PERU Briefing 13/01 : Justice Reinvestment Thinking outside the cell
“Crime isn’t a disease, it’s a symptom. Cops are like a doctor that gives you aspirin for a brain tumour”. Marlowe in Chandler
In Crime and Punishment in America, Currie notes that, short of major wars, mass imprisonment has been the most thoroughly implemented USA government social programme of recent times. The increase in imprisonment in the UK since 1995 has outpaced that of the USA, to the point where England and Wales have the highest per capita prison population in Western Europe. The French sociologist Loïc Wacquant has argued that this increase in imprisonment arises, not from increasing insecurity about crime rates, but rather from increasing social insecurity. However that may be, Currie argues the expensive experiment in substituting imprisonment for social investment is not working. Fortunately, there is an alternative.