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NCJ Number: 64549 Find in a Library
Title: INCAPACITATION STUDIES - A REVIEW AND COMMENTARY
Journal: HOWARD JOURNAL OF PENOLOGY AND CRIME PREVENTION  Volume:18  Issue:3  Dated:(1979)  Pages:160-167
Author(s): K PEASE; J WOLFSON
Corporate Author: Scottish Academic Press Ltd
United Kingdom
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: Scottish Academic Press Ltd
Edinburgh, EH7 5JK, Scotland
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: INCAPACITATION STUDIES ARE CRITIQUED AS THEY AIM AT DETERMINING THE EFFECT OF INCAPACITATION UPON THE CRIME RATE.
Abstract: PROPONENTS OF INCREASED IMPRISONMENT OF OFFENDERS FREQUENTLY ARGUE THAT INCAPACITATION REMOVES OFFENDERS, NOTABLY HABITUAL OFFENDERS, FROM THE COMMUNITY AND THUS REDUCES THE POTENTIAL FOR CRIME. WHILE IT CANNOT BE DOUBTED THAT A PERSON IN PRISON IS PREVENTED FROM COMMITING A CRIME DURING THE PERIOD OF IMPRISONMENT, THOSE ADVOCATING A DECREASE IN THE USE OF IMPRISONMENT REASON THAT THE EFFECT OF INCAPACITATION UPON THE CRIME RATE IS INSIGNIFICANT. INCAPACITATION STUDIES AIM AT RESOLVING THIS DEBATE. THE MAJOR STUDIES OF INCAPACITATION TYPICALLY YIELD CONCLUSIONS IN TERMS OF THE NUMBER OF CRIMES PREVENTED BY THE LEVEL OF CUSTODY USE PREVAILING RELATIVE TO NO CUSTODY AT ALL OR SOME ALTERNATIVE LEVEL OF THE USE OF CUSTODY. THE LOGIC OF INCAPACITATION STUDIES PLACES THOSE FAVORING DECARCERATION IN A 'NO-WIN' SITUATION. IF INCAPACITATION EFFECTS ARE FOUND TO BE SMALL, DETERRENCE EFFECTS COULD STILL BE CITED TO JUSTIFY A POLICY OF HIGH LEVELS OF INCARCERATION. IF INCAPACITATION EFFECTS ARE LARGE, THIS OF ITSELF JUSTIFIES A POLICY OF HIGH LEVELS OF INCARCERATION. THE ASSUMPTIONS UPON WHICH INCAPACITATION STUDIES ARE BASED ARE ALSO CRITICAL. DEPENDING ON THE ASSUMPTIONS MADE, THE MAGNITUDE OF THE INCAPACITATION EFFECT VARIES WITHIN AN EXTREMELY WIDE RANGE. IT IS DIFFICULT TO ENVISION LEVELS OF CLEARANCE BEING ACHIEVED WHICH WOULD NARROW THAT RANGE SUFFICIENTLY TO MAKE ESTIMATES OF INCAPACITATION EFFECTS USEFUL. IT IS THEREFORE IMPROBABLE THAT INCAPACITATION STUDIES WILL SIGNIFICANTLY ADVANCE THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE EXTENT OF PUBLIC PROTECTION AFFORDED BY IMPRISONMENT FOR THE PURPOSE OF INFLUENCING SENTENCING POLICY. REFERENCES ARE PROVIDED. (RCB)
Index Term(s): Convicted offender incapacitation; Critiques; Incarceration; Studies
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=64549

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