The Crime Conundrum: Essays on Criminal Justice

By Lawrence M. Friedman; George Fisher | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Cells vs. Cops vs. Classrooms

Marc L. Miller 1

Pundits and politicians have long debated the role of the criminal justice system and of particular crime policies in controlling crime. A little-noticed effect of some crime policies, in particular those that require substantial expenditures, is that they may shift the allocation of resources among different crime-fighting institutions, notably police, prosecutors, and prisons, and among strategies within and outside the criminal justice system, notably strategies focused on enforcement as opposed to those focused on crime prevention. Indeed, as particular crime policies become more and more expensive, they compete with other basic government expenditures, including those for such social services as education and health. Yet these other expenditures may have a greater, if more subtle, long-term impact on crime than that of any prison cell.

In this essay I consider some by-products of the twenty-year trend toward greater use of imprisonment. The essay starts with the unsurprising observations that imprisonment is an expensive policy option and that as prison populations have grown dramatically, prison budgets have grown too. I sketch in broad terms the growth of United States prison populations and the corresponding changes in prison budgets.

The essay makes four points that are perhaps less obvious.

First, it compares prison expenditures to other justice expenditures, both in the context of total United States Department of Justice budgets and in light of the increasing percentage of state justice budgets accounted for by corrections. As the percentage of justice budgets devoted to corrections increases, competition should increase between corrections and prosecution,


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Crime Conundrum: Essays on Criminal Justice


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 210

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?