Policy discussions and debates about crime and justice are too often reduced to buzzwords and emotional charges and countercharges that voice ideologies rather than ideas. It is understandable that crime and justice evoke intense feelings. A great deal is at stake: the safety of our communities-even matters of life and death. This makes it all the more important that discussion and debate should be reasoned, conducted dispassionately at the highest level of political discourse, and informed by sound and scientifically based research. The Perspectives on Crime and Justice lecture series was designed to create an opportunity for policymakers and researchers to take time to reflect on the latest and best research on topical issues of crime and justice. Through this series, NIJ has for the past 3 years presented discussions by some of the Nation's most prominent scholars in criminology and related disciplines. The lectures from this series, published here, are intended to elevate the level of debate and bring the results and implications of current research to the attention of decisionmakers at every level of government.