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NCJ Number: 163785 Find in a Library
Title: Unintended Consequences of Incarceration (From Sentencing & Corrections Workshop: Prepared Papers, 1996)
Author(s): T R Clear
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 19
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
US Dept of Justice NIJ Pub
Washington, DC 20531
US Dept of Justice, Office of Justice Programs
Washington, DC 20531
Sale Source: NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Conference Material
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: While intended consequences of incarceration include moral education and crime prevention, unintended consequences occur when the prison experience undermines the objective of moral and social cohesion.
Abstract: The objective of incarceration is to promote a more socially cohesive society, one in which members conform to accepted standards of legal behavior. Conformity is induced by lessons from the prison experience. Although the increased use of imprisonment should translate into more effective crime control, increased imprisonment appears to have masked a growing social propensity for violence. Therefore, unintended consequences of incarceration result in two ways: (1) locking a person up disrupts interpersonal, family, economic, and political systems and such disruptions may contribute to higher crime levels; and (2) the significant growth in incarceration damages human and social capital within already disrupted and disadvantaged communities. Crime is clearly a disrupting force in neighborhoods, and the absence of crime makes neighborhoods stronger. It is also clear that a high level of incarceration may affect community systems designed to prevent crime and strengthen neighborhoods and may increase the community's sense of alienation from society at large. The author concludes that the increase in incarceration may also have increased crime because high levels of incarceration, concentrated within certain communities, interact with sociopolitical and economic systems in ways that promote crime and damage human and social capital. The result is reduced moral and social cohesion. 28 references
Main Term(s): Corrections
Index Term(s): Deterrence effectiveness; Economic influences; Effects of imprisonment; Juveniles; Political influences; Social conditions; Social control; Social organization; Society-crime relationships
Note: Paper presented at the NIJ Workshop on Corrections Research, 1996, Washington, DC. See NCJ 163786 - 163790 for additional papers.
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