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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 127127 Find in a Library
Title: Why Don't We Have the Prisons We Need?
Journal: Reader's Digest  Dated:(November 1990)  Pages:70-74
Author(s): E H Methvin
Date Published: 1990
Page Count: 5
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Since the selective incapacitation of dangerous and habitual offenders reduces crime, U.S. jurisdictions should take steps to ensure there is sufficient prison space to house such offenders.
Abstract: Research has shown that incarcerating serious offenders reduces crime and is cost effective; yet dangerous offenders are given early release due to prison overcrowding. Steps can be taken to solve the prison crisis. First, legislation should be enacted to curb Federal judges' authority to intervene in State prison matters. Court orders have frequently mandated unreasonable and costly prison changes. Second, prison management should be more cost effective. Greater use of minimum-security and medium-security facilities would lower the per-inmate cost of imprisonment, and the elimination of laws barring the use of inmate labor in prison construction and renovation would cut costs in these areas. Third, more intensive parole supervision would reduce recidivism and consequent reincarceration. Fourth, Americans must be persuaded to spend the money for more prisons, since studies show that the cost of imprisoning dangerous and habitual offenders is less than the cost of the crimes these offenders commit when they are on the streets.
Main Term(s): Selective incapacitation
Index Term(s): Court ordered institutional reform; Prison construction; Prison management; Prison overcrowding
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