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Dialogue, Part III: Deterrence and Rehabilitation: Ideology or Empiricism?

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Policy Review Volume: 2 Issue: 3 Dated: (September 1987) Pages: 302-310
S J Brodt; J S Smith
Date Published
9 pages
A get-tough policy with juvenile offenders, proposed by A.S. Regnery, former head of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, may be politically expedient, but it does not reflect the views of the authors, corrections professionals, or social scientists.
The authors respond to Mr. Regnery's analysis of their views in a previously published article by pointing out that a get-tough policy is espoused by politicians, but has not worked because punishment often results in anger, resentment, and recidivism. It is bad public policy to redirect Federal and State government resources towards the punishment of chronic violent offenders. Instead, the root causes of crime must be explored, and limited resources should be directed at the prevention of delinquency. Specific initiatives should include early intervention in education, family support services, jobs for teenagers, and adult employment opportunities. To counter Mr. Regnery's criticism that they are too liberal and permissive in their view of juvenile rehabilitation, the authors cite juvenile court judges and authors who have proposed alternatives to juvenile incarceration. 18 references.