CRIME AND PUNISHMENT: A Radical Solution by Aryeh Neier


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Prisons, sentencing procedures, and the judicial system have been indicted in recent years by everyone from James Q. Wilson to Jessica Mitford without much discernible effect. Neier, Executive Director of the ACLU, proposes drastic rethinking of the rationale and restructuring of the mechanisms of punishment. First: scrap the whole idea of ""rehabilitation""; a myth dear to the hearts of liberals, it simply doesn't work. Second: abolish parole, a capricious and demeaning game which penalizes those who maintain their innocence and those who won't kowtow to their jailers. Citing a mountain of evidence that ""coerced 'treatment' of social deviancy"" is ineffectual, Neier would substitute shorter sentences of definite duration; he also wants to decriminalize addicts, drunks, hookers, ""incorrigible"" children, and others who commit victimless or status offenses. A clear, forthright and modest writer, Neier has small hope that most of his reforms will be adopted. Still, if anyone is listening, this is a manageable program for unclogging court calendars, ending plea bargaining, and decreasing the expensive ($10,000 to $15,000 per year) incarceration of persons who would fare better out than in. . . and a non-rhetorical response to the injustices Weiss's Prison Experience exposes.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1976
Publisher: Stein & Day