Minimizing Harm: A New Crime Policy for Modern America

By Edward L. Rubin | Go to book overview

1
Introduction:
Minimizing Harm as a
Solution to the
Crime Policy Conundrum

EDWARD L. RUBIN

"That's the effect of living backwards," the Queen said kindly . . . "For instance, now,"she went on, "there's the King's Messenger. He's in prison now, being punished: and the trial doesn't even begin till next Wednesday: and of course the crime comes last of all." "Suppose he never commits the crime?" said Alice. "That would be all the better, wouldn't it?' the Queen said Alice felt there was no denying that. "Of course it would be all the better," she said: "but it wouldn't be all the better his being punished." "You're wrong there, at any rate," said the Queen. "Were you ever punished?" "Only for faults," said Alice. "And you were all the better for it, I know!" the Queen said triumphantly. "Yes, but then I had done the things I was punished for," said Alice: "that makes all the difference." "But if you hadn't done them," the Queen said, "that would have been better still; better, and better, and better!"

-- Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

This book represents an effort by a number of leading criminologists to articulate a pragmatic crime policy for America -- a policy that combines academic insights about crime prevention with the realities of contemporary politics. It consists of four principal studies, focusing on public attitudes toward crime, prevention, alternative sanctions, and drug policy, plus two commentaries on each paper. Taken collectively, the studies outline a coherent policy that centers on minimizing harm, as opposed to retribution, eliminating crime, or solving the social problems that gener-

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Minimizing Harm: A New Crime Policy for Modern America
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables and Figures vii
  • Preface and Acknowledgments ix
  • 1 - Introduction: Minimizing Harm as a Solution to the Crime Policy Conundrum 1
  • References 32
  • 2 - Public Attitudes Toward Crime 35
  • References 57
  • References 61
  • Notes 66
  • 3 - Prevention 67
  • References 86
  • References 112
  • 4 - Alternative Sanctions 115
  • References 147
  • References 163
  • Notes 169
  • 5 - Drug Policy 171
  • References 195
  • Notes 207
  • References 208
  • About the Editor and Contributors 209
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