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Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
National Institute of Justice

Critical Criminal
Justice Issues

Task Force
Task Force Reports
From the
From the American
American Society
Society of
of Criminology
to Attorney
to Attorney General
General Janet
Janet Reno
There is a discernible urgency to the crime issue. Crime and the fear of crime rank as the most important issues in
public opinion polls. Some communities resemble war zones where gunshots ring out every night. Other cities
struggle to create islands of civility amid threats to public order posed by low-level criminal behavior that eludes
traditional measures.

Appropriately, public policymakers and administrators in the criminal justice system are responding to the issue of
crime in all its complexity. Every aspect of the infrastructure of our traditional criminal justice policy is undergo-
ing fundamental rethinking. Our approaches to policing, adjudication, sentencing, imprisonment, and community
corrections are changing in significant ways. Indeed, communities that are suffering from crime are changing their
interactions with the agencies of the criminal justice system as the concepts of community policing, community
prosecution, and community justice take on real meaning in cities and towns around the country.

This combination—a sense of urgency on the part of the public and a rapidly changing policy response—creates a
compelling need for policy-relevant research. When Attorney General Janet Reno addressed the American Society
of Criminology at its annual meeting in November 1994, she challenged Society members to translate their re-
search findings into recommendations that would benefit the practitioners and policymakers who confront the
issues of crime and justice.

The reports presented in these pages are the response to that challenge. The Society established 12 task forces in
different areas of research activity and asked the task force members to distill their research findings into policy
recommendations that would advance the important public debate now under way in the Nation. In this regard,
the members of the Society have performed a valuable public service. We thank Dr. Freda Adler, then-president of
the Society, and the Society’s members for this remarkable contribution to improving our understanding of the
issues of crime and the challenge of justice.

Jeremy Travis
National Institute of Justice
Critical Criminal
Justice Issues

Task Force Reports

From the American Society of Criminology

NCJ 158837


Foreword ...................................................................................................................................... Inside Front Cover

Preface ..................................................................................................................................................................... v

Early Prevention of and Intervention for Delinquency and Related Problem Behavior .......................................... 1

Youth Violence ....................................................................................................................................................... 13

A New Vision for Inner-City Schools .................................................................................................................... 23

Drug Policy Options: Lessons From Three Epidemics ......................................................................................... 33

Drugs and the Community ..................................................................................................................................... 47

Violence Against Women: Overview ..................................................................................................................... 61

Domestic and International Organized Crime ....................................................................................................... 73

Designing Out Crime ............................................................................................................................................. 85

The State of the Police ........................................................................................................................................... 95

A Crime Control Rationale for Reinvesting in Community Corrections ............................................................ 105

Three-Strikes Legislation: Prevalence and Definitions ....................................................................................... 121

American Crime Problems From a Global Perspective ....................................................................................... 135


At the 1994 American Society of Criminology (ASC) annual meeting, Attorney General Janet Reno appealed to
the assembled scholars of criminology for their urgent assistance in dealing with some of the major crime and
criminal justice issues facing the Nation and, hence, the Administration. Her address to the ASC identified 12
such issues.

On the day following her appeal to us, the ASC National Policy Committee met and formed 12 corresponding
task forces. The chairs of these task forces had to find their expert collaborators within the shortest span of time.
Within a matter of a few months, the task forces had completed their reports, and they were submitted to Attorney
General Reno.

In my submission I made it clear that:

1. The reports were those of groups of individual ASC members. They do not represent any official position
of the ASC.

2. The Attorney General did not ask us for heavily documented research papers, but rather for the essence of
knowledge on the various subjects.

3. The reports cover agreements and controversies on each of these issues, be they supportive or not of currently
existing governmental policies or programs.

The Attorney General read the reports with the greatest attention, convened a meeting of task force chairs at her
office, and probed a variety of findings (and policy implications) with the greatest care. In her concluding remarks
she expressed her gratitude to the task forces and her great satisfaction with our willingness to respond so quickly,
so thoroughly, and so helpfully. Many of the findings have already found their way into the policymaking process;
others are likely to follow the same path.

The Attorney General also noted with great interest that our recent questionnaire—distributed to our entire mem-
bership—revealed that a large number of our members are engaged in policy-relevant research and are willing to
contribute to the policymaking process. (She asked for a followup report on the ASC Survey of Members’

This volume includes summaries as well as the text of all 12 task force reports. The summaries were prepared by
Aspen Systems Corporation, under the direction of the National Institute of Justice. My thanks go to Aspen for
superbly summarizing the reports.

I wish to extend my thanks to all members who so willingly devoted their time and effort—pro bono—to this
unprecedented service for the cause of enlightened, humane, and effective criminal justice policy. My gratitude
also goes to Attorney General Reno for offering us the opportunity to serve.

Freda Adler
President, 1994–1995
American Society of Criminology

There is a discernible urgency to the crime issue. Crime and the fear of crime rank as the most important issues in
public opinion polls. Some communities resemble war zones where gunshots ring out every night. Other cities
struggle to create islands of civility amid threats to public order posed by low-level criminal behavior that eludes
traditional measures.

Appropriately, public policymakers and administrators in the criminal justice system are responding to the issue of
crime in all its complexity. Every aspect of the infrastructure of our traditional criminal justice policy is undergo-
ing fundamental rethinking. Our approaches to policing, adjudication, sentencing, imprisonment, and community
corrections are changing in significant ways. Indeed, communities that are suffering from crime are changing their
interactions with the agencies of the criminal justice system as the concepts of community policing, community
prosecution, and community justice take on real meaning in cities and towns around the country.

This combination—a sense of urgency on the part of the public and a rapidly changing policy response—creates a
compelling need for policy-relevant research. When Attorney General Janet Reno addressed the American Society
of Criminology at its annual meeting in November 1994, she challenged Society members to translate their re-
search findings into recommendations that would benefit the practitioners and policymakers who confront the
issues of crime and justice.

The reports presented in these pages are the response to that challenge. The Society established 12 task forces in
different areas of research activity and asked the task force members to distill their research findings into policy
recommendations that would advance the important public debate now under way in the Nation. In this regard,
the members of the Society have performed a valuable public service. We thank Dr. Freda Adler, President of the
Society, and the Society’s members for this remarkable contribution to improving our understanding of the issues
of crime and the challenge of justice.

Jeremy Travis
National Institute of Justice


Early Prevention of
and Intervention for
Delinquency and
Related Problem

Marcia Chaiken, LINC, Co-chair

David Huizinga, University of Colorado, Co-chair


AND INTERVENTION follow the same non-
productive path as
Strong evidence links
early problem behavior FOR DELINQUENCY their teenage role
models. Research also
to later adolescent de-
suggests that early
linquency and serious
adult criminality. AND RELATED childhood programs
cost relatively little
Many children in the
compared to the costs
United States are lack-
ing fundamental ele-
ments essential for
PROBLEM BEHAVIOR associated with the
problems they prevent
human development.
Summary later, such as drug and
alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, special
These children are legally entitled, but
education requirements, or institutionalization.
have no access, to safe shelter, adequate food, basic
health care, and sufficient preparation to become Successful early childhood programs when com-
economically viable adults. The absence of these pared to less successful ones most often have these
resources has been linked to abnormal develop- characteristics:
ment, economically and socially marginal exist-
ence, and persistent criminality. ■ They attempt to ameliorate more than one or
two factors associated with delinquency and
Children whose parents are criminals have a high focus on multiple problem behaviors.
probability of becoming delinquents. Those identi-
fied in court as abused or neglected by their parents ■ They are designed to be appropriate for children
are more likely than other children to become de- of specific ages and at specific stages of
linquent. Offenders whose parents were also crimi- development.
nals have a high probability of being high-rate
■ They involve long-term efforts of more than a
predatory criminals. However, whether or not their
few months, often lasting several years.
parents have criminal histories, children raised by
mothers or fathers with good parenting skills are Based on the above and other current research, the
less likely to become delinquents or serious offend- task force policy recommendations focus on how
ers. Inmates who assume responsible family roles the U.S. Department of Justice can assist with early
after they are released are less likely to recidivate prevention and intervention.
than offenders without family ties. The vast major-
ity of delinquents and criminals eventually “mature
out” of crime; assumption of family responsibilities Policy recommendations
can be a key factor in this process. ■ Early prevention. The U.S. Department of Jus-
tice should take a leading role in the interagency
Research documents the effectiveness of early pre-
development of early prevention efforts that
vention and intervention in forestalling these out-
have shown evidence of being effective, in
comes. Waiting until the mid-to-late teenage years
to intervene in persistent delinquency ensures that
the battle will be difficult, if not impossible. The ❑ Establishment of home visitation programs
current focus on older juveniles is at best a stopgap for mothers at high risk for abusing, neglect-
measure; it ignores younger children, who, in the ing, or inadequately providing for the needs
absence of early prevention/intervention, will soon of their children.


❑ Establishment of educational daycare pro- mates in assessing and improving their inter-
grams with a home visitation component for actions with children and spouses, for prison
at-risk infants and children that provide assis- or jail inmates who are within a year of re-
tance to parents, teach parenting skills, and lease or who have just been released.
involve marital and family therapy.
❑ Family focus/parenting programs with active
❑ De facto, as well as de jure, provision of door-to-door outreach in communities in
services to which children and adolescents are which many children have fathers in jail or
legally entitled, especially services essential prison. Referral and advocacy for health,
to their safety and wholesome development nutrition, and related services for children of
(e.g., development of neighborhood-based parents under juvenile/criminal justice system
collaborative community development and supervision or conditional release.
youth development programs that emphasize
provision of basic needs for infants and pre- ❑ Recruitment of more stable extended family
school children and actively recruit and sus- members to care for the children of offenders,
tain participation of older children in the especially in cultural groups in which the ex-
nonschool hours). tended family has traditionally played a key
role in childrearing.
■ Criminal parents. Early prevention and inter-
vention efforts should be targeted to parents who ■ Juvenile offenders. Programs should be devel-
are under supervision of the criminal and juve- oped to assist families of youths 10 to 12 years
nile justice systems and the family courts. In the old who are coming to the attention of the juve-
short term, these efforts can reduce crimes com- nile justice system. For older, more persistent
mitted by parents; in the long term, they can juvenile offenders, community-based programs
reduce future crimes that might otherwise be that focus on behavioral skills should be
committed by the children of offenders and in- developed.
terrupt the cycle of criminal behavior in sequen- ■ Research needs. The Department of Justice
tial generations. Promising approaches include: should design and support high-quality evalua-
❑ Prenatal counseling, perinatal care (including tions of major prevention and intervention
substance abuse treatment) for pregnant of- programs, including those described above as
fenders, and hands-on parenting classes for promising, for pre- and post-natal children,
offenders with babies and young children. preschool-age children, school-age children,
and school-age youths.
❑ Therapeutic communities or similar residen-
tial programs, especially those that help in-




hree types of recommendations for policies for those who already are parents, family interven-
and actions relevant to the Department of Jus- tions to promote good parenting skills.
tice have been generated from a review of cur-
rent research knowledge about early prevention and Additional justice system research needs. We rec-
intervention. These are recommendations for (1) gen- ommend the design and support of high-quality evalu-
eral prevention strategies best implemented in col- ations of major prevention and intervention programs,
laboration with other Federal agencies; (2) prevention/ including types of programs noted as “promising
intervention strategies within the justice system; and approaches” in this document.
(3) additional justice system research needs. The following document summarizes the research
General strategies. The ASC Task Force recom- findings that form the basis for these recommenda-
mends that the U.S. Department of Justice take a lead- tions and presents the recommendations in more
ing role in the interagency development of early detail.
prevention efforts. Specific recommendations are
(1) the establishment of home visitation programs for A Brief Review of the Research and
mothers at high risk for abusing, neglecting, or inad-
equately providing for the needs of their children;
Specific Research-Based
(2) the establishment of educational daycare programs Recommendations 1
with a home visitation component for at-risk infants
and children; and (3) the active assurance of provision Introduction
to children and adolescents of services to which they
are legally entitled, especially services essential to The critical importance of early prevention and inter-
their safety and wholesome development. vention for reducing delinquency, crime, and violence
has been consistently documented by research find-
Strategies within the justice system. The ASC Task ings. There is clear indication that problem behavior
Force recommends that the U.S. Department of Jus- often begins early in life, and there is strong evidence
tice target early prevention and intervention efforts on of substantial continuity between problem behavior in
parents under supervision of the justice system— early childhood and later adolescent delinquency and
including the criminal justice system, juvenile justice serious adult criminality. “An ounce of prevention is
system, and family courts. Fostering family skills can worth more than a pound of cure” is more than an old
reduce crimes committed by the parents, prevent fu- adage. Not only can early prevention and intervention
ture crimes committed by the children of offenders, reduce future crime and delinquency, but waiting until
and interrupt the cycle of criminal behavior in sequen- the mid-to-late teenage years to intervene in serious,
tial generations. persistent delinquency commonly results in an uphill
and all too frequently fruitless battle.
The ASC Task Force recommends the development of
programs to assist families of younger youths (ages 10 Intervening with youths whose life histories have re-
to 12 years) coming to the attention of family courts sulted in entrenched delinquent and violent behavior
or the justice system. For older, persistently delin- is difficult and, at best, ends with uncertain results.
quent youths, we recommend the development and Also, the current focus on older youths does little
replication of community-based programs with dem- about the younger children who will soon follow the
onstrated effectiveness in promoting productive same nonproductive paths as the older, seriously
prosocial behavior and constructive skills, including, delinquent youths in their families and communities.


The current focus on older juveniles is at best a stop- of more than a few months, often lasting several
gap measure; in the coming years, in the absence of years.
effective early prevention and intervention, younger
Among the most successful primary prevention pro-
delinquents will replace today’s older serious
delinquents. grams at early ages are home visitation programs that
target young, usually single, mothers during their
While many delinquency/violence prevention pro- pregnancy and provide assistance for mother and child
grams target high-risk youths in the 13- to 18-year-old up to age 2 or 3; enriched preschool (Head Start) pro-
age range, many of these programs involve activities grams that incorporate home visitation and provide
with uncertain or unproven outcomes. Common ap- assistance to parents; or programs that teach parenting
proaches incorporated in current delinquency preven- skills, assisting parents with troublesome youngsters
tion programs—such as after-school recreation, and involving marital and family therapy. All of these
conflict resolution, mentoring, and employment pro- program types have been demonstrated to reduce
grams, as well as anti-violence school curriculums— future crime and violence, as well as related forms of
may be desirable for reasons unrelated to delinquency problem behavior, and provide greater assurance of
prevention; however, the value of such programs in developing a more successful life course for the
reducing delinquency and violence remains more a youngsters involved.
matter of speculation than of empirically demonstrated
fact. Rather, it is at the younger ages where promising Research has suggested that a sevenfold savings in
public expenditures can be achieved by implementing
results have been more fully demonstrated.
effective early childhood programs; they cost rela-
As requested by Attorney General Janet Reno in her tively little compared to the costs associated with the
November 1995 address to the American Society of problems they prevent in later childhood and the teen
Criminology, this document briefly summarizes cur- years: drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, special
rent research understanding about early prevention and education requirements, and other educational and
intervention approaches that are and are not likely to special needs of delinquents. Similarly, other studies
reduce crime and delinquency. The summary is fol- have indicated that early intervention programs that
lowed by three types of research-based recommenda- prevent violent crime cost the same as, or less than,
tions: recommendations for (1) general prevention institutionalizing older, seriously delinquent youths
strategies best implemented in collaboration with other (and early intervention is much more cost effective
Federal agencies; (2) prevention/intervention strategies when other costs associated with serious delinquency
within the justice system; and (3) additional justice in the teen years are considered). In both the short
system research needs. term and the long run, targeting delinquent adoles-
cents with a “get tough, lock them up” program costs
more and is less effective in reducing crime than inter-
Common Elements and Successful vention in early childhood.
Approaches for Early Prevention and
Intervention Other Promising Approaches Involving
Several recent reviews of prevention research and School-Age Children
evaluation literature independently concluded that
promising results have been achieved by early child- Beyond the preschool years, the programs that hold
hood programs with a set of common characteristics. the greatest promise for preventing delinquency and
Compared to less successful programs, successful reducing recidivism among already-delinquent chil-
programs are most often: (1) more comprehensive, dren are those that incorporate multiple approaches
attempting to ameliorate more than one or two factors for promoting positive behavior and teaching social
associated with delinquency and simultaneously fo- and other life skills. Programs that are provided in a
cusing on multiple problem behaviors; (2) designed to community setting have had better results than those
be appropriate for children of specific ages and at spe- implemented in an institutional environment. There is
cific stages of development; and (3) long-term efforts also some evidence that promising results may be


achieved by strategies and programs that involve: juvenile justice system seldom acts in cases involving
changes in school ecology/organization (especially such youngsters. And in neighborhoods where delin-
those that increase parent involvement), monitoring quency rates are high and effective prevention pro-
and rewards for good behavior, providing special help grams are most needed, there is a dearth of
from tutors and others for those identified by diagnos- community-based organizations with staff trained to
tic/prescriptive methods, special education programs promote positive behavior and teach life skills to
for disruptive middle- and high-school students, and youths. Too frequently, resources for delinquency pre-
the currently popular programs for conflict resolution vention are being used for types of programs that have
and cognitive behavioral anti-violence curriculums. been found consistently to have no effect—including
In general, however, although they appear promising, psychotherapy, intensive social casework, employ-
these programs have not been evaluated with regard to ment/vocational programs without an educational
their ability to reduce delinquency, violence, or other component, and peer counseling. Moreover, Federal
problem behaviors. funds for delinquency prevention are being congres-
sionally earmarked for unproven programs offered by
In addition, some studies have found that after-school organizations with more political clout than demon-
recreation programs (both school- and community- strated success.
based) can reduce delinquent involvement. It must be
carefully noted, however, that such programs are only
successful if they aggressively recruit youths and Implications
work to maintain high participation rates. Simple Although it might be considered beyond the direct
provision of recreational programs is not sufficient. purview of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), a
Although evaluations of employment/vocational/job- proactive agency role in the development of early pre-
training programs for adults have indicated their ef- vention efforts is suggested by the demonstrated posi-
fectiveness, similar outcomes for programs aimed at tive effects and cost effectiveness of early childhood
juveniles have not been realized unless a major educa- prevention strategies in reducing future long-term
tional component has been incorporated. Since these involvement in delinquency (and by inference, later
findings have been replicated in a number of studies, criminality). In particular, DOJ could be the vanguard
and since employment and job opportunities for for interagency efforts promoting the widespread use
school-age children are popular, stress should be of home visitation programs for high-risk mothers and
placed on frequently used delinquency-reduction educational daycare programs with a home visitation
approaches and the need for a significant educational component. The Department can also encourage the
component. implementation of strategies that focus on improving
the nurturing skills of parents who are under the
supervision of the justice system and who have infants
Current Programs for School-Age and preschool children. Rather than continuing to
Youths fund the implementation of programs known to be
ineffective or counterproductive, replications and
Even the best prevention and intervention programs evaluations of promising programs are strongly
for school-age children have been unable to greatly suggested.
reduce delinquency, nor should they be expected to
significantly reduce the proportion of delinquent Through continuing support for studies such as the
youths who will come to the attention of the justice Project on Human Development in Chicago Neigh-
system. Some argue that such programs can be ex- borhoods (National Institute of Justice) and the Pro-
pected to reduce recidivism among already adjudi- gram of Research on the Causes and Correlates of
cated adolescents by no more than about 5 percent. Delinquency (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delin-
While more significant results can be expected from quency Prevention), DOJ has been and continues to be
efforts that focus on school-age children who are at the forefront of developing basic research informa-
younger than those who are typically adjudicated— tion on which to design prevention and intervention
i.e., children who are 10, 11, and 12 years of age—the programs. However, development of and support for


the evaluation of promising programs lags way be- incapacitation and long-term sentences for older de-
hind. As a result, there are many promising ongoing linquent youths, even when only justice system costs
and new prevention strategies about which we know are considered.
practically nothing.
■ Research-based recommendation: We recom-
While it is extremely important to continue and to ex- mend that decisonmakers pursue de facto as well as
pand basic research efforts, it is also critical to ensure de jure provision of services to which children and
that major prevention and intervention initiatives are adolescents are legally entitled, especially services
adequately evaluated. Without such evaluation, the essential to their safety and wholesome develop-
knowledge on which to base informed decisions about ment.
prevention and intervention strategies—including the
“get tough” and “increased incarceration” initiatives Summary of research basis for recommendation:
now in vogue—is simply not available. The likelihood Many children in the United States are lacking funda-
of wasting a great deal of effort and considerable mental elements essential for human development.
expenditure on ineffective programs that do little to While these children are legally entitled to safe shel-
reduce delinquency, crime, and violence is very large. ter, adequate food, basic health care, and sufficient
preparation for adult economic viability, the actual
The absence of adequate evaluation information lack of access to these resources has been linked to a
results in a climate in which unproven popular fads failure to develop normally, to economically and
become the interventions of today—and the butt of socially marginal lives, and to persistent criminality.
arguments tomorrow about the futility of prevention.
Let us use what we know now about what works to Promising approaches:
provide more effective prevention—and learn more
about what works, so we can do better in the future. ❑ Better accountability and quality assurance in
public and private agencies mandated to provide
essential resources for infants, toddlers, and
Recommendations for General school-age children.
❑ Advocates who are able to help caregivers and
■ Research-based recommendation: We recom- adolescents circumvent bureaucratic barriers
mend that the U.S. Department of Justice take a in agencies mandated to provide essential
leading role in the interagency development of resources.
early prevention efforts. In particular, we advocate
the establishment of (1) home visitation programs ❑ Neighborhood-based youth-development organi-
for mothers at high risk for abusing, neglecting, or zations that provide sustained and comprehen-
inadequately providing for the needs of their chil- sive support and opportunities needed for
dren, and (2) educational daycare programs with a wholesome development from early childhood
home visitation component for at-risk infants and through the teen years.
Approach shown by research to be
Summary of research basis for recommendation:
Consistent research and evaluation findings indicate
that these two kinds of programs can substantially re- ❑ Services provided by traditional social welfare
duce later delinquency and criminality. They also can organizations.
reduce other individual health and mental health prob-
lems and lead to more positive outcomes for the Recommendations for Strategies
youths involved. It is estimated that early childhood
programs such as these can save future public expen- Within the Justice System
ditures at a 1:7 ratio. In addition, early prevention pro- Based on consistent research findings on early preven-
grams are at least as, and often more, cost effective tion and intervention, there are several recommenda-
than crime reduction approaches that depend on tions directly related to the justice system.


Research-based recommendation: Target early many children have fathers in jail or prison.
prevention and intervention efforts on parents under Referral and advocacy for health, nutrition, and
supervision of the justice system—including the related services for children of parents under ju-
criminal justice system, juvenile justice system, and venile/criminal justice system supervision or
family courts. In the short term, these can reduce conditional release.
crimes committed by the parents; in the long term,
they can reduce future crimes committed by the ❑ Accessible educational services/employment-
children of offenders and interrupt the cycle of crimi- skills training for young mothers, especially in
nal behavior in sequential generations. tandem with Head Start-type childcare for their
infants and toddlers and more traditional Head
Summary of research basis for recommendation: Start childcare for their preschool-age children.
Children whose parents are criminals have a relatively
high probability of becoming delinquents. Children ❑ Recruitment of more stable extended family
identified in court as having been abused or neglected members to care for the children of offenders—
by their parents are more likely than other children to especially in cultural groups in which the ex-
become delinquent. Offenders whose parents were tended family has traditionally played a key role
also criminals have a high probability of being high- in child rearing.
rate predatory criminals. However, whether or not ❑ Neighborhood-based collaborative community-
their parents have criminal histories, children raised and youth-development programs that empha-
by mothers or fathers with good parenting skills size provision of basic needs for infants and pre-
are less likely to become delinquent and serious school children and actively recruit and sustain
offenders. participation of older children during nonschool
Inmates who assume responsible family roles after hours.
they are released are less likely to recidivate than of-
fenders who do not have family ties. The vast majority Approach shown by research to be
of delinquents and criminals eventually “mature out of counterproductive:
crime”; assumption of family responsibilities can be a
key factor in this process. ❑ Repeated out-of-extended-family placements
of children of offenders (including out-of-ex-
tended-family placement for neglected/abused
Promising approaches: children).
❑ Prenatal counseling, perinatal care for pregnant
Research-based recommendation: Develop pro-
offenders, and hands-on parenting classes for
grams to assist families of younger youths (10- to
offenders with babies and young children. Since
12-year-olds) coming to the attention of the justice
a majority of women offenders are substance
system. For older, persistent offenders, develop be-
abusers, substance abuse treatment is frequently
havioral skill-oriented community-based programs.
an important component of perinatal care for
offenders. Summary of research basis of recommendation:
Planned services for families of younger youths com-
❑ Therapeutic communities (TC’s) or similar resi-
ing to the attention of the juvenile justice system
dential programs for prison or jail inmates who
(police and courts) are minimal, often because the
are within a year of release and who have just
behavior of these youths is not seen as dangerous. Yet
been released; in particular, TC’s in which in-
youths who become involved in delinquency before
mates receive professional help in assessing and
they are adolescents are at higher risk for future in-
improving their interactions with children and
volvement in crime than youths who become delin-
quent at later ages. Parents who seek help for such
❑ Family focus/parenting programs with active youths most frequently turn to schools. Most schools
door-to-door outreach in communities in which are not prepared to provide services consistently


found to reduce delinquency effectively, such as Recommendations for Meeting

parent training and home visits to assist in family
Additional Justice System Research
Promising approaches: Research-based recommendation: Design and sup-
port high-quality evaluations of major prevention and
❑ Referrals of 10-, 11-, and 12-year-olds detained intervention programs, including types of programs
by the police to neighborhood organizations pro-
noted as “promising approaches” in this document.
viding sustained activities during the nonschool
hours, under the guidance of adults trained to Summary of research basis for recommendation:
provide the types of support and opportunities Almost all reviews of early prevention and interven-
young adolescents and their families benefit tion programs observe that there is a dearth of valid
from and enjoy. evaluation information about a wide variety of
promising programs. The Office of Justice Programs
❑ Provision of support services to the families of
has been a leader and continues to be at the forefront
such youths, in particular, parent training and
of developing basic research information on which to
home visitation programs to assist in family
design prevention and intervention programs, includ-
organization, social skills, and problem solving.
ing much of the research conducted by ASC members
❑ For older teens who have persistently been that forms the basis of this report.
engaging in delinquent behavior, placement in
However, development of and support for the evalua-
communal detention settings where youths tion of promising programs lags way behind. While
gradually earn status and privileges through
evaluation findings form the basis for programs and
vocational achievement and through contribu- approaches described in this paper as promising, most
tions to the welfare of all in the “community”—
evaluations have been limited to studying the imple-
followed by supervised participation in similar
mentation process or outcomes in a few sites. Without
activities after they earn their way out of systematic replication and evaluation, we cannot at
this time definitively recommend national implemen-
tation of some of the most promising programs and
Approaches shown by research to be approaches described here. In addition, there are
ineffective or counterproductive: many other potentially promising ongoing and newly
❑ Secure detention for adolescents. developed prevention strategies about which we know
practically nothing.
❑ Any form of detention in the absence of transi-
tional care on return to the community. It is critical to ensure that major prevention and inter-
vention initiatives are adequately evaluated. Without
❑ Programs consisting of short-term efforts to fix such evaluation, information about ongoing programs,
individual deficits or to prevent a particular type including the “get tough” and “increased incarcera-
of delinquent behavior. tion” initiatives now in vogue, solid findings that can
form the basis for decisions about prevention and in-
❑ Employment/job programs for school-age
youths (despite their success for adults) that do tervention strategies are simply not available. Without
NOT include a major educational component. adequate evaluation, the likelihood is great that a great
deal of effort and considerable expenditure will be
❑ Programs implemented by organizations that are wasted on ineffective programs that do little to reduce
experiencing fiscal or administrative difficulties. delinquency, crime, or violence.
Also, programs implemented by organizations
with little or no proven experience in delin-
quency prevention and youth development but,
because of political connections, receive Federal
“pork-barrel” funding.


1. Recommendations are based on research reported
in over 100 publications authored by members of the
American Society of Criminology (ASC). Given the
purpose of this document to briefly summarize this
literature and draw on consistent findings for policy
and practice, it does not reference the individual find-
ings of the many researchers who contributed to our
current understanding of early prevention and inter-
vention for delinquency and related problems.
However, several ASC members conducted their own
reviews of an extensive corpus of research that are
incorporated in this document, and we would like to
acknowledge their efforts; they are Richard Catalano,
David Farrington, Peter Greenwood, Nancy Guerra, J.
David Hawkins, Adele Harrell, Mark Lipsey, Patrick
Tolan, and Franklin Zimring.


Youth Violence

Alfred Blumstein, Carnegie Mellon University, Chair


VIOLENCE ■ Because of the pres-
Sharp increases in juvenile violence Summary ence of guns, the fights
that routinely occur among youths can
have heightened the sense of personal
rapidly turn from fist fights to shootings. Adult
risk experienced by those who live and work in
gun carriers, even those in the drug market,
urban areas and contributed strongly to the wide-
seem better able to exercise restraint.
spread fear of crime in general. This fear derives
from the randomness (the perpetrators and victims ■ As more young people carried guns, they pro-
of juvenile homicides are strangers about 30 per- vided an incentive for other youths to arm them-
cent of the time), early onset, and seriousness of selves, resulting in an escalating process of
violence perpetrated by youths. Between 1985 and gun-carrying (the familiar “arms race”), which,
1992, the juvenile homicide arrest rate, the juvenile in turn, has led to a greater propensity in any
homicide victimization rate, the number of juve- dispute for either party to use his gun before the
nile homicides involving guns, and the rates of other person does.
murder committed by 15- and 16-year olds in-
creased by more than 100 percent. In addition, the The key here is the “diffusion hypothesis,” which
arrest rate of nonwhite juveniles for drug offenses suggests that the growth in juvenile homicides is a
doubled. Public anxiety extends beyond fears for consequence of adoption within the larger commu-
personal safety to include concerns about an nity of behavior endemic to the drug industry: car-
irreparable breach of the social contract. rying guns and using them to settle disputes. The
diffusion hypothesis is supported by the fact that,
A working hypothesis about the growth in juvenile since 1985, the homicide arrest rates of both white
violence is as follows: and nonwhite juveniles have grown, respectively,
by 80 percent and 120 percent, although there has
■ When crack cocaine hit the streets in 1985, it
been no evident growth in the involvement of
changed illegal drug buying habits and distribu- white youths in the drug market.
tion patterns. The number of transactions in-
creased markedly, as people bought one “hit” at
a time, rather than larger quantities that could be Policy recommendations
stored for later use.
■ Guns on the street. Because carrying a hand-
■ To accommodate the higher number of transac- gun is illegal almost everywhere, the task of
tions, youths (primarily African Americans in getting guns out of the hands of juveniles
center-city areas) were recruited into the drug requires stronger and more focused enforce-
market. ment of existing legislation. The Federal
Government’s main role should be to offer tech-
■ Since they could not easily ask the police for nical assistance to localities that would like to
protection, the new recruits needed guns to pro- pursue this strategy but need help in doing so.
tect themselves and their valuable wares. For example, the recent National Institute of
Justice (NIJ) project in Kansas City came out
■ Their tight networking through schools and the
with some important findings with regard to ap-
streets led to a broader diffusion of guns into the proaches for capturing illegal guns. Even if we
larger youthful community, primarily for self- were to stop the flow of guns to and from drug
defense but also, perhaps, for status. markets, we still have to worrry about the guns
that are already present in the streets.


■ Guns in the market. Illicit gun markets (espe- ■ Socialization of youth. In the long run, we
cially those that sell to kids, and especially in must face the widespread problem of socializing
urban areas) must be more tightly controlled. the growing number of young people who see
Law enforcement has focused on the drug mar- no hope for their economic future and are will-
ket while largely ignoring the market for illegal ing, therefore, to take whatever risks are neces-
firearms. The challenge is a clear Federal re- sary to gain respect and earn an income. These
sponsibility because so much of the traffic in disenfranchised youths represent ready recruits
guns is interstate. for any illicit markets that present themselves.

■ Treatment and prevention. Consideration

should be given to shrinking the size of drug
markets by siphoning off some of the demand
for drugs. Measures should include increasing
the resources and effort put into treatment and
prevention and finding ways to bring certified
addicts into treatment programs, like those who
are being supported under the SSI program.



Background and Public Concerns arrest rate (the “age-crime curve”) for murder had a flat
rate, which hovered around the same value (about 25 per

ne of the important sources of widespread 100,000) for all the ages of 18 through 24 for the entire
public fear of crime is the enhanced sense of period 1970 through 1985. During this period, the rates
risk resulting from the increase in juvenile for the ages under 18 were also quite low; for 16-year-
violence. This fear has led policymakers to resort to olds, for example, the rate had been an almost constant
draconian legislative responses (such as broad-scope rate of 12 per 100,000 from 1970 through 1985.
three-strikes laws) focused on sweeping increases in
the use of incarceration to control crime that are not This picture of considerable stability in most things
likely to be effective and are likely to represent a ma- related to homicide changed rather dramatically be-
jor burden on criminal justice systems and taxpayers. ginning in about 1985, as crack entered the national
consciousness. The change in 1985 was a change
Thus it is important that we examine the facts that from fairly stable, constant trends, to a sudden upward
reflect changes that have taken place during the past change in direction, although the transition point was
decade involving juveniles in violence, with particular different in different places. There is a widespread
emphasis on the aspect of violence that is probably sense that there is a drug connection in all this, al-
most fear-inducing—juvenile homicide. The fear though most people would guess that the connection
derives partly from a variety of considerations that is pharmacological—young people get high on drugs,
create a sense of randomness when juveniles act vio- which makes them lose their inhibitions, and that
lently. Juvenile homicides involve strangers about gives rise to all the killing.
50 percent more often than do adult homicides: about
30 percent of juvenile homicides are random com- Between 1985 and 1992, we suddenly saw an upward
pared with about 20 percent of adult homicides. growth in the rate of homicides by young people, their
use of guns in homicides, and very sharp growth in
These concerns are exacerbated by the presence of the involvement of nonwhite juveniles in the drug
guns—especially assault weapons with high fire- industry. All of these factors had been quite stable for
power—as a major factor in juvenile homicides. In nearly 15 years, leading in just 7 years to the follow-
light of doubts about their marksmanship and grave ing major changes:
concern about their using weapons at the slightest
provocation, many people who might otherwise feel ■ More than doubling of the juvenile homicide arrest
safe from homicide are very troubled at the prospect rate (with no change in the rates for adults over the
of being engulfed by the sense of escalating juvenile age of 24). See figures 1a and 1b.
violence. The fear also undoubtedly involves some
concern that goes beyond personal risk and must raise ■ More than doubling of the juvenile homicide vic-
some anxiety about the unraveling of the social fabric timization rate (with no comparable growth in the
as we learn about growing rates of misdeeds by the adult victimization rate). See figure 2.
“upcoming generation.” ■ More than doubling of the number of juvenile
homicides involving the use of guns (with no
Some Facts About Juvenile Violence change in the number of nongun homicides). See
figure 3.
In contrast to burglary and robbery, which are crimes
that peak sharply in the late teens and early twenties, the ■ Doubling in the arrest rate of nonwhite juveniles
age distribution of murder arrestees has traditionally for drug offenses (with no increase in the arrest rate
been quite flat. Until 1985, the peak of the age-specific of white juveniles). See figure 4.


Figure 1a: Trends in Age-Specific Murder Rate

Trends for Individual Peak Ages


Rate per 100,000 Population






65 70 75 80 85 90 95

Figure 1b: Trends in Age-Specific Murder Rate

Trends for Individual Young Ages


Rate per 100,000 Population

40 16




65 70 75 80 85 90 95


Figure 2: Homicide Rates by Victim Age, 1980–91

White and Black Males, 15–19 and 20–24

15–19 – BM

Black 20–24 – BM
Deaths per 100,000 Population Each Age

15–19 – WM
20–24 – WM


White x3

1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992 1994 1996

Figure 3: Number of Gun and Nongun Homicides

Juvenile Offenders (10–17)






1976 1978 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992


Figure 4: Drug Arrest Rate – Juveniles


400 Nonwhite
Rate per 100,000 Population




1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995

The immediate challenge is to figure out what sce- gun in the drug markets to protect themselves and
nario could be connecting these three sharp and their valuable wares.
sharply focused changes. There is no question that a
variety of criminogenic factors in the environment has ■ The tight networking of youths through schools
contributed (or could have contributed) to a worsening and the streets has led to a broader diffusion of
crime situation. But it is not easy to identify what guns into the larger youthful community, primarily
changes have occurred that could account for so dra- for self-defense but also perhaps for status-seeking.
matic a change. For this explanation, we turn to a Because adults are less tightly networked, we do
working hypothesis about the process that seems to not see comparable diffusion among them.
have led to the major growth in juvenile violence: ■ As a result of the presence of guns, the fights that
■ With the arrival of crack markets beginning in are routine among youths can readily turn into
about 1985, the number of drug transactions in- shooting rather than merely fist fights. Adults, even
creased markedly partly because people were buy- though they may also be carrying guns (and par-
ing a “hit” at a time, rather than buying larger ticularly those who work in the drug markets),
quantities and keeping the inventory in their rela- seem much better able to exercise restraint in using
tively secure homes. guns.

■ To accommodate this growth in demand for trans- ■ The growing presence of guns among youths pro-
actions, youths, primarily African Americans in vides an increased incentive for each additional
central-city areas, were recruited into those drug youth to carry his own gun. This results in an esca-
markets. lating process of gun-carrying (the familiar “arms
race”), thereby leading in any dispute to a greater
■ Because drug traffickers cannot easily call police propensity to use the weapon before the other per-
for protection, their standard practice is to carry a son does.


The key here is the “diffusion hypothesis,” which sug- urban areas. There are some interesting parallels
gests that the growth in the number of homicides by here to the illicit drug markets: both peddle danger-
youths attributable to the drug industry is a conse- ous products, and we have been obsessed with one
quence, not so much of the “systemic” murder within and have largely ignored the other. This challenge
the drug industry (the growth rate seems much too is clearly a Federal responsibility because so much
high to be explained only by the limited rates of homi- trafficking in guns is interstate.
cide within the industry), but rather of the adoption
within the larger community that is networked with ■ Because of the salient role of drug markets as a pri-
the drug industry of some of the mores that operate mary causal factor, and in light of the demonstrated
within that industry. And prominent among those difficulty of impacting those markets with enforce-
mores is the carrying of guns and use of them for ment, this may be the time for considering alterna-
settling disputes. tive means of shrinking their size by weakening the
demand from those markets. This could include in-
The diffusion hypothesis is supported by the fact that creasing the amount of resources and the effort put
since 1985, the growth in the homicide arrest rate of into treatment and prevention. It also calls for find-
juveniles who are white has grown by 80 percent, and ing ways to bring into treatment programs certified
for nonwhite juveniles, it has grown by 120 percent. addicts like those who are being supported under
(See figures 5a and 5b for a comparison of adult and the SSI program, for example.
juvenile murder arrest rates over the year.) This
growth in the rate of white juveniles arrested for ■ For the longer run, we must face the widespread
homicide has occurred with no evident growth in problem of socializing the growing number of
involvement in the drug markets by white juveniles. young people who see no hope for their economic
(See figure 4.) future, are willing to take whatever risks are neces-
sary to gain respect and to earn an income, and rep-
resent ready recruits for any illicit markets that
Some Policy Responses present themselves.
These observations suggest some policy actions, both These suggestions encompass a considerable range of
immediate and longer term, that should be pursued: activity, from the immediate police-level activity of
■ For the immediate future, we have got to focus on confiscating illegal guns in the street to the much
ways to get guns out of the hands of youths, espe- broader societal problem of helping to socialize young
cially in urban areas. Because carrying handguns is people whose family—too often a single mother with
illegal almost everywhere, this usually requires inadequate education, insufficient employment skills,
stronger and more focused enforcement of existing and little or no external support—lacks the compe-
legislation rather than any new legislation. An im- tence or structure to do so effectively.
portant Federal role here is one of technical assis- These suggestions represent important challenges to
tance to localities who would like to pursue this the Nation. Undoubtedly, each alternative will find
strategy, but need help in doing so. For example, strong opposition for reasons that will seem legiti-
the recent National Institute of Justice project in mate. Failing to meet these challenges, however,
Kansas City came out with some important results makes it seem that the epidemic of guns and homi-
on approaches to capturing illegal guns. Even if we cide—which has been an important source of distress
were to stop the flow of guns from the drug mar- and fear to the Nation—is likely to continue. And, dis-
kets, we still have to worry about the guns that are tress and fear have elicited responses that are likely to
already present in the streets. ignore the central problem and generally make mat-
■ On a somewhat broader basis, we must find means ters worse for the Nation.
for exercising tighter control over illicit gun mar-
kets, especially those that sell guns to youths in


Figure 5a: Murder Arrest Rate – Adults



60 Nonwhite
Rate per 100,000 Population



White x7



1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995

Figure 5b: Murder Arrest Rate – Juveniles


15 Nonwhite
Rate per 100,000 Population


5 White x5

1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995


A New Vision for

Inner-City Schools
Ross D. London, Municipal Court Judge, Hoboken, New Jersey, Chair


FOR INNER-CITY Inner-city education
must be expanded, rede-
Juvenile violence is at
an all-time high, and SCHOOLS signed, and enriched in
order to create a new
many have decided that
only more deterrence Summary generation of young
people for whom the goal of deterrence
measures can effectively deal with de-
has a realistic chance of working.
linquency. Criminologists agree that de-
terrence works well for the average working
person with a family and a role in the community. Policy recommendations
But for people who are unsocialized, impulsive,
■ Early child-parent intervention. Both public
and mindlessly destructive, deterrence is an inef-
and private early intervention (birth to age 5)
fective tool. If deterrence is to work, people must
programs should be implemented immediately
be more deterrable.
and include voluntary enrollment, extensive
Adequacy of parenting. Of all the factors found parent training, and frequent home visits; they
to contribute to delinquency, the clearest and most should be long term, have low student-to-
exhaustive evidence concerns the adequacy of teacher ratios, provide liberal subsidies for
parenting. Abusive, incompetent, or rejecting par- working parents, and be competently monitored
ents, and those who do not provide sufficient and evaluated.
supervision have a direct effect on the antisocial
■ Early childhood education. Private early
behavior of their children. Poor parenting cannot
childhood intervention programs that address
be viewed as the sole cause of delinquency. The
the needs of the child and the parent should be
association between inadequate parenting and
expanded and subsidized. The Head Start pro-
other factors is, however, critical in predicting
gram should be improved by adding parent
future delinquency. These risk factors are parental
training and home visits and by extending its
criminality and drug abuse, prenatal deficiency,
term beyond 1 year, especially in areas having a
lack of education, poor supervision, and deficient
disproportionate number of children at high risk
discipline. Chief among the factors indicative of
for future delinquency.
later serious delinquency is the age at onset of sig-
nificant misbehavior. The earlier a child commits ■ Pilot residential schools and foster parenting
a youthful offense, the more likely it is that such for abused children. Significant grants should
delinquency will continue and worsen over time. be made for pilot programs to develop a mixture
Therefore, intervention must take place at the earli- of public and private residential schools, as well
est possible opportunity if it is to have any lasting as pilot projects for increased funding for foster
effect. parenting for children of abusive or demonstra-
bly incompetent parents. When evidence of
Delinquency and education. Criminologists be-
abuse or neglect is established, when there is a
lieve that the problem of delinquency is essentially
refusal to enter into an existing program of early
a problem of socialization. When the family fails
childhood intervention, and when parental
in this essential function, the task of socialization
rights have been terminated by court order, we
must be taken up by the educational system. The
must have placement alternatives readily at
criminal justice system can only “pick up the
hand to raise the affected children in a proper
pieces” after delinquency has become a fact.


Residential schools have the potential of being ■ Value of properly conducted evaluations.
either a blessing or a curse on the minority com- After evaluating pilot prevention and treatment
munity. Rather than engaging in politicized de- programs, a limited number of well-funded ma-
bate on the issue of “orphanages,” we advocate jor interventions with sufficient provision for
establishing a number of pilot programs for resi- adequate research design and long-term evalua-
dential schools that contain the following ele- tion should be implemented.
ments: sufficient funding to ensure an education
equal to the residential education available to ■ Coordination of educational and criminal
wealthier families, education that begins at the justice objectives. The Department of Justice
pre-K level, minority staffing and an emphasis should coordinate with the Department of Edu-
on minority values, and provision for voluntary cation at the highest level to ensure that the
enrollment. concerns of the law enforcement community
are reflected in school curriculums and that the
■ Pilot community schools. Well-developed and concept of early childhood intervention is
broad pilot programs should be implemented accepted as part of a nationwide basic educa-
for development of comprehensive community tional policy.
schools that are run on a districtwide basis (to
avoid the problem of stigmatizing children ■ Immediate need to focus on law enforcement
selected as the most at risk). Schooling must go alternatives. Since even the best prevention
beyond the acquisition of cognitive skills and programs need considerable time to bear fruit,
serve as the focus of many childcare programs, we have no choice but to immediately upgrade
such as prenatal screening, assessment and re- our law enforcement alternatives. Knowing full
ferral for treatment of developmental problems, well the ultimate futility of law enforcement
and preschool programs that focus on both the for a generation of children who lack elemen-
child and its parents. These community schools tary socialization and self-control, we are none-
should remain open at night, on weekends, and theless obligated to detect and punish those
throughout the year. who make life intolerable for others.




ur country is beset by juvenile violence as In conjunction with our efforts to identify the most
never before1 and the electorate is impatient significant risk factors for delinquency (criminality
for solutions. Given the generally disappoint- and drug abuse of parents, prenatal deficiency, lack of
ing results of rehabilitation programs as a whole,2 education, poor supervision, and inadequate discipli-
many people—and many political leaders—have nary measures),9 we have begun to construct and
decided that only more deterrence measures can evaluate programs that attempt to counteract these
effectively deal with delinquency and that preventive factors.
measures are only so much pork.
Chief among the factors indicative of later serious de-
Criminologists are in agreement that deterrence does linquency is the age at onset of significant misbehav-
work—but not for everyone. Deterrence works well ior: the earlier the child is found to have committed a
for the average working person with a family and a youthful offense, the more likely it will be that such
role in the community. But for people who are delinquency will continue and worsen over time.10
unsocialized, impulsive, and mindlessly self-destruc- This finding provides a focus for any discussion of
tive, deterrence is an ineffective tool. Criminologists prevention. Intervention must be performed at the ear-
have found that for deterrence to work, we need to liest possible opportunity if it is to have any lasting
create not simply more or harsher deterrence meas- effect. Indeed, some criminologists have explained the
ures but more deterrable people. Can this be done? failure of many programs directed toward adolescent
The answer is encouraging: during the last 20 years, rehabilitation by noting that by the age of adolescence
criminologists have obtained clear and well-docu- interventions have come too late to be effective.11
mented data on the key factors involved in delin- There is widespread agreement among child develop-
quency—and have also obtained good evidence to ment professionals that by far the most critical years
support the view that certain measures actually work for social development are birth to age 6.12 Because of
in reducing the rate of delinquency and crime.3 Cen- the centrality of parenting as a factor contributing to
tral to all these programs is the notion of an expanded delinquency and the critical importance of early mani-
role for public education. festation of misconduct in predicting future criminal-
ity, leading criminologists have looked to early
childhood intervention as the most promising societal
Background: Delinquency and
response to delinquency thus devised.13
Parental Adequacy
Of all the factors we have found that contribute to de- Delinquency Control and
linquency,4 the clearest and most exhaustive evidence
Education Reform
concerns the adequacy of parenting.5 Parents who are
incompetent, abusive, or rejecting,6 parents who fail to Our system of public education is largely the product
maintain adequate supervision over their children, and of 19th century social reform. It has worked reason-
parents who indeed are little more than children them- ably well for more than a hundred years because it has
selves have direct effects on the antisocial behavior of rested on a well-established assumption: while public
their children.7 Inadequacy of parenting cannot be education would serve the needs of young people for
viewed in isolation as the sole cause of delinquency. a limited portion of the day and calendar year, the
However, its association with other factors is critical child’s family would adequately provide for the
to predicting future delinquency.8 child’s development at all other times. Although this
may have been a fair assumption for most of America
throughout its history, it is certainly not so today. In


fact, in our inner cities, the education process breaks ■ Frequent home visits.
down precisely when the school day ends. Children
who return to a neighborhood rife with crime and drug ■ Duration of several years.
abuse, who return to a household with inadequate or Of the number of such programs instituted in this
nonexistent parenting, are virtually programmed for country, four have been evaluated with adequate
educational and societal failure despite the best efforts research models and over a long enough followup
of our school system. For public education to fulfill its period to track the results into adolescence and early
mandate—not just to get kids “through school”—to adulthood. These projects are located in Michigan
produce responsible, self-sufficient adults, it must pro- (The Perry School),15 Houston (Parent-Child Develop-
vide the means to educate every child, not only those ment Center),16 Syracuse (Child Development
with intact, nurturing families, but also those who are Project),17 and New Haven (Yale Child Welfare
deprived of such life supports. To the extent that a Project).18 Each has shown a lasting reduction in anti-
child suffers from such deprivation, the educational social behavior, delinquency, and adult criminality.19
system must act as effective parental supplements and Perhaps because these programs are voluntary and are
substitutes. directed strictly toward educational achievement
We in the field of criminology believe that the problem (as opposed to being regarded as delinquency preven-
of delinquency is essentially a problem of socializa- tion programs), there is no reported evidence of a
tion. Certainly, the most appropriate and effective stigmatizing effect that might interfere with social
means of socialization is the family. But when the development.
family fails in this essential function, the task of It is important to stress that these programs were de-
socialization must be taken up by the educational sys- signed to address both the child (cognitive and social
tem. The criminal justice system, with all its resources development) and the parent (acquisition and monitor-
to detect, prosecute, and sanction offenders, simply ing of parental skills). What distinguishes these
cannot solve the problem of delinquency—it can only successful programs from a rash of unsuccessful pro-
pick up the pieces. It is therefore necessary that crimi- grams is their multiple components. The causes of
nal justice objectives be explicitly recognized by edu- criminality and delinquency have been found to be
cational policymakers. What we propose in this report multiple: the more risk factors present, the greater the
is a number of concrete ways in which education in risk of delinquency. Therefore, the more factors ad-
the inner cities can be expanded, redesigned, and en- dressed in an intervention plan, the greater the likeli-
riched to create a new generation of young people for hood of success. Neither parent training nor
whom the goal of deterrence has a realistic chance of educational supplements alone are sufficient.20
Therefore, we recommend an expansion and subsidi-
Element One: Expanding Preschool zation of private programs for early childhood inter-
vention that address both the needs of the child and
Education the parent. We further believe that the existing Head
An increasing number of well-documented early Start program can be significantly improved for those
childhood intervention programs have demonstrated a who qualify by including parent training, home visits,
significant effect on socialization and delinquency.14 and a lengthening of its term beyond 1 year.21
These programs typically involve:

■ Identification of the at-risk population (i.e., low

Element Two: The Community
income, single parenthood, low educational School—a New Vision
attainment). For many years, schools have been regarded by social
■ Early intervention (typically pre-K to first grade). scientists as natural settings for the training of social-
ization skills.22 However, programs designed to reduce
■ Extensive parent training. misconduct have proven to be of little value over
extended time periods either because resources have


been inadequate or because out-of-school conditions cases where parents are incapable of cooperating.27 For
have undermined what is learned in the classroom.23 the parents of such children, out-of-home placement
becomes a necessity, either in foster care or a group
In keeping with our finding that early intervention and residence.
multicomponent approaches are the only proven
programmatic means of curtailing delinquency for We believe that the proposal for the implementation of
at-risk children, we propose a new concept of public residential boarding schools for children who are
education in the inner cities. We share the vision of deprived of minimally adequate parenting is a serious
Dr. Edward Zigler, one of the founders of Head Start, one. There has never been a better opportunity for edu-
who proposed that schooling go beyond the acquisition cational reformers of all political persuasions to combine
of cognitive skills, which serves as the focus of many their visions and expertise for the establishment of the
childcare programs, such as prenatal screening, assess- kind of residential schools in which we can take pride.
ment and referral for treatment of developmental prob-
lems, and preschool programs that focus on both the At present, there is much uncertainty as to the long-term
child and the parent.24 Just such a concept has been put effectiveness of residential placement.28 In addition, the
into effect by Dr. Edward Zigler’s “School of the 21st potential cost of residential placement is quite variable29
Century,” a program that has been adopted in more than and dependent on the extent of physical improvements
250 communities nationwide.25 Furthermore, commu- envisioned, student-teacher ratios, and the amount and
nity schools should remain open for these and other ac- quality of services offered. Criminologists and social
tivities at night, on weekends, and throughout the year. planners agree, however, that underfunding of residen-
The justification for 3-month summer vacations has long tial projects will result in overcrowding, inadequate fa-
past: We must not abandon inner-city youths to the cilities and services, and in turn, stigmatization of the
streets during these months with the absurd hope that programs and the students, and educational and social
they are somehow going to find jobs. failure. A well-funded program, one that creates beauti-
ful, campus-like environments, with small classes, ex-
cellent services, and highly skilled and motivated staff
Element Three: Residential Schools can be instrumental in enabling thousands of children to
for the Most in Need succeed educationally and socially.
It is in the context of redefining the mandate and Clearly, there is much at stake in “getting it right.” Resi-
scope of public education that residential schools be- dential schools have the potential of being either a bless-
come a promising option for children who are funda- ing or a curse on the minority community. Therefore,
mentally deprived of effective parenting. For these rather than engaging in politicized debates on the issue
children, a well-funded, well-equipped, and well- of “orphanages,” we advocate the establishment of a
staffed residential school may be their only lifeline to number of pilot programs for residential schools that
a normal, healthy life. have the best chance of succeeding. These should con-
tain the following elements:
Despite our efforts at early intervention, we must recog-
nize that increased support services are futile for a sig- ■ Funding sufficient to ensure an education for the
nificant number of children who are subject to chronic children that equals residential education available
abuse and neglect.26 Because of the value of family pres- to wealthier families.
ervation, there is no doubt that outside placement should
be used as a last resort only, but when evidence of abuse ■ Schooling that begins at the pre-K level.
or neglect is established and when there is a refusal to
■ Minority staffing and emphasis on respect for mi-
enter into an existing program of early childhood inter-
nority cultural values.
vention, we must have parent placement alternatives
readily at hand to raise the affected children in a proper ■ Provision for voluntary enrollment.
manner. Despite the impressive performance of parent
training programs, we must consider the large number of


Also, rather than advocating a policy of one or more As an alternative to subsidized, private-sector pro-
placement alternatives, we recommend the establish- grams of child care, we also recommend that the
ment of significant grants for the development of a existing Head Start program be upgraded to consist of
mixture of public and private residential schools for the above features, at least in those geographical areas
children of abusive or demonstrably incompetent par- having a high proportion of children most at risk for
ents and pilot projects for increased funding for foster future delinquency.
parenting. The results of these pilot projects will be
critical to the development of social policies that can Establishment of pilot programs for expanded
be applied on a large-scale basis during the next community schools and residential schools. These
century. programs and proposals, unlike the early intervention
programs discussed above, do not have sufficient
evaluation materials to suggest replication of efforts at
Timetable for Implementation this time. Instead, we recommend that well-funded
Despite our impatience for solutions and despite our and comprehensive pilot programs be implemented
enthusiasm for innovative programs, we must ac- for the following purposes:
knowledge that, on the whole, government programs ■ Development of comprehensive community
designed to combat delinquency have been disap- schools with greatly expanded hours, sessions,
pointing.30 Therefore, we must approach larger scale and services. Where implemented, these projects
implementation with great care. We have learned that, should be run on a districtwide basis to have maxi-
in terms of long-term effects on delinquency, half a mum impact and avoid the problem of stigmatiza-
loaf is not better than none.31 Piecemeal solutions are tion that may result from selecting only the most
not only unproductive and wasteful but tend to dimin- at-risk children for inclusion.
ish the chances for effective measures by discouraging
people against prevention generally. The time sched- ■ Development of well-equipped residential schools,
ule for implementation should be dependent on the properly funded, staffed, and ethnically enriched, to
degree of proven success of each of the projects men- act as placement alternatives for children whose
tioned. Therefore, we propose a project implementa- parents have had their parental rights terminated by
tion program as follows: court order.
Immediate implementation of early intervention Again, we must emphasize the value of properly con-
programs. The success of early child-parent interven- ducted evaluations of pilot programs before large-
tion programs is documented well enough at this point scale implementation of these proposals. There is a
to suggest national implementation and replication vast literature regarding treatment and prevention pro-
with both private and public options. In this replica- grams, but the number of programs that have been ad-
tion process we must insist that these programs in- equately evaluated is minute. Therefore, we propose
clude the following key factors: the creation of a limited number of well-funded major
interventions with sufficient provision for adequate
■ Voluntary enrollment. research design and long-term evaluation. Further-
■ Early intervention (birth to age 5). more, we recommend that the U.S. Department of
Justice coordinate with the U.S. Department of Edu-
■ Extensive parent training. cation at the highest levels to ensure that the concerns
of law enforcement are not only implemented in
■ Frequent home visitation. school curriculums, but that the concept of early
■ Duration of several years. childhood intervention as a fundamental component
of law enforcement is accepted as part of basic educa-
■ Low student-teacher ratios. tional policy nationwide.

■ Liberal subsidies for working parents.

■ Competent monitoring and evaluation.


Conclusion time period. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Uniform

Crime Reports for the United States. 1991. Cited in
We face the 21st century with the alarming prospect Yoshikawa, H. (1994) Prevention as Cumulative
of ever-increasing juvenile and adult criminality, the Protection; “Effects of Early Family Support and
continued disintegration of the family unit, and the Education on Chronic Delinquency and its Risks,”
continued decay of our inner cities. Our solutions Psychological Bulletin, vol. 115:28–54.
must be as powerful and comprehensive as the prob-
lems they address. Because even the best prevention 2. Leitenberg, H. 1987. “Primary Prevention of
programs need considerable time to bear fruit, we Delinquency,” in Prevention of Delinquent Behavior,
have no choice but to immediately upgrade our law Burchard and Burchard (eds.), p. 320.
enforcement alternatives. Knowing full well the ulti-
3. Yoshikawa, supra, at 35.
mate futility of law enforcement for a generation of
children who lack elementary socialization and self- 4. Binder, A., G. Geis, and D. Bruce. 1988. Juvenile
control, we are nonetheless obligated to detect and Delinquency: Historical, Cultural and Legal Perspec-
punish those who make life intolerable for others. tives. New York: Macmillan; Farrington, D.P., R.
Loeber, D.S. Elliot, J.D. Hawkins, D.B. Kandel, M.W.
But this we know. The heart of any lastingly effective
Klein, J. McCord, D.C. Rose, and R.E. Trembly.
program to reduce delinquency and criminality and to
1990. “Advancing Knowledge About the Onset of
increase the likelihood of effective deterrence neces-
Delinquency and Crime,” in B.B. Lahey and A.E.
sarily involves the family and early childhood. There-
Kazdin (eds.), Advances in Clinical Child Psychology,
fore, we advocate the expansion of early childhood
vol. 13:283–342. New York: Plenum Press; Hirschi, T.
intervention programs and the upgrading of Head
1969. The Causes of Delinquency. Berkeley: Univer-
Start. Beyond that, programs to establish adequate
sity of California Press; and Wilson, J.Q., and G.
out-of-home placement (remedial residential schools
Loury. 1987. Families, Schools, and Delinquency
and upgraded foster-care services) and programs to
Prevention, p. vi.
expand radically the scope of public education should
be implemented as major pilot projects. The effective- 5. Louber, R., and M. Stouthamer-Loeber. 1986.
ness of these pilot projects can thereafter be properly “Family Factors as Correlates and Predictors of Juve-
evaluated so that societal and educational policies can nile Conduct Problems and Delinquency,” in M. Tony
be intelligently planned and implemented during the and N. Morris (eds.), Crime and Justice; An Annual
next century. Review of Research, vol. 7:29–150. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press.
The cost of this concept of a greatly expanded scope
of public education will be enormous, but it is not 6. Basharov, D.J. 1987. “Giving the Juvenile Court a
without precedent. In the 1950’s and 1960’s we Preschool Education,” in Wilson and Loury, supra, at
Americans, recognizing the need for higher education 214; Wright and Wright. 1994. “A Policy Maker’s
in our competition with the Soviet Union, proceeded Guide to Controlling Delinquency through Family
to construct one of the greatest systems of colleges Intervention,” Justice Quarterly, vol. 11, no. 2:193;
and universities in the world. Just such an effort is Loeber, R., and T.J. Dishion. 1983. “Early Predictors
needed now for the lower and preschool grades to of Male Delinquency: A Review,” Psychological
address the children most in need of our protection Bulletin, vol. 94 (19):68–69.
and care.
7. Cohen, P., and J. Brook. 1987. “Family Factors
Related to the Persistence of Psychopathology in
Childhood and Adolescence,” Psychiatry, vol.
1. For example, homicide and manslaughter arrests 50:332–345; Laub, J.H., and R.J. Sampson. 1988.
for those under 18 years of age rose 60.1 percent from “Unraveling Families and Delinquency: A Re-analysis
1981 to 1990; arrests for aggravated assault and motor of the Gluecks’ Data.” Criminology, vol. 26:355–380.
vehicle theft grew over 50 percent during the same


8. Loury, G. 1987. In Wilson and Loury, supra, at 6. “Transactional Regulation and Early Intervention,”
S.J. Meisel and J.P. Shonkoff (eds.), Handbook of
9. Farrington, D.P. 1987. “Early Precursors of Early Childhood Intervention, 119–149. Cambridge,
Frequent Offending,” in Wilson, J.Q., and G. Loury, UK: Cambridge University Press.
supra, at 27–50.
20. Casto, G., and K. White. 1985. “The Efficacy of
10. Wolfgang, M.E., R.M. Figlio, and T. Sellin. 1972. Early Intervention Programs with Environmentally
Delinquency in a Birth Cohort. Chicago: University At-Risk Infants,” in M. Frank (ed.), Infant Interven-
of Chicago Press; and West, D.J., and D.P. Farrington. tion Programs: Truths and Untruths, 37–50, New
1977. The Delinquent Way of Life. New York: Crane York: Hayworth Press.
21. Zigler, E., and N. Hall. 1987. “The Implications of
11. Wilson, J.Q., in Wilson and Loury, supra, at 300. Early Intervention Efforts for the Primary Prevention
12. Rose, S.L., S.A. Rose, and Feldman. 1989. “Sta- of Juvenile Delinquency,” in Wilson and Loury, supra,
bility of Behavior Problems in Very Young Children,” at 165.
Development and Psychopathology, vol. 1:5–19. 22. Wilson, J.Q., supra, at 300.
13. Zigler, E.C., Taussig, and K. Black. 1992. “Early 23. Zigler and Hall, supra, at 173.
Childhood Intervention: A Promising Preventative for
Juvenile Delinquency,” American Psychologist, vol. 24. Kazdin. 1987. “Treatment of Anti-Social Behavior
47:997–1065. in Children, Current Status and Future Directions,”
Psychological Bulletin, vol. 1022:187–203; Rutter,
14. Yoshikawa, supra, at 37. M., and H. Gillen. 1983. Juvenile Delinquency;
15. Beruetta-Clement, J.R., L.J. Schweinhardt, W.S. Trends and Perspectives. New York: Penguin Books;
Barnett, A.S. Epstein, and D.P. Weikert. 1984. and Zigler, Taussig, and Black, supra, at 997–1,006.
Changed Lives: The Effects of the Perry Preschool 25. Zigler, E., and M. Finn-Stevenson. 1989. “Child
Program on Youths Through Age 19, Ypsilanti, MI: Care in America: From Problem to Solution,” Educa-
High/Scope Press. tional Policy, vol. 3, no. 4:313–329; Weizel, R.
16. Johnson, D.L., and T. Walker. 1987. “Primary Pre- “Remaking Schools to Fit Families for the 21st
vention of Behavior Problems in Mexican-American Century,” New York Times, Feb. 13, 1994.
Children,” American Journal of Community Psychol- 26. Besharov, supra, at 220.
ogy, vol. 15:375–385.
27. Leitenberg, supra, at 323.
17. Lally, J.R., P.L. Mangione, A.S. Honig, and D.S.
Wittner. “The Syracuse University Family Develop- 28. Ibid, at 319.
ment Research Program: Long-Range Impact of Early
Intervention with Low-Income Children and their 29. The cost of such a program remains a contentious
Families,” in D.R. Powell (ed.), Annual Advances in issue among experts, with estimates of $20,000 to
Applied Developmental Psychology, vol. 3:79–104, $60,000 per child per year. “Orphanages,” Newsweek,
Norwood, NJ: Ablex. Dec. 12, 1994, p. 30.

18. Seitz, V., L.R. Rosenbaum, and Apfel. 1985. 30. Leitenberg, supra, at 321.
“Effects of Family Support Intervention; A Ten Year 31. Wright, W.E., and M.C. Dixon. 1977. “Commu-
Follow-up,” Child Development, vol. 56:376–391. nity Prevention and Treatment of Juvenile Delin-
19. Kolvin, I., F.J.W. Miller, M. Fleeting, and P.S. quency: A Review of Evaluation Studies,” Journal of
Kolvin. 1988. “Social and Parenting Factors Affecting Research in Crime and Delinquency, vol. 14:35–67.
Criminal Offense Rates,” British Journal of Psychiatry,
vol. 152:80–90; Sameroff, A.J., and B.H. Fiese. 1990.


Drug Policy Options:

Lessons From Three

Steven Belenko, New York City Criminal Justice Agency, Co-chair

Jeffrey Fagan, Rutgers University, Co-chair


OPTIONS: LESSONS should be used to reduce
drug demand among
Beginning with the heroin
epidemic of the 1960’s FROM THREE EPIDEMICS offenders whose drug
use has propelled them
and continuing through into the criminal justice
the devastating crack epidemic, drug cri- Summary
system. The cornerstone of a new drug
ses have regularly taken center stage in policy should be to increase alcohol and
American politics and crime control policy. Through drug treatment opportunities at all stages of the
the 1980’s, the central doctrine in U.S. drug policy criminal justice system.
has been “legalism.” In this view, drug use challenges
the established social order and moral foundations of ■ Treatment-oriented drug courts. Continued
authority. Drug policies have emphasized criminal experimentation with treatment-oriented drug
penalties and deterrence over prevention and treat- courts should be encouraged. A potentially
ment as control mechanisms. powerful model for linking the treatment/public
health system to the criminal justice process,
These drug policies have had a push-down-pop-up these courts should continue to be developed
effect: the more pressure applied in one place, the and evaluated for their long-term effectiveness.
more likely new problems were to arise in another. The risk of unnecessarily widening the net of
For example, criminal sanctions for low-level crack social control can be minimized through the use
users have shifted resources away from treatment of of appropriate eligibility and screening criteria
such users, whose behaviors are vectors for HIV and comprehensive, clinically based assessment.
transmission through high-risk sexual activity.
■ Alcohol and other drug (AOD) treatment.
The lessons from decades of legalistic drug poli- Access to AOD treatment and public health ser-
cies suggest that deterrence strategies have not vices should be encouraged at all stages of the
been successful in reducing drug use. Enforcement criminal justice process. Accordingly, opportuni-
strategies have consumed resources, aggravated the ties for effective treatment interventions during
health risks associated with drugs, and increased the pretrial period, probation-supervised treat-
the levels of violence surrounding drug markets. ment, treatment under a community corrections
Drug policy has also increased profits for drug sell- model, and prison- or jail-based treatment
ers and attracted other young people into selling, as should be studied and encouraged. All criminal-
the exaggerated symbols of conspicuous consump- justice-based treatment services should consider
tion by dealers act as a siren for younger people. the provision of aftercare services to provide a
Severe sentencing laws applied broadly and in- treatment continuum.
discriminately have undermined, rather than
reinforced, the moral authority of the law. ■ Community mobilization. Communities can ef-
fectively mobilize to disrupt drug markets and de-
ter drug users. Many case studies have depicted
Policy recommendations the benefits of community policing with respect to
Policies need to focus on reducing the harmful reducing the size and scope of drug markets, but
consequences of drug use and place criminal penal- few systematic studies have appeared that could
ties within a framework recognizing the scale corroborate this effect. However, this approach
of drug problems. Enforcement and prosecution seems more likely to support the linkage of treat-
should be used to disrupt mid- and upper-level ment and public health services to law enforce-
trafficking, while treatment or alternative sanctions ment than traditional anti-drug enforcement


■ Disaggregated prevention strategies. Preven- sustain States’ efforts to create alternatives, such
tion strategies should be disaggregated for spe- as supervision programs involving urinalysis,
cific drugs and populations. They should be outpatient and residential drug treatment, or
built from an understanding of the mechanisms health and employment programs.
through which individuals acquire information
about drugs and make decisions about their use. ■ Harm-reduction model. Treating drug addic-
The lessons of drug epidemics are that informa- tion as the chronic disease that it is enables legal
tion about drug use rules and dangers is spread institutions to achieve realistic and attainable
informally from credible sources and learned goals. From this perspective, a harm reduction
from social experiences; normative changes in model becomes the framework for policy.
drug use patterns are influenced weakly by legal Myriad forms of harm can be addressed by
threats. selective application of criminal “pressure” to
divert users into treatment that may eventually
■ Target drug treatment. The concentration of return them to families and/or employment.
high-rate and -risk drug use among a small seg-
ment of the population suggests that treatment ■ Buyer-seller interactions. Supply-side strate-
efforts should be targeted to them. Many of gies should focus on interactions between buyers
these individuals are in prison, and their crimi- and sellers, making drug purchases more diffi-
nality is closely (and perhaps causally) linked cult by increasing search time for buyers and
to drug problems. Cost arguments alone make decreasing revenues for sellers. International
inprison treatment a necessary part of an overall interventions and interdictions at the top of the
strategy for drug control, but the opportunity to domestic distribution system should have low
reduce criminality together with drug problems priority compared to point-of-sale efforts to
is a compelling reason for funding inmates’ reduce available supplies.
treatment. ■ Local concerns. Enforcement, treatment, and
■ Alternatives to incarceration. Citing the need health care are local matters, and responsibility
to alleviate overcrowding and prioritize prison for enforcement and funding of drug policy
space for violent offenders, several governors should be shifted downward to the States.
and State legislatures have recommended that ■ Federal concerns. The development of knowl-
penal statutes permit the sentencing of nonvio- edge, technology, data, and information should
lent drug offenders to nonincarcerative punish- be organized within a policy infrastructure at the
ments. Expansion of viable alternatives to Federal level.
incarceration, however, have been stifled by
fiscal restraints. Incentives must be created to



Background epidemics that preceded it, the crack epidemic has run
its natural course. The crisis that accompanied the on-

or more than 30 years, the United States has set and peak of the crack epidemic has subsided even
experienced a succession of drug crises. Begin- though significant drug problems remain. 2 There is
ning with the heroin epidemic of the 1960’s now empirical information and rational perspective on
and continuing through the cocaine and devastating many policy initiatives undertaken during the mobili-
crack epidemics of the 1980’s, drug crises have regu- zation of the past decade and also from lessons to be
larly taken center stage in American politics and learned from earlier drug crises. This allows us to
crime control policy. During the 1980’s, deepening highlight those policies with promise and those whose
public anxiety about drug problems led to drug con- limits were quickly reached. It also provides a context
trol choices that have taken a deep hold on the legal in which to formulate a coherent drug policy frame-
and social landscape of nearly every segment of work where specific initiatives make sense and where
American society. From drug testing in the workplace policies can synergistically achieve meaningful reduc-
to incarceration in the Nation’s overcrowded prisons, tions in drug problems.
the United States has embarked on unprecedented so-
cial experiments to control the use of drugs.
Challenges to Drug Policy:
The central doctrine in U.S. drug policy throughout What Not To Do
these crises has been “legalism” (Zimring and
Hawkins, 1992). In this doctrine, drug use challenges We frame these policy choices in the context of sev-
the established social order and the moral foundations eral challenges that have emerged from the drug con-
of authority.1 Drug policies have emphasized criminal trol experiments of the past decade. The challenges
penalties and deterrence as mechanisms to control reflect the lessons learned from the realities of drug
drug problems, with prevention and treatment receiv- problems and the experiences of implementing large-
ing a lower priority and far less funding. The in- scale mobilization of legal and social resources.
creased use of criminal justice resources was designed
First, the experiment of mass incarceration over the
to achieve three interrelated aims: reduce drug de-
past decade suggests the limits of deterrence-based
mand by deterring would-be users, reduce drug sup-
strategies for controlling large-scale drug problems.
ply by disrupting street-level markets, and reduce
The sharp increases in incarceration rates have re-
street violence that is the by-product of illegal drug
sulted in limited success in reducing the use or avail-
use. The policy responses required low incarceration
ability of drugs (see, for detailed analyses, Kleiman,
thresholds for violations of drug laws and a high like-
1992; Zimring and Hawkins, 1992; Moore, 1993;
lihood of arrest for drug use and sales through exten-
Reuter, 1991). The use of precious criminal justice
sive street-level enforcement. To accomplish this,
resources has not brought returns from either market
resources were diverted from prevention and treat-
disruption or demand reduction. The lesson of the past
ment toward enforcement and incarceration.
decade lies in recognizing the limits of legal institu-
These policy choices have been made in an atmo- tions and criminal justice systems in dealing with
sphere of intense concern but often without careful drug use. Epidemics such as the recent cocaine, crack,
conceptual development or policy analysis. Perhaps and heroin epidemics suggest that societal drug prob-
most importantly, we have yet to measure the conse- lems occur on a scale that exceeds the limited capac-
quences and returns from the policy choices we have ity of the criminal justice system. To mobilize legal
made. Today, an opportunity exists for such evalua- institutions on a scale that would match these drug
tion and rethinking of these policy choices. Like the crises is not practical in a complex society with


multiple policy demands and declining economic re- low-scale efforts to treat drug users in the criminal
sources. It also raises problems for the consensus on justice system exposes untreated defendants to the
law and the importance of fairness (Moore, 1993; risks of family disruption, poor health outcomes, ex-
Tonry, 1995). A more realistic strategy would recog- posure to violence in illegal drug markets, and other
nize that effective drug control requires reciprocity social deficits. For example, one of the important
between criminal justice and other interventions, policy lessons of the past decade is that incarceration
including public health or drug treatment. of adolescents relegates them to a lifetime of poor job
outcomes and persistent involvement in criminality
Second, recurrent drug problems place extraordinary (Freeman, 1992), yet the expansion of drug enforce-
burdens on police, courts, and communities. During ment resulted in an increase in the number of young
the 1980’s, police efforts were targeted toward mass people incarcerated and spiraling problems of crime
arrests that created organizational burdens to sustain and unemployment.
them. Police corruption from drug enforcement be-
came a recurring management problem that threatened Fourth, drug policy debates have been competitions
morale and public confidence in the police. The qual- between supply-side hawks and demand-reduction
ity of justice in the courts was compromised by the doves. The hawks focus on reducing the availability
crush of caseloads and the pressures to move calendars of illegal drugs on the street through interventions up
(Wisotsky, 1990; Belenko, 1993). Prisons suffered in and down the distribution system. Their arguments are
two ways: overcrowding and the emergence of a new buttressed by inconsistent evidence of treatment effec-
generation of inmates that posed challenges for prison tiveness, the immediacy of drug problems, and the
management and security.3 Although communities de- incapacitating effects of incarceration. Theirs is an
manded increased enforcement to rid themselves of urgent and simple message, in contrast to the social
drug dealers, many residents resented what they per- logic of the doves: deterrence does not work; preven-
ceived as the aggressive enforcement of unfair laws tion and treatment have been underfunded; and drug
that were disproportionately targeted toward minority problems are social in their origins and require social
citizens. These policies served to increase disrespect solutions. The debate has turned—and stalled—on the
for and resistance to the law among many citizens question of the extent of drug use and drug problems
(Reuter, 1991). Judges resisted mandatory sentencing (Reuter, 1991). This reflects the legalism doctrine that
statutes that stripped them of their discretion in sen- informs much of drug policy, where drug use (and not
tencing, further undermining the public’s confidence its consequences) is the concern of policymakers.
in the same laws that drug policy was trying to However, legalistic policies have not succeeded in
reinforce. reducing either drug use or drug problems.
Third, drug policy is further challenged by its interde- When the policy focus shifts to the societal burdens
pendency with health, crime control, and other social and consequences of drug use, as it has in European
policies. Drug policy often has a push-down-pop-up countries, other policy frameworks become possible.
effect: the more we put pressure in one place, the more Specifically, alternative policy frameworks are needed
likely we are to experience new problems in another. that recognize the possibly adverse effects of legalis-
Thus, for example, as we continue to limit severely the tic drug policy and that focus on reducing the risk of
distribution of clean syringes, we increase the health drug harm rather than the prevalence of drug use.
risks of HIV transmission among intravenous heroin Policies that consider risk shifting (from legal to so-
and cocaine users. Or criminal sanctions for low-level cial domains, from supply side to demand side) and
crack dealers focus resources away from treatment of comparative-risk-and-advantage analysis afford the
crack and cocaine users whose behaviors provide vec- greatest potential for more than symbolic gains in
tors for HIV transmission through high-risk sexual ac- efforts to control drug use.
tivity. Or successful interdiction of marijuana imports
encourages domestic growers to develop higher po- In sum, the lessons from three decades of legalistic
tency crops that pose significantly greater health drug policies suggest deterrence strategies have not
threats (Kleiman, 1992).4 In contrast, the relatively been successful in reducing drug use. In fact, their ad-
verse effects have intensified certain health and social


risks of drug use. There is little evidence of either lying drug problems have impelled their entry into the
general or specific deterrent effects (Fagan, 1994; criminal justice system.
Zimring and Hawkins, 1992; Reuter, 1991). Enforce-
ment strategies have consumed resources, aggravated Second, the inclusion of public health and other social
the health risks associated with drugs, and increased policies will expand the forms of social control that
the levels of violence surrounding drug markets. Drug can reinforce the goals of criminal justice interven-
policy through the 1980’s also has resulted in in- tions. There is an important role for criminal penal-
creased profits for drug sellers, which have attracted ties, but the challenge is to use criminal penalties
other young people into selling as the exaggerated strategically and reciprocally with other interventions.
symbols of conspicuous consumption by dealers act Drug offenders are at high risk for infectious disease,
as a siren’s song for younger people (Fagan, 1992). so effective referral and intervention also becomes a
The application of severe sentencing laws with a public health issue. The high prevalence of HIV infec-
broad and nondiscriminating reach have undermined tion, tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases, and
rather than reinforced the moral authority of the law hepatitis among criminal offenders increases the ur-
among many citizens and judges. In the next section, gency of fostering new policies that allow broader
we apply these lessons to form drug policies that as- public health interventions at all stages of criminal
sign a strategic and complementary role for criminal justice processing. Two other key parts of the policy
law and for the Nation’s legal institutions. equation are education and prevention programs and
increased economic opportunities, especially in poor
urban areas.
Policy Concepts
One policy implication of this approach is that we
The lessons of the past decade and the legacies of need to greatly improve current collaborations be-
policies formed in preceding decades suggest prin- tween criminal justice and alcohol and other drug
ciples for informed policy for the future. The burden (AOD) treatment systems. This includes both in-
on the criminal justice system created by reliance on creased opportunities for collaboration as well as
criminal sanctions for drug offenses, together with the making such interactions more effective and meaning-
general consensus among criminal justice policy- ful. We recognize that important steps in this direction
makers and practitioners that this policy has not have already been taken, as illustrated by the recent
accomplished its goals, suggest that new approaches development of treatment diversion drug courts. How-
must be considered and encouraged. ever, the number of drug-involved offenders entering
First, we encourage policies that focus on reducing drug courts is a very small proportion of those in need
the risks and harmful consequences of drug use with of AOD treatment. There is a growing need, already
an emphasis on demand-side policies to shrink illegal recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice and the
drug markets. Policies should pursue realistic and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to
attainable goals for reducing the harms that accrue seek collaborative efforts, multidisciplinary ap-
from drug use. Criminal penalties should be part of a proaches, and meaningful community involvement to
broader policy framework that recognizes the scale of address long-term problems of crime and substance
drug problems. This policy approach does not neces- abuse with more effective solutions. This will require
sarily mean that enforcement efforts should be ig- a shift in the allocation of criminal justice system re-
nored or downplayed. Instead, a bifurcated drug sources away from harmful or counterproductive poli-
policy is needed that distinguishes among offenders cies, such as the imprisonment of nonviolent drug
in terms of their drug involvement. Enforcement and abusers or low-level drug sellers, toward strategies
prosecution should be used to disrupt middle- and with greater effectiveness and long-term impact on
upper-level trafficking, while treatment or alternative drug abuse. It will be necessary to implement some-
sentencing interventions should be used to reduce times politically sensitive shifts in resources in favor
drug demand among low-level dealers with drug of such interventions as AOD treatment programs,
problems. Diversion and referrals should focus on diversion, and alternatives to incarceration and away
reduction of drug use among offenders whose under- from law enforcement, prison, and jail for drug-in-
volved nonviolent offenders. Experience has shown


that there is consistent, broad public support for AOD prevailing punitive anti-drug policies to reduce drug-
treatment for these types of offenders as well as related crime. They are also part of important trends
strong support in the law enforcement and judicial in the criminal courts: the shifting roles of court par-
communities. ticipants; a changing view of offenders as individuals
requiring individual attention rather than simply as
The cornerstone of a new drug policy that can more criminal cases; a multidisciplinary, case-management
effectively break the drug-crime cycle is the increase approach to responding to offenders; and increased
in AOD treatment opportunities at all stages of the community involvement and sensitivity toward com-
criminal justice system. Although some offenders can munity concerns in the court process. The drug courts
reduce or eliminate their drug use without treatment, reflect a broader, longer range approach to drug-re-
most need some sort of external pressure to enter and lated crime, emphasizing the solution of underlying
remain in treatment. We know that sanctions in and of problems rather than just the repeated punishment of
themselves will not reduce drug-related crime, nor criminal acts. They represent a potentially powerful
will punitive sanctions deter drug sales or drug use. model for linking the treatment and public health sys-
It is a basic principle of human behavior that punish- tems to the criminal justice process, and continued
ment by itself will not change behavior; opportunities development and evaluation of their long-term effec-
and rewards for competing prosocial behaviors must tiveness should be strongly encouraged by the Federal
be offered. Treatment drug courts recognize this prin- Government.
ciple, and this may account for their apparent success
in channeling offenders into treatment. One potential downside to treatment drug courts and
other diversion or alternative sentencing programs is
Finally, a realistic, effective, and balanced approach the risk of unnecessarily widening the net of social
should not be hampered by inflexible and punitive control. Like any intervention strategy, the focus
laws that limit the ability of prosecutors and judges to should be on those individuals who will be most re-
allow treatment interventions. Accordingly, we rec- sponsive to interventions. This risk can be minimized
ommend against mandatory minimum sentences for through appropriate eligibility and screening criteria
nonviolent drug-involved offenders with a concomi- along with comprehensive and clinically based
tant increase in prosecutorial and judicial discretion. assessment for underlying drug problems and jail-
Policy Options Minimize harm: Improve linkages with drug treat-
ment and public health and make treatment the
Demand Reduction Strategies first resort. Access to AOD treatment and public
Since 1980, drug laws have been used as the primary health services should be encouraged at all stages of
mechanism for demand reduction among drug users. the criminal justice process. Accordingly, opportuni-
Moral injunction and deterrence inform this perspec- ties for effective treatment interventions during the
tive. However, the inelasticity of demand in the face pretrial period, probation-supervised treatment, treat-
of mass incarceration of drug offenders suggests that ment under a community corrections model, and
alternative methods of demand reduction be consid- prison- or jail-based treatment should be studied and
ered. One of the reasons for recommending a policy encouraged. Finally, all criminal-justice-based treat-
emphasis on demand reduction is the growing evi- ment services should consider the provision of after-
dence that the marginal (formal) deterrence effects of care services to provide a continuum of treatment and
criminal penalties are small. Instead, we recommend other services following release from jail or prison
strategies that focus on the (informal) mechanisms by after criminal justice supervision has ended.
which individuals reduce their drug use.
Capitalize on communities. There are strong concep-
Move ahead with experiments on drug courts. tual and practical reasons to invest in communities as
Continued experimentation with treatment-oriented a form of drug control, and growing evidence that
drug courts should be encouraged. These courts arose communities can effectively mobilize to disrupt drug
out of local, grassroots frustration with the inability of markets and deter drug users (Currie, 1993).5


Community policing has received much attention and needed to build a social technology that relies on
support in recent years, and the police-community re- the “push” of criminal sanctions to make gains in
lationship is a critical issue in drug policy. There are treatment.
many case studies that illustrate the benefits of com-
munity policing with respect to reducing the size and Fund alternatives to incarceration. Several gover-
scope of drug markets, but few systematic studies.6 nors and State legislatures, most notably New York
Although evidence of its effect on reducing the de- and Florida, have started to rethink the policy of man-
mand for drugs and its impact on the criminal justice datory minimums for nonviolent drug offenders. Cit-
system is still not available, this approach seems to be ing the need to alleviate overcrowding and prioritize
more likely to support the linkage of treatment and prison space for violent offenders, they have recom-
public health services to law enforcement than tradi- mended that penal code statutes permit the sentencing
tional anti-drug enforcement approaches that rely on of nonviolent drug offenders to nonincarcerative
undercover narcotics officers to disrupt street drug punishments. However, judges are likely to resist
markets. nonincarcerative sentences when the alternatives are
weak. That is the case as fiscal limits negate the
Get serious about prevention. More research is expansion of alternatives to incarceration (ATI) be-
needed about how to make prevention and education yond their current small scale. These vary widely and
effective. Prevention should be disaggregated for spe- can meet the supervision and treatment needs of a
cific drugs and specific populations. Prevention strate- wide range of drug offenders. Any serious effort to
gies should be built from our understanding of the avoid the adverse (expensive) consequences of incar-
mechanisms through which individuals acquire infor- ceration will need a network of viable alternative sen-
mation about drugs and make decisions about their tencing options.
use. Scary messages about the harms of drugs from
noncredible sources are not effective for a heteroge- One way to achieve the shifting of funds to ATI pro-
neous population of current and would-be drug users.7 grams is to provide incentives for local government to
Instead, the lessons of drug epidemics since the create and fill these programs. Subsidy programs, cre-
1960’s are that: (1) information about the dangers and ated decades ago as mechanisms to avoid “dumping”
rules of drug use are spread informally from credible of offenders by local governments into State facilities,
sources, (2) the dangers of drug use are learned from were successful in a number of jurisdictions that were
direct or indirect but social (not legal) experiences, intent on reducing their prison populations. States
and (3) normative changes in drug use patterns are typically set a maximum for each county and awarded
influenced weakly by legal threats. Prevention experi- funds from a community corrections pool to localities
ments are sorely needed, as is the political “time” to on a prorated basis for the number of prison remands
see these experiments through to their conclusion. below the maximum. The subsidies often were used
These should be disaggregated by age, social location, to establish community corrections programs or to
and type of drug. enhance probation services. The same logic can be
applied in the current context to support intensive
Expand drug treatment in prisons. The concentra- supervision programs involving urinalysis, outpatient
tion of high-rate and high-risk drug use among a small or residential drug treatment, and programs that ad-
segment of the population suggests that concentrated dress health or employment concerns. If the excessive
treatment efforts should be targeted at this population. use of incarceration for drug offenders is to be
Many high-rate, high-risk drug users are in prison, discontinued, incentives must be created to sustain
and their criminality is closely (and perhaps causally) the efforts of States to create and utilize alternatives to
linked to drug problems. The cost arguments alone incarceration.
make treatment a necessary part of an overall strategy
for drug control, but opportunities to reduce criminal- Reduce the harms from drug use. The focus on
ity together with drug problems makes in-prison treat- deterrence of drug use has left untouched spreading
ment a strong candidate for funding. There is limited health harms caused by illegal drug use. Drug addic-
but growing evidence of potential gains from this tion is a chronic disease, albeit neither an infectious
approach. Serious experimentation and research are nor a contagious one. It should be treated from the


perspective of chronic disease, helping us to achieve a effects of these efforts, are enough to discourage at
set of realistic and attainable policy goals that focus least some drug use.
on isolating causal dynamics and risk factors and to
develop appropriate interventions. There is little The record from these efforts has been decidedly
evidence that drug addiction can be deterred through mixed. There have been successes either in reducing
the threat of legal sanctions, and policies that make availability or increasing prices, but these gains have
punishment the first resort set unrealistic and been short-lived. The reductions were temporary or
unachievable goals. An approach rooted in the reduc- small. For example, the number of heroin addicts in
tion of the harms and public health risks of drug use the United States has remained steady at about
will place legal institutions in a role where they are no 250,000 people for nearly two decades after peaking
longer burdened with unachievable missions. Thus at 500,000 people in the early 1970’s. Drug epidemics
containment of the harms of drug use, while strategi- come and go. There is little reliable evidence about
cally intervening on problematic drug use, is the es- street prices or the amount of drugs consumed to
sence of a harm-reduction model that can become a allow us to attribute drug-market behaviors to supply-
framework for policy. side policies, but we should question the effectiveness
of supply-side policies if drug consumption does not
Several communities with extensive heroin abuse decline following their implementation (Moore,
problems have experimented successfully with needle 1993).
exchanges to control the spread of HIV infection.
Using careful criteria based on need, policies encour- However, supply-side policy must continue to be part
aging needle exchange help address the harms of drug of drug policy. There are several policy questions to
use while providing opportunities to control use itself be addressed in determining how best to use policy
through referrals. Similarly, encouraging women users options on this side. First is the decision about where
to seek medical care while pregnant (instead of threat- on the supply chain market disruption tactics should
ening them with incarceration) will identify soon-to- be focused. If demand is inelastic relative to price,
be newborns at risk for low birth weight and other there can be little justification for supply-side poli-
birth defects. These children, who grow up at risk for cies, but this is a narrow view in many regards. While
delinquency and violence, also are at risk for in utero inelasticity claims may be true for addicts, they may
addiction and addiction at birth. There are myriad not be true for irregular consumers whose market be-
other forms of harm that can be addressed by the se- havior is more rationally oriented. Inelasticity also
lective application of criminal “pressure.” Examples suggests that there are purely econometric effects on
include the diversion of users into treatment to en- prices and, therefore, on consumer behavior. It is
courage their eventual return to their families and more likely that supply-side interventions will influ-
employment to encourage users to pursue lower-risk ence other dimensions of consumer behaviors and de-
forms of drug use that minimize health and social cisions, such as risk assessment and search time. We
harms. attend to these possibilities by suggesting the wise use
of police resources to change market dynamics (apart
Supply reduction strategies. Drug laws also have from prices).
been used to reduce the supply of illegal drugs to con-
sumers, to increase their street price, and to limit their Where to intervene. Until recently, there was little
availability to the average consumer. Supply-side differentiation in supply reduction policies regarding
policies have been implemented at all levels of the point of distribution. There is a complex and flexible
distribution chain, from production in foreign coun- distribution system for drugs that involves producers,
tries through importation and distribution systems in- transporters, importers, wholesalers, and local distri-
volving wholesalers and street retailers. Supply-side bution networks. However, current efforts to interdict
policy assumes that both prices and demand for illegal imports are indistinguishable in their priority from
drugs are elastic. The set of strategies that make up efforts to increase arrests of low-level drug dealers.
supply-side policy attempts to achieve marginal re- This makes no sense, and priorities must be set.
ductions in the price and availability of drugs, and the


Policies targeted toward producers outside the United we encourage street-level crackdowns aimed at jailing
States are high-cost, low-payoff ideas. The production drug retailers. Crackdowns involving mass arrest have
of drugs is a political, economic phenomenon that is time-limited effects on drug selling (Vera Institute,
not easily amenable to intervention. Like domestic 1992; Tonry, 1995). They simply shift buyers and sell-
supply-side interventions, there are questions of scale ers from neighborhood to neighborhood and clog the
that are not easily addressed through periodic crop courts and compromise the quality of justice for both
destruction or disruption of remote processing prosecution and defense. Often, crackdowns may sim-
facilities.8 In this country, supply reduction tends to ply drive markets indoors, out of the public eye, but
drive street prices slightly up. Because heroin and co- with little lasting effect on consumer behavior.
caine demand seems to be somewhat inelastic, supply
reduction will cause an increase in street crimes (nec- Supply-side strategies should focus on inter-
essary to sustain drug consumption) and an increase actions between buyers and sellers, making drug
in dealer revenues. A more lucrative market will con- purchases more difficult by increasing search time
tinue to expand as newcomers are attracted to what for buyers and decreasing revenues for sellers.
appears to be a profitable market. Accordingly, poli- We suggest that supply-side strategies focus on dis-
cies that involve international interventions should rupting local markets, ensuring that they do not be-
receive a low priority. come institutionalized so that customers can regard
Similarly, efforts to locate and convict various “Mr. them as a consumer convenience. When drugs are part
Bigs” in cities throughout the United States have high of the marketplace where consumer interactions take
costs relative to payoffs. Drug indicators suggest the place, the markets enjoy the ordinary economic pro-
intractability of imports and domestic supplies to such tections of consumer behavior. Demand is constant
domestic interdictions, despite widely spaced, highly and encourages a supply chain. But when markets are
publicized seizures. So-called “kingpins” (and, in- disrupted and unstable, consumers must endure a vari-
creasingly, “queenpins”) are quickly replaced by ety of inconveniences that increase the intangible
individuals within their own organizations if not by costs of drugs. Strategies that encourage local market
competitors. Nevertheless, there is an important sym- disruption should focus less on criminal enforcement
bolic value in efforts to interdict supplies overseas, at than on using police to establish obstacles to consum-
the borders, and at the upper levels of the distribution ers wishing to make purchases. This requires a de-
chain. These efforts reinforce the illegality of drug tailed knowledge of the features of drug markets that
use, express intolerance for drug dealing, and reassure encourage or discourage buying and which of these
a public still anxious about drugs that efforts continue features can be modified to reduce harmful conse-
to disrupt supply systems. quences if not actual use. This strategy is highly
localized, with immediate payoffs focused on sup-
The priority assigned to international interven- plier-consumer interactions.
tions and interdictions at the upper levels of the
domestic distribution system should be low rela- Who should intervene? The second question con-
tive to point-of-sale efforts to reduce supplies cerns the allocation between Federal and local polic-
available to users. ing in carrying out supply-side drug controls. The key
issues involve the allocation of responsibility for set-
The principle driving the decision about where to fo- ting policy, paying for it, and carrying it out. These
cus supply-side policies should address the simultane- decisions also occur in the context of political con-
ity of supply and demand factors. While interdictions cerns about the extent of government in local crime
tend to increase prices for a short period of time, control policy and about how to effectively spend a
demand remains constant even when prices fluctuate shrinking supply of Federal dollars.
(Warner, 1993).9 Demand is inelastic with respect to
price, but not with respect to other factors that we Large-scale Federal block grant programs have short
might call the “buying context.” We suggest instead lives and ultimately few lasting effects on policy, pro-
that supply-side interventions focus on consumer mar- grams, or the problems they are intended to resolve.
kets and market interactions. This does not mean that Their impacts are diffuse and uneven. One of their


primary failings is that they do not create cumulative encourage the replication of the current experiments
knowledge that can lead to informed and well-evalu- on the District of Columbia Drug Court, as well as
ated policies or strategies. However, the creation of a treatment experiments and other research efforts that
policy infrastructure with carefully defined missions carefully test policy assumptions. Consumer research
can influence policy in a lasting way (Zimring and is also important. Understanding the social and psy-
Hawkins, 1992). Despite the current talk about block chological processes that give rise to maturation and
grants to diversify and localize funding decisions, desistance from drug use should inform the design of
history is clear that block grants come and go, and policy.
they have had shorter and shorter half-lives since the
1960’s. The lessons of the Law Enforcement Assis- Research should help set attainable goals for drug
tance Administration teach us much about the limits policy. To avoid setting unrealistic goals is critically
of block grants, whether to States or localities. important for maintaining the integrity and moral au-
thority of legal institutions, for their failure to control
The responsibility for enforcement and funding of drug problems has raised serious criticisms with con-
drug policy should be shifted downward to the stitutional implications. This is a lesson of the past
States. The development of knowledge, technol- three decades and a problem we can avoid with some
ogy, data, and information should be organized political will.
within a policy infrastructure at the Federal level.

Laws are enforced locally, drug users are treated Notes

locally, and health problems are addressed locally. 1. The Office of National Drug Control Policy
There is diversity in the nature of drug problems (ONDCP) strategy represents trends and assumptions
within and across States. This suggests a shifting of that have informed drug policy nationwide for more
responsibility downward together with funding. What than two decades. By stating drug problems in moral
then should the Federal Government do? The Govern- terms, or mala in se (Hughes, 1983), drug use and
ment should conduct test marketing of ideas and selling were defined as dual problems of legal trans-
strategies through experimentation, disseminate sys- gressions. First, the strategy developed by ONDCP
tematic knowledge, coordinate technology, and ensure (1989) assumed that all drugs are bad and that none is
that information is standardized, accurate, and up-to- more dangerous than another. Taking or selling illegal
date. From this foundation of knowledge, effective drugs is a socially deviant act whose social and health
policies can be fashioned. consequences are sufficiently harmful to merit State
control and intervention. Second, since drugs are ille-
A Research Agenda gal, taking or selling them undermines the law, and by
extension, the social order of laws. This position is
The research agenda involves the careful testing of termed “legalism” by Zimring and Hawkins (1992),
these policy options, including initiatives in the who distinguish it from other views that are more
following four areas: functional regarding the public health and economet-
ric (cost-benefit) consequences of drugs.
■ Analyzing harm reduction strategies and careful
testing using systemic models. 2. A core of high-rate cocaine and crack users remains
active, while the prevalence of casual hard-drug use
■ Conducting policy experiments on drug courts and
has declined. Drug use declined dramatically in the
“true” diversion models.
1980’s, according to the National Institute on Drug
■ Improving treatment and criminal justice linkages. Abuse. The number of users of any illegal drug
dropped by 37 percent, from 23 million in 1985 to 14
■ Understanding consumer behavior in drug markets. million in 1988. The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports
show that homicides, many of them related to drug
Experimentation is critically important. Drug policy transactions, peaked in 1991 but have declined
has been made in its absence, yet its importance for steadily since then. However, the percentage of
the wise expenditure of scarce funds is obvious. We


arrestees testing positive for cocaine or heroin has political problems such as the availability of health
remained steady at the high rates first reached in the services, recreation, and housing problems to reduce
mid-1980’s (Kleiman, 1992; Zimring and Hawkins, the risks of drug use and dealing in their areas.
1992). At the same time, the high rates of lethal vio-
lence that accompanied the emergence of crack mar- 6. The evaluation of Chicago’s community policing
kets a decade ago have now subsided. There are experiment will provide systematic evidence of its ef-
indications of the re-emergence of heroin as a popular fects on drug crimes and other offenses.
addictive drug, but the prevalence of heroin among 7. Evaluations of the Nation’s largest effort, the Drug
arrestees and in emergency room admission remains Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program,
low compared with cocaine (Kleiman, 1992). Rates of shows limited effectiveness as do other evaluations of
marijuana use among adolescents have increased prevention programs that use law enforcement offi-
slightly since their lowest points in the mid-1980’s, cers as deliverers of anti-drug messages. See, for ex-
while alcohol remains the most persistent problem ample, Rosenbaum et al., 1994.
among psychoactive substances for both adults and
adolescents (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 1994). 8. The growing and refinery areas within producing
countries are not often subject to civil authority, and
3. Many policies actually worsened the problems they domestic interdictions within those areas risk civil un-
intended to solve. For example, over half the admis- rest. Moreover, drug incomes have become institu-
sions to California prisons in 1988 were technical tionalized in the economies and political interests of
parole violations of parolees who tested positive for many producer nations, and U.S. dollars funneled to
illegal drugs (Messinger, 1990, cited in Zimring and foreign authorities to suppress exports become easy
Hawkins, 1992). Formal punishments were limited to plunder for corrupt officials. See, for example,
incarceration or virtually nothing, as the public de- Edmundo Morales, Cocaine: White Gold Rush in
manded (and received) the most extreme forms of Peru (1989) for an idea of the scale and institutional-
punishment for drug offenders. As a result, the ization of the drug economies of a producer nation
availability of treatment and rigorous forms of commu- that is intricately tied to international distribution net-
nity supervision declined as funds shifted toward case works.
processing and the incarceration of drug offenders.
Peter Reuter has observed that drug policy compli-
4. It is not clear whether the carcinogens in the do- cates our foreign policy. In the 1980’s, U.S. relations
mestic crop are greater than in the imports. However, with Pakistan focused on the Soviet presence in
head shop bans have shifted smoking from products neighboring Afghanistan. Efforts to control opium
using water filtration to rolled joints. But water production were compromised by higher policy pri-
dissolved most of the carcinogenic material from orities assigned to containing Soviet militarism. Poli-
marijuana cigarettes, material that is ingested in its cies designed to reduce heroin and marijuana
rolled form. See Kleiman, 1992. production in Mexico have failed to stem either pro-
5. There is a wide variety of citizen initiatives that il- duction or transshipments within that country, and
lustrate this point. Groups operating within neighbor- they have increased the power of traffickers and their
hoods have used a wide range of tactics to address influence on Mexico’s domestic politics.
drug problems. Perhaps most interesting is that the 9. We really should say here “to the best of our
tactics almost always involve strengthening the com- knowledge.” The data problems in cocaine prices at
munities by dealing with problems beyond those of either the retail or wholesale level are quite signifi-
drugs. The collaboration of communities and police is cant. Prices vary across cities and time, and because
a common theme in these efforts. Communities turned import figures and seizure data are likely to be dis-
to police to address both the immediate problems of torted, price estimates should be viewed cautiously.
drug markets and other criminogenic conditions in
their neighborhoods, but the groups also addressed


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tional Drug Control Strategy. Washington, DC: The
Belenko, Steven, 1993, Crack and the Evolution of
White House.
Anti-Drug Policy. Greenwich, CT: Greenwood Press.
Reuter, Peter, 1991, “On the consequences of tough-
Currie, Eliot, 1993, Reckoning: Drugs, the Cities, and
ness.” In Searching for Alternatives: Drug-Control
the American Future. New York: Hill and Wang.
Policy in the United States, edited by M.B. Krauss
Fagan, Jeffrey, 1992, “Drug selling and illicit income and E.P. Lazear. Stanford, CA: Hoover Press.
in distressed neighborhoods: The economic lives of
Rosenbaum, Dennis P., Robert Flewelling, S.L.
street-level drug users and dealers.” In Drugs, Crime
Bailey, C.L. Ringwalt and Deanna L. Wilkinson,
and Social Isolation: Barriers to Urban Opportunity,
1994, “Cops in the Classroom: A Longitudinal
edited by A.V. Harrell and G.E. Peterson. Washington,
DC: Urban Institute Press. Evaluation of Drug Abuse Resistance Education
(DARE).” Journal of Research in Crime and Delin-
_____1994, “Do criminal sanctions deter drug offend-
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ers?” In Drugs and Criminal Justice: Evaluating Pub-
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Uchida. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. Randolph Grinc, 1992, “The Neighborhood Effects of
Street-Level Drug Enforcement,” Final Report, Na-
Freeman, Richard B., 1992, “Crime and the economic
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status of disadvantaged young men.” In Urban Labor
York: Vera Institute.
Markets and Job Opportunity, edited by G.E. Peterson
and W. Vroman. Washington, DC: Urban Tonry, Michael, 1995, Malign Neglect. New York:
Institute Press. Oxford University Press.
Hughes, Graham, 1983, “The concept of crime.” In Warner, Kenneth E., 1993, “Legalizing drugs: Lessons
The Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice, edited by from (and about) economics.” In Confronting Drug
S. Kalish. New York: MacMillan. Policy: Illicit Drugs in a Free Society, edited by R.
Bayer and G.M. Oppenheimer. New York: Cambridge
Kleiman, Mark A.R., 1992, Against Excess: Drug
University Press.
Policy for Results. New York: Basic Books.
Wisotsky, Steven, 1990, Beyond the War on Drugs
Moore, Mark H., 1993, “Drugs, law and justice.” In
(2nd edition). Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books.
Confronting Drug Policy: Illicit Drugs in a Free Soci-
ety, edited by R. Bayer and G.M. Oppenheimer. New
Zimring, Franklin E., and Gordon Hawkins,
York: Cambridge University Press.
1992, The Search for Rational Drug Control Policy.
Morales, Edmundo, 1989, Cocaine: White Gold Rush New York: Cambridge University Press.
in Peru. Tuscon: University of Arizona Press.


Drugs and the

Coramae Richey Mann, Indiana University, Chair
Leon Pettiway, Indiana University
Ralph Weisheit, Illinois State University



RURAL COMMUNITY respond proactively to
Although it has been relatively ignored
Summary drug-related problems.
These features of the rural environment
in research and policy, the issue of ille-
present special problems that cannot be addressed
gal drugs in rural America is considered among the
by urban solutions.
most pressing problems facing rural police. Illicit
rural drug activities include consumption, produc-
tion, and transshipment. Policy recommendations
Overall, rural and urban youths are equally likely ■ Community-specific policies. Wide variations
to be drug users, but cocaine and crack cocaine use among rural communities (e.g., in wealth, geo-
is generally lower in rural areas, whereas the use of graphic isolation, or population density) in dif-
inhalants and stimulants is higher. Circumstantial ferent parts of the U.S. raise questions about the
evidence suggests that the link between drug use wisdom of developing blanket national policies
and violence is weaker in rural areas than in cities for uniform application.
(rural areas have substantially less violent crime—
■ Prevention programs. Although research has
except for domestic violence, for which urban and
correctly questioned the effectiveness of exist-
rural rates are about equal). Data indicate that alco-
ing prevention programs, they should be contin-
hol use is a much greater problem in rural areas,
ued in rural areas, at least in the short run. No
and driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious
alternative programs exist that are demonstrably
rural problem, with the arrest rate double that in
superior in preventing youth drug use, and the
urban areas.
public demands that some action be taken
An estimated 25–50 percent of the marijuana con- against the problem. The programs also improve
sumed in the U.S. is domestically grown, and communication between schools, police, and
nearly all commercial marijuana production is ru- students in rural areas. In the long run, pro-
ral. Clandestine labs for producing methamphet- grams like Drug Abuse Resistance Education
amines and designer drugs are also commonly set (D.A.R.E.), which build bridges between the
up in rural areas, where strong fumes are less police and schools, might be modified to in-
likely to be detected. Rural areas are often key clude other groups, such as treatment centers,
transshipment points for drugs: rural highway in- civic organizations, and churches. Prevention
terdictions have led to large seizures, safe houses programs should capitalize on and reinforce the
for storing smuggled drugs are often set up in rural closer ties among individuals and groups that
areas, and smugglers take advantage of the many characterize many rural communities.
isolated air strips set up for corporate farms.
■ Reduced Federal presence. Policies that re-
Rural areas generally have much lower arrest rates, quire direct Federal involvement in enforcement
perhaps by as much as a factor of four. Greater should be approached with caution. Rural citi-
informal control and closer social networks may zens and police often view Federal authorities
serve to limit or suppress the misbehavior and with suspicion, and Federal authorities are often
criminality that often accompany drug use, and not fully aware of the nuances of the local cul-
they may also encourage police to deal with minor ture. More promising approaches are those that
drug violators informally. Rural police usually facilitate cooperative efforts between local and
have fewer resources, including less manpower and Federal authorities, or those in which Federal
less support, which may restrict their ability to authorities serve to support locally directed


■ Rural task forces. Short-term actions should ■ Training. In 1994, the State and Local Training
include continued Federal support for rural task Division of the Federal Law Enforcement Train-
forces, which have proven valuable as a way to ing Center (FLETC) used input from rural police
combine the expertise and knowledge of the to develop a training program for rural drug en-
local police with the technical skills and re- forcement. The program’s content is excellent,
sources of other local police, State police, and but getting the training to rural police is ex-
Federal authorities. Task forces may also pro- tremely difficult because of cost and a shortage
vide an avenue for facilitating improved rela- of officers to provide shift coverage for those
tions between rural (i.e., local) police and both who leave for training. FLETC’s “train the
State and Federal authorities. An examination trainer” approach to rural drug enforcement
should be made of why small departments are training is probably the best that can be done at
not more actively involved in task forces, since present.
their size and budgets would make participation
especially valuable. ■ Training delivery. However, a system is needed
for more directly taking training to rural areas.
■ Resource sharing. Resource sharing among One option is to utilize the extensive network of
police agencies in rural areas and between rural community colleges found in many States. Com-
agencies and others at the State and Federal munity colleges are linked through electronic
levels should be facilitated, in the short term. networks, making it possible to send training out
Assistance in locating special equipment would to relatively remote areas from a central loca-
enhance rural drug enforcement efforts; as a tion. The Federal Government could provide
long-term measure, an office to provide this assistance in resolving the technical issues of
help should be established. delivery, and FLETC could play an important
role in helping States develop, implement, and
update training tailored to the unique rural cir-
cumstances of each State.



URBAN COMMUNITY For the most part, inner-
Involvement in the illicit drug
Summary city communities house
many African-American and Hispanic
underclass has a wide-ranging negative residents whose populations have been replenished
impact on inner-city neighborhoods. The subcul- (since the flight of middle-class professional and
ture demonstrates a set of values, beliefs, lifestyles,
working-class blacks from ghetto communities) by
and behavioral norms that devalue legitimate poorer, younger newcomers from rural areas. These
means of earning money and embrace self-serving late arrivals were born at a time when structural
manipulation, the “fast life,” and the use of vio- shifts in the economy resulted in the relocation of
lence. With the emergence of crack, the more manufacturing industries outside the central city, a
stable organized crime groups that had been re-
bifurcation into high- and low-wage income sec-
sponsible for the distribution of heroin and cocaine tors, and dramatic technological innovation. These
gave way to independent, low-level crack sellers. shifts, coupled with the exodus of those who pro-
Driven by high profits, crack distribution escalated vided stability and helped to reinforce societal
in neighborhoods that experienced social and eco- values and norms, have caused inner-city commu-
nomic deprivation. Within these inner-city neigh-
nities to experience increased joblessness and a
borhoods, crack distribution networks operate in a decline in basic institutions that have led to social
fluid market economy that allows freelance crack disorganization.
distributors to sell crack with minimal investment
capital, street sellers to switch suppliers easily and
control their own work schedules, and violence to Policy recommendations
flourish as a growing army of young urban crack
■ Economic and social context. Drug research,
sellers compete to protect their economic interests.
and the policy stemming from it, should account
Law enforcement efforts to reduce drug use have for the connection between the economic and
been directed at identifying and convicting those social environments into which many drug users
individuals at the top of the vertical hierarchy of are born. Drug use and drug addiction are tied to
major drug distribution groups, in the belief that structural conditions that help to create a self-
such a strategy would make it more difficult for perpetuating cycle of pathology, which must be
consumers to locate drugs of choice. Thus, prices viewed and addressed holistically.
would increase, and consumption would be driven
■ Community-based programs. Drug and crime
downward. Police crackdowns, whether sweeping
intervention should concentrate on chronic
or focused, are an alternative strategy aimed at
heroin, cocaine, and injection drug users. Arrest
making it more difficult to carry out drug transac-
brings many users into contact with the criminal
tions and frustrating participants at all levels of the
justice system; this contact should be used to
drug distribution system. However, available re-
detect and assess drug use and present treatment
search shows that the extent of drug trafficking and
options. Arrestees who test positive for sub-
the crime, violence, and lawlessness associated
stance abuse should be placed in treatment while
with drugs in the inner cities have not diminished
detained. Therefore, community-based sentenc-
despite increasingly punitive local, State, and Fed-
ing and intervention programs should be consid-
eral Government interventions and social control.
ered, rather than jail or prison, for drug abuse/
On the contrary, these social troubles have in-
possession charges.
creased, in the midst of an ever-escalating and
costly “war on drugs.”


■ Mandatory treatment. Chronic abusers who Additional evaluated experimental projects

are sentenced to jail or prison should be com- should be conducted to determine the effective-
pelled to enroll in treatment programs. Once ness of this psychosocial strategy designed to
these offenders have been released on probation discourage drug use.
or parole, legal supervision should be lengthy to
reduce the likelihood of recidivism, and commu- ■ Geographically focused enforcement. Com-
nity-based treatment should be required. munity-based surveys of drug locations should
be conducted to identify the nature of drug mar-
■ Treatment evaluation. To determine treatment kets and the way that abusers utilize them. Once
needs, an evaluation of the extent of criminal in- identified, the activity of drug markets can be
volvement should be made; research indicates investigated in terms of the convergence of con-
that the longer an individual remains in a treat- sumers and sellers in space and time. In this
ment program, the greater the continuity of care, way, it would be possible to realistically depict
and the greater the likelihood of successful em- the drug distribution patterns in urban areas and
ployment and reduced drug- and crime-related identify specific places of ongoing drug activity
activities. for intervention.

■ Media and school strategies. Although gains ■ Root cause strategy. Consideration should be
have been made through the use of mass media given to a drug strategy aimed at ameliorating
campaigns, informational lectures, and de- those conditions that give rise to drug use in the
nouncements made by celebrity role models, inner city, namely, a strategy that emphasizes
drug prevention programs must recognize that education, job training, psychological support
young people are impulsive, have undeveloped systems, and drug prevention. Joblessness is a
self-esteem, have peer-centered lives, and are fundamental problem that must be addressed,
easily seduced by the streets and the promise of and assistance with child support programs,
quick and easy money. In some inner-city school child care strategies, family allowance pro-
settings, “resistance skills training” teaches stu- grams, and parenting skills training is needed to
dents how to recognize and cope with peer pres- improve the overall life chances of children.
sure, thereby improving their social competency.



ublic perception, scholarly research, and public and stimulants is higher than in urban areas. The press
policy often equate the drug problem with has suggested that such drugs as crack are making
urban problems. Similarly, an erroneous nexus their way into rural areas, but it is still too early to
between citizens of color and the U.S. drug problem is verify that this happens with enough frequency to be
frequently made by average Americans, politicians, of special concern.
and government officials. An examination of the most
recent Uniform Crime Reports indicates, however, Evidence is only circumstantial, but it is likely that the
that among suburban arrestees for drug abuse viola- link between drug use and violence is weaker in rural
tions in 1993, 71.5 percent were white, while the areas than in cities. While urban and rural rates of
comparable white proportion of rural arrestees for drug use are similar, rural areas have substantially less
such offenses was 75.9 percent. In contrast, whites violent crime—except for domestic violence, for
made up 56 percent of city arrestees for drug abuse which urban and rural rates are about equal. Teachers
violations in 1993. and students in rural schools report similar or even
greater drug problems in their schools than teachers
Knowledge about suburban and rural drug issues is and students in urban schools, but in rural schools
sparse, but the available evidence suggests that drugs they consistently report less violence.
are a serious concern in rural areas. Many rural drug
problems are identical to those in urban communities. Finally, while the rates of illegal drug use may be
It also appears that unique features of the rural envi- comparable across urban and rural areas, data from a
ronment present special problems that cannot be variety of sources suggest that alcohol use is a much
solved by urban solutions. Further, urban and rural greater problem in rural areas. The greater use of alco-
areas feed each other’s drug problems. Drugs flow hol, combined with the distances to be traveled and
from cities into the countryside, but they also flow the lack of public transportation, also mean that driv-
from the countryside into cities. Thus, this discussion ing under the influence (DUI) is a serious rural prob-
is focused on drugs in rural and urban communities. lem, with the arrest rate about double that in urban

Findings of Existing Research Drug production, trafficking, and transshipment.

Drugs are not only consumed in rural areas, they are
The Rural Community often produced there. It is estimated that 25–50 per-
cent of the marijuana consumed in the United States
There is a tremendous volume of research on illicit is domestically grown. While it is possible to set up
drug issues, but only a very small portion of that large marijuana cultivation sites in urban areas, nearly
research includes rural communities. The existing all commercial marijuana production is rural, and this
research on rural drug problems is particularly inter- is likely to be true for some years to come. Clandes-
esting considering that rural communities have sub- tine laboratories for producing methamphetamines
stantially lower rates of crime, including violent and designer drugs are also commonly set up in rural
crime, than urban areas. areas, where strong fumes are less likely to be
Drug use. Most studies that compare rural and urban
drug use rates are based on adolescent samples. In Little is known about drug trafficking in rural areas,
general, rural and urban youths are equally likely to or about the nature and extent of networks between
be drug users, but there are some differences in the urban and rural traffickers. Some networks, however
types of drugs used. Cocaine and crack-cocaine use is loose, must exist to allow the movement of drugs
generally lower in rural areas, but the use of inhalants


between rural and urban areas (e.g., moving domestic political attention. Early reports from users suggested
marijuana into urban areas and cocaine into rural that once initiated, compulsive crack use often fol-
areas). There are some reports of urban gangs using lowed. Consequently, all manner of social problems
major highways to move drugs into small towns were ascribed to crack’s meteoric rise.
around larger cities, but this routing probably
accounts for a small proportion of the drugs moved Researchers continued to focus their attention on the
into and out of rural areas. alleged link between drug use and criminal activity.
While some maintained a connection, others asserted
Finally, rural areas are often key transshipment points that the drug-crime hypothesis was only correlational
for drugs. Rural highway interdictions have led to in nature—that crime preceded the use of illicit
large seizures, safe houses for storing smuggled drugs drugs—or that the association was the result of shared
are often set up in rural areas, and smugglers take ad- antecedents, such as family background, peer associa-
vantage of the many isolated airstrips set up for corpo- tion and influences, and social class. Whatever the
rate farms. association, researchers argue that involvement in the
drug and criminal underclass has a wide-ranging,
Drug enforcement. The use of drugs may be at com- negative impact on inner-city neighborhoods.
parable levels in urban and rural communities, but
rural areas generally have much lower arrest rates, The criminal drug subculture demonstrates a set of
perhaps by as much as a factor of four. There are sev- values, beliefs, lifestyles, and conduct norms that
eral possible reasons for this. First, the greater infor- appear to embrace devaluation of legitimate means to
mal control and closer social networks may serve to earn money, manipulation for the offender’s benefit,
limit or suppress the misbehavior and criminality that adherence to the use of illicit income to support the
often accompany drug use. These same social forces “fast life,” and the use of violence to support the
may encourage police to more frequently deal with offender’s reputation. These focal concerns of large
minor drug violators informally. A second factor that numbers of drug-addicted offenders contribute to the
may account for lower drug arrest rates in rural areas continued decline of inner-city communities.
is that rural police generally have fewer resources,
including less manpower and less support. Some have Inner-city drug trafficking. Historically, the drug
argued that drug arrest rates depend heavily on how distribution research literature has focused on heroin.
proactively police pursue drug cases. Limited man- The importance of Jews and Italians in the systematic
power and support may restrict the ability of rural importation and sale of heroin in New York City, and
police to respond proactively regarding drugs. the lower levels of the heroin distribution system have
been described. Cocaine selling was less common
Whatever the reason for the low drug arrest rates in prior to 1970; however, it was noted that the organiza-
rural areas, it is not because rural police are indiffer- tional structure of cocaine sellers was similar to that
ent to the drug problem. To the contrary, it is a major of heroin sellers and that, by 1976, cocaine sellers
concern. A recent survey of rural sheriffs and small- outnumbered heroin sellers in New York City by 2 to
town police chiefs asked them to prioritize their con- 1. While this ratio is generally still the case, the cur-
cerns from a list of 22 issues. Drug issues were ranked rent resurgence of heroin, particularly in purer forms
number one, followed closely by domestic violence. than were prevalent in the 1970’s, suggests parallel
All other issues trailed far behind. drug threats.

With the emergence of crack, the more stable, orga-

The Urban Community nized crime groups, which had been responsible for
Drug use and the inner city. While inner-city the distribution of heroin, gave way to independent
communities continued experiencing growing rates of crack sellers who participated in low-level, street-
poverty, increased social disorganization, and escalat- selling activities. Driven by high profits, crack distri-
ing rates of violent and property crime, a new bution escalated in neighborhoods that experienced
smokable form of cocaine emerged on the streets of social and economic deprivation. Within these inner-
American cities. Crack gained both media and city neighborhoods, crack distribution networks


consisted of a dynamic system of entry-level positions conditions). However, these types of sweeps yield
that operated in a rather fluid market economy that more arrests than can be processed by either the po-
allowed freelance crack distributors to sell crack with lice or other components of the criminal justice sys-
minimal investment capital. As a result of the low skill tem. The idea of a focused police crackdown in cities
levels and minimal initial resource outlay required to with large drug problems avoids some of the problems
sell crack, as well as the competition for buyers, inherent in the indiscrete drug sweep. These strategies
systemic violence flourished as a growing army of are aimed at making it more difficult to carry out drug
young, inner-city crack sellers attempted to protect transactions and to frustrate participants at all levels
their economic interests. of the drug distribution system. Unfortunately, inner-
city minorities bear the brunt of such escalated crimi-
The structure of dealing organizations has been nal justice activity.
described as a social system consisting of traffickers,
dealers, sellers, and low-level distributors. The ability
of street sellers to switch to several different suppliers The Policy Relevance of
and to control their work schedules underscores the Existing Research
fluidity of the drug distribution system in inner-city
communities. Rural Considerations
Research studies have documented crack use and dis- Understanding the policy relevance of existing
tribution in New York City, Miami, Detroit, Los Ange- research first requires understanding rural settings,
les, and Philadelphia. In Detroit, most crack purchases particularly those features that distinguish rural and
occur primarily indoors, and crack houses are the urban communities. Two of these features are social: a
principal retailing outlets for crack. While crack reliance on informal control and a mistrust of govern-
houses are distribution sites in Detroit, most crack ment, particularly a strong centralized government.
sales occur on street corners in Philadelphia. These Rural citizens change addresses less frequently and
studies demonstrate that the explosion of crack has are more likely than their urban counterparts to per-
reconfigured the economics of selling drugs and has sonally know others in the community. This often sets
resulted in the establishment of vertically controlled the stage for solving problems informally, including
selling organizations. As market demands increase, minor crime problems. In addition to this reliance on
competition becomes a driving force in this organiza- informal control, and perhaps a logical extension of it,
tional system. is the fact that rural citizens are more likely to mis-
trust a strong centralized government and the pro-
Drug enforcement. This structure and the variety of grams associated with it.
roles performed by members of the inner-city illegal
drug organizations serve to reduce the effectiveness of It must also be appreciated that the social meaning of
law enforcement agents in their attempts to arrest sell- something is not always the same in urban and rural
ers. Law enforcement efforts to reduce drug use have areas. For example, gun ownership is much more
been directed at identifying and convicting those indi- common in rural areas, but the percentage of crimes
viduals at the top of the vertical hierarchy of major that are committed with guns is lower in rural areas.
drug distribution groups. It is believed that such a Guns clearly have a different meaning for rural citi-
strategy will make it more difficult for consumers to zens, and drug policies that include the issue of guns
locate their drugs of choice; therefore, prices will should take this into account.
increase and consumption will be driven downward.
In addition to these social factors, constructing poli-
An alternative strategy—sweeping the streets— cies related to drugs in rural areas requires appreciat-
involves making arrests based on actual police obser- ing the problems that arise from geographic size,
vations. This strategy requires the substantial presence physical isolation, and a small and often widely
of both uniformed and undercover officers in drug dispersed population. Further, some of the deepest
distribution sites and changing the environmental pockets of poverty are in rural areas. This poverty pro-
conditions of drug hot spots (such as street lighting vides an incentive—or at least a rationalization—for


entering into the drug business. Poverty also means a policies that are applied in the same way to all rural
small tax base for locally funded prevention, treat- areas. The variations among rural areas are too great
ment, and enforcement programs. for a single broad solution.

Finally, policies must be able to deal with the wide

variations across rural areas. Describing the “average” Urban Considerations
rural community is important, but generic depictions It is clear that the “War on Drugs” first launched
may gloss over crucial variations across rural areas. under the Nixon administration a quarter of a century
For example, while the average rural county has a ago and disproportionately targeted at U.S. inner-city
high poverty level, some are quite wealthy. And, while racial and ethnic minorities has been a dismal failure.
geographic isolation is a serious issue in such States Available research reveals that the extent of drug
as Arizona or Montana, it is at most a minor issue in trafficking and the crime, violence, and lawlessness
“rural” Delaware or Maryland. associated with drugs in the inner cities of this Nation
have not diminished despite increasingly punitive
What we know about drugs in rural areas has several
Federal, State, and local interventions and social con-
implications for policy. Drug use is not exclusively an
trol. On the contrary, such social ills have increased
urban phenomenon; rural citizens are not simply con-
despite an ever-escalating and costly war.
sumers of drugs but are also drug producers and are
affected by the flow of drugs through their communi- To some, social problems in the United States are
ties. It is clear that there is a very real foundation for centered exclusively in the Nation’s urban centers.
the concerns of rural citizens about drugs in their Researchers and the general public view inner-city
communities and that their concerns are shared by communities as areas most affected by a tangle of
rural police. Thus, ignoring rural drug problems is to pathology that produces all sorts of social ills. In this
ignore genuine concerns of rural citizens and their context, drug use becomes a symptom of the relative
police. At the same time, policies that require direct decline of inner-city communities.
Federal involvement in enforcement should be ap-
proached with caution. Rural citizens and rural police For the most part, inner-city communities are the
often view Federal authorities with suspicion, and places of residence for many African Americans and
Federal authorities are often not fully aware of the Hispanics. Further, these populations have been re-
nuances of the local rural culture. More promising plenished by the migration of poor newcomers from
approaches are those that facilitate cooperative efforts rural areas that has skewed the age profiles of these
between local and Federal authorities, or those in communities. These populations tend to be younger
which Federal authorities serve to support locally than their white counterparts. Researchers demon-
directed actions. strate that the higher the group’s median age, the
higher the group’s income, while the lower the
The likelihood that violence is less frequently linked group’s median age, the higher the group’s unemploy-
to drugs in rural areas suggests caution so that policies ment rate and crime rate. It is important to remember
are not adopted that increase the likelihood of vio- that the population explosion among minority youths
lence while also generating public hostility against occurred at a time when structural shifts occurred in
authorities. Recognizing the rural drug problem and the economy. These structural shifts resulted in the
an enthusiasm for eradicating drugs should not turn relocation of manufacturing industries to locations
rural communities into war zones. outside the central city, the bifurcation of the low-
wage and high-wage sectors of the economy, and in-
In sum, the unique features of the rural setting raise
novation in technology. In turn, these factors resulted
questions about the wisdom of simply applying urban
in increased joblessness for this segment of the popu-
solutions to rural drug problems. The rural-urban dif-
lation. In addition to growing joblessness, increasing
ferences are too great for this to be successful. Addi-
numbers of middle-class professional and working-
tionally, the wide variations among rural communities
class African Americans no longer reside in or service
in different parts of the United States raise questions
ghetto communities. Middle-class professional and
about the wisdom of developing blanket national
working-class African Americans had provided


stability to inner-city neighborhoods and had helped nity that has a large population of addicts from a
to reinforce societal norms and values. Therefore, the nearby city who are staying in “sobriety houses” in
removal of these families from the inner city has made the community. At the same time, drug treatment is
it difficult to sustain the basic institutions of life in complicated in rural areas by the physical distances
these communities. The decline in the basic institu- that must often be traveled to reach treatment and by
tions has also meant a corresponding decline in social the diseconomies of scale that accompany providing
organization in the inner city. services to a widely scattered population. Treatment
providers in rural areas are more likely to rely on out-
Analysts have all too often studied drug addiction in patient services and on such outreach programs as hot
isolation from racial inequality, teenage pregnancy, lines and crisis intervention. Treatment is also some-
female-headed families, welfare dependency, and times complicated, and sometimes helped, by the dif-
other social dislocations experienced by those who are ficulty of maintaining patient confidentiality in small,
members of the growing urban underclass. Drug use socially closed communities.
research has not addressed the connections between
the economic and social environments into which There is substantial evidence that drug treatment
many drug users are born. Drug use and drug addic- programs are effective if the patients remain in them.
tion have not been tied to the structural conditions that Therefore, retention appears to be the most important
help to create a self-perpetuating cycle of pathology. factor in determining success. Evidence suggests that
individuals who enter community-based treatment
programs as a condition of parole or probation—
Recommendations for Action
when those conditions are effectively monitored and
It is usually easier to describe what is, than to speak enforced—tend to stay in programs longer than indi-
with certainty about what policies should be. In addi- viduals who enter programs without such compulsion.
tion, the limited research on drugs in rural communi- Civil commitment involves sending drug users to resi-
ties provides less background information for dential treatment centers and then, as a condition of
developing policy than is true in urban areas. With their release back into the community, requiring the
these provisos in mind, there are several courses of users to enroll in an outpatient program in which their
action that would seem to be justified by the existing drug use is monitored and they are supplied with a
research. variety of supportive services. The key to civil com-
mitment appears to be supervision and enforcement.
Drug prevention and drug treatment. Drug preven-
tion appears to be well received in rural areas. The Chronic drug-using offenders. Within urban areas,
studies of urban and rural students mentioned above drug and crime intervention should concentrate on
showed that drugs were equally available in both set- chronic heroin, cocaine, and injection drug users.
tings. These same studies also found that rural stu- Since many users have contact with the criminal jus-
dents were more likely to report taking part in drug tice system through arrest, this contact should be used
treatment programs. Research suggests that rural po- to detect and assess any drug use and to present treat-
lice are very strongly committed to programs such as ment options. Those arrestees who test positive for
Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) and see substance use should be placed in treatment while
themselves as playing a valuable role in delivering they are detained. Therefore, when possible, commu-
drug prevention to local youth. nity-based sentencing and intervention programs
should be considered rather than jail or prison for
Given that urban and rural communities have compa- drug abuse and drug possession charges.
rable levels of drug use and that alcohol use is more
frequent in rural areas, it is obvious that the treatment Chronic abusers who are sentenced to jail or prison
needs of rural communities are substantial. Drug should be compelled to enroll in treatment programs.
treatment in a rural environment is a two-edged Significant research indicates that correction-based
sword. On the one hand, the close personal networks treatment can have a substantial impact. Once these
and higher levels of informal control may facilitate offenders have been released on probation or parole,
treatment. This has been observed in a rural commu- legal supervision should be lengthy to reduce the


likelihood of relapsing. During this period of legal media campaigns, informational lectures, and the use
supervision, probationers and parolees should be en- of celebrities as role models to condemn the use of
rolled in community-based treatment programs. The drugs, prevention programs must recognize that young
research indicates that the longer an individual re- people are impulsive, have undeveloped self-esteem,
mains in a treatment program, the greater the continu- have peer-centered lives, and are easily seduced by the
ity of care and the greater the likelihood of successful streets and the “fast” life. In some inner-city school
employment and a reduction in drug- and crime- settings “resistance skills training” teaches students
related activities. Consequently, it is important to how to recognize and cope with peer pressure, thereby
estimate the extent to which the criminal population is improving the social competency of students. Addi-
criminally involved in order to determine treatment tional evaluated experimental projects should be con-
needs. ducted in order to determine the effectiveness of this
psychosocial strategy designed to discourage drug
Drug prevention. Drug prevention programs such as use.
D.A.R.E. seem especially popular in rural communi-
ties, with police as well as citizens. Research has Drug enforcement. Regarding drug enforcement,
correctly questioned the effectiveness of D.A.R.E. in short-term actions should include continued support
preventing youth drug use. However, there are three for rural task forces. These have proven valuable as a
reasons why such programs should be continued, at way to combine the expertise and knowledge of the
least in the short run. First, there are no alternative local police with the technical skills and resources of
programs that are demonstrably superior in preventing other local police, State police, and Federal authori-
youth drug use. And, given the history of substance ties. Statistically, rural agencies have been less likely
abuse prevention programs in general, no such alter- than urban agencies to take part in task forces. This is
native should be expected soon. A second reason for ironic since their small size and limited resources may
maintaining such programs is that they seem to be make task force participation particularly beneficial.
very popular in rural areas. Without viable alternative Task forces may also provide an avenue for facilitat-
programs to respond to the public’s demand that ing improved relations between rural (i.e., local)
something be done about youthful drug use, leaving a police and both State and Federal authorities. Federal
vacuum seems unnecessary and unwise. The third support for task forces should continue, and there
reason for keeping programs such as D.A.R.E. is that should be an examination of why small departments
they appear to serve the useful function of improving are not more actively involved in them.
communication among schools, police, and students
in rural areas. There are no systematic data to prove Resource sharing. Another short-term action is to fa-
this, but it is consistent with other observations about cilitate resource sharing among police agencies in ru-
rural communities and rural police, and it is consistent ral areas and between rural agencies and others at the
with the beliefs of many rural police. State and Federal levels. Small departments occasion-
ally need special equipment for drug investigations,
In the long run, such programs as D.A.R.E., which but this need may be infrequent, perhaps even a one-
build bridges between the police and the schools, time event. In these circumstances buying the equip-
might be modified to include other groups, such as ment may not make good economic sense. Even when
treatment centers, civic organizations, and churches. the expenditure can be justified, a small department
That is, prevention programs should capitalize on and may not be able to afford the cost. Assistance in locat-
reinforce the closer ties among individuals and groups ing special equipment would enhance rural drug en-
that characterize many rural communities. forcement efforts. Long-term actions might include
establishing an office to assist local agencies in their
Some prevention efforts have been based on the as- searches. This office would not directly distribute
sumption that drug users are ignorant of the deleteri- equipment but would help agencies to locate the
ous effects of drug use and that when made aware of specific equipment that they need.
these effects, they will cease using drugs. While it is
true that much has been gained by the use of mass


Training. Finally, there is the issue of training for Police drug crackdowns. Once the dimensions and
rural drug enforcement. In 1994 the State and Local characteristics of drug hot spots have been identified,
Training Division of the Federal Law Enforcement police drug crackdowns have been one strategy di-
Training Center (FLETC) used input from rural police rected at these urban areas. Police drug crackdowns
to develop a training program for rural drug enforce- have sought to reduce the visibility of drug transac-
ment. The content of the program is excellent, but get- tions, the amount of drugs consumed, the size of the
ting the training to rural police is extremely difficult. drug-using population, and the street crime associated
Where departments are very small—fewer than 10 with drug use and drug trafficking. It has also been
officers—there is a high interest in training. However, reasoned that police drug crackdowns directly affect
the expense is often problematic for very small de- the quality of life in a community because citizens are
partments. Perhaps a greater problem is that leaving reassured and are less fearful. Police crackdowns
the area for even a week can put excessive demands enhance residents’ confidence in law enforcement.
on the remaining officers and may leave shifts without However, the question remains as to whether normal
coverage. FLETC has adopted a “train the trainer” enforcement efforts can enhance the offender’s per-
approach to rural drug enforcement training, and this ceived risk or likelihood of apprehension.
is probably the best that can be done in the short term.
Research. As to long-term prospects in the urban
Over the long term there needs to be a system for arena, we find that the majority of social science
more directly taking training to rural areas. The pre- studies of drug users illustrate social deviance, and
cise manner in which this can be done is unclear, but addiction is portrayed as a total way of life. Therefore,
one promising option is to utilize the extensive net- attention has been directed to remedy the deviant
work of community colleges found in many States. In actor, and the conceptual models found in the core of
many States community colleges are linked through the early drug literature were either criminal models
electronic networks, making it possible to send train- or medical models. Newer studies, however, adopt a
ing out to relatively remote areas from a central view that suggests that addicts are “victims.” None-
location. The Federal Government could provide theless, the portrayal of addicts as deviants persists
assistance in resolving the technical issues of delivery, since causality resides within some constellation of
and FLETC could play an important role in helping the family, community, or culture of the addict. Con-
States develop, implement, and update training tai- sequently, studies make few connections to any larger
lored to the unique rural circumstances of each State. social, political, and economic contexts.

Identification of drug markets. Each year police The debate over drug legalization continues to occupy
departments in urban areas establish strike forces and the research agendas of countless scholars. Central in
develop strategies for combating crime on the streets. this debate is the question of whether the costs associ-
However, most of these strategies have been devel- ated with drug use are higher if drugs are legalized.
oped without any understanding of the nature of drug Illegal drug use results in increased law enforcement
markets and the manner by which abusers utilize these costs, welfare costs, and moral costs. Legalizing drugs
markets. The identification of these markets should results in the possible unknown costs associated with
involve community-based surveys of drug locations. an increase in drug consumption. The predominant
Once identified, the activity of drug markets can be drug strategy has focused on increasing the price,
investigated in terms of the convergence of consumers difficulty, and inconvenience associated with obtain-
and sellers in space and time. In this way, it would be ing drugs, as well as relying on the risks associated
possible to realistically depict the drug distribution with consumption of a product of unknown quality.
patterns in urban areas and to identify specific places Virtually little concern has been given to a drug strat-
of ongoing drug activity for intervention. Therefore, egy aimed at ameliorating those conditions that con-
such a strategy might reveal that drug activity is con- tinue to give rise to drug use in the inner city: namely,
fined to specific areas of the city and that markets an effective strategy for the inner city that emphasizes
differ in terms of their intensity, size, and social char- education, job training, psychosocial support systems,
acter. Consequently, enforcement strategies should be and drug prevention.
geographically focused.


Conclusion The value of work and joblessness are fundamental

problems that must be addressed. The ideal solution
Although they have been relatively ignored in re- would be to develop a combination of macroeconomic
search and policy, illegal drugs are an issue in rural policy, job training programs, and labor market strate-
America and are considered among the most pressing gies. However, these universalist strategies must also
problems facing rural police. These rural drug issues include exceptional programs that will provide
include consumption, production, and transshipment. income support to lift all families out of poverty.
A variety of issues, including geography, economics, Concurrently, a recognition of policies to promote
low population density, and rural culture, shape the balanced economic growth must coexist with those
rural drug problem and the strategies for responding strategies designed to improve the overall life chances
to it. For both practical and philosophical reasons of children by providing child support programs, child
there are limits on the extent to which the Federal care strategies, family allowance programs, and pro-
Government should become more directly involved in grams designed to improve parenting skills.
rural drug enforcement. However, there are a variety
of ways in which the Federal Government can support
and enhance local anti-drug efforts in both drug abuse
prevention and drug law enforcement.


Violence Against
Women: Overview

Edna Erez, Kent State University, Chair

Joanne Belknap, University of Cincinnati

Susan Caringella-MacDonald, Western Michigan University

Meda Chesney-Lind, University of Hawaii-Manoa

Kathleen J. Ferraro, Arizona State University

David A. Ford, Indiana University at Indianapolis

Julie Horney, University of Nebraska-Omaha

Susan L. Miller, Northern Illinois University

Elizabeth A. Stanko, Brunel University, England



CRIMINAL JUSTICE anonymity of victims
who pursue prosecution.
As a result of a nation-
wide, grassroots effort
made during the past 20
SYSTEM Laws and policies that
forbid disclosure of vic-
tims’ names and ad-
years to reform rape Summary dresses are important for victim privacy;
laws in this country, each of the 50
however, First Amendment consider-
States has in some way modified its tra-
ations, as well as concerns that perpetuation of
ditional rape statutes. These reforms encompassed
the rape stigma results from anonymity protec-
three goals: to treat rape like any other crime by
tion, have both arisen.
concentrating on the unlawful acts of the offender,
to encourage victims to come forward about rape, ■ Accountability. Discretionary decisionmaking
and to facilitate the successful prosecution and must be made more visible and criminal justice
conviction of rapists. However, research has shown officials held more accountable for the deci-
that reforms have fallen far short of achieving their sions that shape the implementation of reforms.
goals: The incidence and prevalence of rape have Implementation should be monitored, incentives
not significantly declined; reporting has not dra- should be created, and public pressure should
matically risen; and the rates of arrest, prosecution, be used to achieve compliance.
and conviction of rapists have not appreciably
improved. ■ Victim compensation. Recourse for victims
(for the costs and pains of victimization, such as
Similarly, findings show that corroboration re- lost work days, medical bills, etc.) should be
quirements persist in a de facto manner, resistance expanded through the development of new pro-
standards continue to provide the basis for grams (that do not exclude large categories of
decisionmaking, and past sexual activity evidence victims, such as violent crime victims). Com-
still influences the treatment of rape cases—in pensation programs need to be funded and
spite of enactment of shield legislation. Moreover, extended at all levels of government.
victim credibility remains an issue for courtroom
participants (as well as for the public) and all too ■ Victim advocacy. For victim advocacy to begin
often accompanies beliefs about victim culpability. to meet the overwhelming need for services,
Attributions that blame victims perpetuate the per- financial support for rape crisis centers and vic-
secution of rape victims, rather than the successful tim-witness units must grow. Local programs
prosecution of rape offenders. could productively network with national politi-
cal action committees (PAC’s) and organiza-
tions, such as the National Organization for
Policy considerations and Women or the League of Women Voters, to
recommendations mobilize resources.
■ Marital rape. Some States still do not legally ■ Outreach to minorities. Racial and ethnic mi-
recognize marital rape, while others have norities are underserved. Outreach efforts, such
extended this exemption to cohabitors. Legal as providing multilingual services, hiring mi-
initiatives are needed on this issue. nority staff, forging links with existing commu-
nity services, and providing community
■ Victim anonymity. One particularly difficult
education, should be expanded.
issue that demands redress is protection of the


■ Training for information providers. In ■ Cultural change. Systematic education, start-

order to make the criminal justice system as non- ing with young people, is needed to challenge
threatening to victims as possible, it is the traditional cultural beliefs and values that
important to continue providing special training lead to sexual violence. The approbation of
for criminal justice personnel, including police, sexist notions, inequalities, and violence con-
prosecutors, and judges. Multidisciplinary teams tributes to our “rape culture.” A vision, plan, or
consisting of criminal justice professionals and program that ignores sex and power differences
sexual assault counselors should provide such addresses only symptoms, not root causes, of
training. Similarly, dedicated units/personnel to violence against women.
deal with “sex crimes” should be continued.
■ Research needs. Statistics on the incidence
■ Public awareness. Media campaigns are and prevalence of rape and sexual assaults need
needed to help make rape a national priority and to be improved for accurate measurement of
place it on an agenda for change. Media slogans these problems nationwide. Some definitions
have been effective in combating other social should be changed to reflect new legal catego-
problems and could be developed for rape is- ries, and new data (e.g., on the discretionary
sues. Similarly, films could be rated for degrees decisions rendered in rape cases) should be col-
of sexism and the derogation of women, with lected. More extensive research on the imple-
particular emphasis on how violence against mentation of reforms should be funded to point
women is portrayed. Another possible model for the way for new efforts. More recent reforms,
intervention is the town meeting; town meetings such as Federal Rules 413–415 that make ad-
with criminal justice personnel, educators, aca- missible the sexual history of offenders, also
demicians, and social services providers could need to be examined for their impact on the
be coordinated as part of a national plan to pri- treatment of rape cases.
oritize the problems of rape and violence
against women.


Issues AND THE CRIMINAL Prosecution policy has
also been scrutinized for
Domestic and other
forms of violence against
women are embedded in
JUSTICE SYSTEM its impact on reducing
domestic violence.
Findings from the India-
wider issues, such as Summary napolis Domestic Vio-
male dominance, sexism, racism, and lence Prosecution Experiment (IDVPE)
poverty. Although the ultimate preven- suggest that it is not the type of prosecution that is
tion of violence against women entails cultural crucial, but that prosecution is initiated. Contrary to
change—e.g., debunking the belief in violence, popular assumptions, allowing victims who initi-
including corporal punishment, as an effective or
ated the complaint to drop charges resulted in re-
acceptable means of social control—victims can- ducing the risk of further violence. Giving victims
not wait for cultural change. this control permits them to use the possibility of
There have been significant changes in the crimi- abandoning prosecution as a resource in bargaining
nal justice definition of, and response to, domestic for their security. Others are empowered by the al-
violence in the past 20 years, but these changes liance they form with more powerful others, such
have not always resulted in greater protection for as police, prosecutors, and judges. As long as the
women who are violently assaulted by their inti- alliance is steadfast, a victim can threaten to invoke
mate partners. Various studies to measure the de- her allies’ power to deter her abuser.
terrent effect of police response in situations where
women have been battered by cohabiting intimates Policy recommendations
have, at best, confused the issue. It seems that ar-
rest, per se, has not uniformly affected the behav- ■ Victim assessment. Overall, research indicates
ior of batterers. Those with greater social bonds or that the wishes of the victim are crucial determi-
“stakes in conformity” are more likely to be effec- nants for women’s safety in the application of
tively deterred by onscene arrest, while others may law. Given different circumstances, different
be driven to commit more violence. women, and different violent men, the victim’s
assessment of safety and of the impact of apply-
Mandatory arrest policies may disproportionately ing a criminal sanction must be included in the
affect minority women and those from lower so- formula for intervention in domestic violence
cioeconomic groups, who have fewer resources to situations. Given options, including the avail-
settle relationship conflicts by private means. They ability of housing, jobs, and child care, women
may face harsher consequences on their household find ways of stopping violence.
income if the batterer is jailed and may distrust
police if racist treatment has characterized prior ■ Escape from violence. The Attorney General
experiences. should issue short papers disseminating the pre-
vailing wisdom to police/prosecutors/judges/
Research supports the view that current police other court personnel, and require ongoing
decisionmaking is guided more by speculation and feedback, discussions, and training with local
stereotypes than by the wishes and needs of vic- shelters that will provide the locally based ex-
tims, yet it also suggests that the use of criminal amples of good and bad practices with regard to
law as a resource for women may minimize vio- women’s attempts to escape violence. Women
lence. Police decisions must be guided by the should not, for example, have to choose between
victim’s assessment of danger. being battered and being homeless, a choice


made by more than 50 percent of currently ■ Family violence. The Attorney General should
homeless women. reassemble a Task Force on Family Violence to
review where we stand relative to 1984, address
■ Women’s shelters. Shelters should be treated as new issues that were anticipated by the previous
key components in crime reduction policies. task force, and reassess our needs for research
They should be adequately funded and play a today.
central role in any multiagency, community-
based strategy. Shelters, and their advice lines, ■ Women in prison. A Federal Task Force on
offer crucial services to those most in need— Women in Prison should be established to pro-
victims of repeated violence—that may assist in vide national leadership on the specific plight
reducing further attacks. of incarcerated women, many of whom serve
prison terms for violence because they have tried
■ Education against violence. The Attorney to avert an attack or defend themselves against
General should work cooperatively with other repeated violence by family members or inti-
concerned Federal agencies to develop an edu- mates. Sexual and physical abuse at home also
cational program addressing issues such as gen- pushes young women to the street, where they
der, power, aggression, and competitiveness that learn to numb their pain by using drugs and
are the basis of violence, especially that within to survive by petty theft. These women and
the home. This program should become a man- their children could be better served by
datory element of the school curriculum. nonincarcerative options.



Rape and the Criminal Justice System exception to cohabitors. One particularly difficult
issue that demands redress is the anonymity of vic-

wenty some years after legislative reforms on tims who pursue prosecution. Laws and policies
rape swept across this Nation, the road for that forbid disclosure of victims’ names and ad-
progress remains long and arduous. While dresses are important for victim privacy; however,
some progress has been noted in the research litera- First Amendment concerns, as well as concerns that
ture, the accumulated knowledge is amazingly consis- anonymity perpetuates rape stigma, have both
tent in demonstrating that rape reforms have fallen far arisen.
short of achieving their goals. A frequent summariza-
tion in the research literature is that the impact of rape ■ Monitoring criminal justice. Discretionary
reforms has been largely symbolic. Antiquated myths decisionmaking must be made more visible, and
surrounding the sexual violence of rape, along with criminal justice officials must be held more ac-
traditional discriminatory legal requirements and countable for the decisions that shape the imple-
standards, tenaciously cling across our society and mentation of reforms. We need to monitor
criminal justice system, operating to prejudice the implementation and create incentives and public
handling of rape cases and rape victims. pressure for compliance.

The specific research findings that identify failure of ■ Recourse for victims. Recourse for victims for the
reforms span a large continuum. Overall, research has costs and pains of victimization (for example, lost
shown that rape has not significantly declined; that time at work and medical bills) needs to be ex-
reporting has not dramatically risen; and that arrest- panded through the development of new programs
ing, prosecuting, and convicting rapists has not sig- that do not exclude large categories of victims
nificantly improved, despite reform efforts to facilitate (such as violent crime victims). Compensation pro-
those objectives. Similarly, corroboration require- grams need to be funded and extended at all levels
ments have been found to persist in a de facto manner, of government.
despite the lack of their de jure existence; resistance
standards continue to be relied upon for decision- ■ Fund services. Rape crisis centers and victim-
making; and past sexual activity evidence influences witness units have been found to be a powerful
the treatment of rape cases, regardless of even the best source of advocacy for victims, yet these programs
“shield” legislation. Moreover, victim credibility re- struggle simply to exist, given the widely based
mains an issue for legal actors, as well as for the pub- competition for scarce resources. For victim advo-
lic, and is all too often concomitant with beliefs about cacy to begin to meet the overwhelming need for
victim culpability. Attributes that blame victims per- services, financial support must grow. Local pro-
petuate persecution of rape victims, rather than suc- grams could quite productively network with
cessful prosecution of rape offenders. national PAC’s and organizations, such as the
National Organization for Women and the League
The following measures should be taken to progress of Women Voters, to assist in endeavors and mobi-
against the problems of rape: lize resources.

■ Legislative change. The nature and magnitude of ■ Outreach to minorities. Racial and ethnic minori-
change vary widely across States, necessitating fur- ties are underserved by services. Outreach efforts—
ther legal initiatives in many jurisdictions. For ex- including multilingual services, minority hiring,
ample, some States still do not legally recognize linkages with existing community agencies, and
marital rape, while others have extended this community education—are important for providing
victims services.


■ Inservice training. It is important to continue to the agenda for change. Media slogans have been
provide special training for police, prosecutors, and shown to be effective tools in combating other so-
judges alike. Multidisciplinary teams consisting of cial problems and could be developed for rape is-
criminal justice professionals and sexual assault sues. “Just Say No,” for instance, could be adapted
counselors are preferable for providing such train- and publicized as “No Means No” to garner na-
ing. Similarly, dedicated units or personnel to deal tional attention. Films could be rated for degrees of
with “sex crimes” need to be continued. sexism and the derogation of women, with particu-
lar emphasis on how violence against women is
■ Victim information. All personnel, be they social portrayed.
service, medical, or criminal justice, who come into
contact with rape victims need to be knowledgeable ■ Town meetings. President Clinton’s successful
about victims’ rights, processes, and available ser- engagement of town meetings provides yet another
vices. These same people should be required to in- model of possible intervention. Town meetings
form victims of their rights and tell them what to with criminal justice personnel, educators, acade-
expect from the legal community and where they micians, and social service providers could be co-
can turn for support. ordinated as part of a national plan to prioritize the
problems of rape and violence against women.
■ Programs for rape offenders. Counseling and
treatment programs are imperative if the problems ■ Education and societal attitude change. We need
of rape are to be truly impacted. Rapists have in- systematic education, starting with young people,
credibly high rates of recidivism, indicating that that challenges the traditional cultural beliefs and
prison alone is ineffective. Rapists must learn that values leading to sexual violence. A number of in-
their behavior is not normal and that their actions novative programs ranging from elementary school
cannot be rationalized away by victim blaming; it to the university level have shown promise. The
is criminal and heinous behavior. approbation of sexist notions of inequality and vio-
lence contributes to our “rape culture.” The accept-
■ Data. Statistics on the incidence and prevalence of ing posture toward both the insidious and blatant
rape and sexual assault are problematic. We need to violence and sexism that permeate this culture
examine and change definitions to reflect new legal serves to lure men to the crimes of sexual as well
categories and, thereby, improve our measurement as nonsexual violence. A vision, plan, or program
of rape nationwide (e.g., improve the Uniform that ignores sex and power differences will serve
Crime Reports and the National Crime Survey). only as a Band-Aid, because such measures would
Although some changes have been made, data on address symptoms rather than the root causes of
rape remain problematic. Moreover, new data, such violence against women.
as those on discretionary decisions rendered in rape
case processing, need to be collected.
Women Battering and the Criminal
■ Research. Much more extensive research on the Justice System
implementation of reforms needs to be funded to
point the way for renewed efforts. This research Violence against women threatens to undermine
will serve to identify where and how reforms have women’s rights to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.
failed or succeeded in realizing objectives. More Patterns of violence against women reflect a problem
recent reforms such as the Federal Rules 413–415, of worldwide proportions. Rightly, over the past 20
which make admissible the sexual history of of- years, special attention has spotlighted shortcomings
fenders, also need to be examined for their impact in the law, social services, and advice provisions for
on the treatment of rape cases. women facing violence in their homes and elsewhere.
As research continues to document, many women im-
■ Media. Instead of playing a role in education and prisoned and hospitalized in the United States have
prevention, the media perpetuate and aggravate histories that include violence. Finally, domestic and
rape and “rape culture.” The media could help to other forms of violence against women must be
make violence against women a national priority on


understood as being embedded in wider issues, such Recommendations

as male dominance, sexism, racism, and poverty.
It is the consensus of the members of this task force
Sole reliance on the criminal justice system to stop that protecting the provisions of the Violence Against
violence against women is a mistaken policy. That Women Act, which provide funds to direct service to
said, the failure to set the practice of criminal justice women facing violence, is essential for the safety of
actors into the prevailing wisdom contributes to the women. In an era of brutal fiscal cuts to public provi-
danger women face from intimates, former husbands, sion of care, it is also critical to protect the moneys
and others. The police have been the target of much of allocated in the recent crime bills for research and
the research to date. The various studies of police re- encourage creative and innovative practice that is
sponse in situations of cohabiting intimates as a deter- globally informed, yet locally based. The Attorney
rent to men’s violence have, at best, confused the General can assist this process by disseminating infor-
issue. It seems that arrest per se did not have a uni- mation on flexible, good practice based on experi-
form effect on men’s behavior; perpetuating the myth ences of victims, not those of criminal justice
that arrest can, in and of itself, deter men’s violence is personnel.
mistaken. Yet, research evidence suggests that the use
of criminal law as a resource for women may mini- ■ Information dissemination. The Attorney General
mize the violence. Discretionary decisionmaking by should issue short papers that disseminate prevail-
the police must be guided by the victim’s assessment ing wisdom to police, prosecutors, judges, and
of danger. All the research supports the view that, at other court personnel. These papers should require
present, police decisionmaking is faulty, guided more ongoing feedback, discussions, and training with
by speculation and use of stereotypes than by the local shelters, which will provide locally based ex-
wishes and needs of victims, undermining even the amples of good and bad practice and the methods
best policy within the criminal justice arena. used by local women to escape violence.

Prosecution policy has also been scrutinized for its Rationale: Each player in the criminal justice system
impact on reducing domestic violence. Findings from holds unique personal and institutionally based per-
Ford’s study of Indianapolis suggest that it is not the spectives on what constitutes justice. Research con-
type of prosecution that is crucial, but that prosecution tinually finds patchy adherence to even the best
is initiated. Contrary to popular assumptions, allowing policy; ignorance or disregard about men’s violence
victims who initiated the complaint to drop charges affects different women differently. Decisionmaking
resulted in reducing the risk of further violence. in situations of family violence rarely embraces what
women themselves already do to ensure their safety.
The lessons from police studies and studies focusing Women should not, for example, have to choose
on prosecution converge: The wishes of the victim are between being battered and being homeless. We must
crucial determinants of women’s safety in the applica- acknowledge the impact of violence on the criminal
tion of law. The evidence concurs that, given different justice system: Everyone deals with it but no one
circumstances, different women, and different violent takes responsibility. Police should be treated as
men, the victim’s assessment of safety and of the im- resources for women and children facing violence.
pact of a criminal sanction must be included in the Research indicates that mandating particular ways of
formula for intervention in family violence situations. responding to calls for assistance does not result in
If they have options, which include the availability of protection. Women should be considered partners in
housing, jobs, and child care, women find ways of decisions made on their behalf, including decisions to
stopping violence. Should they need the assistance of drop charges. Evidence should be gathered that dem-
the criminal justice system, the research suggests that onstrates how to empower particular victims to man-
it does not often serve their needs. age the violence, with support and backup from
statutory and voluntary agencies.


■ Shelters. Shelters should be treated as key compo- able to distribute good practice awards to communities
nents in crime reduction policies. They should be demonstrating community responsibility for violence
funded adequately as key players in any multi- against women and children.
agency, community-based strategy.

Rationale: There is growing acknowledgment among Women and Imprisonment

criminologists that crime prevention should be aimed In the past decade, the number of women in U.S.
toward those at greatest risk. Victims of repeated vio- prisons more than tripled. Sexual abuse and physical
lence require continuous support from such resources violence against women is often correlated with im-
as police, courts, and hospitals. Shelters and their ad- prisonment. Many women who serve prison terms for
vice lines offer crucial services to those most in need, violence are incarcerated because they have tried to
which may assist in reducing repeated attacks. avert an attack or defend themselves against repeated
violence by family members or intimates. Sexual and
■ Public education. The Attorney General should physical abuse at home also push young women to the
commit U.S. Department of Justice resources in street, where they learn to numb their pain by using
cooperative efforts with other Federal agencies drugs and survive by resorting to petty theft. These
concerned with violence (for example, the National women, whose survival measures are criminalized,
Institute of Justice, together with the Centers for increasingly inhabit our prisons. They and their chil-
Disease Control and Prevention, an agency within dren could be better served by nonincarcerative op-
the U.S. Department of Health and Human Ser- tions. Reduction in women’s imprisonment would free
vices) and prepare an educational program address- an enormous amount of funds to care for them and
ing violence (especially within the home) that their children in the community, as well as provide
becomes a mandatory component of the school cur- them with necessary resources.
riculum. Australia, New Zealand, and Canada have
taken such action, which begins to address the A Federal Task Force on Women in Prison should be
foundation of violence by taking seriously the is- established to provide national leadership on the
sues of gender, power, aggression, and competitive- specific needs of women. We propose Professor Meda
ness. Public education is also appropriate. One Chesney-Lind as our representative on this task force.
campaign, Zero Tolerance, which took place in
Edinburgh, Scotland (and Canada and Australia), Editor’s note: Members of the Task Force on Vio-
featured public posters, television advertisements, lence Against Women also prepared separate reports,
advertising during highly popular sporting events listed below, from which this overview distilled
(such as soccer and rugby), and local radio cover- findings:
age, aimed to dispel myths about violence against ■ “Recommendations for the Task Force on Violence
women. Against Women” by Joanne Belknap (NCJ
■ The Attorney General’s Task Force on Family 158902).
Violence. The Attorney General should reassemble ■ “Summarization of Issues and Recommendations
an Attorney General’s Task Force on Family Vio- on Rape” by Susan Caringella-MacDonald (NCJ
lence to review where we stand relative to 1984, to 158903).
address new issues that were anticipated by the pre-
vious task force, and to reassess our needs for re- ■ “Women in Prison: Punishing Victims as Penal
search today. We nominate Professor Kathleen Policy” by Meda Chesney-Lind (NCJ 158904).
Ferraro as our representative on this task force.
■ “Domestic Violence and the Criminal Justice
Rationale: Women and children who face violence Response” by Kathleen J. Ferraro (NCJ 158905).
are best served by community commitment, demon-
strated by links among many agencies, volunteer ■ “Domestic Violence Against Women” by David A.
groups, legal services, hospitals, schools, housing, and Ford (NCJ 158906).
emergency help lines. Federal grants should be avail-


■ “Rape: The Impact and Limits of Law Reform”

by Julie Horney (NCJ 158907).
■ “Federal Task Force on Violence Against Women”
by Susan L. Miller (NCJ 158908).

Copies of these individual reports are available on

interlibrary loan or for a photocopy fee.

Contact the National Criminal Justice Reference

Service, 1–800–851–3420, and ask for the document
by title and NCJ number.


Domestic and
Organized Crime

Jay Albanese, Niagara University, Co-chair

James O. Finckenauer, Rutgers University, Co-chair


ORGANIZED zens, through followup
town meetings and other
Although seriously
weakened in the past 25
years, the traditional
CRIME mechanisms, about the
less obvious evils of
organized crime.
Cosa Nostra form of Summary
organized crime has not been eliminated; ■ Surveillance. Specific policy and
instead, it has been joined by a variety of increas- judicial authorization guidelines should be de-
ingly powerful domestic and international orga- veloped as a way to make installations of eaves-
nized criminal networks operating in this country. dropping and monitoring devices uniform—and
Criminal organizations (particularly those from the expectations of investigators, their supervi-
China and Latin America) are exploiting the in- sors, and the judiciary identical. There is no way
creases in U.S. immigration for both cover and to eliminate the danger of these installations, but
concealment of criminal activities, as well as for law and policy must more specifically circum-
recruitment. Aliens, smuggled by boat, pay exorbi- scribe this issue to protect those in law enforce-
tant passage fees and cannot work at regular jobs; ment and negate the possibility of agency
thus, they are exploited by unscrupulous employers embarrassment, should an incident occur.
or become active in prostitution, the drug trade, or
■ Criminal informants. DOJ should establish a
other aspects of the illegal economy. In this way,
victims become criminals themselves. technical assistance program designed to train
State and local authorities in the proper develop-
One problem in combating these groups is that ment, use, and management of criminal infor-
citizens have not been mobilized as allies in the mants, because the misuse of informants has not
effort. Despite a series of significant prosecutions only misled police but undermined public sup-
for racketeering conspiracies during the last port for the use of informants. Technical assis-
decade, vast numbers of Americans continue to tance might consist of the development of police
gamble illegally, use banned drugs, buy stolen courses (required for those handling informants)
property, and otherwise contribute to the very same or inservice training on this issue.
conspiracies that the government is fighting to
■ Uniform training standards. DOJ should de-
velop minimum standards and curriculum for
police training nationwide, with special empha-
Policy recommendations sis on the training of local police. Inconsistency
■ Citizen mobilization. Special grand jury provi-
in training hurts professionalism, lateral career
sions of the Organized Crime Control Act, mobility of officers, and interagency cooperation
calling for an investigative grand jury to be con- in combating organized crime.
vened at least every 18 months to examine orga- ■ Seizure of assets. DOJ should develop specific
nized crime and corruption in districts of more guidelines for the seizure of assets to set a na-
than one million citizens, should finally be tional standard. Public confidence erodes when
implemented. Significantly, the law provides for seizures are made that appear questionable. Sev-
the special grand jury to issue a report on those eral lawsuits against police are pending on this
conditions at the end of its term. Implementation issue. The incidence or appearance of unprofes-
would provide a tremendous opportunity for citi- sional behavior on the part of police in orga-
zens on the grand jury to help educate other citi- nized crime control efforts must be removed.


■ Tracking illicit drugs. DOJ should provide ■ Investigative screening. DOJ should sponsor
incentives and guidelines for States, as well as one or more “teams” of interested researchers
other nations, to track identified illicit drugs and and organized crime investigators to work for a
to prohibit their use under penalty of law. Only period of months, since there has been too little
18 States have enacted legislation similar to the interaction among these professionals. Together,
Chemical Diversion and Trafficking Act (estab- they should test investigative screening models
lishing Federal recordkeeping, reporting, and of businesses at high risk of infiltration by orga-
transaction requirements for essential chemi- nized crime and translate their findings into us-
cals), and these laws differ widely in their scope able form for investigators at the Federal, State,
and requirements. Other jurisdictions must also and local levels. A proven case-screening (or
be kept abreast of new synthetic chemicals that business-screening) model could do much to
should be added each year to the list of essential reduce time spent on proactive investigations
chemicals. that lead to dead ends.

■ Court-imposed trusteeships. Court-imposed ■ Shared perspectives. DOJ should sponsor

trusteeships should be utilized against nonunion “long-term prevention” forums periodically for
businesses found to be controlled by organized the specific purpose of integrating law enforce-
crime. Such intervention enables the govern- ment and criminological perpectives on the
ment to “restart” the business with completely problem of organized crime. Expertise and
new personnel and supervisory and auditing insight on both sides could be profitably shared
procedures to prevent the return of organized to develop effective organized crime control
crime. This kind of intercession in nonunion innovations.
businesses has occurred in few instances thus
far, but its potential as a tool for long-term
prevention is enormous.


Issues ORGANIZED integrity of international
banking is considerable.
The Federal Government
has particular and sin-
gular responsibilities
CRIME Coupled with the ampli-
fied scope and magni-
with regard to the Summary tude of international
transnational and international dimen- organized crime is an inadequate law en-
sions of organized crime (e.g., international drug forcement response, due to the absence of interna-
trafficking, arms dealing, and murder for hire), tional cooperation and policy; limited exchange of
which are unique in nature and scope. There is intelligence and mutual legal assistance; functional
increasing evidence that the wealth and power of and bureaucratic fragmentation among the various
criminal organizations in various countries are criminal justice agencies; a dearth of specialized
growing and that international links among these personnel; competition and turf battles among
organizations exist. A number of factors associated responsible agencies; and failure to coordinate or
with this globalization of organized crime have harmonize national and international laws.
implications for the United States.

A state of ungovernability, instability, and frag- Policy recommendations

mentation in certain countries provides favorable ■ Russian racketeering. The United States should
conditions for the development and nurturance of take the lead in helping Russian officials to draft
organized criminal groups. This is especially true effective anti-racketeering legislation (not neces-
in the countries that were part of the former Soviet sarily duplicating the Racketeer Influenced and
Union, but it also applies to Eastern Europe and Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute) that is ap-
countries such as Peru, Burma, Mexico, and Paki- propriate to and mindful of Russia’s special cir-
stan. These countries provide both operational cumstances and legal traditions.
bases and safe havens for international criminals.
■ Aid tied to reforms. American and other West-
Of continuing special concern is the problem of ern aid to Russia should be specifically targeted
organized crime operating in and from the former to combating organized crime. Steps to be taken
USSR. The so-called “Russian mafia” are operat- in this effort must include reforming the Russian
ing in Germany, Poland, and virtually every other judicial system; equipping law enforcement
state in Eastern and Central Europe. There is also a agencies with vehicles, computers, and other
growing problem of organized criminal networks communications equipment; and training and
among Soviet emigres in the U.S. In the successor providing technical assistance to law enforce-
states of the USSR (especially Russia), organized ment personnel in organized crime investigative
crime is undermining efforts to create the rule of techniques. Consideration should also be given
law, as well as attacking various fledgling demo- to some kind of salary supplement plan. This aid
cratic institutions. Internationally, Russian orga- must be linked to the development of aggressive
nized crime’s illegal trade in high-tech weaponry, methods for rooting out (and keeping out) cor-
potentially including nuclear weapons, constitutes ruption in the criminal justice system.
a considerable threat.
■ Joint data bank. A joint Western-Russian data
An increasingly sophisticated use of advanced bank on Russian organized crime should be
communications technology facilitates the wire established. This data bank should include the
transfers of money for laundering on a much names of individuals and groups known to be
greater scale than ever before. The threat to the involved in organized crime, as well as data on


their criminal histories, records of international ■ Criminal justice training for Russians. A
travel, contacts in the West, criminal enterprises, broad-based effort to improve the performance
and legitimate businesses, etc. Interpol might do of criminal justice officials in the former Soviet
this or at least play some role in it. Union—through recruitment, training, education,
and technical assistance—should be undertaken.
■ Financial Crimes Enforcement Network This effort should not be limited to include only
(FINCEN). The intelligence-gathering and agencies of the Federal Government, such as the
investigative utility of FINCEN, already demon- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the
strated in areas of international money launder- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), but
ing and banking schemes, and especially those also draw heavily on the resources and valuable
involving Russians, should be expanded. expertise at the State and local levels. It should
also involve the private sector, e.g., the Police
Executive Research Forum, the Police Founda-
tion, the National District Attorneys Association,
as well as criminology/criminal justice educators
and researchers in colleges and universities.




n many respects organized crime is unique— reporting, and by the fact that agencies often simply
different from the subject matter focus of any of do not know what is happening.
the other task forces constituting the National
Policy Committee of the American Society of Crimi- Information from law enforcement sources thus must
nology. Given its nature and scope, it has a potential be supplemented with information from other sources
for harm that is greater than most of these other areas. (for example, investigations by independent journal-
Organized crime involvement in international drug ists and scholars and by national and international
trafficking, arms dealing, and murder-for-hire are just bodies commissioned to look into this problem). We
a few examples supporting this contention. Organized have drawn upon all of these sources in identifying
crime has transnational and international dimensions what we see as some current problems in law, policy,
as well as being a domestic concern; it is a crime procedure, and priorities.
problem for which the Federal Government has par-
ticular and singular responsibilities. These characteris- Domestic Policy Issues
tics have important implications for both overall
policy and any specific action recommendations. Great strides have been taken in the last 25 years
against traditional (Cosa Nostra) forms of organized
Coincident with its character, unfortunately, the crime in the United States. This particular form of
research and information base for our knowledge of organized crime has been seriously weakened. Never-
organized crime is extremely weak—weaker than just theless, it has not been eliminated, and, more omi-
about any other area of criminological research. nously, what is left of the old so-called “mafia” has
Policy recommendations, therefore, can be grounded been joined by a variety of increasingly powerful do-
only partially in good research. mestic and international organized criminal networks
operating in the United States. A number of problems
We will briefly outline the limitations of existing remain to be addressed in combating these groups.
research on organized crime and then focus on the
policy relevance of what is known. We will conclude ■ Citizens have not been mobilized as allies in the
by offering a number of policy recommendations for effort to control organized crime. Despite a series
addressing both the domestic and international aspects of significant prosecutions for racketeering con-
of organized crime. spiracies during the past decade, vast numbers of
Americans continue to gamble illegally, use banned
drugs, buy stolen property, and otherwise contrib-
What Do We Know About Organized
ute to the very same conspiracies that the Govern-
Crime Policy? ment is fighting to defeat.
Research on organized crime is much more anecdotal ■ Available scientific methods have not been em-
and descriptive than research on other forms of crime. ployed to the greatest extent possible in developing
There are very few empirical studies—none focusing investigative screening devices for organized crime
on global forms of organized crime. Organized crime cases. Case study findings on the infiltration of
researchers are very dependent upon documents and business by organized crime have not been trans-
reports from law enforcement agencies. These lated into usable tools for investigators. Likewise,
sources, however, are often limited in a variety of prediction models of businesses at high risk of such
ways: by secrecy, by sanitizing of public documents infiltration have not been tested.
through the production of “disinformation” by certain
government agencies, by corruption that distorts


■ An overlooked issue in the use of eavesdropping requirements for essential chemicals. However,
and monitoring devices (considered to be essential only 18 States have enacted similar legislation to
in investigating organized crime) is that Govern- track chemicals, and this legislation varies widely
ment agents are placed at considerable risk in plac- in the number and types of chemicals covered and
ing such devices. Given that installation requires in drug-tracking requirements.
trespassing upon private property, beyond the risk
of embarrassment at being caught, there is a real ■ Court-imposed trusteeships on the Teamsters’ and
danger that a Government agent may be seen as Laborers’ unions have proven to be a uniquely ef-
an intruder and subjected to deadly defensive fective way to remove “mob” influence from orga-
measures. nizations where criminal prosecutions of leaders
had no effect on the corrupt nature of these organi-
■ Criminal informants, who have become primary zations in the past. This is because trustees have
ingredients in organized crime prosecutions in re- authority to control finances and other aspects of
cent years, must be more strictly controlled to pre- union operations, and they can ensure democratic
vent their misuse. There have been instances, elections of union officers. There are other non-
especially at the local level, of the police being union businesses presently controlled by organized
misled by informants, resulting in innocent people crime that could benefit from such trusteeships.
being harmed or killed. This undermines public
support for the use of informants. The latter is es- ■ There is too little interaction between law enforce-
pecially important because informants are viewed ment officials charged with investigating and pros-
skeptically by the public anyway. When the use of ecuting organized crime and criminologists who
informants is abused, it only reinforces this skepti- research the problem as a social phenomenon. Be-
cism in the minds of citizens who may be potential cause of differences in organizational affiliations,
jurors in criminal cases involving informants. they rarely or never meet at professional confer-
ences. They also do not participate in any other
■ There is an astounding lack of uniformity in the forms of joint training, workshops, information-
standards and quality of law enforcement training sharing forums, etc. In addition to maintaining a
across the United States. This has a dramatic effect degree of ignorance on both sides, this isolation
on the ability to investigate organized crime be- serves only to increase suspicion of the other
cause incompetence and lack of professionalism group’s motives. Opportunities to understand and
are major factors in the failure to share intelligence better explain organized crime are lost as a result.
information among the responsible agencies. Law
enforcement agencies, often with good reason, sim-
International Policy Issues
ply refuse to share information with others because
of suspicions about incompetence and corruption. There is increasing evidence that the wealth and
power of criminal organizations in various countries
■ Legal provisions for asset forfeiture have been are growing and that there are international links
abused or misused by some law enforcement agen- among these organizations. A number of factors asso-
cies. This creates a conflict of interest and offers ciated with this globalization of organized crime have
temptations for self-serving actions. implications for the United States:
■ There has been an increase in the number of clan- ■ A state of ungovernability, instability, and fragmen-
destine drug laboratories in the United States. tation in certain countries provides favorable condi-
These laboratories produce synthetic drugs, such as tions for the development and nurturance of
methamphetamine and PCP, and combine coca organized criminal groups. This is especially true
leaves with solvents to produce cocaine. According in the countries that were part of the former Soviet
to one estimate, illegal domestic laboratories are Union. But it is also arising in Eastern Europe and,
now capable of producing enough illicit drugs to for example, in Peru, Burma, Mexico, and Pakistan.
satisfy U.S. consumers’ demand. The Chemical These countries provide both bases of operation
Diversion and Trafficking Act established Federal and safe havens for international criminals.
recordkeeping, reporting, and transaction


■ Criminal organizations are exploiting increases in That these problems have not gone unrecognized by
immigration to the United States for both cover and Federal law enforcement is evident in the efforts to
concealment of criminal activities, as well as for establish an international training facility in Budapest,
recruitment. Groups from Latin America and China Hungary, to open a Federal Bureau of Investigation/
are heavily involved in alien smuggling. The Chi- Drug Enforcement Administration office in Beijing,
nese are highly organized, and it is estimated that and to increase resources for the Immigration and
there are more than two dozen smuggling rings in Naturalization Service. We applaud these initiatives as
New York City alone. Aliens are most often good beginnings.
smuggled by boat and pay fees of up to $30,000 for
their passage. This exorbitant passage fee makes Of continuing special concern, we believe, is the
them slaves to their transporters once they reach the problem of organized crime operating in and from the
United States. Because they are illegal aliens, they former Soviet Union. What are termed, generically,
cannot work at regular jobs. As a result, they are “Russian mafia” are operating in Germany, Poland,
exploited by unscrupulous employers or become and virtually every other state in Eastern and Central
active in prostitution, the drug trade, or other as- Europe. There is also a growing problem of organized
pects of the illegal economy. In this way, victims criminal networks among Soviet emigres in the
become criminals themselves, thus adding to the United States. In the successor states of the Soviet
crime problem. Interdiction at the U.S. borders Union (especially Russia), organized crime is under-
does not seem to be effective. mining efforts to create the rule of law as well as
attacking various fledgling democratic institutions. It
■ Increased technology for communications, and in- is likewise undermining popular attitudes toward de-
creasingly sophisticated use of this technology, fa- mocracy and free enterprise. Internationally, Russian
cilitates the use of wire transfers of money involved organized crime’s illegal trade in high-tech weaponry,
in money laundering on a much greater scale than potentially including nuclear weapons, constitutes a
ever before. The threat to the integrity of interna- considerable threat.
tional banking is considerable.

■ Coupled with the vast increase in the scope and Policy Recommendations
magnitude of the international organized crime ■ It is recommended that the special grand jury pro-
problem is a woefully inadequate law enforcement visions of the Organized Crime Control Act finally
response. This inadequacy arises from (1) lack of be implemented. As you know, these provisions
international cooperation and policy; (2) limited call for an investigative grand jury to be called at
exchange of intelligence and mutual legal assis- least every 18 months to examine organized crime
tance; (3) functional and bureaucratic fragmenta- and corruption in districts of more than 1 million
tion among the various agencies of criminal justice; citizens. Significantly, the law also provides for the
(4) absence of specialized personnel; (5) competi- special grand jury to issue a report on those condi-
tion and turf battles among responsible agencies; tions at the end of its term. This has rarely, if ever,
and (6) a failure to coordinate or harmonize na- occurred in the last 25 years. This omission misses
tional and international laws. a tremendous opportunity for citizens on the grand
Current developments in Eurasia exemplify the diffi- jury to help educate other citizens about the less
culties outlined above. There, law enforcement agen- obvious evils of organized crime. Rather than Gov-
cies are tainted by association with old regimes and ernment officials repeating what has been said
old-style methods. There is confusion and duplication since the days of Attorney General Robert
of effort involving old criminal codes, new legislation, Kennedy, fellow citizens would be mobilized to
and various administrative methods, both old and new. carry that same message through periodic grand
Personnel are not only suspect because of question- jury reports, followup by town meetings, and other
able integrity, they are also poorly trained and in short mechanisms to raise community awareness.
supply. In addition, there are widespread shortages of
equipment, and available equipment is obsolete.


■ It is recommended that the Department of Justice ■ It is recommended that the Department of Justice
sponsor one or more “teams” of interested re- provide incentives and guidelines for States, as well
searchers and organized crime investigators to as other nations, to track identified illicit drugs and
work together for a period of months to test such to prohibit their use under penalty of law. Other ju-
investigative screening models and translate their risdictions must also be kept abreast of new syn-
findings into a usable form for investigators of thetic chemicals that should be added each year to
organized crime at the Federal, State, and local lev- the list of essential chemicals.
els. Such a case-screening, or business-screening,
model could do much to reduce time spent on pro- ■ It is recommended that similar efforts be under-
active investigations that lead to dead ends. taken for nonunion businesses found to be con-
trolled by organized crime. Such intervention
■ It is recommended that specific policy and judicial enables the Government to “restart” the business
authorization guidelines be developed as a way to with completely new personnel and supervisory
make installations of eavesdropping and monitor- and auditing procedures to prevent the return of
ing devices uniform and the expectations of organized crime. This kind of intercession in non-
investigators, their supervisors, and the judiciary union businesses has occurred in a few instances
identical. There is no way to eliminate the danger thus far, but its potential as a tool for long-term
of these installations, but law and policy must more prevention is enormous.
specifically circumscribe this issue to protect those
in law enforcement and to negate the possibility of ■ It is recommended that the Department of Justice
agency embarrassment should an incident occur. periodically sponsor long-term “prevention fo-
rums” for the specific purpose of integrating law
■ It is recommended that the Department of Justice enforcement and criminological perspectives on the
establish a technical assistance program designed problem of organized crime. There are expertise
to train State and local agencies on the proper and insight on both sides that might prove valuable
development, use, and management of criminal in the development of future innovations in orga-
informants. This technical assistance might consist nized crime control efforts.
of development of police courses required for those
handling informants, or inservice training, on this ■ The United States should take the lead in helping
issue. Russian officials to draft effective antiracketeering
legislation. We do not believe that this legislation
■ It is recommended that the Department of Justice should necessarily be a duplicate of the Racketeer
develop minimum standards and curriculum for Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act,
police training nationwide, with special emphasis but rather should be legislation that is appropriate
on the training of local police. Inconsistency in to and mindful of Russia’s special circumstances
training hurts professionalism, lateral career mobil- and legal traditions.
ity of officers, and interagency cooperation in com-
bating organized crime. ■ American and other Western aid to Russia should
be targeted specifically toward combating orga-
■ It is recommended that specific guidelines for sei- nized crime. Steps to be taken in this effort must
zures of assets be developed to set a national stan- include reforming the Russian judicial system;
dard. Without such a standard, public confidence equipping law enforcement with vehicles, comput-
erodes when seizures are made that appear ques- ers, and other communications equipment; and
tionable. Several lawsuits against police are pend- providing training and technical assistance to law
ing on this issue. A standard is imperative to enforcement in organized crime investigative tech-
remove the incidence or appearance of unprofes- niques. Consideration should also be given to some
sional behavior on the part of police in organized kind of salary supplementation plan. This aid must
crime control efforts. be linked to the development of aggressive methods
for rooting out (and keeping out) corruption in the
criminal justice system.


■ Establish a joint Western-Russian data bank on ■ A broad-based effort to improve the performance
Russian organized crime. This data bank should of criminal justice officials in the former Soviet
include the names of individuals and groups known Union—through recruitment, training, education,
to be involved in organized crime, their criminal and technical assistance—should be undertaken.
histories, records of international travel, their con- This effort should not be limited to include only
tacts in the West, their criminal enterprises and le- agencies of the Federal Government such as the
gitimate businesses, and other information. Interpol Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug
might do this, or at least play some role in it. Enforcement Administration; it should also draw
heavily upon the resources and valuable expertise
■ The intelligence gathering and investigative utility at the State and local levels. In addition, it should
of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network involve private sector organizations such as the
(FINCEN), already demonstrated in areas of inter- Police Executive Research Forum, the Police
national money laundering and banking schemes— Foundation, and the National District Attorneys
especially those involving Russians—should be Association, as well as criminology/criminal
expanded. justice educators and researchers in colleges and


Designing Out Crime

Ronald Clarke, Rutgers University, Chair

Patricia Brantingham, Simon Fraser University
Paul Brantingham, Simon Fraser University
John Eck, Crime Control Institute
Marcus Felson, University of Southern California


OUT CRIME absence of adequate
Our failure to bring crime under control
Summary guardianship of vulner-
able property and persons.
through a wide range of modifications
to the criminal justice system has blinded us to the In recent years, however, new criminological theo-
successful efforts continuously being made by a ries have emphasized the role of opportunities in
host of private and public agencies—municipali- crime causation. These theories, which include
ties, schools, hospitals, parks, malls, bus compa- routine activity theory and rational choice theory,
nies, banks, department stores, taverns, offices, argue that, as the number of opportunities for
factories, parking lots—to bring a wide range of crime increase, more crimes will be committed;
troublesome and costly crimes under control. In conversely, as opportunities are reduced, so crime
most cases, these successes are achieved by identi- will decline. Whether or not displacement takes
fying ways to reduce opportunities for highly spe- place depends on the ease with which offenders
cific kinds of crime—the approach advocated by can obtain the same criminal rewards without
environmental crime prevention. greatly increased effort or risks. Somebody who
has developed the habit of shoplifting from the su-
The essential tenets of environmental crime pre-
permarket will not inevitably turn to some other
vention, of which Crime Prevention Through Envi-
form of crime, involving greater risk of detection
ronmental Design (CPTED) and Situational Crime
and more severe penalties, if the store takes effec-
Prevention are the best known examples, are to:
tive preventive action. In fact, particular crimes
■ Increase the difficulty of committing crime serve special purposes for the offender. A thwarted
(e.g., credit card photos). rapist will not turn to mugging or drug dealing.

■ Increase the perceived risks (e.g., burglar

Policy recommendations
■ Federal Crime Prevention Department. A
■ Reduce the rewards associated with criminal crime prevention department should be estab-
acts (e.g., PIN for car radios). lished in the Department of Justice along the
■ Reduce the rationalizations that facilitate crime lines of similar units now functioning in a num-
(e.g., simplify tax forms). ber of European countries. This unit would have
a research and dissemination role and would
While the Federal Government gave some support also initiate action to “design out crime” that
to CPTED in the 1970’s, interest in environmental more naturally falls to central government than
crime prevention languished in our country. One to State or local agencies. For example, the de-
reason for this loss of support was the concern that partment could ensure the security of the phone
blocking opportunities for crime would result in its system, credit cards, or ATM cards through Fed-
displacement to some other target, time, or place eral influence on manufacturers and service pro-
(i.e., the net amount of crime would remain the viders at an industry level. Important preventive
same, although its manifestations would be differ- initiatives that currently need Federal Govern-
ent). This belief was bolstered by criminological ment sponsorship include development of effec-
theories that generally failed to recognize impor- tive personal alarms for repeat victims of
tant situational determinants of crime, such as the domestic violence and the use of PIN numbers
availability of tempting goods to steal and the for VCR’s and other electronic devices that are
targets for burglary.


■ Crime Prevention Extension Service. A Crime be to deliver expert crime prevention advice to
Prevention Extension Service, linked to local small businesses and local communities. Such a
universities, along the lines of the successful service would complement rather than compete
agricultural model, should be developed within with the work of the police, especially as commu-
the Department of Justice. Its mandate should nity policing ideas take hold.



Introduction ■ Substantially reduced levels of car theft in Ger-

many, Great Britain, and the United States resulting

ver since crime rates began to rise in the from the introduction of steering locks in the
1960’s, policymakers and criminologists have 1960’s and 1970’s.
been searching for ways to bring crime under
control. Unfortunately, we have focused too exclu- ■ Even greater reductions in car thefts in the early
sively on the capacity of the criminal justice system to part of this century following the enactment of
deter, incapacitate, or rehabilitate offenders. In the vehicle registration laws.
face of disappointing results, we have failed to look
outside the criminal justice system, but rather have ■ Reductions in thefts of car radios following the
redoubled our efforts to achieve benefits the system introduction of security-coded radios that are
probably cannot deliver. More police have been placed operable only with knowledge of the PIN.
on the streets, more people have been arrested, more ■ Reductions in thefts from parking lots, robberies in
sentences have been lengthened, and more prisons subway stations, and graffiti and vandalism on
have been built, all with little demonstrable benefit. buses, through the deployment of closed circuit
At the same time, unaided by policymakers and crimi- television surveillance.
nologists, a host of agencies and institutions outside ■ Reduced assaults on bus drivers through the fitting
the criminal justice system have been successfully of plexiglass screens.
making efforts to control a range of troublesome and
costly crimes. These include efforts made by banks to ■ Greatly reduced shoplifting from stores and re-
prevent fraud and robbery, by department stores to duced book thefts from libraries after the adoption
reduce shoplifting, by transit systems to reduce graf- of electronic merchandise tagging.
fiti, by municipalities to eliminate drug markets, by
housing authorities to eliminate muggings, by schools ■ Reduced theft in hospitals of patients’ belongings
to prevent bullying, by libraries to reduce book thefts, achieved by strict accounting systems and in ware-
and by companies to reduce sexual harassment. With- houses by use of similar methods.
out these efforts, the crime problem would be truly out Reductions in crime occur relatively quickly after
of hand. situational interventions, and the crimes prevented
Few of these successes have been studied, but the quickly turn into large savings, not just for those who
published literature contains case studies that docu- would otherwise have been victims, but also for the
ment the following: public at large. For example, it has recently been esti-
mated that for each burglary prevented in Canada that
■ The elimination of graffiti on the New York City would have been solved, adjudicated, and followed by
subway system during the 1980’s through a pro- a prison sentence, the average saving to society per
gram of immediate cleansing of fresh attacks. case would currently run around $160,000. There is
little reason to think this figure would be very differ-
■ The substantial reduction of aircraft hijackings in ent in the United States.
the 1970’s achieved by baggage screening and
associated measures at airports around the world. The fast payoff from situational prevention efforts can
be contrasted with that from other crime prevention
■ The virtual elimination of robberies of bus drivers strategies that often take years to produce reductions
in 20 U.S. cities during the 1970’s following the in crime if, indeed, they do at all. A classic example
introduction of exact fare.


would be subsidized preschool programs (e.g., Opera- This belief was bolstered by criminological theories
tion Head Start) that intervene in the lives of 3- and 4- that generally failed to recognize important situational
year-old children. If such programs work, presumably determinants of crime, such as the availability of
by changing a variety of attitudes or life and educa- tempting goods to steal and the absence of adequate
tional skills so that these children do not develop into guardianship of vulnerable property and persons. An
persistent offenders during their teen and young adult offender’s attitudes and personality were thought to be
years, the payoffs for expenditures now will occur dur- the only really important determinants of crime.
ing a period of 10 to 20 years in the future.
In recent years, however, there has been rapid devel-
opment of new criminological theories that emphasize
Principles of Designing Out Crime the role of opportunities in crime causation. These
Examples of successful efforts to reduce crime listed theories, which include routine activity theory and ra-
above show the great variety of crimes addressed and tional choice theory, assert that, as the number of op-
the methods employed, but in all cases the principles portunities for crime increases, so will the number of
of situational prevention are the same. Preventive mea- crimes committed. Conversely, as the number of
sures are focused on reducing opportunities for highly opportunities is reduced, crime will decline. Displace-
specific forms of crime. The identification and design ment is neither inevitable nor the most likely outcome.
of appropriate measures depend on a clear understand- Whether or not it takes place depends on the ease with
ing of the ways in which offenders are permitted to which offenders can obtain the same criminal rewards
accomplish their acts. What works in one situation and without greatly increasing their efforts or risks. Some-
for one kind of crime will not necessarily work in one who has developed the habit of shoplifting from
other situations or for other kinds of crime. Even so, the local supermarket will not inevitably turn to
the wide variety of opportunity-reducing methods another form of crime, involving greater risk of detec-
employed fall into 1 of 16 different categories serving tion and more severe penalties, if the store takes effec-
4 broad objectives of (1) increasing the difficulty of tive preventive action. Although opportunities for
committing crime, (2) increasing the risks, (3) reduc- crime may seem boundless, in fact, particular crimes
ing the rewards, and (4) reducing the rationalizations serve special purposes for the offender. For example,
that facilitate crime. These 16 techniques are listed in a thwarted rapist will not turn to mugging or drug
the table accompanying this submission, with ex- dealing.
amples of the application of each. Displacement has been very extensively studied dur-
The essential tenets of environmental crime prevention ing the past decade, and a review of 55 separate re-
are described above. Crime Prevention Through Envi- search studies undertaken for the Dutch Ministry of
ronmental Design (CPTED) and Situational Crime Justice (1994) reached conclusions consistent with
Prevention are the best-known varieties. Although the these theoretical arguments. The review found no
Federal Government gave some support to CPTED in evidence of displacement in 22 of the studies. In the
the 1970’s, interest in environmental crime prevention remaining 33, some displacement of crime was re-
has languished in this country, and the most recent de- ported, but in no case was it complete. This conclu-
velopments have taken place in Canada, Australia, and sion has been echoed in literature reviews undertaken
parts of Europe, including Great Britain, where Situ- in Great Britain, Canada, and the United States.
ational Crime Prevention was developed. Environmen-
tal crime prevention now has a recognized policy role The Federal Government Role
in these countries.
This characterization of environmental crime preven-
One reason for the decline of Federal support for tion raises the important question of what role, if any,
CPTED was the concern that blocking opportunities the Federal Government has in a form of crime
for crime would result not in its elimination, but control that relies so much on local action by munici-
merely its displacement to some other target, time, palities, transit authorities, schools, housing authori-
or place. The net amount of crime would remain the ties, hospitals, airports, stores, corporations, and
same although its manifestations might be different.

Table 1: Sixteen Techniques of Situational Crime Control With Examples

Increasing Perceived Increasing Perceived Reducing Anticipated Inhibiting Rationalizations

Effort Risks Rewards

1. Target hardening: 5. Entry/exit screening: 9. Target removal: 13. Facilitating compliance:

Steering locks Baggage screening Removable car radio Trash bins
Bandit screens Merchandise tags Exact change fares Simplified tax forms

2. Access control: 6. Formal surveillance: 10. Identifying property: 14. Controlling disinhibitors:
Fenced yards Burglar alarms Property marking Ignition interlock
Entry phones Security guards Vehicle licensing Server intervention

3. Deflecting offenders: 7. Surveillance by employees: 11. Reducing temptation: 15. Rule setting:
Tavern location Park attendants Gender-neutral phone lists Customs declaration
School location Receptionists Concealing valuables Hotel registrations

4. Controlling facilitators: 8. Natural surveillance: 12. Denying benefits: 16. Increasing informal sanctions:
Credit card photo Defensible space Graffiti cleaning Shoplifting a crime
Ignition interlock Neighborhood watch PIN for car radios Roadside speedometers

businesses. Does the Government need to be involved assistance from this service without having to comply
in efforts that are already successful? with any orders or demands. The service would offer
nothing more than suggestions. At first only a few
These questions can best be answered by examining agencies will adopt innovations; if they work, others
the experience of such countries as the Netherlands, will join. Thus, the proposed service would be well
Great Britain, and Sweden, where central governments attuned to the population and compatible with the
have established dedicated units within their depart- existing U.S. Government structure.
ments of justice to promote environmental crime pre-
vention. These units serve a variety of roles. They Since crime is disproportionately a metropolitan
encourage research and dissemination of good prac- problem, a crime prevention extension service should
tices so that ideas that have worked in one town or one begin in metropolitan areas in conjunction with met-
agency are tried elsewhere. These units also identify ropolitan universities. Perhaps most importantly, a
opportunities for the central government to take crime prevention extension service should be linked to
action. For example, all experts agree that the most a criminology or criminal justice department, yet it
effective way to reduce car theft is to persuade vehicle should be administered with a clear mandate to assist
manufacturers to produce more secure vehicles. This people in the community to prevent crime. Within the
is not a matter for a local municipality or police de- university, the service may also foster ties to such aca-
partment. Effective action would also be difficult to demic departments as business, architecture, hotel
take at a State level. Rather, this task falls to the Fed- management, parks administration, hospital adminis-
eral Government, and many similar opportunities exist tration, and other departments that train people in
to influence manufacturers and service providers at an practical industries with crime problems, so long as
industry level. The security of the telephone system, practical crime prevention remains the central focus.
credit cards, and automatic teller machines are primary In time, the agricultural extension service might join
examples. To take proper advantage of these opportu- in carrying crime prevention ideas to rural areas.
nities, we would propose that a crime prevention de-
partment based on the European model be established It is essential that the crime prevention extension ser-
in the U.S. Department of Justice. vice not be distracted by the usual “soft” types of
crime prevention, such as public relations for police
There are currently important preventive opportunities departments, “officer friendly” programs to meet with
in the development of effective personal alarms for school children, and lectures on the need for more
repeat victims of domestic violence and the use of PIN education or social programs. These methods are soft
numbers for VCR’s and other electronic equipment because they are designed to meet, with very little
that are the targets for burglary. Both of these initia- thought, the political demands of anxious people
tives need Government sponsorship and might be rather than to encourage true crime prevention based
candidates for priority action by the Federal crime on knowledge or experience. Instead, a crime preven-
prevention department we have proposed. tion extension service must focus on solving specific
problems in specific settings, perhaps expanding to
include the design of nearby environments.
A Crime Prevention Extension Service
The central focus of these efforts should be private
The government crime prevention units recently estab-
businesses, especially small businesses, that are the
lished in various European countries are successfully
heart and core of crime prevention. Examples of busi-
disseminating good practices. These countries have
nesses to be served by a crime prevention extension
highly centralized governments, however, and they are
much smaller than the United States. Different struc- service include small shop owners confronting shop-
lifting, bar owners dealing with fights and drunken-
tures for disseminating good practices may be neces-
ness, small factory owners concerned with danger in
sary here, and we would propose the establishment of
the parking lots, and other companies trying to
a crime prevention extension service along the lines of
prevent graffiti, vandalism, and break-ins. However,
the agricultural model that has served this country so
well. Various local private and public agencies with such a service should not be limited to businesses; it
should also include churches, neighborhood associa-
crime problems will be able to seek or be offered


tions, condominium associations, block clubs, down- However, change is occurring in more and more
town associations, and those organizations whose police departments. In particular, the concept of prob-
efforts can prevent crime against themselves, their lem-oriented policing is spreading. This means seek-
customers, or others in the vicinity. In addition, ser- ing to direct police activity toward an understanding
vices can be provided to municipal governments, zon- and analysis of “the problem” and toward finding
ing boards, and others in the planning process; park ways to change the conditions giving rise to crime,
administrations; schools; or additional public and rather than arresting offenders without an overall
quasi-public agencies. strategy. This concept is compatible with environmen-
tal crime prevention, and many ideas from this field
should filter naturally into the problem-oriented
The Fit With Community Policing approach to policing. As the repertoire of prevention
Many police departments may initially have little ideas develops and as police departments themselves
interest in the proposed extension services or would broaden their repertoire, we envision much greater
claim that they have always provided these services cooperation and interchange between the crime pre-
anyway. It is true that crime prevention offices are vention extension services and police agencies. In
found within police departments, but these offices are time, therefore, the extension service could fill a valu-
often linked to public relations. Thus, they have more able role in the development of community policing in
of a political function than a serious crime prevention this country.
function. Moreover, their repertoire of crime preven-
tion ideas is generally narrow: lock your doors, buy an
alarm, and don’t go out too late.


The State of
the Police

James J. Fyfe, Temple University, Chair

Jack R. Greene, Temple University
Harvey McMurray, North Carolina Central University
Jerome H. Skolnick, University of California-Berkeley
Samuel Walker, University of Nebraska-Omaha
Ralph Weisheit, Illinois State University


oF THE POLICE The consequences of
The most visible trend in policing today Summary being without an opera-
tional standard include incomplete re-
is the move to community- and problem-
cruiting and training of police officers, inadequate
oriented models of policing (COP/POP). One thing
or nonexistent postemployment training, and insuf-
is already clear: as local police forces adopt COP/
ficient or unrealistic criteria on which to assess the
POP, care must be taken to ensure that both police
quality of police performance. Resentment can
responsiveness and police accountability are en-
grow between police, who feel they have been un-
hanced. Responsiveness demands sensitivity to the
fairly criticized, and the community, which feels its
concerns of local communities, while accountabil-
members have been poorly treated.
ity demands police adherence to an overriding ethic
of constitutionality and law. Unfortunately, public
anxiety about crime and disorder can shift the bal- Policy recommendations
ance. In times of great social change, responsive-
■ Endorse COP/POP initiatives. To the extent
ness often overrides accountability, as long-term
that COP/POP involves a partnership between
constitutional guarantees and due process safe-
the police and the community, the initiatives
guards are abandoned or watered down in ill-
should be vigorously supported and periodically
advised attempts to provide quick fixes. It is impor-
tant to avoid any methods that could permanently
reduce police accountability when responding to ■ Support hiring new officers. Hiring 100,000
public concerns about crime, violence, and drugs. new officers under the 1994 Crime Law strongly
supports COP/POP initiatives; there is no way to
Traditional professions such as law and medicine
increase police visibility and interaction with the
have struck a balance between responsiveness and
community without a significant number of ad-
accountability that the police should emulate. What
ditional officers. However, while the police can
the police lack is a meaningful standard of care for
be active in attempting to build community, this
police operations. For example, police manuals
task requires great work at all levels of govern-
rarely tell officers how to respond to a crime in
ment and society.
progress. In many departments, an officer’s discre-
tion in arrests, except for those involving domestic ■ Develop standard of care. A standard of care
abuse, is not subject to official guidelines. Few for police operations, which includes devising
agencies have meaningful guidelines on how to means of providing citizen input into both for-
handle mentally or emotionally disturbed people. mulation and implementation of policy, should
And police vehicle pursuit standards vary from one be systematically developed and disseminated.
jurisdiction to another. The first step is developing a methodology to
help police, the public, and government officials
Given the gravity, urgency, and potentially cata-
identify desirable, realistic outcomes of police
strophic results of many police field decisions, the
work, the means most likely to attain these out-
absence of a standard is an omission of major im-
comes, and techniques for evaluating per-
port. It is comparable to a situation in which medi-
formance in terms of these goals.
cal researchers, scholars, and practitioners had
concentrated on hospital administration issues and ■ Increase civilian advisory boards. The trend
neglected to develop and disseminate information toward civilian police advisory boards and re-
about treatment techniques and strategies. view panels appears to be completely in line


with the philosophies and logic underlying combating police abuse. The provision elimi-
COP/POP. The boards need to be rigorously nates the requirement that the Civil Rights Divi-
evaluated to determine what effect they have on sion of the Justice Department have “standing”
policing and police-community relations and as an injured party to initiate civil litigation
which of the boards’ methods succeed or fail. against police for brutality or other unconstitu-
tional misconduct.
■ Oppose exceptions to the exclusionary rule.
Good-faith exceptions or other modifications ■ Perform analyses of causes of crime. Meaning-
that would weaken the exclusionary rule in ful analysis of the social and economic causes of
evaluating a police officer’s actions should be crime and disorder should be conducted to de-
eliminated. “Good faith” clauses tend to encour- velop a comprehensive approach to dealing with
age and even reward police incompetence and them. In many instances, new officers, who were
failure to learn fundamental constitutional prin- hired to enhance community relations, may find
ciples. They wrongly assume that courts can no community exists. The police cannot rebuild
identify officers who act in bad faith. Experi- communities by themselves.
ence teaches that people who act in bad faith
rarely testify in good faith about their miscon- ■ Expand evaluation research. The Federal
duct. In every field of human endeavor, the ma- Government should continue and expand
jor purpose of education, training, and discipline support for evaluation research of policing and
is to replace good faith mistakes with adherence dissemination of its findings, with emphasis on:
to professional standards. implementation of community- and problem-
oriented policing, crime causation and preven-
■ Combat police abuse. The custom-and-practice tion, development of a standard of care,
authority granted to the Justice Department in accountability issues discussed here, gun
the 1994 Crime Law is an invaluable means of detection, and police leadership.



Overview ❑ We recommend meaningful analysis of the

social and economic causes of crime and disor-

his task force was convened in October 1994 der and the development of a comprehensive
at the request of American Society of Crimi- approach to dealing with them.
nology President Freda Adler. The mandate of
the task force was to describe and critique the current ■ We recommend that the Federal Government con-
state of policing in the United States and make sug- tinue to expand support for evaluation research and
gestions for future directions in police policy, opera- dissemination of its findings—with emphasis on
tions, and research. implementation of community- and problem-
oriented policing, crime causation and prevention,
The task force’s principal conclusions and recommen- development of a standard of care, the accountabil-
dations focus primarily on action that may be taken at ity issues discussed in this paper, gun detection,
the Federal level. and police leadership.
They are:
Policing in 1995
■ To the extent that the concept of community- and
problem-oriented models of policing (COP/POP) Clearly, the most visible trend in policing today is the
involves a partnership between the police and the move to community- and problem-oriented models of
community, rather than a continuation of the es- policing (COP/POP). To the extent that COP/POP in-
trangement that has often characterized relations volves a partnership between the police and the com-
between police and community, we support it vig- munity, rather than a continuation of the estrangement
orously and recommend continued efforts to refine that has often characterized relations between police
it. and community, we support it vigorously and recom-
mend continued efforts to refine it.
■ We recommend development and dissemination of
a standard of care for police operations. Responsiveness and accountability. As policing
moves toward adoption of COP/POP, care must be
■ We vigorously oppose any good-faith exceptions or taken to assure that both police responsiveness and
other modifications that would weaken the exclu- police accountability are enhanced. Responsiveness
sionary rule. demands sensitivity to the concerns of local commu-
■ We strongly endorse the custom-and-practice nities, while accountability demands police adherence
authority granted to the U.S. Department of to an overriding ethic of constitutionality and law. The
Justice in the 1994 Crime Law. priority order of these two considerations should be
clear and unvarying: accountability should never be
■ We support the trend to civilian police advisory sacrificed in the name of responsiveness. Unfortu-
boards and review panels. nately, especially in times of great social change,
responsiveness often overrides accountability, as
■ We strongly support the 1994 Crime Law’s plan to long-term constitutional guarantees and due process
hire 100,000 officers committed to COP/POP, but: safeguards are abandoned or watered down in ill-
advised attempts to provide quick fixes to increased
❑ We vigorously oppose any suggestion that the
public anxiety about crime and disorder. This is such
addition of these officers for COP/POP is the
only solution to the problems of crime and a time and, later in this report, we make several spe-
cific recommendations involving the need to avoid
disorder now plaguing the United States.


responding to current public concerns about crime, For many critical operations in many police agencies,
violence, and drugs in ways that permanently reduce attempts to develop standards of care have been
police accountability. isolated or never undertaken. For example:

■ Police manuals rarely tell officers how to respond

The Need To Develop an Operational to crimes in progress.
Standard of Care
■ Officers’ arrest discretion, especially—but not
The traditional professions—law and medicine—have solely—in situations excluding domestic abuse, is
struck a balance between responsiveness and account- not often subject to any official guidance.
ability that should be emulated by the police. The first
step in this direction involves the development and dis- ■ Many agencies provide officers with no meaningful
semination of a meaningful standard of care for police guidance about how to handle encounters with
operations. This includes devising means of encourag- mentally or emotionally disturbed persons and
ing citizen input into both the formulation of policy1 violent subjects without using more force than
and the manner in which it is implemented. The ab- necessary.
sence of such a standard is a major cause of police-
■ Police vehicle pursuit standards have been devel-
community friction and violence, and it contributes
oped, but they vary dramatically and even are con-
greatly to the stress, frustrations, and anger among
tradictory in some places. The attorney general of
rank-and-file officers.
New Jersey, for example, issued a directive that, for
There is, by now, a long bookshelf of research, theo- all intents and purposes, prohibits officers from en-
rizing, and law that has profoundly and positively gaging in pursuits of traffic violators. A few months
affected the manner in which police administrators later, the State’s supreme court gave its imprimatur
deploy officers and use their other resources. Unfortu- to such chases as long as they do not involve
nately, except for legislative and judicial interventions, demonstrably reckless police behavior.2
surprisingly little effort has been devoted to guiding
Consequences of the missing standard of care. The
officers’ discretion in the field. Existing police profes-
absence of an operational standard of care has major
sional standards, such as those of the Commission on
Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc.,
deal primarily with administrative issues rather than ■ The knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to do
with the direct delivery of police services by line of- the police job well cannot be described with any
ficers. Given the gravity, urgency, and potentially cata- reasonable degree of precision. Consequently:
strophic results of many police field decisions, this is
an omission of major dimensions: it is as though medi- ❑ Police recruiting and training generally are
cal researchers, scholars, and practitioners had concen- inexact, least-common-denominator processes
trated on hospital administration issues and neglected that cannot be objectively validated.
to develop and disseminate information about treat-
❑ Existing hiring standards are not comparable to
ment techniques and strategies.
those of occupations with apparently similar
The lack of focus on street-level policing is also ironic line-level decisionmaking authority and respon-
considering that what little has been done has been so sibility (e.g., teachers, social workers, prosecu-
successful. Despite the increased violence on U.S. tors, public defenders, and probation and parole
streets over the past few decades, administrative rules officers). Instead, police are most often equated
governing officers’ use of deadly force (and enhanced with fire and sanitation workers, who have
tactical training) have greatly reduced bloodshed be- dangerous jobs but little decisionmaking
tween police and citizens, as has the development of responsibility.
tactics and strategies for hostage and barricade
❑ Postemployment training of U.S. police officers
is nonexistent in many places (especially rural
areas) and, virtually everywhere, it is minimal.


U.S. police serve the most heterogenous and methodology that helps police and the consumers of
well-armed population in the world but receive their services (i.e., officials and the public) to identify:
less (and less consistent) training than police in
other western democracies. ■ Desirable and realistic outcomes of police work.

■ Much police work is done on an ad hoc basis, ■ The means most likely to attain these outcomes.
rather than on the basis of clearly enunciated ■ Methods of evaluating police performance in terms
standards. of the extent to which desirable outcomes are
■ The most critical police decisions become on-the- attained and/or (especially in hopeless cases) the
spot judgment calls. These frequently result in mis- extent to which police have followed the methods
takes—real or perceived—that subject the police to most likely to result in success.
criticism and liability for violating vague profes-
sional standards and lead the courts to fashion the Accountability
industry standard of care.
As suggested above, our experience as social
■ Resentment grows between police, who feel that scientists and police practitioners leads to several
they have been unfairly criticized, and the commu- extremely important recommendations related to
nity, which feels that its members have been poorly accountability. There is a temptation to “take the
treated. handcuffs off the police” when there is great public
concern about crime and violence. This should be
■ Administrators have no meaningful standards for avoided because there is no evidence that such hand-
evaluating officers. cuffs hinder the crimefighting ability of the police. No
■ Citizens and government officials have no mean- study has ever shown that any United States Supreme
ingful standards for assessing the quality of police Court decision, for example, has ever affected police
services, and: effectiveness or public safety in any way. Instead,
these decisions serve only the critical functions of
❑ Often have unrealistic views of what police can defining the extent of citizens’ freedoms.
Consequently, we vigorously oppose any good-faith
❑ Often are frustrated with police service because exceptions or other modifications that would weaken
of problems that cannot possibly be solved by the exclusionary rule. As scholars, we have seen no
the police (e.g., they blame police for levels of research that shows that the exclusionary rule results
violence police cannot reasonably be expected to in dismissals or acquittals in more than 2 percent of
affect). criminal prosecutions. In addition, proposals for
good-faith exceptions are fatally flawed in their as-
❑ Accept baseless police claims that reductions in sumption that courts can identify officers who act in
crime are attributable to police overaggres- bad faith: people who act in bad faith rarely testify in
siveness, coming to equate tough policing with good faith about their misconduct. We strongly en-
effectiveness and regarding more realistic and dorse the custom-and-practice authority granted to the
humane styles of policing as ineffective and soft U.S. Department of Justice in the 1994 Crime Law.
on crime. In effect, this provision of the new law eliminates the
Developing a standard of care. Given the great di- requirement that the Civil Rights Division of the U.S.
versity among communities served by U.S. police de- Department of Justice has “standing” as an injured
partments, we recognize that it may not be possible to party to initiate civil litigation against police for bru-
develop a universal statement of the role of the police. tality or other unconstitutional misconduct. This is an
At the same time, we recommend development and invaluable means of combating police abuse, and we
dissemination of a standard of care for police opera- welcome it.
tions. This should begin with construction of a


We support the trend to civilian police advisory Thus, we vigorously oppose any suggestion that the
boards and review panels. The recent widespread addition of 100,000 officers for COP/POP is a com-
adoption of these review mechanisms is evidence of prehensive approach to the problems of crime and dis-
growing recognition that they are proper, needed, and order now plaguing the United States. Such a view
completely in accord with the philosophies and logic ignores the fact that, unlike courts and corrections,
underlying COP/POP. We urge evaluation of the police services (especially under COP/POP models)
effects of these boards on policing and police- include much that is not directly related to crime.
community relations as well as research to determine Worse, such a view is a distraction from the social and
what distinguishes between success and failure in the economic causes of crime and disorder that must be
operation of these boards. addressed in any meaningful approach to what are
now viewed as police problems. The addition of more
officers to the ranks of the police should not be an
Community- and Problem-Oriented excuse to avoid doing this. These new officers may be
Policing necessary if COP/POP is to be implemented. More
To the extent that COP/POP requires more—and less importantly, however, we recommend meaningful
adversarial—interaction between police and commu- analysis of the social and economic causes of crime
nity, we strongly support the 1994 Crime Law’s plan and disorder and development of a comprehensive
to hire 100,000 officers committed to COP/POP. Over approach to dealing with them.
the last generation, police workload (calls for service,
street crime, and disorder) has increased dramatically Evaluation Research
both in number and complexity. During the same pe-
riod, personnel resources in much of the country have Police throughout the United States are engaged in all
not increased, especially when one controls for the sorts of innovative programs and operations. We have
reduced working hours (usually from 48 hours a week encountered a wide variety of imaginative COP/POP-
to 40 hours a week) won by police labor groups. based quality-of-life and fear-of-crime programs in
There is no way to increase police visibility and inter- urban jurisdictions, but their effects are unknown.
action with the community without a significant num- Almost certainly, there also are many innovative pro-
ber of additional officers. grams among smaller, more flexible rural agencies
that, without articulating it, have long been involved
In making this recommendation we recognize that, in COP/POP, but the isolation of these agencies keeps
like past proposals and anticipated panaceas, neither their successes a secret. Police in some jurisdictions
COP/POP nor the addition of 100,000 officers can suspect—but do not know—that recent decreases in
solve all the problems we ask police to address. The crimes typically committed by juveniles may be asso-
success of community policing depends in large ciated with increased enforcement of truancy laws.
measure on the strength of the community involved One agency has provided joggers and other volunteers
as well as on the capabilities of the police. Unfortu- with cellular phones that can be used to summon po-
nately, the jurisdictions most in need of community lice quickly to crimes or other emergencies that they
policing are not strong communities in the traditional might observe in parks and other public places; no
sense. In such places, whatever community exists is analysis of the results is in progress.
often estranged from the police. Certainly the police
can be active in attempting to build community, but Absent such analysis, it is impossible to isolate the
this is a task that requires great work at all levels of effects of these programs. Absent publication, police
government and society. We note, for example, that agencies are precluded from learning from the experi-
“hate crime” is a troubling apparent trend in many ences of their colleagues in other places. In the cur-
pluralistic and/or “changing” communities. This cer- rent fiscal environment, local jurisdictions frequently
tainly strikes a community at its core and weakens any consider formal evaluation and publication of results
COP/POP operations. We need to know more about it to be an expensive luxury. Such a view is unfortunate
and what to do about it if COP/POP is to succeed. but perhaps understandable at the local level where
officials are primarily concerned with their own


constituencies. It should not prevail at the Federal Notes

level, however, where official concern should extend
1. As we define it, a police operational standard of
to all Americans. In recent years, however, Federal
care is a systematically developed and disseminated
funding for police research and publication has been
body of knowledge, similar to those of the traditional
virtually nil, typically averaging about 7 cents per
professions and such emergency occupations as the
American per year. Given the prominence of crime
fire service and aviation. It should provide meaningful
and justice issues on the national political scene as
guidance to line personnel who face the need to make
well as the disproportionately great and positive im-
critical decisions. As such, it cannot be a set of hard-
pact of what has been done, this is a major default.
and-fast rules, which would unreasonably limit line
Among federally funded police research currently in discretion. Instead, it is a set of goal-oriented guide-
progress, we are particularly optimistic about the lines to be developed, applied, and enforced under the
potential results of work designed to assist police in criteria of objective reasonableness historically em-
finding illegal concealed weapons. We urge that this ployed in these other vocations.
work continue and that it be conducted in ways that
2. We are well aware that some of our criticisms ap-
adhere to constitutional standards. In addition to a
pear contrary to practices described in much of the
much needed focus on the line level of policing,
scholarly literature of policing and that our comments
research and evaluation should also examine police
do not apply to each and every U.S. police agency. At
leadership and the executive, managerial, and supervi-
the same time, we are confident that our observations
sory qualities and strategies most closely associated
apply to most American policing and caution that it is
with successful policing (once success is adequately
risky to generalize from the departments studied by
defined, of course). Thus, we recommend that the
scholars to the universe of U.S. police agencies. By
Federal Government continue to expand support for
definition, police agencies cited in the literature differ
evaluation research and dissemination of its findings
from all others: they have opened their books, records,
with emphasis on implementation of community- and
operations, and personnel to outsiders. Consequently,
problem-oriented policing, crime causation and pre-
as our occasional opportunities to study agencies that
vention, development of a standard of care, the
have been involuntary research subjects corroborate,
accountability issues discussed in this paper, gun
agencies that have volunteered to cooperate with re-
detection, and police leadership. Research and evalua-
search may generally be presumed to be both more
tion findings should be broadly disseminated to prac-
progressive and more confident of their practices than
titioners by the U.S. Department of Justice through,
are agencies that have remained closed to scrutiny.
for example, Research in Brief reports and regional


A Crime Control
Rationale for
Reinvesting in

Joan Petersilia, University of California-Irvine, Chair


Issues RATIONALE FOR completed by Alfred
Blumstein at Carnegie-

Two years ago Congress Mellon University
passed the most ambi- showed that today’s
tious crime bill in the cohort of 18- year-olds is
Nation’s history, the
the smallest it will be for
Violent Crime Control at least the next 15 years.
and Law Enforcement In 1996 the number is
Act of 1994. It allocated
$22 billion to expand
prisons, impose longer
CORRECTIONS going to start climbing,
and the biggest growth
will occur in the number
sentences, hire more po- Summary of African-American
lice, and, to a lesser extent, fund preven- children who are now 4 to 9 years old. As
tion programs. The bill was later amended, and more young people are recruited into and retained
nearly all of the $5 billion targeted for prevention in a criminal lifestyle, the ability of back-end re-
programs was diverted into prison construction and sponses (such as imprisonment) to increase public
law enforcement. Although such tough-on-crime safety is severely limited because of the replenish-
legislation has political appeal, it finds almost no ing supply of young people who are entering into
support among criminal justice practitioners and criminal careers.
The second, and equally important, reason why
Recently, organizations as diverse as the Interna- current Federal efforts will fail is that they focus
tional Association of Chiefs of Police, the U.S. exclusively on prisons as a corrections strategy,
Conference of Mayors, the American Bar Associa- ignoring the fact that most criminals are serving
tion, the National Governors Association, the probation and parole sentences. In 1991 about 16
League of Cities, the RAND Corporation, the percent of all adult probationers were convicted of
National Council on Crime and Delinquency, the violent crimes, as were 26 percent of parolees. This
Campaign for an Effective Crime Policy, and the means that on any given day in 1991, there were
National Research Council have all voiced opposi- resident in U.S. communities an estimated 435,000
tion to the approach. In addition, 85 percent of probationers and 155,000 parolees who had been
nationally surveyed prison wardens—who stand to convicted of violent crimes. In contrast to these
benefit by this legislation—said that elected offi- 590,000 probationers and parolees in the commu-
cials are not offering effective solutions to nity, only 372,500 violent offenders resided in
America’s crime problem. prison. And in 1993, 72 percent of all identified
Some people argue that the current proposals are criminals were serving sentences in the commu-
racist or that they cost too much; however, nearly nity, on probation or parole. Even though the num-
everyone agrees that they fail to prevent young ber of prisons has quadrupled in the past decade,
people from entering and continuing a life of prisoners are still less than one-fifth of the convict
crime, and they leave the vast majority of crimi- population, and the vast majority of offenders re-
nals, who are serving sentences on probation and main in the community. If effectively controlling
parole, unaffected. crime—as opposed to exacting retribution and jus-
tice—is the goal, efforts must be focused on the
Criminologists have long observed that age 18 is community, where offenders are reporting to pro-
the year of peak criminality. Analysis recently bation and parole officers.


Probationers represent a serious continued risk to ■ Convincing the public. The public’s trust
public safety. The majority of probationers are that probation and parole can be meaningful,
convicted felons, have prior criminal records, and credible sanctions must be regained. During
are likely to be substance and alcohol abusers with the past decade, many jurisdictions developed
few marketable skills. Continued indifference to “intermediate sanctions” as a response to
their behavior means missing the opportunity to prison crowding. These programs (e.g., house
intervene positively—and promises their eventual arrest, electronic monitoring, intensive
imprisonment. In addition, by not focusing on pro- supervision) were designed to be community-
viding probationers with an appropriate level and based sanctions that were tougher than regular
type of supervision, crime in the community will probation, but less stringent and expensive
not be abated. Current policy simply waits until than prison. In the few instances where the
their criminality escalates to the point of incarcera- organizational capacity was created to ensure
tion, which has been proven to be costly and inef- compliance with court-ordered conditions,
fective in reducing crime. these programs reduced recidivism by 20 to 30
Policy recommendations ■ Funding. Sufficient financial resources must
■ “Surveillance plus treatment” programs. be provided so that the designed programs,
Such programs should be developed for drug- combining both treatment and surveillance,
involved probationers, including offenders can be implemented. Adequate monetary
who are convicted of drug possession and use. resources are essential to obtaining and
Program models now exist that are effective sustaining judicial support and achieving
in reducing recidivism rates, and the public program success. The resources needed will be
supports rehabilitation over incarceration for forthcoming only if the public believes the
such offenders (but not drug traffickers). The programs are both effective and punishing.
cost-benefit tradeoff between prison and
community corrections is among the highest
for this subpopulation.



Introduction and Overview rest of the system is “drive-by legislation, at best.”
And Jerome Skolnick, president of the American

wo years ago Congress passed the most ambi- Society of Criminology (ASC), spoke of the Federal
tious crime bill in our Nation’s history, the efforts in his 1994 presidential address and entitled
Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement the speech, “What Not to Do About Crime.”
Act of 1994. It allocated $22 billion to expand pris-
ons, impose longer sentences, hire more police, and, What is wrong with the current proposals? Some ar-
to a lesser extent, fund prevention programs. But as gue that they are racist, others argue that they cost too
part of the Republicans’ “Contract with America,” the much, but nearly everyone agrees they have two major
Act was significantly revised, and the money allocated flaws: (1) they fail to prevent young people from
to prevention programs was scrapped. The amended entering and continuing a life of crime, and (2) they
bill—the price tag of which rose to $30 billion— leave the vast majority of criminals, who are serving
shifted nearly all of the $5 billion targeted for preven- sentences on probation and parole, unaffected.
tion programs into prison construction and law
enforcement. As a Los Angeles Times opinion piece Criminologists have long observed that age 18 is the
concluded of the whole matter: “what started out last year of peak criminality. Analysis recently completed
legislative season as a harsh and punitive bill has got- by Alfred Blumstein at Carnegie-Mellon showed that
ten downright Draconian” (Schiraldi, 1995). today we have the smallest cohort of 18-year-olds we
will see for at least the next 15 years. In 1996, the
While such tough-on-crime legislation has political number is going to start going up, and the biggest
appeal, it finds almost no support among criminal growth will occur in the number of African-American
justice practitioners and scholars. They are uniformly children who are now 4 to 9 years old. Blumstein
agreed that such efforts—which endorse an “enforce- (1994) recently observed:
ment model” to the sacrifice of all else—will do little
to curb crime. In recent months organizations as These young people are being less well educated
diverse as the International Association of Chiefs of and socialized, and as a result are easy recruits for
Police (IACP), the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the the booming crack cocaine industry, where weap-
American Bar Association (ABA), the National ons are a business accessory for an increasing
Governors Association, the League of Cities, the number of youths. The result will be a steep in-
RAND Corporation, the National Council on Crime crease in juvenile and young adult violent crime,
and Delinquency (NCCD), the Campaign for an unless we begin investing in community-based
Effective Crime Policy (CECP), and the National programs to better socialize kids when their par-
Research Council have all voiced opposition to the ents are not doing so. This is a population crying
approach. out for our attention, and, as a society we need to
find a means to divert them from becoming as
Even prison wardens (who stand to win) uniformly violent as their big brothers.
reject the crime-fighting solutions coming out of
Washington. In a recent national survey of prison As more young people are recruited into and retained
wardens, 85 percent of those surveyed said that in a criminal lifestyle, the ability of back-end
elected officials are not offering effective solutions to responses (such as imprisonment) to increase public
America’s crime problem (Simon, 1994). Chase safety is severely limited because of the replenishing
Riveland, Washington State director of corrections, supply of young people who are entering into criminal
said that focusing only on prisons and ignoring the careers.


The second, and equally important, reason why tions probation or parole, much less provides funding
current Federal efforts will fail is that they focus or direction for revising programs or practices. More-
exclusively on prisons as a corrections strategy, ignor- over, the Federal bill will likely take money away
ing the fact that most criminals are serving probation from community corrections budgets, which are
and parole sentences. In 1993 there were just under 5 already at a dangerously low level, to fund the ex-
million adult (convicted) criminals—or about 1 in panded prison space required to comply with the
every 39 Americans. Seventy-two percent of all iden- Federal mandate requiring State prisoners to serve 85
tified criminals were not in prison, but serving sen- percent of their sentences (the so-called “truth in sen-
tences in the community on probation or parole tencing” provision).
supervision. Even though we have quadrupled the
number of prisoners in the past decade, prisoners are This policy brief addresses the public safety conse-
still less than one-fifth of the convict population, and quences of current probation and parole practices. It
the vast majority of offenders remain in the commu- contends that current crime policies are neither com-
nity amongst us. If we are to effectively control prehensive nor can they be effective unless we focus
crime—as opposed to exacting retribution and jus- on the needs and risks posed by probationers and
tice—we must focus our efforts on where the offend- parolees. Whether we are able to control the crime
ers are, which is in the community reporting to propensities of these offenders is critical to the effec-
probation and parole officers. tiveness of any anti-crime program.

Despite the fact that both crime bills were touted by We must rethink the types of programs and funding
their proponents as comprehensive approaches to the levels that are appropriate for the kinds of clients
crime problem, neither the 1994 Crime Act nor the these agencies now encounter. The majority of proba-
1995 “Taking Back Our Streets” proposal even men- tioners are convicted felons, have prior criminal

Figure 1: Adults in Prison, Jail, Probation, Parole in the United States, 1980–93 %
2,843,445 154

Number of Adult Offenders



909,185 184
671,470 205
500,000 454,620 149

1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993

Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics “Probation Parole Populations Reach New Highs,” Washington, D.C., 1994.


records, and are likely to be substance and alcohol community supervision, particularly those on
abusers with few marketable skills. If we continue to probation. Some might believe that while there are a
ignore their behavior—and miss the opportunity to large number of persons on probation and parole, the
intervene positively—we are relatively assured of public safety risk they pose as a group is minimal.
imprisoning them eventually. Current policy simply The public often assumes that probation is a sentenc-
waits until their criminality escalates to the point of ing alternative only for misdemeanants or “non-
needing imprisonment, and such policies have now dangerous” offenders.
proven costly and ineffective at reducing crime.
Many also erroneously assume that as prison popula-
The author suggests developing “surveillance plus tions have grown, those remaining in the community
treatment” programs for drug-involved probationers, have become increasingly less serious, and hence less
including offenders who are convicted of drug posses- in need of supervision. It might seem logical that
sion and use, but not trafficking. Evaluation research since prison populations have quadrupled over the
suggests that we now have program models that are past decade, those remaining in the community would
effective at reducing their recidivism rates, that the be increasingly less serious because the more serious
public is supportive of rehabilitation as opposed to offenders would have been skimmed off and sen-
incarceration for such offenders, and that the cost- tenced to prison. Unfortunately, this is not true. As
benefit tradeoffs between prison and community cor- shown in figure 1, populations in all four components
rections are among the highest for that subpopulation. of the corrections system have grown at record rates
since 1983. And the 3 to 1 ratio of community-based
to institutional populations has remained relatively
Who Is On Probation and Parole?
stable for over a decade.
A Profile of the Population
Furthermore, analysis shows that the probation popu-
There is a huge misunderstanding of the public safety lation has become increasingly serious if judged by
risks and needs posed by offenders currently under prior criminal record, current conviction crime, or

Figure 2: The Percentage of Felony Convictions Granted Probation or Probation With Jail


80 Probation With Jail

Percentage of Convictions

70 Straight Probation







Murder Rape Robbery Assault Burglary Larceny Drug Other Drugs Average Across
Trafficking and Misc. All Offenses

Source: Patrick Langan and Mark Cunniff, “Recidivism of Felons on Probation, 1986–89,” Bureau of
Justice Statistics, Washington, D.C., 1992.


substance abuse histories (Petersilia et al., 1985). The Table 1 shows that about 16 percent of probationers
truth of the matter is that the overall U.S. population were convicted of violent crimes, as were 26 percent
has grown and a greater proportion of U.S. of parolees. This means that on any given day in the
citizens are being convicted, so that all corrections United States in 1991, there were an estimated
populations have grown in size simultaneously. 435,000 probationers and 155,000 parolees residing in
local communities who had been convicted of violent
The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) tracks sen- crime—or over half a million offenders. If we com-
tences handed down by the courts in felony convic- pare that to the number of violent offenders residing
tions. The agency reports that in 1986 the courts in prison during the same year, we see that there were
granted probation to 46 percent of all convicted felons approximately 372,500 offenders convicted of violent
(Langan and Cunniff, 1992). As shown in figure 2, crime in prison, and approximately 590,000 outside
about 30 percent of these defendants were also re- prison and in the community on probation and parole.
quired to serve some jail time. Considering different Overall, we can conclude that nearly three times as
crime types, about 6 percent of murderers were placed many violent offenders (1.02 million) were residing
on probation, as were 20 percent of convicted rapists. in the community as were incarcerated in prison
Twenty percent of convicted robbers and 40 percent of (372,500). These numbers make painfully clear why
burglars were similarly sentenced to probation rather a failure to provide adequate funding for community
than to active prison terms. The average sentence to corrections invariably places the public at risk.
probation was just under 40 months, and an average
jail term (where it was imposed) was 6 months. Of course, the type of crime an offender is convicted
of does not necessarily equate with his or her risk of
Table 1 shows the conviction crimes of all adults recidivism. Patrick Langan at BJS tracked for 3 years
under correctional supervision during 1991. a sample representing nearly 80,000 felons granted
probation in 1986. Just over 40
percent of the probationers were
Table 1: Adults Under Correctional Supervision, By Offense, 1991 classified by probation depart-
ments as needing either
Most Serious Percentage of Adult Offenders “intensive” or “maximum”
Offense Probation Jail Prison Parole supervision—meaning they
appeared to be at a high risk of
All offenses 100% 100% 100% 100%
recidivating based on their prior
Violent offenses 16 22 47 26 criminal records and need for
Homicide 1 3 12 4
Sexual assault 2 3 9 4
services. If probationers are
Robbery 2 7 15 11 growing in numbers and becom-
Assault/other 10 8 10 6 ing more serious, they are in
Property offenses 34 30 25 36 need of more supervision, not
Burglary 7 11 12 15 less. But less is exactly what they
Larceny/theft 16 8 5 12 have gotten over the past decade.
Auto theft 1 3 2 2
Fraud/other 10 8 6 6 Despite the unprecedented
Drug offenses 24 23 21 30 growth in probation populations
Trafficking 8 12 13 18 and their more serious clientele,
Possession/other 16 11 9 2 probation budgets have not
Public-order offenses 25 23 7 7 grown. From 1977 to 1990,
Weapons 1 2 2 2 prison, jail, parole, and probation
DWI/DUI 16 9 NA 3 populations all about tripled in
Other 9 14 5 3
size. Yet only spending for pris-
Sources: Bureau of Justice Statistics initiatives, including Census of Probation and ons and jails had accelerated
Parole, 1991; Survey of Inmates in Local Jails, 1989; and Survey of Inmates in State
growth in overall government
Correctional Facilities, 1991.
expenditures. In 1990 prison and


jail spending accounted for 2 cents of every State and tarnish probation’s image as being too lenient and
local dollar spent, twice the amount spent in 1977. lacking in credibility.
Spending for probation and parole accounted for two-
tenths of 1 cent of every dollar spent in 1990, un- Robert Kelgord, chief probation officer in Sacra-
changed from what it was in 1977 (Langan, 1994). mento, California, after reporting that more than half
Today, although nearly three-fourths of correctional of the probationers he is responsible for go unsuper-
clients are in the community, about one-tenth of the vised, described the overall situation as follows:
correctional budget goes to supervise them. On each judicial day hundreds of California
The increase in populations, coupled with stagnant or judges sentence thousands of offenders to proba-
decreasing funding, means that caseloads (the number tion, sternly enumerating the many conditions of
of offenders an officer is responsible for supervising) probation that are to be enforced by the probation
keep increasing. Although the 1967 President’s Crime officer. Unfortunately, virtually all of these
Commission recommended that ideal caseloads be offenders will never see a probation officer and
about 30 to 1, national averages are now approaching there will be absolutely no enforcement of the
150 to 1 for probation and 80 to 1 for parole. And in court-ordered conditions. Equally unfortunate is
some communities, ratios are much higher. In Los that all of the players in this drama—especially
Angeles County, for example, where nearly 70,000 the offender—understand that the offenders will
adults are on probation, funding cutbacks have re- go unsupervised, will have no accountability to
sulted in caseloads reaching several hundred and few the courts, and will, in a high percentage of the
direct services. A recent report noted that 60 percent cases, simply reoffend (Commission on Future of
of all Los Angeles probationers are tracked solely by California Courts, 1993: 159).
computer and have no contact with an officer (U.S. Lack of services and supervision undoubtedly contrib-
Advisory Commission, 1993). Texas reports that it has utes to high recidivism rates. It has been continually
about 400,000 adults on probation, 95 percent of shown that there is a “highly significant statistical re-
whom are on regular supervision, meaning they are lationship between the extent to which probationers
seen once every 3 months. received needed services and the success of proba-
Nationally, BJS reports that three out of five felony tion” (Comptroller General, 1976: 25). As services
probationers see a probation officer no more than have dwindled, recidivism rates have climbed. In the
once a month, at best, because actual contacts are national BJS study mentioned earlier, Langan and
often less than the number prescribed. Because of Cunniff (1992) found that 43 percent of probationers
underfunding and large caseloads, probation supervi- were rearrested for a felony within 3 years of receiv-
sion in many large jurisdictions amounts to simply ing a probationary sentence. The total group of some
monitoring for rearrest. As Clear and Braga (1995: 79,000 probationers was responsible for nearly 34,000
423) recently wrote: “Apparently, community supervi- arrests, including 632 arrests for murder, 474 for rape,
sion has been seen as a kind of elastic resource that and 5,500 for robbery and assaults. By the end of the
could handle whatever numbers of offenders the 3-year period, 26 percent of the probationers had been
system required it to.” sent to prison, another 10 percent to jail, and an addi-
tional 10 percent were designated absconders with un-
But neglect in funding has had serious consequences. known whereabouts. Overall, 46 percent of felony
As caseloads rise, there is less opportunity for per- probationers were classified as “failures.” It is no
sonal contact between officer and offender, limiting wonder—the same study shows that while 53 percent
any ability of the officer to bring about positive of the sample was characterized as having a drug
change in the offender, or refer him or her to appropri- abuse problem, only 14 percent of the sample partici-
ate community-based resources and programs (which, pated in any required drug treatment during the 3-year
incidentally, are also being reduced). Court-ordered followup period.
fines and restitution don’t get paid and community
service doesn’t get performed—all of which further Parolees fare no better. BJS statisticians Allen Beck
and Bernard Shipley (1989) tracked 108,580 parolees


released from prison in 1983. The sample represented such offenders “unattended” is not only bad policy, it
more than half of all released State prisoners that year. leaves many victims in its wake.
They found that within 3 years, 62 percent of them
had been rearrested for a felony or serious misde- The high failure rates of probationers and parolees
meanor (23 percent for a violent crime), 47 percent also contribute significantly to prison crowding. Cur-
were reconvicted, and 42 percent were returned to rent estimates show that between 30 and 50 percent of
prison or jail. By the end of 1986, those prisoners who all new prison admissions are community supervision
were rearrested averaged an additional 4.8 new failures. Indeed, offenders who fail under community
charges. supervision are the fastest growing component of the
prison population.
Another means to gauge the contribution of proba-
tioners and parolees to the crime problem is to exam-
What Can We Do? A Proposal To
ine the “criminal justice status” of offenders at the
time they committed or were arrested for their current Develop an Integrated Treatment/
crime. Numerous BJS reports provide that informa- Control Program for Drug Offenders
tion, and the relevant figures are summarized in figure
The grim situation described above is known to most
3. They attest to the contribution of probationers and
individuals who work in the justice system or study it.
parolees to the “crime problem,” and to the public
Until we curb the criminal activities of the three-
safety consequences of reducing funding for commu-
fourths of criminals who reside in the community, real
nity corrections. For example, 31 percent of persons
reductions in crime or prison commitments are un-
on death row in 1992 report committing their murders
likely. Just as there is growing agreement about the
while under probation or parole supervision. Leaving

Figure 3: The Percentage of Offenders on Probation or Parole at Time of Offense


On Parole

On Probation






Felony Arrestees Jail Inmates Prison Inmates Inmates on Death Row

Sources: Bureau of Justice Statistics initiatives, including Felony Defendants in Large Urban Counties, 1990; Profile of
Jail Inmates, 1989; Survey of State Prison Inmates, 1991; and Capital Punishment, 1992.


nature of the problem, there is also an emerging con- program evaluations in Texas, Wisconsin, Oregon, and
sensus about how to address it. Colorado have found similarly encouraging results
(Clear and Braga, 1995). Even in BJS’s national pro-
We need to first regain the public’s trust that probation bation followup study, it was found that if probation-
and parole can be meaningful, credible sanctions. ers were participating in or making progress in
During the past decade, many jurisdictions developed treatment programs, they were less likely to have a
“intermediate sanctions” as a response to prison new arrest (38 percent) than either those drug offend-
crowding. These programs (for example, house arrest, ers who had made no progress (66 percent) or who
electronic monitoring, intensive supervision) were were not ordered to be tested or treated (48 percent).
designed to be community-based sanctions that were
tougher than regular probation, but less stringent and There now exists rather solid empirical evidence that
expensive than prison. The program models were ordering offenders into treatment, and getting them to
good and could have worked, except for one critical participate, reduces recidivism. So, the first order of
factor: they were usually implemented without creat- business must be to allocate sufficient resources so
ing an organizational capacity to ensure compliance that designed programs (incorporating both surveil-
with the court-ordered conditions. lance and treatment) can be implemented. Sufficient
monetary resources are essential to obtaining and
Intermediate sanctions were designed with smaller sustaining judicial support and achieving program
caseloads, enabling officers to provide both services success.
and monitoring for new criminal activity, but they
never were given the resources needed to enforce the Once we have that in place, we need to create a public
sanctions or to provide necessary treatment. When the climate to support a reinvestment in community cor-
court ordered offenders to participate in drug treat- rections. Good community corrections cost money,
ment, for example, many probation and parole officers and we should be honest about that. We currently
could not comply with the request because local treat- spend about $200 per year, per probationer for super-
ment programs were unavailable. Similarly, when the vision. It is no wonder that recidivism rates are so
court ordered fines or restitution to be paid or commu- high. At a minimum, effective treatment programs
nity service to be performed, it often was ignored cost about $12,000 to $14,000 per year. Those re-
because of a lack of personnel to follow through and sources will be forthcoming only if the public believes
monitor such requirements. Over time, what was that the programs are both effective and punishing.
intended as tougher community corrections in most
jurisdictions did not materialize, thereby further tar- Public opinion is often cited by officials as the reason
nishing probation’s and parole’s image. (For a com- for supporting expanded prison policies. According to
plete review of this experience, see Petersilia and officials, the public demands a “get tough on crime”
Turner, 1993; Clear and Braga, 1995.) And while policy, which is synonymous with sending more of-
most judges still report being anxious to use tougher, fenders to prison for longer terms. We must publicize
community-based programs as alternatives to routine recent evidence showing that offenders—whose opin-
probation or prison, most are skeptical that the pro- ion on such matters is critical for deterrence—judge
grams promised “on paper” will be actually delivered some intermediate sanctions as more punishing than
in practice. As a result, some intermediate sanction prison. Surveys of offenders in Minnesota, Arizona,
programs are beginning to fall into disuse. New Jersey, Oregon, and Texas reveal that offenders
who are asked to equate criminal sentences judge cer-
But not all programs have had this experience. In a tain types of community punishments as more severe
few instances, communities invested in intermediate than prison.
sanctions and made the necessary treatment and work
programs available to offenders. And, most impor- One of the more striking examples comes from
tantly, the programs worked: in programs where of- Marion County, Oregon. Selected nonviolent offend-
fenders received both surveillance (for example, drug ers were given the choice of serving a prison term or
tests) and relevant treatment, recidivism was reduced returning to the community to participate in the
20 to 30 percent (Petersilia and Turner, 1993). Recent Intensive Supervision Probation (ISP) program, which


imposed drug testing, mandatory community service, For convicted felons, freedom is preferable, of course,
and frequent visits with the probation officer. About a to prison. But the type of program being advocated
third of the offenders given the option between ISP or here—combining heavy doses of surveillance and
prison chose prison. When Minnesota inmates and treatment—does not represent freedom. In fact, as
corrections staff were asked to equate a variety of suggested above, such community-based programs
criminal sentences, they rated 3 years of ISP as may have more punitive bite than prison. Consider a
equivalent in punitiveness to 1 year in prison comparison between Contra Costa (California)
(Petersilia and Deschenes, 1994). County’s ISP for drug offenders, which was discontin-
ued in 1990 due to a shortage of funds, with what
What accounts for this seeming aberration? Why drug offenders would face if imprisoned:
should anyone prefer imprisonment to remaining in
the community—no matter what the conditions? ISP. Offenders are required to serve at least one
Some have suggested that prison has lost some of its year on ISP. During ISP, offenders are supervised
punitive sting and hence its ability to scare and deter. by probation officers who are responsible for no
For one, possessing a prison record is not as stigma- more than 40 adult offenders. In addition to twice
tizing as in the past because so many of the offenders’ weekly face-to-face contacts, the ISP program in-
peers (and family members) have also “done time.” cluded a random drug testing hotline, Saturday
A recent survey showed that 40 percent of youths in home visits, weekly Narcotics Anonymous meet-
State training schools have parents who have been in- ings, special assistance from local police to expe-
carcerated. Further, about a quarter of all U.S. black dite existing bench warrants, and a liaison with
males will be incarcerated during their lives, so the the State Employment Development Department.
stigma attached to having a prison record is not as To remain on ISP, offenders had to be employed
great as it was when it was relatively uncommon. And or participating in relevant treatment or training,
the pains associated with prison—social isolation, fear perform community service, pay victim restitution
of victimization—seem less likely with repeat offend- (if required by the court), and remain crime- and
ers, who have learned how to do time. drug-free.

In fact, far from stigmatizing, prison evidently confers or

status in some neighborhoods. Jerome Skolnick of the
University of California, Berkeley, found that for drug Prison. A sentence of 12 months actually means
dealers in California, imprisonment confers a certain that an offender will serve about 6 months. Dur-
elevated “home boy” status, especially for gang mem- ing his term, he is not required to work, nor will
bers for whom prison and prison gangs can be an he be required to participate in any training or
alternative site of loyalty. And, according to the Cali- treatment, but may do so if he wishes. Once
fornia Youth Authority, inmates steal State-issued released, he will probably be placed on routine
prison clothing for the same reason. Wearing it when parole supervision, where he might see his officer
they return to the community lets everyone know they once a month.
have done “hard time.” These results are important to publicize, particularly
The length of time an offender can be expected to to policymakers, who say they are imprisoning such a
serve in prison has also decreased—latest statistics large number of offenders because of the public’s de-
show that the average U.S. prison term for those re- sire to get tough on crime. But it is no longer neces-
leased to parole is 17 months. But more to the point, sary to equate criminal punishment solely with prison.
for less serious offenders the expected time served can The balance of sanctions between probation and
be much less. In California, for example, more than prison can be shifted, and at some level of intensity
half of all offenders entering prison in 1995 were and length, intermediate punishments can be the more
expected to serve 6 months or less. Offenders on the dreaded penalty.
street seem to be aware of this, even more so with the Once the support and organizational capacity are
extensive media coverage such issues are receiving. there, we need to target an offender group that makes
the most sense, given our current state of knowledge


regarding program effectiveness. Targeting drug of- clearly needing it—are under the supervision of the
fenders makes the most sense for a number of reasons. justice system as parolees or probationers. And be-
Drug offenders were not always punished so fre- cause the largest single group of serious drug users in
quently by imprisonment. In California, for example, any locality comes through the justice system every
just 5 percent of convicted drug offenders were sen- day, the IOM concludes that the justice system is one
tenced to prison in 1980, but by 1990 the number had of the most important gateways to treatment delivery
increased to 20 percent. The large-scale imprisonment and should be used more effectively.
of drug offenders has only recently taken place, and
there is some new evidence suggesting that the public Moreover, those under corrections supervision stay
seems ready to shift its punishment strategies for low- longer in treatment, thereby increasing positive treat-
level drug offenders. ment outcomes. The claim that individuals forced into
treatment by the courts will not be successful has not
A 1994 nationwide poll by Hart Research Associates been borne out by research. In fact, just the opposite is
reported that Americans have come to understand that true. The largest study of drug treatment outcomes
drug abuse is not simply a failure of willpower or a (TOPS) found that justice system clients stayed in
violation of criminal law. They now see the problem treatment longer than clients with no justice system
as far more complex, involving not only individual involvement. As a result, they had higher than average
behavior but also fundamental issues of poverty, success rates.
opportunity, and personal circumstances. Drug Strate-
gies, a nonprofit policy organization based in Wash- However, as noted above, quality treatment does not
ington, D.C., reported in 1995 that nearly half of all come cheap. But in terms of crime and health costs
Americans have been touched directly by the drug averted, it is an investment that pays for itself immedi-
problem: 45 percent of those surveyed in the 1994 ately. Researchers in California recently conducted an
Hart poll said that they know someone who became assessment of drug treatment programs and identified
addicted to a drug other than alcohol. This personal those that were successful, concluding that it can now
knowledge is changing attitudes about how to deal be “documented that treatment and recovery programs
with the problem: 7 in 10 believed that their addicted are a good investment” (Gerstein et al., 1994). The
acquaintance would have been helped more by enter- researchers studied a sample of 1,900 treatment par-
ing a supervised treatment program than by being ticipants, followed them up for as long as 2 years of
sentenced to prison. treatment, and studied participants from the four ma-
jor treatment modalities: therapeutic communities,
It appears that the public now wants tougher sentences social model, outpatient drug-free, and methadone
for drug traffickers and more treatment for addicts. maintenance. Gerstein et al. (1994: 33) concluded:
What legislators have given them instead are long sen-
tences for everyone. Drug Strategies, which analyzed Treatment was very cost-beneficial: for every dol-
the Hart survey, concluded that “public opinion on lar spent on drug and alcohol treatment, the State
drugs is more pragmatic and less ideological than the of California saved $7 in reductions in crime and
current political debate reflects. Voters know that pu- health care costs. The study found that each day
nitive approaches won’t work.” So, in that vein, the of treatment paid for itself on the day treatment
public appears willing to accept something other than was received, primarily through an avoidance of
prison for some drug offenders. crime.

The public’s receptiveness to treatment for addicts is The level of criminal activity declined by two-
important because those familiar with delivering treat- thirds from before treatment to after treatment.
ment say that is where treatment can make the biggest The greater the length of time spent in treatment,
impact. A recent report by the prestigious Institute of the greater the reduction in crime. Reported crimi-
Medicine (IOM) recommends focusing on probation- nal activity declined before and after treatment as
ers and parolees to curb drug use and related crime. follows: mean number of times sold or helped sell
They noted that about one-fifth of the population esti- drugs (-75 percent), mean number of times used
mated to need treatment—and two-fifths of those weapon/physical force (-93 percent), percent


committing any illegal activity (-72 percent), and Current crime policy is similarly focused. Short-term
mean months involved in criminal activity (-80 strategies have held sway at the expense of long-term
percent). prevention programs. We remain so consumed by the
overwhelming challenge of providing cells for those
Regardless of treatment modality, reduction in crime imprisoned that we have little energy (or money) to
was substantial and significant (although participants address the more fundamental questions of how to
in the social model recovery programs had the biggest prevent the ever-increasing number of people who
reduction). In the California study, the most effective choose to enter a life of crime or the continued crimi-
treatment programs cost about $12,000 per year, per nal escalation of probationers and parolees.
Of course we must continue to imprison the violent.
In summary, there are several steps to achieving It is a false dichotomy to argue between tough law
greater crime control over probationers and parolees. enforcement and community-based crime prevention
First, we must provide adequate financial resources to programs. The choice is not one or the other—it must
deliver programs that have been shown to work. Suc- be both. We need to create enough prison space to
cessful programs combine both treatment and surveil- incarcerate the truly violent, but we also must support
lance, and they are targeted to appropriate offender programs to reduce the flood tide of criminals that
subgroups. Current evidence suggests that low-level current conditions create.
drug offenders are prime candidates for the intermedi-
ate sanction programs considered here. We must then It will not be easy, so we had better start now.
garner support, convincing the public that the proba-
tion sanction is punitive and convincing the judiciary References
that offenders will be held accountable for their be-
havior. Beck, Allen and Bernard Shipley, “Recidivism of Pris-
oners Released in 1983,” Bureau of Justice Statistics,
Washington, DC, 1989.
Concluding Remarks
Blumstein, Alfred, “Youth, Violence, Guns, and the
Current Federal efforts to curb crime seek simple,
Illicit-Drug Industry,” Heinz School of Public Policy
politically correct solutions where simple answers do
and Management, Carnegie-Mellon University,
not exist. There are no silver bullet fixes to the crime
Working Paper 94–29, 1994.
problem, nor are there any hopeful signs that lead us
to expect a spontaneous decline in the problem in the Clear, Todd and Anthony A. Braga, “Community
absence of dramatic policy action. If anything, the in- Corrections,” in Crime, edited by James Q. Wilson
dicators point to increases in violent youth crime, a and Joan Petersilia, Institute for Contemporary
trend that will likely continue unless effective steps Studies, San Francisco, California, 1995.
toward arresting it are taken.
Commission on the Future of the California Courts,
This policy brief argues that current Federal efforts Justice in the Balance, 2020, Sacramento, California,
are misguided and do not focus on preventing the 1993.
crimes of the next generation or de-escalating the
criminal careers of those on probation and parole. Drug Strategies, Keeping Score, Washington, DC,
Dr. Dean Ornish, the guru of the low-fat road to car- 1995.
diovascular health, shows a cartoon at the opening of
Gerstein, Dean, et al., Evaluating Recovery Services:
his lectures that has application far beyond the topic
The California Drug and Alcohol Treatment Assess-
of cardiovascular disease. The slide shows a crew of
ment (CALDATA), Department of Alcohol and Drug
doctors frantically mopping up a floor that continues
Programs, State of California, 1994.
to be flooded by an overflowing sink. The problem, of
course, is that no one has turned off the faucet. Institute of Medicine, Committee for the Substance
Abuse Coverage Study (D.R. Gerstein and H.J.


Harwood, eds.), Treating Drug Problems, Vol. 1, “A Petersilia, Joan, Susan Turner, James Kahan, and
Study of the Evolution, Effectiveness, and Financing Joyce Peterson, Granting Felons Probation: Public
of Public and Private Drug Treatment Systems,” Risks and Alternatives, RAND, R–3186–NIJ, Santa
National Academy Press, Washington, DC, 1990. Monica, California, January 1995.

Langan, Patrick and Mark A. Cunniff, “Recidivism of Schiraldi, Vincent, “Some Gift—For $1.4 Billion, We
Felons on Probation, 1986-89,” Bureau of Justice Pay $31 Billion,” Los Angeles Times, Opinion Section,
Statistics, Washington, DC, 1992. B13, March 15, 1995.

Langan, Patrick, “Between Prison and Probation: Simon, Paul, in New Survey, “Wardens Call for
Intermediate Sanctions,” Science, Vol. 264, 1994. Smarter Sentencing, Alternatives to Incarceration, and
Prevention Programs,” United States Senate Press
Petersilia, Joan and Elizabeth Piper Deschenes, “Per- Release, Washington, DC, December 21, 1994.
ceptions on Punishment: Inmates and Staff Rank the
Severity of Prison versus Intermediate Punishments,” U.S. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental
The Prison Journal, Vol. 74, 1993. Relations, The Role of General Government Elected
Officials in Criminal Justice, Washington, DC, 1993.
Petersilia, Joan, “Crime and Punishment in California:
Full Cells, Empty Pockets, and Questionable Ben-
efits,” California Policy Seminar, Berkeley, California,


Legislation: Prevalence
and Definitions
Edith E. Flynn, Northeastern University, Chair
Timothy Flanagan, Sam Houston State University
Peter Greenwood, Criminal Justice Program, RAND
Barry Krisberg, National Council on Crime and Delinquency


YOU’RE OUT ■ Mandatory sentenc-
ing cannot take into
Efforts to reduce violent
crime and deal more LEGISLATION account all the circum-
stances affecting indi-
effectively with repeat
offenders have led to a wide range of Summary vidual cases or their
various factual permutations.
legislative initiatives across the Nation.
Among the many sentence enhancement options Short-term effects of this legislation include a
available for dealing with habitual offenders, the clogged court system causing rising court costs and
three-strikes initiative has found much resonance intolerable delays in civil cases; early release of
with the public and legislators alike. Proponents sentenced felons to make room for three-strikes
view three-strikes sentencing legislation as the so- detainees; and increased discretionary power for
lution for dealing with the persistent, serious, and prosecutors.
violent offender. Advocates promise that these
types of sentences will both reduce crime and, ulti-
mately, save taxpayers money. This is because they
Policy recommendations
believe that three-strikes would not only decrease ■ Impact analysis. The Attorney General should
the cost of victimization through incapacitation, but initiate a careful study of how the Federal three-
would also reduce the not insubstantial costs of re- strikes law is impacting the Federal courts and
arrest and reprocessing of repeat offenders by the corrections system. Beyond that, further expan-
criminal justice system. sions of the Federal statute should be resisted
until the analysis has been completed.
A recent RAND assessment of California’s three-
strikes legislation points to its potential for reduc- ■ Informing the public. Since the current puni-
ing serious and violent crime, but at an estimated tive atmosphere permeates the public and body
cost of about $5.5 billion over the next 25 years. politic, the public needs to be informed of the
A second long-term effect on costs will be the un- true cost and consequences of categorical sen-
precedented growth of the elderly in prisons, which tencing schemes. As the Nation’s first law en-
will contribute to higher costs because of their forcement officer, the Attorney General, along
health needs (expected to be double or triple that of with the National Institute of Justice, are in the
inmates from the general population). best position for getting the correct information
out to the citizenry objectively and fairly.
Although more research is required on the relation-
ship between age and crime, it is clear that cat- ■ Criminal justice dialog. The Attorney General
egorical sentencing schemes, such as three-strikes, and the National Institute of Justice should con-
countervail existing knowledge: sider the development of appropriate mecha-
nisms for beginning a dialog with prosecutors
■ Statistically speaking, recidivism is known to
and victim advocates who are fueling the public
decline with increases in age.
debate on three-strikes laws. Similar mecha-
■ Offending at an early age is highly predictive of nisms are needed to tap the abilities and experi-
long criminal careers. ences of judges for developing the kind of
sentencing legislation that optimizes discretion
■ Attention should be focused on crime prevention to allow consideration of individual differences
and early intervention among youths, before among offenders, while checking the abuses of
they become ensnared in criminal careers. the current mandatory systems.


■ Research needs. The National Institute of Jus- accompany these programs to document their
tice should encourage and assist Federal and effect on public safety.
State legislative bureaus in the development of
appropriate research tools and studies to esti- ■ Early intervention and prevention. Given the
mate the impact of mandatory sentencing bills, likelihood that investment in youth crime pre-
on both costs and crime rates. Legislators and vention and early intervention programs may
the public must understand the likely impact of well be more effective than three-strikes legisla-
such laws, not only in terms of costs and conse- tion, the Attorney General should direct the
quences for prison crowding, but also in terms allocation of Federal funding toward such pro-
of related processes and issues, such as the grams. The collateral benefits of “front-end”
negative effects on the civil court system, and investments are likely to consist of improved
the diversion of scarce resources from educa- scholastic and economic performance of those
tion, health and welfare, the infrastructure, and involved in the programs.
other vital public services. ■ Regional conferences. The Attorney General
■ Alternative sentencing. The National Institute should consider convening a series of regional
of Justice should encourage the development of conferences to explore the findings of existing
alternative sentencing policies that may achieve research on the public safety impact and cost
the same crime reduction benefits as three- implications of various three-strikes laws. The
strikes laws at considerably less cost and assist relative costs and benefits of early childhood
in their evaluation, in terms of crime reduction crime prevention efforts, early intervention, and
and costs. Other “lifetime sanctions,” such as alternative sentencing programs should also be
intensive supervision, community service, etc., examined.
should be pursued. However, research should




fforts to reduce violent crime and deal more Wisconsin mandate life without the possibility of pa-
effectively with repeat offenders have led to a role, while offenders serving life sentences in Califor-
wide range of legislative initiatives across the nia and North Carolina become eligible for parole
Nation in the past few years. Among the many sen- only after serving 25 years, in New Mexico after 30
tence enhancement options available for dealing with years, and in Colorado after 40 years.3
habitual offenders, the three-strikes initiative, first
passed in Washington State in 1993, has found much
resonance among the general public and legislators
Examples of Three-Strikes and
alike. By late 1994 no less than 13 States had passed Related Legislation
three-strikes sentencing laws.1 They are California, Legislation passed in Washington and California
Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, are prototypical examples of wide-ranging three-
Louisiana, Maryland, New Mexico, North Carolina, strikes laws. For example, under the provisions of
Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin. At least eight Washington’s Initiative Measure 593, titled the
other States—Alaska, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, “Persistent Offender Accountability Act,” any person
Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Vermont— meeting the definition of “persistent offender” must
have similar legislation pending. be sentenced to a term of life imprisonment without
Proponents view three-strikes sentencing legislation the possibility of parole.4 Persistent offenders are de-
as the solution for dealing with the persistent, serious, fined as persons who have been convicted of a felony
violent offender—proverbially the three-time loser. considered to be a “most serious offense” in addition
Depending on specific formulations, three-strikes to having two prior separate felony convictions. “Most
laws can be far reaching or narrowly focused. In gen- serious offenses” include a wide variety of offenses
eral, the majority of these provisions call for enhanced ranging from murder, assaults, and robbery to bur-
penalties for offenders with one or more prior felony glary, indecent liberties, and promoting prostitution.5
convictions. These laws require that offenders serve California’s three-strikes legislation was passed in
several years in prison in addition to the penalty im- March l994 and subsequently ratified by voters in the
posed for their current offense. The remainder of ha- form of a referendum in the fall of that year. This
bitual offender laws are geared to respond to specific means that any changes in the law would require a
types of prior offenses, such as crimes of violence, sex two-thirds vote in the legislature. It surpasses any
offenses, or crimes perpetrated with guns. Under these other legislation on the books in terms of reach and
types of sentencing provisions, felons found guilty of punitiveness. Under its provisions, the first two seri-
a third serious crime can be incarcerated for 20 years ous felonies are counted as two strikes. The broad
or more, while offenders convicted of a third violent sweep of the law is activated with the commission of
crime may draw life imprisonment without the possi- “any subsequent felony” or third strike. At this point,
bility of parole. a mandatory life sentence is imposed. Three-strikes
With few exceptions, three-strikes laws are manda- offenders must spend a minimum of 25 years in
tory, leaving judges no discretion for deviating from prison. In addition, under the new law, sentences are
the sentences prescribed by the legislatures.2 Still, the doubled for the second strike, and prisoners must
most pronounced characteristic of three-strikes legis- serve their penalty in prison rather than under commu-
lation is the extraordinary length of prison terms being nity supervision or at the local jail. Additionally,
imposed. For example, the laws of Georgia, Indiana, “good time” earned in prison is reduced from the pre-
Louisiana, Maryland, Tennessee, Washington, and vious 50 percent to 20 percent of one’s “enhanced”
prison term.6


Nevada’s pending “super habitual offender” legislation Advocates promise that these types of sentence will
narrows the focus somewhat by concentrating on re- not only reduce crime but will ultimately save taxpay-
peat offenders who commit serious felony crimes that ers money. This is because they believe that three-
are either violent or sex-related.7 It proposes a super strikes would not only reduce the cost of victimization
habitual statute that would be triggered by a third vio- through incapacitation but would also reduce the
lent or sex-related felony and draw a life sentence with substantial costs of rearrest and reprocessing repeat
or without parole. offenders by the criminal justice system.
Slightly more measured, Vermont’s proposed legisla- The task force has analyzed the early assessments of
tion for violent career criminals and habitual criminals the effects of three-strikes and related legislation and
focuses on repetitive, violent crime. It sets a manda- questions the validity of the assumptions on which it
tory minimum of not less than 15 years for a convic- is based.
tion for a third felony crime of violence, if preceded
by two previous violent felony convictions.8 But
judges could still sentence to a maximum term of im-
RAND’s Analysis of California’s
prisonment up to and including life. In addition, per- Three-Strikes Law
sons sentenced under the provisions of this legislation The first serious attempt to estimate the costs and
would not be eligible for probation, early release, fur- benefits of California’s three-strikes law was recently
lough, or parole release until after the minimum prison published by RAND.9 Researchers constructed an
term has been served. analytic model for estimating crime rates and costs of
Additional permutations of three-strikes laws exist in the ways in which populations of offenders on the
Michigan, where prosecutors have the option of seek- street and in prison would change under the provi-
ing harsher sentences based on prior felony convic- sions of the new three-strikes law. They also tested
tions, and in Minnesota, where judges can no longer four alternative sentencing schemes: (1) a two-strikes-
deviate from existing sentencing guidelines when of- only option; (2) a paradigm focusing on violent felons
fenders have been convicted of a third violent crime. only; (3) a design treating violent offenders more
harshly, while treating minor offenders more le-
The U.S. Government has entered the three-strikes niently; and (4) a guaranteed-full-term scheme under
arena with the passage of the Violent Crime Control which three-strikes provisos are abandoned, and
and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, better known as offenders convicted of serious or violent felonies
the Federal Anti-Crime Act. The legislation provides (including those without any prior strikes) must serve
financial incentives to States in return for increasing their full sentences without the benefit of “good-time”
their penalties for violent offenders. In essence, the deductions.
Truth-in-Sentencing Incentive Grants promise Federal
moneys based on a formula calculated on the number The results of RAND’s assessment shed considerable
of violent crimes in each State. However, before re- light on the sentencing debate. They also provide
ceiving the grants, States must change their penal some interesting and not entirely unexpected findings.
codes so that offenders with a second violent crime For example, there are definite trade-offs among the
would have to serve a minimum of 85 percent of their various schemes. In essence, the more focused sen-
prison sentence. States would also have to increase the tencing alternatives are less costly than the three-
percentage of all violent offenders sentenced to prison, strikes option provided by the current law. But the
eliminate parole for two-strike violent offenders, and alternatives are also less effective for reducing crime.
increase the time served by such prisoners. Of the four alternative sentencing schemes tested, the
option that reserves extended sentences exclusively
Effects of Three-Strikes Legislation for violent felons turns out to be the best possible
option in terms of costs and benefits. This is because
The idea of incarcerating repeat offenders for very it delivers two-thirds of the crime reduction of three
long prison terms, including life without parole, has strikes at half the cost. As it is written, California’s
certainly caught fire in the public imagination.


three-strikes legislation has the capacity over the next fense attorneys and public prosecutors advise their
25 years to reduce the annual number of serious clients that they have little to lose by refusing to plea
crimes to 28 percent below the number of offenses bargain. Not surprisingly, the State is experiencing
that would have been committed under the previous large increases in jury trials. For example, Los Ange-
law.10 While this is unquestionably a significant crime les County expects its jury trials to more than double.
reduction, it comes unfortunately with an increase in More than 5,000 such trials are expected in the county
cost to taxpayers of about $5.5 billion a year over the this year alone. This is bad news for anyone hoping to
same time period. The two-strikes option and the get a civil case heard in California courts. Criminal
scheme that punishes serious offenders more severely cases take precedence under the speedy-trial rules,
while treating minor offenders more leniently, fall be- and the tremendous increase in jury trials has con-
tween these two options in terms of cost and potential sumed all resources.
crime reductions.
Third, three-strikes has adversely affected jails in sev-
One of the more interesting RAND findings involves eral ways. LAO found that counties tend to set bail for
the guaranteed-full-term sentencing scheme. It two-strikes defendants at twice the usual rate, while
matches the current three-strikes law in crime reduc- three-strikes defendants may be refused bail alto-
tion, and it does so at less cost. The model also has gether. As a result, already overcrowded jails are
some added advantages. Because it incapacitates of- crowded further. The cost of jail supervision is higher
fenders early in their criminal careers by giving short for this offender population because it is considered to
prison terms to first-time serious felons, while three- be a higher security risk. Perhaps worst of all, the in-
strikes imposes long sentences to a few at the end of carceration of two- and three-strikes detainees is forc-
their careers, its incapacitating effects correspond ing jails to release other inmates early. For example,
with the well-known relation between age and crime. the time served by inmates in the Los Angeles County
Criminologically speaking, it makes little sense to in- jail system has dropped from about two-thirds of their
vest scarce resources by incarcerating offenders sentence to less than 50 percent, surely an unintended
whose prime offending years are behind them. consequence of the new three-strikes law.

Fourth, as has been amply documented in other States

California’s Legislative Analyst’s with inflexible sentencing laws, prosecutors, judges,
Office Assessment of the State’s juries, and even crime victims find ways to circum-
Three-Strikes Law: A Lesson About vent the intent of the three-strikes legislation in Cali-
fornia. This is because they perceive injustice in
Unintended Consequences certain cases and think that the punishment simply
The most recent assessment of California’s three- does not fit the crime. In such instances, charges will
strikes law comes from the State’s Legislative be changed to lesser offenses, and judges can convert
Analyst’s Office (LAO).11 In essence, it identifies a prior felony offenses to misdemeanors or even refuse
number of problems associated with the three-strikes to consider the existence of prior felony records. In
legislation and lists a series of unintended conse- that sense, discretion in criminal justice is analogous
quences. First, rather than concentrate the full weight to the third law of thermodynamics. Like energy, it
of the law on the serious, violent offender, a majority cannot be eliminated, only displaced.
(about 70 percent) of defendants charged under three-
Fifth, even though California’s prison population is
strikes are nonviolent, standing accused of petty theft
growing by 300 to 400 inmates a week, the full im-
and drug possession.
pact of three-strikes has yet to be felt by the State
Second, the law has seriously impacted plea bargain- prison system. This is because too few cases have
ing rates. Under the old law, more than 90 percent of reached the point of conviction and sentencing under
all felony cases were concluded through plea bar- the new law. Nonetheless, LAO findings confirm
gains. Under three-strikes, this number has dwindled RAND’s inmate population and cost projections. By
to 14 percent of two-strikes cases, and a mere 6 per- 1999, the California Department of Corrections ex-
cent of three-strikes cases. It appears that private de- pects its prison population to have increased by


roughly 70 percent to a total of 211,000. Given that Texas’ Assessment of Federal

growth rate, the State will have to build at least an-
Truth-in-Sentencing Grants
other 15 institutions at an estimated cost of several
billion dollars. In January 1995, the Criminal Justice Policy Council
of Texas assessed the potential impact of the recent
Sixth, California’s crime rates have dropped 6.7 per- Federal anti-crime initiatives.13 Its report concludes
cent during the first half of 1994. That trend appears that “if Texas abolishes parole for all violent offenders
to be holding. However, whether or not that means without adopting sentencing guidelines and requires
three-strikes is working is less clear. This is because these offenders to serve 85 percent of their sentence,
the crime rates had begun to decline prior to the pas- and present sentencing patterns remain the same,” the
sage of this legislation and may be largely independent State would need about 10,400 additional prison beds
of it. between 1996 and 2000 to accommodate the effects of
this policy. Further, even if Texas were to receive all
Nevada’s Analysis of the Super possible Federal moneys allocated to the State under
the grant provisions, the funding would not cover the
Habitual Offender Statute: The High
costs of constructing the new prison cells, nor would
Cost of Three-Strikes to Small Systems there be any Federal resources for operational costs.
It will be recalled that Nevada is contemplating the Looking at the the long-term impact of this Federal
passing of a super habitual offender law that targets initiative, the Council estimated that it would generate
offenders convicted of a third violent or sex-related the need for an additional 50,400 prison beds between
felony. At the legislature’s request, Nevada’s Legisla- 2000 and 2046.14
tive Counsel Bureau conducted a limited analysis of
the fiscal impact of this legislation based on actual Short-Term Effects of Three-Strikes
prisoner intake information derived from its prison
system.12 Dealing with a much smaller inmate popula-
Legislation on the Criminal Justice
tion than California, the Bureau identified only seven System
inmates as potential candidates for the super habitual Based on what is known about the experiences with
offender law. Three of the seven were already serving three-strikes so far, it is clear that this kind of legisla-
more severe sentences than those contemplated under tion has begun to clog the court system to the choking
the new law (two are on death row and one is serving point. This is due to greatly reduced plea bargaining
two consecutive life sentences). Using 37 years as a rates engendered by this type of law. As more and
life term (based on Nevada’s experience), the Bureau more defendants opt for trials, court capacities will
determined that the 4 remaining inmates would have diminish and court costs will rise. To free crowded
to “collectively serve an additional 81 years beyond court calendars, civil cases will be pushed back be-
their current sentences” had the new three-strikes leg- yond the point of tolerance of citizens seeking justice.
islation been in effect. The Bureau then multiplied the The dramatic changes in plea bargaining are no sur-
fiscal year 1993 cost of keeping one inmate ($14,188) prise. Various mandatory sentences have long been on
by 81. This yields a total of $1,149,228 in additional the books across the Nation. For example, New York’s
costs to the system for four inmates, directly attribut- tough drug control laws or Massachusetts’ gun control
able to three-strikes legislation. The Bureau purpose- legislation prescribe mandatory incarceration of viola-
fully did not include the added costs of inflation, tors. Evaluations of the impact of this type of legisla-
increases in the crime rate, or rising capital, adminis- tion have shown invariably that it tends to be
trative, and operations costs in its calculations. Had subverted by practitioners whenever they perceive that
they done so, the total cost would have been signifi- injustice would result: “Prosecutors refuse to press for
cantly higher. conviction, juries refuse to convict, and judges refuse
to sentence people under these provisions. Hundreds
of imaginative ways are found at every level of the


criminal justice system (including the police) to prison construction. Here too, inmates and costs could
circumvent the intent of such laws.”15 grow incrementally from an additional 157 inmates
and $1.9 million in 1996, to 3,273 inmates and $41.1
Jails, already overcrowded, are being stretched be- million in 1999, to a staggering 20,005 new inmates
yond capacity. To make room for three-strikes detain- and an additional $251.5 million in 2010.18 A second,
ees whose bail is denied for security reasons, more equally slow-growing, long-term effect of three-
and more sentenced prisoners will have to be released strikes legislation is the gradual accumulation of
after serving only fractions of their jail terms. And if elderly inmates in the Nation’s prison systems. Even
more dangerous felons are released to make room for though the percentage of elderly arrested (compared
the three-strikes detainees, the outcome is certainly with other segments of the population) is declining,
less justice, not more. the actual number of elderly who run afoul of the law
and are subsequently arrested is increasing in the Na-
For those who advocate three-strikes to improve eq-
tion. Recent counts of older inmates reflect substantial
uity in criminal justice, there is little evidence to sup-
increases in both their number and their percentage in
port their hopes. Studies point to continued racial
the total population. In fact, prisoners aged 55 years
disparity under enhanced sentencing structures. For
example, assessments of related sentencing (such as and above more than doubled from 1981 to 1991.19
mandatory prison terms) indicate that legislative While differences in definitions and incarceration
efforts to curtail judicial discretion tend to be check- practices make comparisons between States difficult,
mated by discretion practiced in the prosecutor’s record numbers of inmates are serving life sentences.
office. At that level it is much less open to public scru- In 1990, 11,227 inmates were serving natural life
tiny, where a variety of factors, mostly unrelated to sentences in 30 prison systems.20 This figure has
public safety, come into play. Among those factors increased substantially since that time. As of 1994,
affecting case processing and outcome are race, pre- 17,281 inmates were serving natural life sentences in
trial release as opposed to pretrial detention, and the 36 systems. This represents a 46-percent increase in
quality and type of defense counsel.16 As long as pros- that offender population.21 The number of inmates
ecutors retain practical control over plea agreements, serving 20 years or more has increased from 96,921 in
discrection will be exercised and legislative intent 45 systems in 1990 to 141,026 in 49 systems in 1994,
thwarted. reflecting a 49-percent increase. Such data virtually
guarantee that a sizable proportion of any given pris-
Delayed Effects of Three-Strikes oner population will be growing old and gray in the
Nation’s State and Federal prison systems.22
Legislation on Prisons
One of the more insidious effects of three-strikes and The unprecedented increase of the elderly in prisons
related legislation is that the burden of its impact will will contribute significantly to the rapid acceleration
increase only gradually. In fact, the full weight of of the costs of imprisonment because the incidence of
these sentence enhancers will not be felt for many health problems is higher among elderly inmates com-
years. This delayed impact is because most serious, pared with the health needs of elderly in the general
violent offenders already pull comparatively long sen- population. In general, older inmates tend to have
tences while the impact of three-strikes will simply more chronic health problems requiring specialized,
lengthen the time inmates must serve. In the Nevada continuous health care, including pharmacy services,
example, the super sentence would come into effect physical therapy, dietary provisions, skilled nursing
after 12 years, the time inmates must currently serve. care, and related services. About one-third of older
Thus the full fiscal impact of this legislation will not offenders are known to experience one or more
be felt until well into the next century (2033).17 In chronic health problems.23 These illnesses run the
South Carolina, the Office of State Budget estimates gamut from vision and hearing loss, gastrointestinal
that the currently contemplated three-strikes law disorders, and arthritis to respiratory and cardiovascu-
would cost the State $1 billion over the next 14 years lar problems, cancer, AIDS, tuberculosis, and
with most of the money ($664 million) going toward Alzheimer’s disease. The best available estimates for


the cost of health care for this elderly inmate popula- relationship between age and crime does not quite
tion range from double to triple the cost of incarcerat- trace the widely documented age-crime curve because
ing inmates in the general population. This means that calculations of the average lengths of criminal careers
prisons must spend on average between $40,000 and for those arrested for Index crimes show them to be
$60,000 annually for each seriously chronically ill, 5.6 years, with residual career lengths peaking be-
older inmate. Because most of them do not represent tween the ages of 30 and 40.24 These two findings are
any serious threat to public safety, the cost of their in- significant for penal policy development. This is be-
carceration adds literally millions of dollars in expendi- cause the greatest potential for incapacitation through
tures with little to show for the investment. incarceration may well be for offenders between the
ages of 30 and 40, and not, as is often suggested, for
those age 30 and under.25
Summary Findings
In summation, the most important consequences of Although more research is required on the relation-
three-strikes, two-strikes, truth-in-sentencing, and ship between age and crime and the complexities of
related schemes are seen in the fact that each subse- criminal careers (such as residual career length and
quent year will add to the already increasing prison incidence), it is clear that categorical sentencing
population wherever they are implemented. There will schemes, such as three-strikes and other mandatory
also be huge increases in the cost of incarceration, options, countervail existing knowledge as follows:
modified only by fluctuations in the crime rate and the ■ First, statistically speaking, recidivism is known to
number of offenders qualifying for the enhanced sen- decline with increase in age. Hence, long-term
tences. However, the full fiscal impact of this legisla- incarceration of offenders who will grow old in
tion, akin to Pandora’s box, will not unfold until well prison invests scarce resources where they will do
into the first quarter of the next century, and a prolific the least good if the goal is to reduce recidivism.
source of fiscal troubles it will bring indeed.
■ Second, since offending at an early age is highly
The cornerstone of three-strikes and related legislation predictive of long criminal careers, the strongest
rests on the twin promises of crime and cost reduc- message of the age-crime curve for policy develop-
tion. The previously discussed RAND assessment of ment lies in focusing attention on crime prevention.
California’s penal law does point to its potential for Among the firmly established facts in criminologi-
reducing serious and violent crime, but at a stunning cal research is that the younger a teen is when first
cost. And while it is too early to attribute with any arrested for any criminal behavior, the more likely
confidence California’s declining crime rate to the the youth is to continue in that activity. Therefore,
new law, there is an unquestionable acceleration in the legislatures interested in crime reduction could reap
growth of prisoners and costs, not only in this State the greatest returns for public dollars by investing
but in any other jurisdiction with mandatory sentence them at the front end of the system. The focus
enhancement schemes. should be on the development of a wide range of
The potential of three-strikes and related laws for crime prevention and early intervention programs
crime reduction can also be productively assessed by for youngsters before they become ensnared in
looking at the plethora of criminological research on criminal careers. Many of these program activites
the relationship between age and crime. In general, should be outside the criminal justice system and
crime rates peak during the teenage years. It is axio- should concentrate on child development, family,
matic that crime is a young man’s game because most and schools.
serious crimes are committed by young males be- ■ Third, mandatory (and related) sentencing schemes
tween the ages of 14 and 24. After those active years, appear to be the antithesis of principles of individu-
there is first a rapid decline in criminal activities alization and fairness in criminal justice. This is
followed by a gradually diminishing crime rate. The because sentencing legislation cannot possibly take
sharp drop in crime rates is seen in the fact that a ma- into account all of the circumstances affecting indi-
jority (about 67 percent) of those arrested for violent vidual cases or the many factual permutations that
crime are under 30 years old. However, the true


exist among various cases. Advocates of sentencing General, as the Nation’s first law enforcement
reform believed it would improve fairness in crimi- officer, along with the National Institute of Justice,
nal justice through uniformity, openness, and the are in the best position for disseminating correct
removal of judicial discretion, but experience thus information to the public objectively and fairly.
far indicates that these reforms are neither fair nor
effective. ■ The Attorney General and the National Institute of
Justice should consider the development of appro-
priate mechanisms for beginning a dialog with
Conclusion and Recommendations prosecutors and victim advocates who are presently
The preceding analysis of the Nation’s experience fueling the public debate on three-strikes laws.
with three-strikes and related penal laws points to the Similar mechanisms are needed to enlist the abili-
vast differences that exist between the manifest or in- ties and experiences of judges for developing the
tended consequences of the legislation and the latent kind of sentencing legislation that optimizes discre-
or unintended effects it engenders. In other words, tion to allow consideration of individual differences
the discrepancies between what is “mandated” or among offenders while checking the abuses of the
“guaranteed” by the language of these laws and the current mandatory systems.
problems encountered on implementation are charac- ■ The National Institute of Justice should encourage
teristic of all significant criminal justice legislation, and assist Federal and State legislative bureaus in
past, present, and future. These discrepancies occur the development of appropriate research tools and
because the criminal justice system is in reality a very studies to estimate the impact of mandatory sen-
complex organism with no clearly defined head, tencing bills on both costs and crime rates. At
designed to reconcile the often competing demands present, analytic techniques and data bases exist for
among its many constituent parts, of which public making rough estimates of the impact of any man-
safety is but one. Other parts include equity, proce- datory sentencing law. Both techniques and data
dural fairness, efficiency, and consistency. Similar to bases require refinement. Legislators and the public
previous experiences with major legislation in the his- must understand the likely impact of such laws, not
tory of this Nation, three-strikes demonstrates the ex- only in terms of costs and consequences for prison
treme difficulty in predicting just how the combined crowding, but also in terms of related processes and
reactions of prosecutors, judges, defense attorneys, issues. Among these are the negative effects on the
jurors, defendants, parole boards, and corrections offi- civil court system, and, because public moneys are
cials will affect the outcome when such legislation is limited, the diversion of scarce resources from edu-
promulgated. Consequently, the only way to safeguard cation, health, welfare, the infrastructure, and other
against unintended negative consequences is to moni- vital public services.
tor the implementation of new laws very closely and
make whatever changes are required to achieve the ■ Because alternative sentencing policies exist that
desired goals. may well achieve the same crime reduction benefits
as three-strikes laws at considerably less cost, the
In light of the preceding analysis, the task force has National Institute of Justice should encourage their
developed the following recommendations: development and assist in their evaluation in terms
■ The Attorney General should initiate a careful of crime reduction and costs. Other life-time sanc-
study of the impact of Federal three-strikes law on tions such as intensive supervision and community
Federal courts and corrections systems. Beyond service should be pursued. However, research
that, further expansion of the Federal statute should should accompany these programs to document
be resisted until the analysis has been completed. their effect on public safety.

■ Since the current punitive atmosphere permeates ■ Given the likelihood that investment in youth crime
the public and body politic, the public needs to be prevention and early intervention programs may
informed of the true cost and consequences of well be more effective than three-strikes legislation,
categorical sentencing schemes. The Attorney the Attorney General should direct the allocation of


federal funding toward such programs. The collat- 9. Greenwood, supra note 6. This section of the dis-
eral benefits of front-end investments are likely to cussion is based on the principal findings in the
consist of improved scholastic and economic per- RAND research report.
formance of those involved in the programs.
10. Greenwood, supra note 6, at 18.
■ The Attorney General should consider convening a
series of regional conferences to explore the find- 11. The “Three Strikes and You’re Out” Law—A Pre-
ings of existing research on the impact on public liminary Assessment. 1995. Sacramento, CA: Legisla-
safety and cost implications of various three-strikes tive Analyst’s Office. This segment of the report is
laws. The relative costs and benefits of early child- based on the findings of this assessment.
hood crime prevention efforts and early interven- 12. Legislative Counsel Bureau, supra note 7, at
tion and alternative sentencing programs should 15–19. The discussion of this section is based on the
also be examined. findings of the Bureau.

Notes 13. Fabelo, T. 1995. Biennial Report to the Governor

and the 74th Texas Legislature: The Big Picture Issues
1. Karpelowitz, A. 1994. “Three Strikes” Sentencing in Criminal Justice, Austin, TX:16–18.
Legislation Update. Denver, CO: National Conference
of State Legislatures. 14. Fabelo, supra note 13 at 17.

2. Connecticut, Kansas, and Maryland preserve some 15. Flynn, E.E. May 1976. “Turning Judges into
judicial discretion in their “three strikes” legislation. Robots.” The Forensic Quarterly, V50 N2:143–149.

3. Karpelowitz, supra note 1. 16. Meierhoeffer, B.S. 1992. “The General Effect of
Mandatory Minimum Prison Terms,” Washington,
4. RCW 9.94A.120 and 9.94A.030 (reenacted and DC: Federal Judicial Center; and V. Schiraldi, with M.
amended, January 1993). Godfrey. 1994. “Racial Disparities in the Charging of
Los Angeles County’s Third ‘Strike’ Cases.” 1994.
5. The Washington State Initiative 593 defines “most
San Francisco, CA: Center on Juvenile and Criminal
serious offenses” as any Class A felony, serious as-
saults, child molestation, controlled substance homi-
cide, extortion first degree, incest with a child, 17. Legislative Counsel Bureau, supra note 7, at 19.
indecent liberties, kidnapping, leading organized
crime, manslaughter, promotion of prostitution, rape, 18. Corrections ALERT, V l, N23, March 6, 1995.
robbery second degree, sexual exploitation, vehicular
19. American Correctional Association. 1992. Direc-
assault with DUI, any Class B felony with sexual mo-
tory: Juvenile and adult correctional departments, in-
tivation, and any felony with a deadly weapon finding.
stitutions, agencies and paroling authorities. Laurel,
6. Greenwood, P.W., C.P. Rydell, A.F. Abrahamse, J.P. MD: American Correctional Association; and E.E.
Caulkins, J. Chiesa, K.E. Model, and S.P. Klein. Flynn. 1992. “The Graying of America’s Prison Popu-
(1994). Three Strikes and You’re Out. Estimated Ben- lation.” The Prison Journal, V72, N1&2:77–98.
efits and Costs of California’s New Mandatory Sen-
20. Camp, M., and Camp, C.G. 1991. The corrections
tencing Law. Santa Monica, CA: RAND.
yearbook. South Salem, NY: Criminal Justice
7. “Criminal Justice System in Nevada.” 1994. Legis- Institute.
lative Counsel Bureau, Bulletin No. 95–6:13–19.
21. Flynn, E.E. 1995. Managing Elderly Offenders.
Carson City, NV.
Report to the National Institute of Justice, 93–IJ–CX–
8. Communication from Senator Vincent Illuzzi, 0015.
Senate Institutions Committee, Vermont Legislative
Council, Montpelier, VT, 2–27–95.


22. Austin, J. (1994). Three strikes and you’re out: 24. Blumstein, A., J. Cohen, and P. Hsieh. 1982. The
The likely consequences on the courts, prisons, and Duration of Adult Criminal Careers. Final Report to
crime in California and Washington State. San Fran- the National Institute of Justice. Washington, DC: Na-
cisco, CA: National Council on Crime and Delin- tional Institute of Justice. For an excellent discussion
quency; and M. Camp, and C.G. Camp. 1993. The of the relationship between age and crime see D.P.
corrections yearbook. South Salem, NY: Criminal Farrington. 1986. “Age and Crime,” in Crime and Jus-
Justice Institute; and Tonry, M. 1994. “Drug policies tice Review of Research, M. Tonry and N. Morris,
increasing racial disparities in U.S. prisons.” Over- eds., Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press,
crowded Times, V5, l:11–14. l89–250.

23. Anno, B.J. 1990. “The cost of correctional health 25. Farrington, supra note 18 at 223.
care: Results of a national survey.” Journal of Prison
and Jail Health, V9 N2:105–134.


American Crime
Problems From a
Global Perspective

Gerhard O.W. Mueller, Rutgers University, Chair

Paul C. Friday, University of North Carolina-Charlotte
Robert McCormack, Trenton State College
Graeme Newman, SUNY-Albany
Richard H. Ward, The University of Illinois at Chicago


PROBLEMS FROM A significantly affect U.S.
citizens, who must pick
Transnational crime (i.e.,
crime violating the laws
of several international
GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE up the burden for uncol-
lected taxes on these
sovereignties or impact- Summary transactions.
ing another sovereignty) has grown in- In addition, the impact of ethnic gang
crementally over the past two decades, at a rate criminality on our “local” crime scene is readily
roughly corresponding to the increase shown in apparent, e.g., the wholesale trade in cocaine, con-
international trade import-export figures and devel- trolled by illegal immigrants from Colombia; the
opments in transportation and communications. importation of Chinese slave labor into the U.S.
Several events demonstrate the stark reality of and exploitation of Chinese-American businesses
transnational crimes: the destruction by a terrorist by Chinese gangs (triad-based); trade in arms and
bomb of Pan American Flight 103 over Lockerbie, drugs by Jamaican gangs; burglaries by Albanian
Scotland, in 1988; the 1993 terrorist bombing of gangs; and involvement in the fuel distribution
the World Trade Center; the more recent conspiracy market and the international trade of weapons and
in New York City to destroy all Hudson River nuclear materials by Russian gangs. These new
crossings and both FBI and United Nations head- ethnic gangs maintain intra-ethnic contacts, as well
quarters; and the Bank of Credit and Commerce as relations with their countries of origin, and local
International (BCCI) scam, with an estimated cost law enforcement professionals are powerless to
to U.S. taxpayers of between $200 billion and $1.4 stop or control them.
trillion by the year 2021.

In each of these cases, U.S. law enforcement au- Policy recommendations

thorities responded vigorously, but with limited
■ U.N. Convention. Section 32098 of the 1994
overall success. Our system has been developed to
Crime Act (dealing with the development of
deal with criminality at the city/county level and, in
a United Nations Convention on Organized
some cases, at the national level. With respect to
Crime) should be retained and further
global crime, however, we lack readiness—in terms
of education, research sponsorship, interagency co-
operation (between the Departments of Justice and ■ Overseas deployment. The achievements of the
State), and a full commitment to a centralized and Federal Government in dealing with the com-
coordinated international effort. plex problems of transnational crime, including
deployment of U.S. law enforcement personnel
Crime is not a strictly local, or even national, prob-
in overseas stations, should be publicly high-
lem; although its impact is felt at the local level,
lighted and strengthened.
much crime is internationally conditioned and co-
ordinated. For instance, the connection between ■ Training. Strategies to deal with transnational
street crime and the importation and dissemination crime should require that schools of criminal
of drugs is well established. Similarly, an increase justice provide more focused training in areas
in fraud crimes is commensurate with growth in the such as geography, geopolitics, foreign criminal
operational reach of commercial transactions. Prof- justice systems, comparative criminological
its from the international drug trade, “laundered” methods, and global approaches to crime
overseas and reinvested in American real estate, control.
commercial, or entertainment enterprises,


■ Data bases and strategies. The capacity of the worldwide developments and, thus, falls under
Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National the foreign policy clause of the U.S. Constitu-
Institute of Justice to develop international data tion.
bases and strategies for dealing with transnational
crime, in collaboration with the U.N. Crime Pre- ■ Local perspective. The effort to deal with “lo-
vention and Criminal Justice Branch and groups cal” crime as the product of worldwide events
of American scholars, should be strengthened. should focus on criminality pertaining to drugs,
fraud, and ethnic gangs—with constant vigilance
■ Interagency cooperation. The Departments of toward other existing and emerging forms of in-
Justice and State should strengthen their coop- ternationally conditioned criminality.
erative efforts to deal with organized crime.
■ Ethnic recruitment. To deal with ethnic gang
■ Counter-terrorism. The Omnibus Counter-Ter- criminality, a vigorous recruitment drive should
rorism Act of 1995 deserves vigorous implemen- be initiated to enlist candidates from “new” eth-
tation and constant evaluation/monitoring of its nic minorities who can understand or infiltrate
impact. such gangs in affected communities; this recruit-
ment could be part of the community policing
■ Global perspective. Every effort should be program initiative to deploy 100,000 new police
made to move the crime control debate out of officers, or it could be part of the block grant
the current gridlock of national versus local program.
approaches; most local crime is the result of



[I]nternational criminal activity has increased taxpayers between $200 billion and $1.4 trillion by
dramatically over the past decade and has the year 2021.
been facilitated by modern developments in
transportation and communications, relaxed In all these cases, U.S. law enforcement authorities
travel restrictions, and the greatly increased have responded vigorously, yet with limited success.
volume of international trade....1 Our system has been perfected to deal with crimina-
lity at the city and county levels, and with regard to
The American scholarly community in criminology some forms of criminality, at the national level. We
and criminal justice fully supports this congressional are not yet quite ready to deal with global criminality.
finding. It rests solidly on research conducted in this This lack of readiness can be perceived as follows:
country and abroad. The finding has two major impli-
cations. First, it requires national leadership in a glo- ■ At the educational level, our schools of criminal
bal approach to deal with transnational crime. Second, justice have ignored globalization until the early
it requires us to rethink “local crime” as no longer be- 1990’s. Only since then have the textbooks of the
ing truly locally conditioned but, rather, as being the field provided global coverage of crime and crime
product of events worldwide. These two issues are prevention.
taken up in order.
■ At the research level, interest in the global ap-
proach has been building up only recently. While a
National Leadership in a substantial body of research and information (espe-
Global Approach To Deal With cially world crime and justice statistics) is now in
existence, an achievement in which the Bureau of
Transnational Crime Justice Statistics has played a vital role, there are
Transnational crime (crime violating the laws of sev- few sponsors for badly needed research.
eral international sovereignties or crime with impact
■ At the operational level, the Administration de-
in another sovereignty) has grown incrementally over
serves praise for having perfected a network of
the past two decades, roughly corresponding with the
U.S. criminal justice personnel serving on overseas
increase in international trade (import-export figures),
assignments, in collaboration with the enforcement
transportation, and communications. Its reality was
agencies of other governments. (In fact, the Admin-
brought home starkly with several recent events, of
istration has not taken enough credit for building
which three may serve to demonstrate the point:
up this international outreach. An appropriate infor-
■ The destruction by a terrorist bomb of Pan Am mation exercise could provide considerable assur-
Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, with the loss ance to the American public.)
of 270 (mostly American) lives, in 1988.
■ At the interagency level (especially between the
■ The terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center U.S. Departments of Justice and State), American
(1993) and the more recent conspiracy to destroy researchers have the uneasy feeling that a proper
all New York City Hudson River crossings, the modus operandi has not yet been achieved.
New York Federal Bureau of Investigation head-
■ At the international level, American researchers are
quarters, and the United Nations headquarters.
well aware of the difficulties of persuading a rela-
■ The Bank of Credit and Commerce International tively isolationist U.S. Senate that full cooperation
(BCCI) scam that, it is estimated, will cost U.S. with international agencies (especially the United


Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice 1995 that researchers view as a significantly powerful
Branch and its institutes, with United Nations strategy to deal with international terrorists subject to
peacekeeping missions and participation in regional U.S. jurisdiction.
operations) is in the best national interest of the
United States (or the global community of which Local Crime—The Product of
developments have made us an integral part). But
here, too, the Administration deserves credit for ac- Worldwide Events Over Which We
tions that have not been brought to the attention of Have Little Control: A New Challenge
the public in an appropriate manner. We are refer-
The February 1995 House hearings on the 1995 crime
ring here particularly to Section 320908 of the 1994
bills centered on the question of whether the Federal
Crime Bill:
Government or local governments are best equipped
SEC. 320908. SENSE OF THE SENATE REGARD- to deal with the problem of local crime. The conserva-
ING THE ROLE OF THE UNITED NATIONS IN IN- tive view was premised on a concept of crime as being
TERNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME CONTROL. locally conditioned and consequently capable of being
dealt with by local authorities. The Administration’s
It is the sense of the Senate that— view, in contrast, posited crime as a national problem
(varying by localities) for which no one locality has
(1) the United States should encourage the develop-
the technical competence to develop intervention
ment of a United Nations Convention on
strategies; rather, it asserted that a reservoir of inter-
Organized Crime; and
vention strategies can be assembled cost beneficially
(2) the United Nations should— only at the national level.

(A) provide significant additional resources to the This latter view would comport with scientific find-
Commission on Crime Prevention and Crimi- ings. Just as costly cancer or AIDS research can be
nal Justice; conducted at only a few highly specialized research
hospitals (even then requiring national coordination),
(B) consider an expansion of the Commission’s so costly crime control research leading to the devel-
role and authority; and opment of intervention strategies must be centralized.
(C) seek a cohesive approach to the international But even that recognition falls short of the mark,
organized crime problem. inasmuch as crime is no longer a local or a national
problem. Even local crime is now an international
The Administration deserves credit as well for having problem. Its control, thus, may well fall more clearly
followed up on the “Sense of the Senate,” by taking a
under the foreign policy power of the U.S. Constitu-
lead role in the 1994 United Nations organized crime tion (Article II, Section 2.3). This point will be dem-
conference in Naples, through the presence of the
onstrated by the examples of drug, fraud, and gang
Attorney General, and by signing a Memorandum of criminality.
Understanding between the National Institute of
Justice and the United Nations Crime Prevention and Drug criminality. The connection between street
Criminal Justice Branch. Yet far more deserves to crime and the importation and dissemination of nar-
be done in this regard. Inasmuch as the world’s cotic drugs is well established. The national Drug Use
transnational crime problem can be dealt with only by Forecasting program found that in 1992 between one-
a centralized, coordinated effort (resting, for want of half and three-quarters of arrestees had used drugs.
any other situs, in the United Nations), the United This is not the place to reiterate the immense human
States should follow the example of other nations and financial cost to the Nation (including the cost of
(Canada, Italy, and Japan, for example) in providing incarceration, treatment, quality of life, unemployabil-
budgetary assistance. ity, etc.) that the international narcotics trade inflicts
on the United States and, by now, Europe and much of
Finally, the Administration should be commended for the remaining world.
supporting the Omnibus Counter-Terrorism Act of


Drugs are predominantly produced overseas; they are Gang criminality. Ethnic strife and the drive for ethnic
traded worldwide, but their impact on the crime rate is empowerment dominate the international political
local or, cumulatively speaking, national. The compo- scene—in Chechnya, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia,
nents for a global strategy to deal with this global, yet the Near East, Somalia, Rwanda and Burundi, the Phil-
local, crime-inducing phenomenon exist, but have not ippines, Laos, Liberia, and Sierra Leone—not to men-
yet been put into place. U.S. participation in the tion the ethnic conflicts in which immigrant minorities
worldwide efforts of the United Nations Narcotic in Europe are the victims. Increasingly, our foreign
Drug Programmes has been minimal. Greater national policy has been drawn into such conflicts, and we are
leadership in the development of a global drug control likely to see more of them.
policy is urgently needed, or else local crime of every
description cannot be expected to show significant Yet, increasingly and significantly, ethnic problems
decreases. have also impacted our local crime scene. Thus, the
cocaine wholesale trade is controlled by illegal immi-
Fraud criminality. When banks and other businesses grants from Colombia; Chinese gangs (triad-based)
operated on a local level, commercial fraud was a control the import of Chinese slave labor, by the hun-
local crime. As our example of the BCCI scandal dreds of thousands, into the United States, besides
demonstrates, fraud criminality has become entirely exploiting Chinese-American business enterprises;
global, so that county-level law enforcement agencies ruthless Jamaican gangs specialize in the arms and
are powerless to combat it. It must not be assumed drug trades; Russian gangs—as ferocious as the Ma-
that the BCCI case is unique. It may be noteworthy fia—are invading the fuel distribution market and the
for its sheer size, but it is simply demonstrative of the international trade in weapons, nuclear material, and
fact that frauds increase incrementally with an in- anything else of value; and Albanian gangs have be-
crease in the operational reach of commercial transac- come experts in burglary. The list could be continued
tions. Many, but by no means all, of these are ad infinitum. Our point is that, while vigorous Federal
spawned by the international drug trade, the profits of law enforcement has made great progress in dealing
which are laundered overseas and reinvested (in this with Italian-American organized crime, we have no
country or abroad) in anything international fraud car- capacity as yet to deal with the new ethnic organized
tels (or individuals) deem worthy of investment, rang- crime wave that significantly impacts life at the local
ing from real estate to commercial or entertainment level.
The new ethnic gangs are maintaining intra-ethnic con-
The Administration deserves credit for its active par- tacts, as well as relations with their countries of origin.
ticipation in the work of the Financial Action Task Thus, while the impact is local, the solution must be
Force (FATF) of the leading industrial nations. Per- found at the national and international levels. (Part of the
haps if more were known about such international problem is that we have no capacity to understand, let
crime prevention cooperation, that itself would serve alone infiltrate, the new ethnic gangs. As part of the pro-
as a deterrent. gram to employ 100,000 additional [community police]
However, international fraud significantly impacts the officers, a recruitment drive to enlist young men and
quality of life in the United States. Uncollected taxes on women from diverse “new” ethnic communities into our
vast international (ultimately national) transactions are a law enforcement agencies would be in order.)
burden on legitimate taxpayers. Enterprises in the hands In sum, much of so-called local crime is the result of in-
of organized crime are not operated for the common ternational developments over which local law enforce-
good. It may not be too audacious to ask whether those ment officials have little, if any, control. In fact, very
amassing enormous wealth through international com- little crime may be left for a category called purely local.
mercial fraud will ultimately control parts of our Gov- The implications for national leadership and initiative
ernment—including the legislative branch. taking in collaboration with the world community are


The Capacity of the Research the Nation’s schools of criminal justice in issues
including geography, geopolitics, foreign criminal
Community To Assist National Law
justice systems, comparative criminological meth-
Enforcement With Respect to ods, and options of global approaches to crime
Transnational and Internationally control.
Conditioned Local Criminality ■ The capacity of the Bureau of Justice Statistics and
Over the past 30 years, starting from modest begin- the National Institute of Justice to develop interna-
nings, American scholars and researchers of criminol- tional data bases and strategies for dealing with
ogy and criminal justice have made vast progress in transnational crime, in collaboration with the
researching, understanding, and targeting for solution United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal
many forms of transnational and internationally con- Justice Branch, as well as groups of American
ditioned local criminality. The body of research can scholars, should be strengthened.
be found in several thousand books, articles, and
■ The successes of the Federal Government in deal-
research reports. Much of this work has been
ing with transnational crime through deployment of
accomplished without significant assistance from
U.S. law enforcement personnel in overseas sta-
government agencies. Nevertheless, the world has
tions should be highlighted and strengthened.
acknowledged the American lead in criminological
theory building and the modeling of crime control ■ Interagency cooperation in dealing with
strategies. We are in the process of losing this lead, as transnational crime must be strengthened.
foreign governments and foundations, convinced of
their national interest in international crime control, ■ The Omnibus Counter-Terrorism Act of 1995
are increasingly strengthening their national capacity deserves vigorous implementation and constant
(at the governmental and nongovernmental levels) by evaluation and monitoring as to its impact.
investment in research and development. It would be
■ Every effort should be made to move the crime
wise for the Federal Government to utilize the exist-
control debate out of the current lockjaw of na-
ing reservoir of skill and talent in cross-national
tional versus local approaches, because most local
criminological research to modestly invest in this ca-
crime is the result of worldwide developments fall-
pacity and to harness it in the national interest. We are
not calling for a “Manhattan Project” to deal with in- ing under the foreign policy clause of the U.S.
ternational criminality as it impacts local crime and
thus the quality of life in America. (Actually, why ■ The focal points of the effort to deal with
don’t we?) Rather, we are looking for leadership that transnational and local crime as the product of
would enable us, in collaboration with our colleagues worldwide events should be drug, fraud, and gang
abroad, and particularly in support of the United Na- criminality, with constant vigilance toward other
tions global effort, to control international criminality, and emerging additional forms of internationally
the font of local crime. conditioned criminality.

■ To deal with the new ethnic gang criminality as

Summary Recommendations part of the program to deploy 100,000 new police
■ Section 320908 of the 1994 Crime Act should be officers (community policing) or as part of the
retained and implemented further, especially as block grant program, a vigorous recruitment drive
outlined herein. should be initiated to recruit for affected communi-
ties candidates from new ethnic minorities.
■ The achievements of the Federal Government in
dealing with the complex problems of transnational Note
crime should be publicly highlighted.
1. From the Appendix to Section 320908, in which the
■ Strategies to deal with transnational crime require a House recedes to Section 5106 of the 1994 Crime Bill;
more focused training of young men and women at this excerpt is nonbinding, bipartisan “report language.”

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