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NCJ Number: 157512 Find in a Library
Title: Prisons Pay Studies: Research or Ideology?
Journal: Perspectives  Volume:19  Issue:3  Dated:(Summer 1995)  Pages:36-42
Author(s): C Baird
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 7
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Advocates of increased incarceration have presented an incomplete picture to the American public because studies show that huge and expensive increases in the use of imprisonment over the past decade have not decreased crime.
Abstract: The author contends that political ideology sometimes affects research studies of crime, punishment, and imprisonment and the actual process of making confinement decisions. Further, cost-benefit studies of crime prevention strategies do not always compare the right alternatives. Any serious cost-benefit study should compare prison costs and outcomes with such alternatives as house arrest, electronic surveillance, intensive supervision, and shorter incarceration periods followed by community-based offender control strategies. Methods used in various studies of imprisonment and crime rates are criticized, crime causes are discussed, and crime reporting improvements are noted. Consideration is also paid to the effect of workplace changes and family disruptions on crime rates. Because evidence that imprisonment has not produced the desired results is overwhelming, the author suggests that it is time to abandon the "prisons pay" myth and move on to affordable intermediate sanctions and crime prevention strategies that better protect the public and offer more hope for long-term crime reductions. 15 references, 2 endnotes, and 4 figures
Main Term(s): Corrections effectiveness
Index Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization; Community-based corrections (adult); Corrections research; Cost/Benefit Analysis; Crime analysis; Crime Causes; Crime prevention measures; Crime Statistics; Incarceration; Intermediate sanctions
Note: Earlier version of article published as an NCCD FOCUS Report
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