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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 157614 Find in a Library
Title: Let's Build Some Fences
Journal: Perspectives  Volume:19  Issue:2  Dated:(Spring 1995)  Pages:17-21
Author(s): R C Scott
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 5
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper argues that it is more cost effective to "put a strong fence round the top of the cliff than an ambulance down in the valley"; that is, it is better to invest in crime prevention and offender rehabilitation than in punitive measures for those who have already committed crimes.
Abstract: From a review of the available evidence, prevention and rehabilitation programs are more effective in reducing crime than incarceration and other punitive measures. Studies show that various programs have been effective in reducing the strength of factors that stimulate criminal behavior. All studies show that a continuum of services, beginning with teenage pregnancy prevention and prenatal care, parental training for teen parents, Head Start, quality education, recreational programs, drop-out prevention programs, summer jobs, job training and guaranteed college scholarships, drug rehabilitation, and prison education and training will significantly reduce the incidence of crime. Further, these programs not only reduce crime, they save money. Compared to the costs of incarceration and the harm caused by criminal behavior, investments in crime prevention and rehabilitation are relatively inexpensive. It makes sense to invest crime-control resources in those programs that have the most impact for the least amount of money invested. Many politicians, on the other hand, persist in shaping policy that amounts to buying ambulances for the valley to provide facilities for those who have already fallen off the cliff. Policies that increase the number and length of prison sentences require that more prisons be built and expensive prison services provided. This means less money will be available for crime prevention and rehabilitation programs.
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Cause removal crime prevention; Correctional planning; Crime control policies; Crime prevention measures
Note: *This document is currently unavailable from NCJRS. Keynote address at the American Probation and Parole Association's Winter Training Institute held in Charleston, S.C., on January 8, 1995.
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