skip navigation

PUBLICATIONS

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: 48014 Find in a Library
Title: ON BEHALF OF A MORATORIUM ON PRISON CONSTRUCTION
Journal: CRIME AND DELINQUENCY  Volume:23  Issue:2  Dated:(APRIL 1977)  Pages:154-172
Author(s): W G NAGEL
Corporate Author: National Council on Crime and Delinquency
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 19
Sponsoring Agency: National Council on Crime and Delinquency
Des Moines, IA 50316
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A NUMBER OF STUDIES OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CRIME AND A VARIETY OF FACTORS INCLUDING PRISON CONSTRUCTION AND INCARCERATION RATES ARE REVIEWED AS ARE ARGUMENTS SUPPORTIVE OF A MORATORIUM ON PRISON CONSTRUCTION.
Abstract: A VARIETY OF STUDIES HAVE BEEN UNDERTAKEN EXAMINING CRIME RATES IN THE UNITED STATES AND THEIR ASSOCIATION WITH SUCH FACTORS AS INCARCERATION RATES, CONSERVATIVE/LIBERAL POLICIES, BLACK POPULATION, UNEMPLOYMENT, POVERTY LEVELS, POPULATION, AND URBAN/RURAL POPULATION. THE RANK ORDERING FOR ALL 50 STATES FOR THESE FACTORS IS GRAPHICALLY DISPLAYED. FINDINGS INDICATE THAT THERE IS LITTLE OR NO CORRELATION BETWEEN A STATE'S CRIME RATE AND ITS INCARCERATION RATE AND THAT MOST STATES WITH THE HIGHEST INCARCERATION RATES ARE IN THE SOUTH OR NEAR SOUTH. THERE IS NO SIGNIFICANT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN A STATE'S RATING ON LIBERALISM/CONSERVATISM AND LEVEL OF REPORTED CRIME, ALTHOUGH CONSERVATIVE STATES RANK HIGHER WHILE LIBERAL STATES RANK LOWER ON AN INCARCERATION RATE SCALE. STATES WITH A HIGH PERCENTAGE OF POPULATION LIVING BELOW THE POVERTY LEVEL TEND TO HAVE A LOWER CRIME RATE BUT A HIGHER INCARCERATION RATE. THERE IS A STRONG POSITIVE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN UNEMPLOYMENT AND CRIME RATE. WHILE THERE IS NO SIGNIFICANT CORRELATION BETWEEN A STATE'S RACIAL COMPOSITION AND ITS CRIME RATE, THERE IS A VERY STRONG POSITIVE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ITS RACIAL COMPOSITION AND ITS INCARCERATION RATE. FINALLY, THERE ARE VERY STRONG POSITIVE CORRELATIONS BETWEEN A STATE'S LEVEL OF BOTH URBAN POPULATION AND POPULATION CHANGE AND ITS CRIME RATE. A FURTHER STUDY OF THE REALTIONSHIPS BETWEEN CHANGES IN PRISON BED SPACE, INCARCERATION RATES, AND CRIME RATES IN MOST OF THE STATES INDICATED THAT, BETWEEN 1955 AND 1975, 15 STATES INCREASED THE CAPACITY OF THEIR ADULT PRISON SYSTEM BY 56 PERCENT AND THEIR PRISON POUPLATIONS INCREASED CORRESPONDINGLY BY 57 PERCENT WHILE THEIR CRIME RATES INCREASED 167 PERCENT; AND IN 15 STATES WHERE PRISON CAPACITY WAS INCREASED BY LESS THAN 4 PERCENT, THE PRISON POPULATION DECREASED 9 PERCENT AND THE INCREASE IN CRIME RATE WAS LOWER (145 PERCENT) THAN IN THOSE STATES WITH HEAVY PRISON CONSTRUCTION. THESE FINDINGS SUGGEST THAT PRISON CONSTRUCTION DOES NOT GUARANTEE THE SAFETY OF THE PUBLIC. FURTHER, CONSERVATIVE, HARD-LINE POLICIES TOWARD CRIME ARE NOT MORE EFFECTIVE THAN LIBERAL ONES, AND STRINGENT INCARCERATION POLICIES AFFORD LESS PROTECTION AGAINST CRIME AND ARE MORE COSTLY THAN ALTERNATIVE SOLUTIONS. MOREOVER, IT APPEARS THAT THE CAUSES OF CRIME ARE DEEPLY ROOTED IN CULTURAL SOCIOECONOMIC INJUSTICES WHICH IMPRISONMENT CAN NOT SOLVE. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT WHILE OPPONENTS OF A MORATORIUM OF PRISON CONSTRUCTION MAY BE ABLE TO JUSTIFY SUCH A STANCE AS A DEFENSE OF BUREAUCRATIC INTERESTS, THEY CAN NOT DO SO ON THE GROUNDS OF INTEREST IN THE PUBLIC SAFETY. IT IS CONCLUDED THAT THE STUDIES REVIEWED FAIL TO PRODUCE ANY EVIDENCE THAT A MORATORIUM ON PRISON CONSTRUCTION WOULD NOT BE APPROPRIATE. GRAPHS AND TABULAR DATA ARE USED. (JAP)
Index Term(s): Corrections effectiveness; Crime patterns; Crime Rate; Deterrence effectiveness; Effects of imprisonment; Incarceration; Minorities; Research; State correctional facilities; Unemployment; United States of America
Note: PAPER PRESENTED AT THE 106TH CONGRESS OF CORRECTIONS, DENVER (CO), AUGUST 23, 1976
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=48014

*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.