Crime & Civil Society
Can We Become a More Law-Abiding People?

By David G. Green, et al.
May 2005
ISBN: 1903386365
367 pages, Illustrated, 6 " x 9 "
$39.50 Paper Original

No political slogan has gained more resonance than 'tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime.' Tony Blair used it to reassure voters that a Labour government would take concerns about crime seriously. In spite of this, modern Britain is one of the most crime-infested countries in the developed world. Part of the problem is the refusal to admit the seriousness of the situation. Officials talk of an 'exaggerated fear of crime.' Crime is said to be coming down, according to the British Crime Survey.

But the BCS only began in 1981, when crime was at historically high levels. Furthermore, the BCS records only some crimes - less than half - with very significant omissions. This report shows that the government is failing to get even the most basic things right. Prison should get offenders off drugs and teach them a vocational skill. Most prisoners have a drug problem and find that they can feed their habit while inside. A lot of money is spent on education, but thousands of offenders leave prison without a workplace skill.

Money is being wasted on rehabilitation schemes that have failed to reduce offending. There is an unwillingness to recognize either the deterrent effect of prison or its simple incapacitation effect - criminals don't commit crimes while they are locked up. There is a need for a new crime-education strategy that will include social investment in institutions that encourage law-abiding behavior, especially the family; that will reduce the net benefits of crime to the criminal; and will use the best methods to help prisoners to turn their lives around.

Rival explanations of crime. Incapacitation & deterrence. Rehabilitation. Prison-based therapeutic commuities. Prison education & work. Intensive supervision in the community. Community-based drug treatment. Boot camps & shock tactics. Financial penalties. Post-release support of prisoners. Probation & restorative justice. Can we learn from America? Guiding principles for public policy. Government policy 2005. Appendices. Bibliography. Notes.


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