Faculty / John Goldkamp

Dr. Goldkamp’s research has focused broadly on discretion in criminal justice and innovation in the courts, with a special emphasis on the judicial role, treatment and alternatives to confinement, resulting in three books, over 50 articles and nearly 100 research reports.  For the last three decades, one area of his research focused on bail, pretrial release and detention, leading major bail reform experiments in Philadelphia and nationally.  In addition, in his Philadelphia research, Dr. Goldkamp has developed and assessed policy reforms addressing problems relating to pretrial detention, jail crowding, alternatives to incarceration in the adult and juvenile systems, design and implementation of substance abuse treatment and design of Philadelphia’s criminal courthouse.

Nationally, over the past 15 years his research has also dealt with judicial innovation and problem-solving courts, beginning with the drug court movement, expanding to include domestic violence courts, mental health courts, and reentry drug courts.  He conducted nationally sponsored evaluations of the nation’s first drug court in Miami, drug courts in Portland, Las Vegas, and Philadelphia, the pioneering Miami domestic violence court, the Nevada reentry courts in Las Vegas and Reno, and studied the emergence of mental health courts in San Bernardino, Anchorage, Fort Lauderdale and Seattle.  His work also expanded to community courts in a study of the Hartford Connecticut court and surveyed the emergence of community prosecution nationally.  His field research has featured ten experiments, a natural experiment and a successive cohort longitudinal study of the Portland and Las Vegas drug courts.  His most recent publications have focused on the unfinished agenda of bail reform (in Studies in Law, Politics, and Society), inadvertent adverse side effects of targeted enforcement, using Philadelphia’s Operation Sunrise as an illustration (in Criminology, both with E. R. Vîlcicã), methodological issues related to field experimentation (in Journal of Experimental Criminology) and methodological assumptions underlying evaluations of court innovations, such as drug courts (in Handbook of Quantitative Criminology).


Dr. Goldkamp until 2004 served as the law reporter and wrote commentary for the American Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Standards for Pretrial Release, which were approved by the ABA’ House of Delegates in February 2002.  He also founded and directed the Crime and Justice Research Institute, a successful Philadelphia-based national research and policy non-profit, from 1988 through 2002.   Most recently (in October, 2008), Dr. Goldkamp was named by Governor Edward Rendell to lead an independent investigation of the handling of violent offenders through the corrections and parole process in Pennsylvania after a Philadelphia police officer was killed by a parolee.


Dr. Goldkamp has served as the Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at Temple University from 1978 to 1981 and again from 2004 to present.  He is the recipient of the national “Paul H. Chapman Award” from the Foundation for Improvement of Justice for his significant contributions to the improvement of justice in America (2003) and of the “Pioneer in Pretrial Services Award” from the National Association of Pretrial Services for changing pretrial release practices in the US (1998).  In 2006 he was elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Experimental Criminology, in recognition of his contributions to the field of experimental criminology and in 2005 he was nominated for the “Stockholm Prize in Criminology.”

Recent publications

2009 Goldkamp, J.S. and E.R. Vîlcicã.  “Judicial Discretion and the Unfinished Agenda of American Bail Reform: Lessons from Philadelphia’s Evidence-based Judicial Strategy.”  36 Studies in Law, Politics and Society  (in press, Spring 2009) 

2008 Goldkamp, J.S. and E. R. Vîlcicã. “Targeted Enforcement and Adverse System Side Effects: the Generation of Fugitives in Philadelphia.”  Criminology (Vol. 46/2, May). 2008 Goldkamp, J.S.  “Missing the Target and Missing the Point: “Successful” Random Assignment but Misleading Results.” 4/2 Journal of Experimental Criminology (May 2008) 

2006 Goldkamp, J.S. and Michael D. White. “Restoring Accountability in Pretrial Release: the Philadelphia Pretrial Release Supervision Experiments.” 2/2 Journal of Experimental Criminology 143-181.  

2006 White, Michael D., J.S. Goldkamp and Jennifer B. Robinson.Acupuncture in Drug Treatment: Exploring its Role and Impact on Participant Behavior in the Drug Court Setting.” 2/1 Journal of Experimental Criminology 45-65.

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