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NCJ Number: 156916 Find in a Library
Title: Notes on Public Safety and the Criminal Justice System
Author(s): M Smith
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 10
Sponsoring Agency: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, WI 53706
Sale Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Law School
Madison, WI 53706
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The criminal justice system in New York operates only indirectly and sometimes inversely to losses and gains in public safety.
Abstract: The criminal justice system is actually a sequence rather than a system that consists of autonomous agencies and activities. The legislature promulgates public safety rules and sets criminal penalties for their violation. Police officers apprehend those who violate rules, and prosecutors assemble and evaluate evidence of guilt. The criminal justice system needs to be perceived as fair and effective when it comes to public safety, but varied forces affect public safety and most lie beyond the reach of the criminal justice system. While the criminal justice system is properly focused on individuals, sentencing and corrections represent a poor first line of defense against crime because they require someone to be victimized before they can be brought to bear and deterrent and corrective effects of punishment are too remote from the time and place of threats to public safety to have much effect. Nonetheless, tougher sentences will deter the criminally inclined from breaking the rules, tougher sentences will deter those actually penalized, and imposing longer prison sentences keeps criminals off the streets. At the same time, public safety can be enhanced by teaching responsibility and accountability, reinforcing community values and standards of behavior, improving the quality of parenting so that children do not become criminally involved, and holding government accountable for providing and maintaining public safety.
Main Term(s): Corrections
Index Term(s): Crime prevention measures; Criminal justice system effectiveness; New York; Police; Public safety coordination; Sentence effectiveness; Sentencing/Sanctions; State criminal justice systems
Note: Published as Appendix B of the Final Report of the Temporary State Commission on Constitutional Revision, New York, February 1995
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