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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76809 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Philadelphia Career Criminal Program - Report and Evaluation, December 1980
Corporate Author: Citizens Crime Cmssn of Philadelphia
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 17
Sponsoring Agency: Citizens Crime Cmssn of Philadelphia
Philadelphia, PA 19103
US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20531
Sale Source: Citizens Crime Cmssn of Philadelphia
1700 Walnut Street
Suite 1000
Philadelphia, PA 19103
United States of America
Type: Program/Project Evaluation
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Findings and conclusions are reported from an evaluation of the first 15 months of operation of Philadelphia's Career Criminal Program, intended to prosecute accused offenders with long records of prior serious crimes.
Abstract: The program started in July 1979 using LEAA funding plus local matching funds. A career criminal unit was established in the Philadelphia district attorney's office to identify repeat offenders among persons arrested, provide intensive prosecution efforts and reduce plea bargaining for these offenders, and to increase convictions and remove recidivists from the streets. The unit initially contained six experienced assistant district attorneys, two secretaries, one paralegal, one analyst, and one court administrative officer. The program accepted 230 cases during its first 15 months, which was somewhat lower than the number expected. Over half the cases involved robbery; the remainder involved burglary, aggravated assault, homicide, and rape. The defendants had adult records which included 1,820 arrests and 898 prior convictions. Of the 167 cases which were disposed, 27 defendants were discharged and 22 were dismissed due to withdrawal of prosecution. Of the 117 defendants brought to trial, 105 were convicted. Despite efforts to reduce continuances, delays were granted 266 times at preliminary hearings during the first year. The time from arrest to verdict averaged 118.6 days during the first year. Among benefits noted by the unit's staff were improved victim/witness cooperation, more complete case preparation and investigation, minimization of continuances, increased conviction rates, and stiffer sentences. Reported crime in Philadelphia has not decreased since the program's inception; reduction of overall crime rates may be an unrealistic goal for such programs. The program's cost is high, but as time goes on the average cost per conviction should decrease. The program has succeeded in concentrating the best prosecutors on the most serious cases. Tables and footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Career criminal programs; Evaluation; Pennsylvania; Program evaluation
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