Decision Making in Criminal Justice: Toward the Rational by Michael R. Gottfredson

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By Michael R. Gottfredson

The research of choices within the felony justice method presents an invaluable concentration for the exam of many primary points of felony jus­ tice. those judgements are usually not regularly hugely obvious. they're made, or­ dinarily, inside large parts of discretion. The goals of the choices are usually not constantly transparent, and, certainly, the valuable goals of those judgements are frequently the topic of a lot debate. often they don't seem to be guided by means of specific determination rules. usually the members are not able to verbalize the foundation for the choice of selection choices. sufficient details for the selections is generally unavailable. hardly ever can the selections be verified to be rational. via a rationaldecision we suggest "that determination between these attainable for the decisionmaker which, within the mild of the knowledge to be had, maximizes the likelihood of the success of the aim of the decisionmaker in that express and specific case" (Wilkins, 1974a: 70; additionally 1969). This definition, which stems from statistical determination thought, issues to 3 primary features of selections. First, it really is as­ sumed number of attainable judgements (or, extra accurately, of attainable choices) is accessible. If just one selection is feasible, there is not any de­ cision challenge, and the query of rationality doesn't come up. frequently, after all, there'll be a decision, no matter if the choice is to make your mind up to not decide-a selection that, after all, usually has profound consequences.

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Sample text

REASONS FOR NOT CALLING THE POLICE Data from the 1981 National Crime Survey on the reasons that victims gave for not reporting their crime to the police are summarized in Table 1. " One-fifth of the survey-reported rapes, nearly two-fifths of the robberies, three-fifths of the larcenies, and one-half of 12 8 9 15 31 32 35%a 23 23 18 8 10 18% 21 Nothing could be don e/lack of proof 23 39 16 4% 15 22 30 Not imp ortant eno ug h 10 8 8 10 7 9 7 7 _%b Police wouldn' t want to be bothered 3 14 9 11 8% Rep ort ed to so meone else 2 2 3 2% 6 3 2 Too inco nven ient SOURCE: Bureau of Justice Statistics National Crime Survey, 1981.

Second, someone must decide that the behavior in question is properly within the realm of the criminal justice system. Third, the decision to enter the event into the criminal justice process must be made. This chapter is concerned principally with this last decision, the decision to report a crime to the police . Only recently have studies become available that permit an examination of this decision. The earlier decisions of discovery and definition, although of great interest, have received less research attention.

That is, the proportion reported to the police increased as age increased. When age and type of victimization were controlled, however, racial differences in reporting behavior were inconsistent. When racial differences did exist, sometimes whites and sometimes blacks and other minority group members were more likely to call the police . On the other hand, when controls for age and type of victimization were introduced, men generally were less likely to call the police then were women-often markedly so.

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