This week, I read “An O.R. Missionary’s Visits to the Criminal Justice System” by Alfred Blumstein that appeared in the February issue of Operations Research (Read a synopsis of his article here). I remember the talk in 2005, which was an inspiration to me and a big reason why I started this blog on public policy OR. Dr. Blumstein’s contributions to the criminal justice system are nothing short of amazing–he was even awarded the 2007 Stockholm Prize in Criminology for his research on criminal careers.
What I find interesting about Dr. Blumstein’s approach to the criminal justice system is that he takes a systems-level approach and analyzes the impacts of each decision (i.e., sentencing guidelines) on the entire system to get counter-intuitive results.