WWW.DISSERTATION.XLIBX.INFO
FREE ELECTRONIC LIBRARY - Dissertations, online materials
 
<< HOME
CONTACTS



Pages:     | 1 |   ...   | 21 | 22 || 24 | 25 |   ...   | 79 |

«This PDF is available from The National Academies Press at The Growth of Incarceration in the United ...»

-- [ Page 23 ] --

We are mindful of the public interest in questions regarding the relationship between incarceration and crime. Indeed, as discussed in Chapters 3 and 4, the assertion that putting more people in prison would reduce crime was crucial to the political dynamic that fueled the growth in incarceration rates in the United States. In recent years, policy initiatives to reduce state prison populations often have met objections that public safety would be reduced. There is of course a plausibility to the belief that putting many more convicted felons behind bars would reduce crime. Yet even a cursory examination of the data on crime and imprisonment rates makes clear the complexity of measuring the crime prevention effect of incarceration.

Violent crime rates have been declining steadily over the past two decades, which suggests a crime prevention effect of rising incarceration rates. For

–  –  –

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences

–  –  –

the first two decades of rising incarceration rates, however, there was no clear trend in the violent crime rate—it rose, then fell, and then rose again.

There are many explanations for the lack of correspondence between rates of incarceration and rates of violent crime and crime rates more generally. However, one explanation deserves special emphasis: the rate of incarceration, properly understood, is not a policy variable per se; rather, it is the outcome of policies affecting who is sent to prison and for how long (Durlauf and Nagin, 2011a, 2011b). The effect of these policies on crime rates is not uniform—some policies may have very large effects if, for example, they are directed at high-rate offenders, while others may be ineffective. Thus, the committee’s charge was to dig below the surface and review the research evidence on the impact of the specific drivers of the rise in U.S. incarceration rates on crime in the hope that this evidence would inform the larger policy discourse. In this regard, one of our most important conclusions is that the incremental deterrent effect of increases in lengthy prison sentences is modest at best. Also, because recidivism rates decline markedly with age and prisoners necessarily age as they serve their prison sentence, lengthy prison sentences are an inefficient approach to preventing crime by incapacitation unless the longer sentences are specifically targeted at very high-rate or extremely dangerous offenders.

A large body of research has studied the effects of incarceration and other criminal penalties on crime. Much of this research is guided by the hypothesis that incarceration reduces crime through incapacitation and deterrence. Incapacitation refers to the crimes averted by the physical isolation of convicted offenders during the period of their incarceration. Theories of deterrence distinguish between general and specific behavioral responses.

General deterrence refers to the crime prevention effects of the threat of punishment, while specific deterrence concerns the aftermath of the failure of general deterrence—that is, the effect on reoffending that might result from the experience of actually being punished. Most of this research studies the relationship between criminal sanctions and crimes other than drug offenses.2 A related literature focuses specifically on enforcement of drug laws and the relationship between those criminal sanctions and the outcomes of drug use and drug prices.

This chapter presents the results of the committee’s examination of the crime prevention effects of imprisonment through deterrence or incapacitation. The first section provides an overview of deterrence and reviews 2 Drug sales, use, and possession are, of course, widely criminalized. While there are some long-standing national data collections on drug use and a few national surveys have asked about drug sales, there are no national time series on overall levels of drug crime. Thus, analyses of the relationship of imprisonment rates to crime rates provide no insight into impacts on drug crimes.

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences

–  –  –

evidence on the deterrent effect of incarceration. The second section describes the theory of incapacitation and summarizes empirical research on incapacitation’s effects. We then review panel studies examining the association between rates of incarceration and crime rates across states and over time. These studies do not distinguish between deterrence and incapacitation and might be viewed as estimating a total effect of incarceration on crime. The fourth section summarizes research on specific deterrence and recidivism. This is followed by a review of research on the effects of incarceration for drug crimes on drug prices and drug use. We then offer observations regarding gaps in knowledge about the crime prevention effects of incarceration.

–  –  –

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences

–  –  –

must then be apprehended, usually by the police.3 The offender must next be charged, successfully prosecuted, and finally sentenced by the courts.





Successful passage through all of these stages is far from certain. The first step in the process—reporting of the crime—is critical, yet national surveys of victims have consistently demonstrated that only half of all crimes are brought to the attention of the police. Once the crime has been reported, the police are the most important factors affecting certainty—absent detection and apprehension, there is no possibility of conviction or punishment.

Yet arrests ensue for only a small fraction of all reported crimes. Blumstein and Beck (1999) find that robberies reported to police outnumber robbery arrests by about four to one and that the offense-to-arrest ratio is about five to one for burglaries. These ratios have remained stable since 1980. The next step in the process is criminal prosecution, following which the court must decide whether to impose a prison sentence. In light of the obstacles to successful apprehension and prosecution, the probability of conviction is quite low, even for felony offenses (although it has increased since 1980).

Moreover, because the majority of felony convictions already result in imprisonment, policies designed to increase the certainty of incarceration for those convicted—through mandatory prison sentences, for example—will have only a limited effect on the overall certainty of punishment.

The third component of the theory of deterrence advanced by Bentham and Beccaria, and the least studied, is the swiftness, or “celerity,” of punishment. The theoretical basis for its impact on deterrence is ambiguous, as is the empirical evidence on its effectiveness. Even Beccaria appears to have based his case for celerity more on normative considerations of just punishment than on its role in the effectiveness of deterrence. He observed: ‘‘the more promptly and the more closely punishment follows upon the commission of a crime, the more just and useful will it be. I say more just, because the criminal is thereby spared the useless and cruel torments of uncertainty, which increase with the vigor of imagination and with the sense of personal weakness...’’ (Beccaria, 1986, p. 36).

Deterrence theory is underpinned by a rationalistic view of crime.

In this view, an individual considering commission of a crime weighs the benefits of offending against the costs of punishment. Much offending, however, departs from the strict decision calculus of the rationalistic model.

Robinson and Darley (2004) review the limits of deterrence through harsh punishment. They report that offenders must have some knowledge of criminal penalties to be deterred from committing a crime, but in practice often do not. Furthermore, suddenly induced rages, feelings of threat and paranoia, a desire for revenge and retaliation, and self-perceptions of 3 Crime may also be sanctioned entirely outside of the criminal justice system through retaliation by the victim or by others on the victim’s behalf.

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences

–  –  –

brilliance in the grandiose phase of manic-depressive illness all can limit a potential offender’s ability to exercise self-control. Also playing a role are personality traits and the pervasive influence of drugs and alcohol: in one study, 32 percent of state prison inmates reported being high on drugs at the time of their crime, and 17 percent committed their crime to get money to buy drugs (Mumola and Karberg, 2006). The influence of crime-involved peers who downplay the long-term consequences of punishment is relevant as well.

Taken together, these factors mean that, even if they knew the penalties that could be imposed under the law, a significant fraction of offenders still might not be able to make the calculation to avoid crime. Because many crimes may not be rationally motivated with a view to the expected costs of punishment, and because offenders may respond differently to the severity, certainty, and swiftness of punishment, the magnitude of deterrent effects is fundamentally an empirical question. Furthermore, deterrent effects may depend on the type of sanction and its severity. Sanctions may be effective in some circumstances for some people but ineffective in other circumstances or for others.

–  –  –

4 Pooling city-specific results to obtain a combined estimate of the impact of mandatory sentence enhancements for gun crimes, McDowall and colleagues (1992, p. 379) suggest that “the mandatory sentencing laws substantially reduced the number of homicides; however, any effects on assault and robbery are not conclusive because they cannot be separated from imprecision and random error in the data.” Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences

–  –  –

Thus, criminals may not have been deterred from using a gun because the real incentives were not changed. This observation is a reminder of Tonry’s (2009b) commentary on the inconsistent administration of mandatory minimum sentencing.

Kessler and Levitt (1999) examine the deterrent impact of California’s Proposition 8, passed in 1982. Proposition 8 anticipated the three strikes laws passed by many states, including California, in the 1990s, which substantially increased sentences for repeat commission of specified felonies. Kessler and Levitt estimate a 4 percent decline in crime attributable to deterrence in the first year after the proposition’s enactment. Within 5 to 7 years, the effect grew to a 20 percent reduction, although the authors acknowledge that this longer-term estimate includes incapacitation effects.

The findings of Kessler and Levitt (1999) are challenged by Webster and colleagues (2006). They point out that Kessler and Levitt’s findings are based on data from alternate years. Using data from all years, Webster and colleagues find that crime rates in the relevant categories started to fall before Proposition 8 was enacted and that the slope of this trend remained constant during the proposition’s implementation.5 (See Levitt [2006]6 for a response and Raphael [2006] for analysis that supports Webster and colleagues [2006].) One exception to the paucity of studies on the crime prevention effects of sentence enhancements concerns analyses of the deterrent effect of California’s “Three Strikes and You’re Out” law, which mandated a minimum sentence of 25 years upon conviction for a third strikeable offense.7 Zimring and colleagues (2001) conclude that the law reduced the felony crime rate by at most 2 percent and that this reduction was limited to those individuals with two strikeable offenses. Other authors (Stolzenberg and D’Alessio, 1997; Greenwood and Hawken, 2002), who, like Zimring and colleagues (2001), examine before-and-after trends, conclude that the law’s crime prevention effects were negligible. The most persuasive study of California’s three strikes law is that of Helland and Tabarrok (2007).

As discussed below, this study finds an effect but concludes that it is small.

5 In other words, the drop in crime after the passage of Proposition 8 “may simply be the result of a preexisting decline over time,” consistent with the possibility that “by the time that legislative change is enacted, levels of crime have often already begun to drop for reasons not tied to variations in threatened punishment” (Webster et al., 2006, p. 441).

6 According to Levitt (2006, p. 451), the arguments made by Kessler and Levitt (1999) “were based on the fact that after Proposition 8, eligible crimes fell more in California than noneligible crimes, and most importantly, the relative movements of eligible and noneligible crimes in California systematically differed from those in the rest of the United States after Proposition 8, but not before.” 7 Strikeable offenses include murder, robbery, drug sales to minors, and a variety of sexual offenses, felony assaults, other crimes against persons, property crimes, and weapons offenses (Clark et al., 1997).

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences

–  –  –



Pages:     | 1 |   ...   | 21 | 22 || 24 | 25 |   ...   | 79 |


Similar works:

«Louise Lawler. No Drones. 2013. Louise Lawler. No Drones. 2011. Installation view. Louise Lawler: No Drones MIGNON NIXON It is a queer experience, lying in the dark and listening to the zoom of a hornet, which may at any point sting you to death. It is a sound that interrupts cool and consecutive thinking about peace. Yet it is a sound—far more than prayers and anthems—that should compel one to think about peace. —Virginia Woolf, “Thoughts on Peace in an Air Raid” 1. Doodlebugs Hitler...»

«8 Proprietary Estoppel, Promises and Mistaken Belief John Mee* Introduction T he decision of the House of Lords in Yeoman’s Row Management Ltd v Cobbe1 represents a curious turn in the development of the law of proprietary estoppel. Taking its first opportunity to pronounce upon the doctrine of proprietary estoppel since the seminal decision in Ramsden v Dyson in 1866,2 the House of Lords in Cobbe put forward an unexpectedly restrictive view of the scope of the doctrine. The case involved an...»

«TRAMP SHIPPING IN THE NEW EC COMPETITION MARITIME REGIME Analysis of the latest developments in the regulation of Tramp Shipping and Tramp Shipping Pools Spring Semester 2008 Candidate number: 2022 Supervisor: Alla Pozdnakova Deadline for submission: 01/09/2008 Number of words: 17,973 28.08.2008 I. Introduction 1 1.1 Background of this master thesis 1 1.2 Purpose and sources of the work 2 1.3 Structure 3 II. The tramp shipping sector 4 2.1 What is tramp shipping? 4 2.1.1 The earliest...»

«One Hundred Fifth Annual Commencement JUNE EXERCISES THE UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME NOTRE DAME, INDIANA THE GRADUATE ScHooL THE CoLLEGE OF ARTS AND LETTERS THE,CoLLEGE OF SciENCE THE CoLLEGE OF ENGINEERING THE CoLLEGE OF LAw THE CoLLEGE OF CoMMERCE In the University Stadium At 2:00 p.m. (Central Daylight Time} June 4, 1950.r. ~. PROGRAM Processional Presentation of the Laetare Medal, to General Joseph Lawton Collins, U.S.A., Chief of Staff, United States Army The Conferring of Degrees, by the...»

«Implementation of the Australian Consumer Law Report on progress V (2014–15) February 2016 © Commonwealth of Australia 2016 ISBN 978-1-925220-26-1 This publication is available for your use under a Creative Commons BY Attribution 3.0 Australia licence, with the exception of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, photographs, images, signatures and where otherwise stated. The full licence terms are available from http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/au/legalcode. Use of Consumer Affairs...»

«A BLOODY WEEKEND IN MANAUS: A CASE STUDY OF TELEVISED CRIME REPORTING IN AMAZONAS, BRASIL Rachel Reis Mourao, M.A. The University of Texas at Austin Introduction Far from the slums of Rio de Janeiro and the international drug trafficking conflicts that so often make it to the international headlines, Amazonas viewers constantly watch local television shows which claim that the Brazilian state is dominated by drug trafficking, that homicide rates are out of control, the streets are lawless, and...»

«Loyola University Chicago Law Journal Volume 9 Article 6 Issue 4 Summer 1978 1978 Televised Trials: Constitutional Constraints, Practical Implications, and State Experimentation Shelly Byron Kulwin Follow this and additional works at: http://lawecommons.luc.edu/luclj Part of the Jurisprudence Commons Recommended Citation Shelly B. Kulwin, Televised Trials: Constitutional Constraints, Practical Implications, and State Experimentation, 9 Loy. U. Chi. L. J. 910 (1978). Available at:...»

«LIABILITY RELEASE FORM PLEASE READ CAREFULLY. THE TEXT IN THIS SECTION IS A RELEASE OF LIABILITY AND WAIVER OF LEGAL RIGHTS. PLEASE ENSURE YOU COMPLETE ALL DETAILS REQUIRED IN THIS SECTION. BY ENTERING YOUR NAME IN THE SPACE PROVIDED BELOW, YOU ARE AGREEING TO THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS IN THIS DOCUMENT. Earthwatch expeditions are not designed for tourists. Earthwatch Institute Inc. (U.S.), Conservation Education and Research Trust (U.K.), Earthwatch Institute (Australia), Earthwatch Institute...»

«Veritas InfoScale™ Third-party Software License Agreements 7.0 July 2015 Veritas InfoScale™ Third-party Software License Agreements The software described in this book is furnished under a license agreement and may be used only in accordance with the terms of the agreement. Product version: 7.0 Document version: 7.0 Rev 1 Legal Notice Copyright © 2015 Symantec Corporation. All rights reserved. Symantec, the Symantec Logo, the Checkmark Logo, Veritas, the Veritas Logo, CommandCentral,...»

«Master of Public Administration 2015-2016 Catalog Duncan School of Law Lincoln Memorial University 601 W. Summit Hill Drive 6965 Cumberland Gap Parkway Knoxville, TN 37902 Harrogate, Tennessee 37752 865 545 5300 423 869 6203 Welcome to LMU! Congratulations on your acceptance to Lincoln Memorial University’s (LMUs) Master of Public Administration degree program! The following information has been compiled to help make the path to completing your degree efficient and meaningful. It is important...»

«NEWNOG, INC. Organizational Consent by Incorporator The undersigned, being incorporator of NewNOG, Inc., a corporation duly organized and existing under General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware (the Corporation), by signature below, does hereby consent that the following actions be taken in the name of the Corporation pursuant to Section 106 of the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware, with such actions to be effective as of the date hereof: RESOLVED: That the individuals...»

«Vol. 6, No. 1 WINTER 2015/2016 Spencer’s Art Law Journal Edited by Ronald D. Spencer CONTENTS Editor’s Note Editor’s Note This is Volume 6, Issue No. 1 of Spencer’s Art Law Blockage Discounts for Valuing Art Journal. This Winter issue contains two essays, which will become available on Artnet, January Collections: Courts Have Dramatically 2016. Overvalued Estate Art Inventories by (Improbably) Attempting to Determine The first essay: (Blockage Discounts.) discusses What a Retail Buyer...»





 
<<  HOME   |    CONTACTS
2016 www.dissertation.xlibx.info - Dissertations, online materials

Materials of this site are available for review, all rights belong to their respective owners.
If you do not agree with the fact that your material is placed on this site, please, email us, we will within 1-2 business days delete him.