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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 75293 Find in a Library
Title: Corrections as Political Enterprise (From Critical Issues in Corrections, P 279-307, 1981, by Roy R Roberg and Vincent J Webb - See NCJ-75284)
Author(s): T R Clear; M D Schwartz
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 29
Sponsoring Agency: West Publishing Co
St Paul, MN 55164
Sale Source: West Publishing Co
610 Opperman Drive
P.O. Box 64526
St Paul, MN 55164
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A realization that corrections operates in a political environment is a key part of understanding the contemporary reality of corrections.
Abstract: Some of the political influences on corrections are formal and direct: the executive appoints correctional leaders; the legislature writes the criminal law and the enabling legislation for corrections and passes the budget; the judiciary interprets the codes through case law and monitors the performance of corrections officials. Indirect political influences include public opinion, the media, professional and academic groups, funding agencies, and others. The two most recent decades provide excellent examples of the way in which these various political influences operate. Partly as a result of the upheaval brought about by the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War, crime in the streets became a political issue. Originally focused on the police, the public concern about crime became directed toward corrections following the Attica rebellion in New York. Despite the efforts of reformers to define the Attica uprising as an indication of the need for liberal reforms, this event came to be seen as an indication of the failure of corrections to control inmates. As a result, political leadership, public opinion, and State legislative action coalesced to carry out a series of repressive reforms designed to 'get tough' on criminals. However, new trends are developing in the 1980's. Corrections faces an end to growth trends in budget and personnel, while political interests demand more clear and consistent evidence that corrections is accomplishing important goals with the resources it uses. Corrections may enjoy a more tranquil political environment in the 1980's and experience a slow but consistent increase in the educational level of its workers. Sixty-six references are provided. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Correctional organization; Correctional planning; Correctional reform; Policy; Political influences
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