Criminologist Charis Kubrin of UC-Irvine went head to head with former Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley yesterday on the issue of prison downsizing in California. In my view, Professor Kubrin’s presentation here is as sharp, clear, and thoughtful as her academic writing. I’ve always found the long-form live interview to be a terrific forum for public criminology, since it leaves a bit more space for academics to introduce social scientific evidence to explain how they arrived at their opinions — and to question those who arrived at opinions based on anecdotal evidence or other means. This one comes from SoCal Insider, a PBS program hosted by Rick Reiff, but similar issues are being debated in many communities. Dr. Kubrin is appropriately cautious about whether crime rates will rise with realignment, but she nicely counters the premature conclusion that California’s experiment in prison downsizing has been a disaster — and she makes an excellent case for conducting a more systematic scientific evaluation.