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NCJ Number: 80918 Find in a Library
Title: Doing Violence to the Crime Problem - A Response to the Attorney General's Task Force
Author(s): D R Gordon
Corporate Author: Sri Lanka Prison Headquarters
Sri Lanka
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 22
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sri Lanka Prison Headquarters
Columbo 9,
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Arguments are presented against several recommendations made by the Attorney General's Task Force on Violent Crime, specifically those regarding preventive detention, the exclusionary rule, sentencing provisions of the Federal Criminal Code, Federal funds for State and local prison construction, and Federal jurisdiction over juveniles.
Abstract: The National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) takes the position that although many of the Task Force's recommendations are worthwhile, some are punitive without being beneficial. Punitive recommendations include those that would provide mandatory prison terms and expanded prison capacity, institute procedural changes to increase convictions, and extend Federal jurisdiction over some kinds of criminal investigations and prosecution. The recommendation to deny bail to defendants who are 'dangerous' constitutes punishment before proof of guilt. It could be found unconstitutional and brings into question the reliability of predictions of dangerousness. The recommendation to admit evidence acquired in violation of the fourth amendment under certain circumstances would eviscerate the exclusionary rule and ignores the data indicating that excluded evidence has had little effect on the outcome of cases involving violent crime. The recommendation to enact the sentencing provisions of the proposed Criminal Code Reform Act of 1981 (S. 1630) while meritorious in spirit, has, like similar proposals, not addressed excessive use of imprisonment for less serious offenses and does not provide for a range of nonincarcerative sanctions. Further, recommendation calling for $2 billion to be made available to States for construction of prisons and jails would provide only 38,000 more 1-person maximum-security cells. These cells might reduce overcrowding for current prisoners, but they would do nothing to accommodate new offenders brought into the system. Moreover, any serious effort to provide more space for handling violent offenders should include concurrent alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenders. Finally, recommendations regarding youth crime extend Federal authority over juveniles without including adequate protection for them. NCCD contends that local resources outside the criminal justice system, such as volunteer community organizations, are most effective for working with juveniles. A total of 34 footnotes are supplied.
Index Term(s): Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Criminal codes; Critiques; Determinate Sentencing; Exclusionary rule; Jurisdiction; Mandatory Sentencing; Preventive detention; Prison construction; Rights of minors; Violent crimes
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