Pols Should Discuss Crime Policy Based On Research, Expert Says


The presidential candidates should be discussing crime policy because of the “very likely possibility that as the recession deepens and unemployment grows, crime will increase.” So says psychology Prof. Laurence Steinberg of Temple University. Still, Steinberg cited the danger that during periods of crisis, “panic trumps prudence,” and “policy gets made on the basis of fear rather than foresight.” Steinberg spoke last week at the Brookings Institution, which released a volume of The Future of Children journal on juvenile justice published by Brookings and Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School.

Steinberg said research shows that getting tough on kids by trying them as adults does not work because many return to their old neighborhoods “as damaged goods, more likely to commit crimes, less able to continue their schooling, less likely to make a successful transition into the labor force.” The bottom, said Steinberg: “current policy that’s presumably supposed to reduce crime actually makes our neighborhooods more dangerous.” Such programs as family based therapy and sophisticated foster care would do better, he argued.

Link: http://www.brookings.edu/events/2008/1015_juvenile_justice.aspx

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