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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 82931 Find in a Library
Title: Dangers of Criminal Justice Reform
Journal: Criminal Justice Abstracts  Dated:(March 1982)  Pages:133-152
Author(s): E Doleschal
Date Published: 1982
Page Count: 20
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This review examines some of the literature focusing on the effects of criminal justice reforms, draws evidence from other disciplines exhibiting similar patterns, and presents conclusions regarding the overall future of reform.
Abstract: Recently, a number of criminal justice researchers and writers have expressed concern over the direction of diversion and similar alternatives to incarceration. Studies addressing this subject were conducted by the Vera Institute of New York, LEAA, the University of California, and others. Evaluations of efforts to reform the juvenile justice system consistently yield results identical to those documented in criminal justice reform. In general, the literature reveals that liberal reform efforts designed to decrease penalties or reduce the number and the rate of persons incarcerated or under control of the criminal justice system have failed. It is concluded that there is a dynamic equilibrium in criminal justice which prevents those attempting to reform the system by reducing penalties or incarceration rates from succeeding. Conversely, the studies also support the conclusion that those who attempt the opposite are frustrated in their efforts. Furthermore, an increase in one type of punitiveness is accompanied by a decrease in another type. When unusual highs or lows in the incarceration rate are reached, they are compensated for by other factors, such as inmates increased or decreased lengths of stay in prison. Direct intervention and interference seem to produce undesirable consequences in most cases of attempted reform. The article includes 40 footnotes.
Index Term(s): Correctional reform; Corrections effectiveness; Incarceration; Juvenile justice system; Law reform; Penology; Recidivism; Rehabilitation
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