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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77731 Find in a Library
Title: Crime - Toward a Constructive Debate
Journal: American Bar Association Journal  Volume:67  Dated:(April 1981)  Pages:438-442
Author(s): D L Bazelon
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 5
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A senior circuit judge discusses street crime and short-term and long-term solutions to the problem.
Abstract: The judge, with 31 years experience on the bench, argues that we can never deal intelligently and humanely with crime until we face the realities behind it. Street criminals typically come from the botton of the socioeconomic ladder. Some of them turn to crime because they are born into families struggling to survive -- if they have families at all -- and raised in deteriorating, overcrowded housing. They lack adequate nutrition and health care; they are subjected to prejudice and educated in unresponsive schools; and they are denied the sense of order, purpose, and self-esteem that makes law-abiding citizens. The short-term solutions receiving attention at present, deterence and incapacitation, do not appear to be effective or workable. Although speedier trials might have a deterrent effect, such safeguards for the innocent as the Miranda rule, the right to seek collaterial review, and adequate time to prepare for trial might have to be sacrificed to accomplish this. Incapacitation, locking up criminals for longer times, could be effective in reducing street crime, but neither prison space nor funds are available, and those who might not have committed new crimes would have to suffer longer terms. The long-term solution of eliminating the root causes of crime would be costly but still deserves attention. All families would have to be provided with the means to create the kind of home human beings need; jobs would have to be made available; and children would need proper prenatal and postnatal care and a constructive education. A reference list is not included.
Index Term(s): Convicted offender incapacitation; Courtrooms; Deterrence; Social conditions; Street crimes
Note: Adapted from a speech given before the Western Society of Criminology in San Diego, CA, February, 1981.
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