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Emerging Criminal Justice: Three Pillars for a Proactive Justice System

Hahn, Paul H.
June 4, 2015

Source: (1998) Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

This volume examines crime and crime control policies and presents a proactive criminal justice model that has three components: expanded concepts of community policing, community-based corrections, and restorative justice. The discussion argues that criminal justice planning is currently purely reactive and relies excessively on secure incarceration and other inadequate approaches. This reactive approach is evident in the lack of prevention in the early lives and school experiences of children, the primary commitment of many police agencies only to rapid response and sophisticated crime-solving methods after crimes are committed, high probation caseloads, and confidence in deterrence despite high recidivism rates and the failure to curb drug abuse. However, the subcultures in which crime and juvenile delinquency thrive tend to be resistant or impervious to all these reactive efforts and severe penalties. Nevertheless, it is increasingly recognized that traditional criminal justice agencies alone cannot adequately control crime and that community cooperation is essential. The discussion recommends an emphasis on prevention of crime in its early stages, the use of alternative corrections facilities that are as nonrestrictive as possible while maintaining community safety, and the use of secure incarceration only as a last resort at the end of the criminal justice process. The author proposes careful consideration of the existence of a chain of causality in the lives of those who become involved in crime, together with attention to opportunities for intervention at many points in young people’s lives. The text recommends a completely new paradigm for understanding the criminal justice system and most of its elements. It concludes that proactive criminal justice is possible and that many of its individual program elements are already in place throughout the country. Abstract courtesy of National Criminal Justice Reference Service,


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