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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 98576 Find in a Library
Title: Unemployment, Imprisonment and Prison Overcrowding
Journal: Contemporary Crises  Volume:9  Issue:3  Dated:(July 1985)  Pages:209-228
Author(s): S Box; C Hale
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 20
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Netherlands
Annotation: This study analyzes the relation between high levels of unemployment, crime, and prison overcrowding in England and Wales for the period of 1952 to 1981.
Abstract: The casuality between unemployment and crime is questioned; the importance of gender, age, class, and ethnic divisions, as well as causes and duration of unemployment is pointed out. Additionally, it is suggested that during times of increasing unemployment, (1) reporting and recording of crimes increase because unemployed offenders are more noticeable, (2) the number of police increase, (3) more people are imprisoned, and (4) the government encourages the judiciary's prerogative to increase the numbers of imprisoned offenders. Also, the relationship between unemployment and imprisonment is described as dynamic, reflecting class conflicts during periods of economic crisis. During fiscal crises, governments have also decarcerated people from mental hospitals and other institutions, thereby relying on insufficient community treatment programs to pick up the slack. The result not only is a further burgeoning of the unemployment rolls, but also the creation of an alienated group that may require tight social controls. In economic crisis, the main 'problem populations' are perceived to be unemployed males, rather than females, the young rather than older workers, and black rather than other racial groups. The results of a statistical analysis support this hypothesis. Prison overcrowding is also discussed. Remedies to reduce the prison population include reducing the numbers of criminal offenses for which one can be jailed; preventing the imprisonment of the mentally ill, first offenders, etc.; and increasing the number of bail hostels. A total of 33 footnotes are provided. Data analysis methods and results are appended.
Index Term(s): Correctional facility surveys; Correctional reform; Employment-crime relationships; England; Prison overcrowding; Prison population prediction; Wales
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