Positive Criminology and Positive Psychology

AuthorJeremy Olson
Published date01 February 2023
Date01 February 2023
Subject MatterArticles
Criminal Justice Policy Review
2023, Vol. 34(1) 3 –7
© The Author(s) 2022
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/08874034221133727
Positive Criminology and
Positive Psychology
Jeremy Olson1
Welcome to our Special Issue on Positive Criminology and Positive Psychology. It is
our hope that this issue will help generate critical reflection about American criminal
justice policy and the possibility of moving the system towards a happier and more
prosocial perspective. To begin, this editorial introduction briefly frames positive
criminology and positive psychology for the readers, and then reviews the content
of the special issue.
positive criminology, positive psychology, satisfaction with life, well-being
During his presidential address to the American Psychological Association, Seligman
(1999) lamented research indicating that cases of serious depression had increased
10-fold in four decades and voiced his concern that it was now commonly manifesting
as early as the teen years. Seligman hinted at his dismay that increases in depression
were despite increased prosperity, technological advances, and greater access to edu-
cation. To Seligman, it was clear that Psychology’s long-standing efforts to promote
mental healing in people who were suffering some form of dysfunction simply was not
working as well as expected.
Arguably, because of its reliance on rehabilitative therapies from psychology, juve-
nile justice was experiencing its own sense of failed interventions (Carmichael et al.,
2005; Spencer & Jones-Walker, 2004). Recidivism rates after juvenile interventions
were consistently around 50% (Abrams et al., 2008; Unruh et al., 2009). While one-
half recidivism appears high, these juvenile recidivism rates are generally lower than
adult recidivism after incarceration. The latter have been reported between 44% after
1Penn State Wilkes-Barre, Dallas, USA
Corresponding Author:
Jeremy Olson, Penn State Wilkes-Barre, 44 University Drive, Dallas, PA 18612-5500, USA.
Email: jao@psu.edu
1133727CJPXXX10.1177/08874034221133727Criminal Justice Policy ReviewOlson

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