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NCJ Number: 161628 Find in a Library
Title: Use of Prisons as a Commons Problem: An Exploratory Study
Journal: Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency  Volume:33  Issue:1  Dated:special issue (February 1996)  Pages:70-93
Author(s): M Polakowski; M Gottfredson
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 24
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Whether crime trends have significantly changed over the past decade is less important than the general inclination to adopt policies that increase arrest potential, promote longer enhanced sentences, and eliminate traditional parole practices.
Abstract: Such policies are often adopted without considering their effects on an already exhausted criminal justice resource, namely prisons. Using a common pool resource approach ordinarily employed in economic and biological research to investigate the potential depletion of resources held in common, the authors examined the use of and estimated actual needs for prison space by county-level sentencing authorities in a southwestern State. Substantial variation was observed in the way counties used prison space. Some preferred to overuse prison for violent offenders, while others preferred to overuse prison for repetitive offenders. Results indicated the actions of a few jurisdictions within the State significantly affected the overuse of prison as a sentencing alternative. The significance of these findings for future research and potential policy alternatives to incorporate the concept of prison as a common pool resource are discussed. 45 references, 12 notes, and 8 tables
Main Term(s): Corrections policies
Index Term(s): Corrections management; Corrections research; Corrections statistics; Criminal justice system policy; Incarceration; Inmate statistics; Offender statistics; Prison management
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