American penology: Words, deeds, and consequences

Abstract

A primary argument underlying this paper is that it is possible to capture a particular theory or conceptual rationale in the development of a penal program strategy. Further, it is possible to implement the program in a way that corresponds to both the program strategy and theory and then to evaluate the program to determine the adequacy of both the program strategy and the theory upon which it is based. The history of U.S. penal reform does not illustrate this potential, however. Rather, U.S. penal reforms have been implemented without evaluation and have resulted in a pattern of unintended consequences, most notably increased social control and an associated undermining of democratic rights and individual freedoms, without any corresponding decline in crime. These trends and outcomes are documented in order to draw penal program and evaluation policy implications for the U.S. and their ever expanding penal complex and the Czech Republic in their ongoing efforts to implement a penal system consistent with their newly emerging democratic society.

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Blomberg, T., Yeisley, M. & Lucken, K. American penology: Words, deeds, and consequences. Crime, Law and Social Change 28, 269–286 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1008233500140

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Keywords

  • Program Strategy
  • Juvenile Court
  • Penal System
  • Boot Camp
  • Penal Policy