets in person anymore? Continue reading “New Beginnings – Fun and Stressful at the Same Time”

Friday News Roundup: August 31, 2018

Friday News Roundup

California historically puts an end to cash bail, North Carolina passes the Veterans Treatment Court Improvement Act, and Crossroads Juvenile Detention Center in Brooklyn is recognized for its emphasis on therapy and rehabilitation over punishment as New York’s raise the age law fast approaches. All of these stories and more in this week’s news roundup. 

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Working in Criminal Justice as an International Affairs Student: Understanding the Challenges at Home

Photo of CameronI’ve been working for a little over a year as a student associate at the Justice Programs Office (JPO). Most of my time is taken up by being graduate student at American University’s School of International Service but being a student associate at JPO has been a very rewarding part-time job. As an international affairs student, the daily legal issues I study are very different from those most students who focus on domestic government study. During our studies, we international affairs students observe whether a country adheres to the rule of law or we compare the philosophical underpinnings that countries use in designing legal or governmental systems.   Rarely do we take a deep look at the American legal system or the American criminal justice system. My time here at JPO has built on my personal thoughts about the American criminal justice system and brought them into sharper focus.

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Perceptions of Crime

PM's take on perception of crime

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of perception is “a result of perceiving,” “a mental image,” “awareness of the elements of environment through physical sensation,” “quick, acute, and intuitive cognition,” or “a capacity for comprehension.” Perceptions are the way that we understand something and are often based on our knowledge of real events or our own life experiences. When it comes to our understanding of crime, our perceptions of crime can be based on experiencing crime as a victim ourselves, what we know about the criminal activity in our community from local news or conversations with neighbors, listening to political conversations about crime, or reading stories about criminal activity on social media.

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