Lessons Learned, Lessons Lost: Immigration Enforcement’s Failed Experiment with Penal Severity
26 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2011 Last revised: 25 Sep 2011
Date Written: January 4, 2011
This article traces the evolution of “get tough” sentencing and corrections policies that were touted as the solution to a criminal justice system widely viewed as “broken” in the mid-1970s. It draws parallels to the adoption some twenty years later of harsh, punitive policies in the immigration enforcement system to address perceptions that it is similarly “broken,” policies that have embraced the theories, objectives and tools of criminal punishment, and caused the two systems to converge. In discussing the myriad of harms that have resulted from the convergence of these two systems, and the criminal justice system’s recent shift away from severity and toward harm reduction, this article suggests that the criminal justice system has been more proactive in compensating for its excesses than the immigration enforcement system and discusses the reasons why.
Keywords: crimmigration, criminal immigration law, immigration, convergence, criminal procedure, get tough, criminal justice
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