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NCJ Number: 157175 Find in a Library
Title: Politics, Public Policy, and Street Crime
Journal: Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science  Volume:539  Dated:(May 1995)  Pages:155-168
Author(s): S A Scheingold
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 14
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article argues that the national debate over crime is characterized by a perverse relationship between politics and policy.
Abstract: In this relationship, politicians insist that they are serious about reducing serious street crime, but at the same time they emphasize punishment and marginalize the social and economic programs that can, in the long run, prevent criminal behavior. This approach is self-defeating because punishment is being pursued at the exclusion of crime prevention; in other words, politicians are being tough on criminals, rather than being tough on crime. The author argues that punitive policies, which are being reinforced by American culture, use up scarce resources and serve only to polarize society along racial and class lines. As a consequence, poverty, inequality, and conflict will increase, as will public fear of crime and politicians' sense of powerlessness. The outcome of this debate will depend on the which trend dominates: the trend toward boot camps, "three strikes and you're out" legislation, and new capital punishment legislation, or the trend toward community policing, citizen involvement in crime prevention, and the adoption by States and the Federal Government of more moderate local crime control strategies. 1 table, 1 figure, and 47 notes
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Deterrence; Economic analysis of crime; Policy analysis; Public Opinion of Crime; Statistics
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