skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 148338 Find in a Library
Journal: European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research  Volume:1  Issue:1  Pages:9-26
Author(s): M Joutsen
Date Published: Unknown
Page Count: 18
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Netherlands
Annotation: The article analyzes whether criminal law is overused in the resolution of social problems.
Abstract: Public opinion and forces within the criminal justice system frequently call for increased police intervention. The urgency of this call should not be underestimated; however, at some point the cost of the intervention exceeds the cost of the damage it prevents. Three examples are used to demonstrate the high financial, individual, and social price of criminalization. First, the criminalization of narcotics carries an ever higher price tag, damages the self-image of drug users, and can lead to unfairly harsh sentences. Second, environmental criminal law is very expensive both to the criminal justice system and to the companies involved. In addition, it often apprehends smaller offenders, while major pollution sources go free. Third, long-term or life-long imprisonment, which has become the norm in many European countries, requires the maintenance of expensive prisons without significantly rehabilitating offenders or deterring future offenses. To avoid great strain on financial, moral, and social resources, European societies must strike a balance between the pressure to expand their criminal justice systems and the limitations of this process. 44 references
Main Term(s): Critical criminology
Index Term(s): Cost analysis; Crime costs; Criminalization
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.