Welcome to Scribd. Sign in or start your free trial to enjoy unlimited e-books, audiobooks & documents.Find out more
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Criminal Law Cases and Materials

Criminal Law Cases and Materials

|Views: 252|Likes:

More info:

Categories:Types, Business/Law
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less





Kaplan, Weisberg & BinderCriminal Law: Cases and Materials2006 Cumulative Summer Update Supplementfor use with Fifth Edition (2004)
Franklin Zimring, The Great American Crime Decline (forthcoming 2006).
Chapter 1 – The Purposes and Limits of Punishment
 Page 23 – Add after chart:
The most comprehensive assessment to date of the 1990’s crime decline has comefrom Prof. Franklin Zimring, in his book 
The Great American Crime Decline.
Zimringnotes that the period from 1991 to 2001 was remarkable for its length andconsistency—crime dropped each year for nine years in a row, in every region of thecountry, and for every demographic group. In this decade, all seven major index offenses(homicide, robbery, rape, aggravated assault, burglary, auto theft, and larceny) declinedsignificantly, with aggregate declines ranging from 23 percent to 44 percent. Lessserious offenses (i.e., drug and alcohol offenses, sexual misconduct, assault, weaponscharges) showed a smaller decline, though Zimring notes that the latter offenses are moredifficult to calculate since they are less likely to result in arrests.Recent analyses like Levitt’s rely on highly sophisticated techniques of multipleregression analysis to identify and test possible causal factors in the context of the widestpossible array of variables. Zimring is one of those criminologists who remain wary of overconfidence in these techniques to capture all necessary factors, especially where theresults of the econometric analyses seem intuitively implausible or contradict otherevidence that is not fully measurable. Contrary to analysts who have purported to explainmajor portions of the decline by various theories, Zimring argues that natural cyclicalforces could be responsible for about half of the decline and that because of the gradualand continuous character of the crime rate change, it may be impossible to identify onedominant cause.Zimring undertakes a skeptical review of some of the major theories. Forexample, he casts doubt on the power of increased incarceration rates to explain the drop,by virtue of either their incapacitative or deterrent effects. He points out thatincarceration had begun increasing drastically throughout the 1970s and 1980s with noapparent effect on crime rates, and that the largest increase in imprisonment happenedduring the five years following 1986, a period of increasing crime. Further, he argues,the principle of diminishing marginal returns (that if we put away the most dangerouscriminals first and gradually put away less dangerous ones, the number of remainingoffenders who have a high likelihood of repeat or multiple offenses would declinerapidly) would indicate that the longer the time that incarceration increased, the
effect it would have on the national crime rate.On other explanatory theories, Zimring:
disagrees with Levitt that increased ratios of police to population played a demonstrablerole.agrees with Levitt that innovative police strategies played no demonstrable role whileadding that because police governance is so decentralized it is unlikely to affect crimenationally;concedes that declines in crack/cocaine use helped reduce crime but cautions that there isa natural limit to the size of this influence.questions the role that legalized abortion played in the crime drop, noting the lack of evidence that the legal change reduced the birth rate among, or the incidence of childrenliving in, poverty with single mothers, which would have been the intermediate causallinks between the legal changes and lower crime rates.
One factor Zimring does cautiously credit is the smaller youth and very youngadult population in this period—the percentage of the population in the high-risk ages of 15 to 29 dropped from 27.4% to 20.9% in ten years. One reason Zimring is attracted tothis explanation is that it helps him address a larger, previously vexingissue—comparison to Canada. Put simply, Canada, a contiguous nation remarkablysimilar to the United States along most economic and cultural dimensions, experienced asimilar crime drop in the 1990’s without any of the other specific short-term factors (i.e.,incarceration rate changes and police practices) often cited to explain the American drop.The comparison to Canada reinforces Zimring’s doubts about these proffered factors, andhe is therefore cautiously attracted to the age phenomenon because this is one short-termthe two countries do share.Overall, Zimring believes that a series of “glad tidings” or convenientcircumstances helped contribute to the crime decline. Increased police power, higherrates of incarceration, decreased unemployment, and most importantly, a smaller youthpopulation together all affected the crime rate. But he is deeply agnostic about thepossibility of truly proving any of these as causes or extrapolating new projections fromthem, admonishing that the decline era may be ending in a plateau or “soft landing” withno clear indications of whether it will now go up or down or stay flat. 
 Page 50 – Add after Note 2:
The principle of selective incapacitation be seen as a species of “preventivedetention”—with the distinguishing factor that it requires one proven crime as apredicate. For a note on recent developments in the debate over preventive detentionmore generally, see the new note keyed to case book p. 102, below.
 Page 52 – Add at end of Section C:

Activity (3)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
1 thousand reads
1 hundred reads
Spread Love liked this

You're Reading a Free Preview

/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->