Modelling Layers supporting the simulation of criminal justice dynamics
The approach adopted in simulating criminal justice dynamics is synthetic: what we see, or is experienced, in the justice system is the result or confluence of a large number of factors. These factors include the base population, age, gender, and other socioeconomic characteristics; the distribution of offending risk in the population; the response of the justice and other organisations, in identifying detecting, convicting, sentencing and rehabilitating offenders; and of other individuals and organisations in shouldering the burden of that offending and its personal and economic cost. It would be a monumental task to attempt to model all these factors and their interactions in detail. However, depending on the questions of interest and the level of detail needed to provide answers - albeit approximate or qualified answers - a limited and tractable approach is possible.
A simplified description, one that incorporates key variables and relationships, one that captures the essence of the behaviour and dynamics of the system(s) involved, would provide a powerful tool to explore and analyse the potential impact of policy or practice reforms or other changes. There is no recipe for doing this. In large part it is a matter of judgment and practicality, available data or other information to support assumptions or inform relationships. An incremental and interactive approach allows for additional structure and detail to be added as confidence in the veracity of the results is built and the behaviour of the model is seen to mimic that of the real world.
The simulations developed and used here are built on a layer model, with each successive layer, conceptually at least, relying on the one on which it rests. More detail will be provided as this website is developed.
Compound structure of the simulation engine
The application of scientific, quantitative methods to questions of policy and practice in criminal justice