ERIC Number: ED343205
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1991-Jun
Reference Count: N/A
Trading Textbooks for Prison Cells.
Chambliss, William J.
During the past 20 years, public expenditures on criminal justice have risen astronomically and disproportionately to expenditures for other services. For the first time in American history, cities are spending more on law enforcement than on education. Although the federal government has cut its education contribution by 25 percent (in real dollars) in the last decade, federal spending for criminal justice has increased by 29 percent. Despite fierce competition for city, county, and state funds, the allocation of resources to the police, jails, and courts is rarely questioned. State expenditures on corrections (prison construction, maintenance, and parole) nearly doubled in the past 10 years. As shown in recidivism statistics dating from the 19th century, the criminal justice system has failed to cope with the problem of crime. Meanwhile, cities are forced to lay off teachers, cut public employee salaries, and reduce expenditures in every category except law enforcement. The crime rate (except for homicide) has remained relatively constant since the 1970s. Also, imprisonment has failed to reduce crime for over two centuries. A Michigan Head Start study demonstrated education's efficacy as a diversionary technique for reducing criminality. Reducing crime and violence will require a shift of priorities toward early education, drug rehabilitation, housing, and a safety net for families. Included are 16 tables and 21 endnotes. (MLH)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Center on Institutions and Alternatives, Alexandria, VA.