The criminal justice field is a constantly evolving machine with changing laws, technology, practices and social perception. The key to staying relevant in such a fast-paced field is continual education.
Just because you’ve earned your diploma doesn’t mean you should stop actively learning. TED Talks are the modern-day lecture hall of today’s adults. And we can’t get enough of them. Pop one on during your morning commute or lunch break, and you’ll be amazed at how integral they become to your daily life. Not only can these talks be motivational and insightful, but they also open a door directly to the movers and shakers of the criminal justice field. You get to hear straight from the source about what the system’s current challenges are and how they’re being addressed.
We’ve compiled a Top 10 list of TED Talks that are helpful to criminal justice students and professionals. They’re also great listens for a general audience interested in being more informed. We’d love to hear your feedback on the speaker’s points. And if you have a favorite criminal justice podcast or Ted talk share them with us in the comments section!
1. WHY SMART STATISTICS ARE THE KEY TO FIGHTING CRIME
Anne Milgram became the Attorney General of New Jersey in 2007 and implemented a data-driven system to combat crime and streamline corrections. She said most officers relied on individual instincts based on their own experiences and didn’t have the means to look at the big picture. Milgram recruited a team of statisticians and analysts to provide a comprehensive database of the state’s crimes and offenders. That research helped answer the key questions of who they were arresting, charging and incarcerating. It also helped them develop a system for determining if an individual should be released or stay behind bars. Milgram is now the Vice President of Criminal Justice at the Arnold Foundation.
2. A VISION OF CRIMES IN THE FUTURE
Marc Goodman has led a career in law enforcement, global security and criminology. He explains how criminals can use technology, and how the rapid pace of improvement leaves civilians in vulnerable situations. Goodman explains how terrorists have used communications, robotics, the Internet and DNA sequencing. He suggests to open the lines of communication with the general population to an open forum on a global level. Goodman is also the founder of Future Crimes Institute and serves as the Global Security Advisor and Chair for Policy and Law at Singularity University.
3. THE NEUROSCIENCE OF RESTORATIVE JUSTICE
Daniel Reisel is a neuroscientist who studies the brains of criminals. After studying inmates at a high security prison, he concluded that certain individuals have brains that lack empathy. He explains how neurogenesis, newly formed neurons in the brain, can be a game changer in the corrective system. Reisel suggests altering rehabilitation to cut back on reoffending rates. Daniel is currently training to become an accredited restorative justice facilitator with the UK Restorative Justice Council.
4. TERRORISM IS A FAILED BRAND
Jason McCue is a lawyer known for his landmark cases advocating for victims of terrorism. In this TED talk, he suggests looking at terrorism as a global brand. To combat terrorism, McCue says countries should reach out to potential terrorist recruits and discredit the “brand.” McCue is also a partner of the GREAT Initiative: the Gender Rights and Equality Action Trust.
5. HOW GLOBAL CRIME NETWORKS WORK
Misha Glenny is an investigative journalist who writes for The Guardian and the BBC and specializes in crime coverage on an international level. He says organized crime accounts for 15 percent of the world’s economy, which he dubs the global shadow economy or McMafia. He explains how mafias from around the world work together to take advantage of global instability and capitalize on those resources for production and distribution. Glenny says most of the underworld’s recent exploits are in counterfeit goods and cybercrime.
6. THE RISE OF HUMAN-COMPUTER COOPERATION
Shyam Sankar is a data intelligence agent and teaches about human computer symbiosis. He advocates for developing technology to the human by minimizing friction in the interface. He says this can diminish terrorism by capturing leaders, and deterring recruits. Sankar is the Director of Forward Deployed Engineering at Palantir Technologies, where he works with law enforcement teams and corporations.
7. A NAVY ADMIRAL’S THOUGHTS ON GLOBAL SECURITY
James Stavridis is a retired U.S. Navy Admiral and was first to hold the positions of Commander of the US European Command (USEUCOM) and of NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). He is currently the Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. In this TED talk, Stavridis advocates for global nations to exercise open source security, namely working together to build bridges, rather than walls. Part of that plan is for government agencies to partner with the private sector and the public. Stavridis urges for military personnel and civilians to establish relationships across the world from humanitarian aid to even connecting on a social network.
8. HOW WE CUT YOUTH VIOLENCE IN BOSTON BY 79 PERCENT
Rev. Jeffrey Brown relates his experience of the Boston Miracle, a process that reduced homicides and violence in Boston in the 90s. Each Friday night, Brown and a group of pastors walked the streets of the most violent neighborhoods and talked to the youth about their situation and how the church could help. He advocates for a community to partner together – community, law enforcement, private sector, the city – to reduce violence. Brown is the president of RECAP (Rebuilding Every Community Around Peace), a co-founder of the Boston Ten Point Coalition, an associate pastor at The Twelfth Baptist Church in Boston, and a guest speaker for faith leaders and law enforcement.
9. THE SURPRISING DECLINE IN VIOLENCE
Steven Pinker is a famed linguist, and author of four best-selling books that explore nature vs. nurture. He is currently a Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. Pinker says to ask ourselves not just why there is war and what we’ve been doing wrong, but also why there is peace and what we’ve been doing right. He says the more interaction we have with other people, the more we see their situations as comparable to our own. It’s an essential tool of empathy and expanding our concern for others.
10. WHY GOOD HACKERS MAKE GOOD CITIZENS
Catherine Bracy is the Director of Community Organizing at Code for America, a nonprofit that builds open source technology for government websites. In this TED talk, she explains how her team developed public forums for a city, allowing its citizens to interact with each other on big or small issues. It lessened the burden on the government officials and fostered civic engagement. It’s a process she calls civic hacking.