Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1689607
 


 



Reimagining Criminal Justice


Cecelia M. Klingele


University of Wisconsin Law School

Michael S. Scott


University of Wisconsin Law School

Walter Dickey


affiliation not provided to SSRN

October 8, 2010

Wisconsin Law Review, 2010
Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1140

Abstract:     
The criminal justice system needs more than reform. It requires reimagining. In its present state, by every measure that matters, the criminal justice system is failing to deliver what can fairly be expected of it. Many crimes are never reported, and most crimes that are reported go unsolved. When offenders are identified and apprehended, they are often processed through the criminal justice system in a manner that values expediency over enhanced public safety. Despite falling crime rates, many communities remain unsafe. Limitations on the capacity of law enforcement agencies, prosecutors' offices, trial courts, and correctional programs prevent the criminal justice system, as presently configured, from responding to the volume of cases it processes with the time and attention needed to ensure justice is done and public welfare and security are advanced.

In response to these glaring deficiencies in the current system, many policymakers and advocates have demanded increased resources for more patrol officers, more prosecutors, and more prisons"as though more of what is not working will somehow fix the problem. We take the position that more fundamental changes are needed if the criminal justice system is to succeed in its dual goals of reducing crime and serving the ends of justice. In this Essay, we set forth the reasons for our belief that the system needs to be re-imagined, asserting that whether the measure is efficiency, effectiveness, or equity, the current system fails to deliver. We explore the meaning of public safety, emphasizing that the traditional tools of arrest, prosecution, and conviction, standing alone, are unlikely to make homes, streets, and neighborhoods secure in any meaningful way. Drawing primarily on examples from the field of policing, we point to examples of ways in which local communities have successfully tackled discrete public safety problems, relying less on the invocation of the traditional criminal justice system and more on the creative use of state power and community resources. From those examples, we derive three principles that link the best of these efforts. We then consider the implications of our imagined criminal justice system for the roles of police, prosecutors, judges, and correctional agents, and for legal research and education as well. Finally, we acknowledge practical and theoretical obstacles to the change we advocate, and end with our reasons for optimism about the future of the criminal justice system.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 47

Keywords: criminal justice, policing, prosecution, courts, corrections, situational crime prevention, community policiing, community prosecution, diversion, victimization, public safety

JEL Classification: K14

working papers series





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Date posted: October 10, 2010 ; Last revised: October 28, 2010

Suggested Citation

Klingele, Cecelia M. and Scott, Michael S. and Dickey, Walter, Reimagining Criminal Justice (October 8, 2010). Wisconsin Law Review, 2010; Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1140. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1689607 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1689607

Contact Information

Cecelia M. Klingele (Contact Author)
University of Wisconsin Law School ( email )
975 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706
United States
608-890-3258 (Phone)
Michael S. Scott
University of Wisconsin Law School ( email )
975 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706
United States
(608) 238-2844 (Phone)
(608) 238-2843 (Fax)
Walter Dickey
affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )
Feedback to SSRN


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