CONFRONTING CRIME: An American Challenge by Elliot Currie

CONFRONTING CRIME: An American Challenge

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A sociological treatment of the ever-present problem of crime in America. The author, formerly co-editor of Crisis in American Institutions, presents the problem as follows: America has the worst crime rate of any nation in the modern industrial world (with the possible exception of South Africa). Why is this and what can we do about it? Identifying the problem, Currie then proceeds to search for an answer. Previous answers, be argues, are too often drawn to the American propensity for the quick fix. What he seeks is long-term redress, something that most people do not consider as they try to keep themselves safe through next week. This is why the shop-worn solution, he states, is always imprisonment, pure and simple. His program consists of innovative police strategies (such as hiring youth for auxiliary police work), probation and community service for criminals, intensive rehabilitation and family support programs to strengthen family ties, expanded community dispute resolution programs, and intensive job-training programs. Currie's work is well thought-out, although he spends altogether too much time railing against the nco-conservative criminological ideas of James Q. Wilson, rather than against the problem itself. All in all, though, a reasoned discussion of the problem with a few solid practical suggestions.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1985
Publisher: Pantheon