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Resurrecting Radical Non-Intervention: Stop the War on Kids  It has been 30 years since sociologist Edwin Schur published a book called Radical Non-Intervention: Rethinking the Delinquency Problem (Schur, 1973).  His approach, which was part of the “labeling” tradition in criminology and the sociology of deviance, seemed quite novel back then as he challenged a number of assumptions taken at the time toward the problem of delinquency.*

*Revision of a paper presented at the annual meeting of the Western Society of Criminology, Long Beach, California, February, 2004. 

Why are we so Punitive? Some Observations on Recent Incarceration TrendsCurrently the United States is the only western democracy that has the death penalty, we rank well ahead of everyone else in the rate at which we incarcerate people, while ironically continuing to have the highest rate of violent crime among all those countries who keep such statistics.  I would like to make an attempt to explain why this is so, with an emphasis on explaining one consequence of our extreme punitiveness, the ever-growing criminal and juvenile justice system and how this affects young women.*

 

*Revision of a paper delivered at a workshop on "Female Juvenile Offenders," sponsored by Voices Set Free, Portland, Oregon, Nov. 1, 2003.

 

Invest in Prisons, It=s Good for Business: The Prison Industrial Complex: In recent years controlling crime has become a booming business, an "industry" like other industries such as manufacturing and retail trade. A multitude of businesses, ranging from small "mom and pop" security businesses to huge corporations listed on the New York Stock Exchange, have found it profitable to "invest in crime."*

 

* This is a slightly revised version of a paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology in November, 2001.  Look for further updates soon under the title of "It's More Profitable to Treat the Disease than to Prevent it."

 

Assessing “Broken Windows”Theory: The early 1990s in New York City greeted William Bratton as the new commissioner of the New York Police Department. Bratton centered his attention on the New York subways, and reinvigorated the subway police.  He was able to acquire new equipment and weapons for officers working below the streets.  In an all out war against fare evasion and the homeless people who live in the New York subway tunnels, he authorized sweeps of the subway trains and eventually claimed that the subway had been recaptured for citizens.

 

It's More Profitable to Treat the Disease than to Prevent it: Why the Prison Industrial Complex Needs Crime This paper examines recent incarceration trends in the United States, with some comparisons to other countries, focusing especially on some causes and the impacts on certain groups and the society as a whole.  The war on drugs, the profit motive and recycling of prisoners and the growth of the surplus population are among the major causes discussed and reviewed.  Controlling crime has become “militarized” which suggests a strong relationship to foreign policies in recent decades.  The fact that building and maintaining prisons has become a powerful industry suggests that a steady supply of prisoners is required, so that it is more profitable to merely react to crime (through incarceration) than to prevent it.*

 

*Revised version of a paper presented at Eastern Kentucky University, April 8, 2004 (Conversations in Critical Criminology and Feminist Analyses).