When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment

Front Cover
Princeton University Press, 2009 - Law - 231 pages
1 Review

Since the crime explosion of the 1960s, the prison population in the United States has multiplied fivefold, to one prisoner for every hundred adults--a rate unprecedented in American history and unmatched anywhere in the world. Even as the prisoner head count continues to rise, crime has stopped falling, and poor people and minorities still bear the brunt of both crime and punishment. When Brute Force Fails explains how we got into the current trap and how we can get out of it: to cut both crime and the prison population in half within a decade.


Mark Kleiman demonstrates that simply locking up more people for lengthier terms is no longer a workable crime-control strategy. But, says Kleiman, there has been a revolution--largely unnoticed by the press--in controlling crime by means other than brute-force incarceration: substituting swiftness and certainty of punishment for randomized severity, concentrating enforcement resources rather than dispersing them, communicating specific threats of punishment to specific offenders, and enforcing probation and parole conditions to make community corrections a genuine alternative to incarceration. As Kleiman shows, "zero tolerance" is nonsense: there are always more offenses than there is punishment capacity. But, it is possible--and essential--to create focused zero tolerance, by clearly specifying the rules and then delivering the promised sanctions every time the rules are broken.


Brute-force crime control has been a costly mistake, both socially and financially. Now that we know how to do better, it would be immoral not to put that knowledge to work.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Narboink - LibraryThing

This is a clear, informative and realistic assessment of the public policy challenges posed by the American criminal justice system. The jewel at the center of Kleiman's book is the premise that the ... Read full review

Contents

PUP_Kleiman_Intro
1
PUP_Kleiman_Ch01
8
PUP_Kleiman_Ch02
16
PUP_Kleiman_Ch03
34
PUP_Kleiman_Ch04
49
PUP_Kleiman_Ch05
68
PUP_Kleiman_Ch06
86
PUP_Kleiman_Ch07
117
PUP_Kleiman_Ch08
136
PUP_Kleiman_Ch09
149
PUP_Kleiman_Ch10
164
PUP_Kleiman_Ch11
175
PUP_Kleiman_BM_Notes
191
PUP_Kleiman_Bib
207
PUP_Kleiman_Index
227
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

Mark A. R. Kleiman is professor of public policy at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of "Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results" and "Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control".

Bibliographic information