Friday, July 22, 2011

Prison Success & Rehabilitation Failure

Imprisonment is the only documented response to crime that actually reduces crime across the board, as noted by Conklin …”13 to 54 per cent of the decline in crime rates in the 1990’s was due to growth of the prison population…” John E. Conklin (2003). Why Crime Rates Fell. New York: Pearson Education, Inc. (p. 95).

Piehl & Useem wrote…”Crime rates did fall, due in part to the expanded use of prisons.” Anne Morrison Piehl & Bert Useem (2011). Prisons, in Crime & Public Policy, Edited by James Q. Wilson & Joan Petersilia, New York: Oxford University Press, (p.551).

Rehabilitation programs are a failure virtually across the board (with the exception of a slight success shown by cognitive behavioral efforts) and if the public was clearly informed of this by public leadership, the polls would show a different result than that reported by the Los Angeles Times.

An excerpt.

“Cash-strapped Californians would rather ease "third-strike" penalties for some criminals and accept felons as neighbors than dig deeper into their pockets to relieve prison overcrowding, a new poll shows.

“In the wake of a court order that the state move more than 33,000 inmates out of its packed prisons, an overwhelming number of voters oppose higher taxes — as well as cuts in key state services — to pay for more lockup space.

“The survey, by The Times and the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, shows a clear shift in attitude by residents forced to confront the cost of tough sentencing laws passed in recent decades.

“The poll canvassed 1,507 registered California voters between July 6 and July 17, about six weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld an earlier court order requiring the inmate numbers to be cut. It was conducted by two firms in the Washington, D.C., area: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, a Democratic firm, and American Viewpoint, a Republican firm. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 2.52 percentage points.

“The ailing economy far outweighs crime as the top concern for most people today, the pollsters said. That, along with the court order, could help explain voters' new receptivity to changes long sought by prisoner-rights advocates:

“— More than 60% of respondents, including majorities among Democrats, Republicans and those who declined to state a party preference, said they would support reducing life sentences for third strike offenders convicted of property crimes such as burglary, auto theft and shoplifting.

“— Nearly 70% said they would sanction the early release of some low-level offenders whose crimes did not involve violence.

“— About 80% said they approve of keeping low-level, nonviolent offenders in county custody — including jails, home detention or parole — instead of sending them to state prisons. The same percentage favors paroling inmates who are paralyzed, in comas or so debilitated by advanced disease that they no longer pose a threat to public safety.”