We Can Move Mountains: Engaging in State-Level Policy Work

DOI10.1177/1043986221999860
https://doi.org/10.1177/1043986221999860
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice
2021, Vol. 37(2) 212 –220
© The Author(s) 2021
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DOI: 10.1177/1043986221999860
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Essay
We Can Move Mountains:
Engaging in State-Level
Policy Work
Lisa M. Growette Bostaph1
and Melissa Wintrow2
Abstract
An increasing number of academic researchers are becoming involved in state-level
policy work as a result of existing local partnerships or direct requests by agency
directors or elected officials. Most faculty and policymakers do not receive any
training in doing such collaborative work and, for each party in the partnership, it
can often seem like landing on another planet or, at the very least, visiting a foreign
country, with different jargon, players, and stakes. This essay provides a brief guide
to navigating the world of state-level partnerships in policymaking.
Keywords
public policy, criminal justice policy, researcher–practitioner partnerships, collaborative
work
Introduction
There is a growing desire among researchers to either conduct policy-relevant research
or to share existing research they believe could inform the policy process. Even with
this increased interest in policy work, few researchers receive any education or train-
ing during our doctoral studies on exactly how to engage in this process or initiate
policy-relevant work. Similarly, legislators want to make the best decisions we can;
however, we are making decisions not only about policy approaches but also about
how taxpayer dollars will be spent. Appropriate research and data can guide us as to
what has been deemed an effective policy solution (or not).
1Boise State University, ID, USA
2Idaho State Legislature, Boise, ID, USA
Corresponding Author:
Lisa M. Growette Bostaph, Boise State University, 1910 W University Dr, Boise, ID 83725, USA.
Email: lisabostaph@boisestate.edu
999860CCJXXX10.1177/1043986221999860Journal of Contemporary Criminal JusticeBostaph and Wintrow
research-article2021

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