America can control crime. This report has tried to say how. It has shown that crime flourishes where the conditions of life are the worst, and that therefore the foundation of a national strategy against crime is an unremitting national effort for social justice. Reducing poverty, discrimination, ignorance, disease and urban blight, and the anger, cynicism or despair those conditions can inspire, is one great step toward reducing crime. It is not the task, indeed it is not within the competence, of a Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice to make detailed proposals about housing or education or civil rights, unemployment or welfare or health.However, it is the Commission's clear and urgent duty to stress that forceful action in these fields is essential to crime prevention, and to adjure the officials of every agency of criminal justice—policemen, prosecutors, judges, correctional authorities—to associate themselves with and labor for the success of programs that will improve the quality of American life.
This report has shown that most criminal careers begin in youth, and that therefore programs that will reduce juvenile delinquency and keep delinquents and youthful offenders from settling into lives of crime are indispensable parts of a national strategy. It has shown that the formal criminal process, arrest to trial to punishment, seldom protects the community from offenders of certain kinds and that, therefore, the criminal justice system and the community must jointly seek alternative ways of treating them. It has shown that treatment in the community might also return to constructive life many offenders who quite appropriately have been subjected to formal process.
This report has pointed out that legislatures and, by extension, the public, despite their well-founded alarm about crime, have not provided the wherewithal for the criminal justice system to do what it could and should do. It has identified the system's major needs as better qualified, better trained manpower; more modern equipment and management; closer cooperation among its functional parts and among its many and varied jurisdictions; and, of course, the money without which far-reaching and enduring improvements are impossible.