skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 164763 Find in a Library
Title: Crime and Punishment in the United States Over 20 Years: A Failure of Deterrence and Incapacitation? (From Integrating Crime Prevention Strategies: Propensity and Opportunity, P 123-140, 1995, Per-Olof H Wikstrom, Ronald V. Clarke, et al, eds. -- See NCJ-164757)
Author(s): A Blumstein
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 18
Sponsoring Agency: National Council for Crime Prevention
S-113 21 Stockholm, Sweden
Sale Source: National Council for Crime Prevention
P.O. Box 1386
S-113 21 Stockholm,
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Language: English
Country: Sweden
Annotation: Analysis of crime trends in the United States over the past 20 years reveals a complex interaction between crime and punishment, and the dilemma posed by these trends should encourage further development of crime control theory in light of empirical realities.
Abstract: Crime rates in the United States have fluctuated over the past 20 years but have done so around a fairly stable mean. The stability in crime rates is at marked variance with the general public view that the crime problem is becoming more serious and is also in sharp contrast to recent incarceration trends. The key issue is why crime rates have remained stable in the face of dramatic increases in the incarceration rate. Four possible explanations are offered to address this issue: (1) crime rates would have increased significantly were it not for the growth in incarceration; (2) the impact of incapacitation is diminished because the additional people who have been incarcerated (primarily drug offenders) would not have contributed significantly to crime rates if they were on the outside; (3) incarceration has criminogenic influences; and (4) incarceration has diminished deterrent effects. A simple model that incorporates opportunity and individual choice in crime commission is described in an appendix. 15 references, 16 notes, and 5 figures
Main Term(s): Crime prevention measures
Index Term(s): Crime analysis; Crime control theory; Crime patterns; Crime Rate; Deterrence effectiveness; Incarceration; National crime statistics; Punishment; Trend analysis; United States of America
Note: *This document is currently unavailable from NCJRS.
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.