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

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Princeton University Press, Aug 17, 2009 - Political Science - 256 pages
5 Reviews

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.

 

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

User Review  - Goodreads

Well, this is not a sexy book. There is math. But it's a reasonable and dispassionate discussion of the various issues surrounding crime control. (Including, quelle surprise, guns.) Read full review

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

User Review  - Goodreads

Part of Councilmember Burgess' reading list. Theory that the way we've gone about punishing crime in the US hasn't achieved the results we like, so maybe we should adopt new strategies. Read full review

Contents

How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment Introduction How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment
1
How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment 1 The Trap
8
How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment 2 Thinking about Crime Control
16
How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment 3 Hope
34
How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment 4 Tipping Dynamic Concentration and the Logic of Deterrence
49
How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment 5 Crime Despite Punishment
68
How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment 6 Designing Enforcement Strategies
86
How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment 7 Crime Control without Punishment
117
How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment 8 Guns and Gun Control
136
How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment 9 Drug Policy for Crime Control
149
How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment 10 What Could Go Wrong?
164
How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment 11 An Agenda for Crime Control
175
How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment Notes
191
How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment Bibliography
207
How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment Index
227
Copyright

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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".

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