How I killed time in 2021
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to my friends, family, colleagues, and readers.
Like many people, during the last week of December I’m naturally drawn to reflect back on the past year; things that I’ve done (stayed home during the pandemic), places I’ve gone (the grocery store, while wearing a mask), and things that I’ve seen (people not properly wearing their masks at grocery stores).
One of those activities is my blog.
Although writing the blog has often been challenging, it has also been a rewarding experience, including helping me to stay focused and relatively sane in the midst of the crazy times we live in.
In closing out the second calendar year of blogging, I thought it might be interesting to check and see which of my pieces attracted the most attention.
If you want to engage in this frivolity, you can find the top ten most viewed blog posts of 2021 below.
Below are the blogs, listed in ascending order of views.
10. What explains the 2020 spike in murders in the United States?
There have been a number of attempts to link the rise in homicides in the United States to the defund the police movement, bail reform, or the Ferguson effect. These explanations are mostly red herrings. More subtle processes are going on.
9. Preventing our children from ending up in juvie hall
Lots of children, for no fault of their own, get caught up in the juvenile justice system. Here are some strategies for minimizing this from occurring.
8. Why developing a literacy of graffiti & street art is important
Graffiti and street art is abundant in most large urban centers. Instead of summarily dismissing it as mindless vandalism, it’s important to appreciate its complexity and the creativity of many of its practitioners.
7. Why writing well is important for Criminal Justice Practitioners
Being a correctional, parole, probation, or police officer requires numerous skills. One of the most overlooked, but important, is an ability to communicate effectively by writing. Here is why.
6. Prison Tropes “R” us: Why it’s so damn hard to reform correctional facilities in the United States
Much of what the public is exposed to and that they learn about jails and prisons is exaggerated. Not only do I argue how this occurs, but I suggest some strategies to avoid this situation.
5. Who is the real criminologist? And other uncomfortable questions about expertise
Many people are mistakenly called or uncritically assume the title of criminologist. Not only is this disingenuous, but it is dangerous. Instead I lay out some of the basic attributes of what the profession regards as hallmarks of this profession.
4. Why most graduate school requirements do not adequately prepare doctoral students for the academic job market and what can be done about it?
Students who want to earn a doctorate and become professors must often jump through numerous hoops that bear little relationship to the jobs they eventually perform. Here are some strategies to better align their training with the demands of the job.
3. How editors of academic journals can increase the willingness of scholars to review papers and get better reviews
Journal editors have a difficult job but often complain about bad reviewers. One way to remedy this situation may lie less with the reviewers and more with the manner by which some editors interact with reviewers.
2. What’s in a name? exconvict, formerly incarcerated, or returning citizen?
There are lots of terms that are used to refer to people who are formally incarcerated. None of them are perfect. Instead, maybe we should start with asking people who are released from correctional custody what they prefer,
1. Be mindful of the “lived experience fallacy” and its cousin, “those who are closest to the problem are in the best position to change it”
The “lived experience” idea has gained traction in numerous academic and practitioner settings. Yet there appears to be a universal assumption that all people who have these kinds of background have the same kind of experience, that they have the adequate skills to communicate their insights to a wider interested public, and that they are equally motivated to press for change.
In closing, I want to thank my readers, both new and old, including the ones who have reached out to me.
I also want to acknowledge a handful of colleagues and family members who provided helpful feedback to selected drafts of some of my posts. To them I am forever grateful.
You can subscribe to the blog via icon on the right hand side of the blog.
Photo Credit: Andy TylerFollow