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Unformatted text preview: C7 Final Reading 02:39 Blumstein and Wallman, "The Crime Drop and Beyond" • Over the past 20 years, the United States has seen dramatic swings in violent crime. Its path can be broken into three periods: o A rise – began in 1985 ended in 1993. o A drop - 1993- 2000 there was a steep annual decline of 7.4% per year in murder rates and 8.0% per year in robbery rates as recorded in the Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) of the FBI o A flattening – 2000 – present from 2000 to 2004, murder rates were quite flat, decreasing minimally from 5.54 per 100,000 in 2000 to 5.50 in 2004, an annual change over those four years of just 0.2%. • The surge of the late 1980s and early 1990s was largely limited to young black men, whereas all demographic sectors shared in the downturn of the 1990s. • the crime-reduction benefit of each additional prison bed declines as imprisonment grows. • In two articles, Blumstein & Beck (1999, 2005) have apportioned the sources of the quadrupling of the U.S. incarceration rates since 1980, demonstrating that it does not follow from increases in crime or in police effectiveness as measured by arrests per crime. Rather, it is almost entirely attributable to policy choices that increased the rates of prison commitments per arrest and lengthened prison terms, including more returns to prison for parole violators. • In addition to the large absolute number of returnees, several attributes of current release cohorts do not bode well for crime trends. Longer average prison stays, diminished access to prerelease services, and increasing use by the prison systemof mandatory release, in which prisoners are automatically released after a set fraction of their sentence rather than being evaluated as ready by a parole board, suggest that, absent significant improvements in corrections policy and practice, high recidivism will continue. • California Prop 36 – treatment would be more effective for drug offenders than incarceration. • The incarceration rate for drug offenses has grown by a factor of ten since 1980. • The growth in handgun violence in the late 1980swas accompanied by a decline in revolvers and an increase in semiautomatic pistols as the crime weapons of choice. • Another trend in the firearms industry that may have facilitated the rise in crime was the proliferation of federally licensed firearms dealers at the same time that the government was carrying out minimal oversight of dealers. • The Brady Handgun Act, which was implemented in 1994, had by 1999 resulted in the denial of over 400,000 handgun purchases by people in categories legally proscribed from possessing handguns. • Another gun-control policy that has since been evaluated is Project Exile. Initiated in 1997 in Richmond, Virginia, this program sent those arrested for a gun crime who had a prior record to the federal justice system for prosecution, where they faced a much more severe sentence than they would have if they had been prosecuted by the local district attorney. •...
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- Fall '10
- criminal law