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Social Policy and the Future of Criminal Justice

NCJ Number
Prison Journal Volume: 67 Issue: 2 Dated: (Fall-Winter 1987) Pages: 19-26
E Currie
Date Published
8 pages
This article examines social and economic forces which breed criminal violence and discusses policy and program interventions necessary to thwart social disintegration and a permanent underclass.
Societal trends which encourage crime include economic inequality and poverty; lack of opportunities for decent work; economic and social pressures on American families; a social policy that disregards the needs of high-risk families, children and youth; and a punitive, nonrehabilitative policy for people who have broken the law. Specifically cited is the rising poverty among American children, minimal income and medical support from Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and medical programs, a decrease in blue-collar jobs, and the powerful attraction of illicit money from activities such as the drug trade. Suggestions are made that the criminal justice system toughen its response to domestic violence; provide well-designed, intensive probation supervision programs; and equip more serious offenders with skills for a productive and contributory life in the community. Suggested changes outside the criminal justice system include enlisting government, the private sector, and nonprofit organizations in direct job-creation; intensive training for the disadvantaged; and comprehensive, accessible retraining for workers displaced by technological changes.