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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 158791 Find in a Library
Title: Harm in American Penology: Offenders, Victims, and Their Communities
Author(s): T R Clear
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 258
Sponsoring Agency: California Correctional Peace Officers Assoc
West Sacramento, CA 95605
Publication Number: ISBN 0-7914-2174-0
Sale Source: California Correctional Peace Officers Assoc
755 Riverpoint Drive
West Sacramento, CA 95605
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This book analyzes the sources and results of the fourfold increase in the U.S. correctional population since 1970.
Abstract: It considers the following themes: the value of punitiveness, defined as penal harm; research on crime and criminals; concerns about victims of crime; and concerns about community safety. It also analyzes the relationship between social problems and penal harm, such as poverty and crime, during the 25 years of correctional expansion. The author argues that a review of proposals for expanded penal harm cannot be justified. The growth in corrections was not caused by crime nor has it reduced crime. The author describes a new strategy for corrections based on his examination of the politics of social control and the growth in penal harm. He proposes that every dollar spent on penal harms be matched by two dollars spent on preventing crimes. He acknowledges that any crime-prevention agenda must be based upon research. Such research has not been adequately funded because of the focus on postconviction controls of community supervision or prison. The author identifies the three categories of crime prevention -- offender rehabilitation, improvement in social conditions, and a reduction in opportunities for successful offending -- and reasons that they have social advantages over penal harm as a prevention strategy. Topics suggested for debate in the area of penal harm are sentencing, offender management, budgeting, and research. 67 notes and 512 references
Main Term(s): Corrections effectiveness
Index Term(s): Cause removal crime prevention; Corrections policies; Prison overcrowding; Punishment; Social control
Note: From the SUNY series in New Directions in Crime and Justice Studies.
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