Hard or Soft on Crime? A Better Question is ‘What Works?’


Barbed wire in New Mexican prison

The role of prisons in reducing crime is overrated, suggest University of Chicago Professor Jens Ludwig and Duke University Professor Phil Cook, both members of the Chicago Crime Lab, in a new article, The Economist's Guide to Crime Busting, in the Winter 2011 edition of the Wilson Quarterly. They suggest three specific steps to reduce crime: raise the minimum age at which adolescents can legally leave school, encourage more “business improvement districts.” and increase taxes on alcoholic beverages.

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