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Full-Text Articles in Law

Reversible Rewards, Omri Ben-Shahar, Anu Bradford Jan 2011

Reversible Rewards, Omri Ben-Shahar, Anu Bradford

Faculty Scholarship

This article offers a new mechanism of law enforcement, combining sanctions and rewards into a scheme of “reversible rewards.” A law enforcer sets up a pre-committed fund and offers it as reward to another party to refrain from violation. If the violator turns down the reward, the enforcer can use the money in the fund for one purpose only - to pay for punishment of the violator. The article shows that this scheme doubles the effect of funds invested in enforcement, and allows enforcers to stop violations that would otherwise be too costly to deter. It argues that reversible rewards could ...


Reducing Mass Incarceration: Lessons From The Deinstitutionalization Of Mental Hospitals In The 1960s, Bernard Harcourt Jan 2011

Reducing Mass Incarceration: Lessons From The Deinstitutionalization Of Mental Hospitals In The 1960s, Bernard Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

In a message to Congress in 1963, President John F. Kennedy outlined a federal program designed to reduce by half the number of persons in custody. The institutions at issue were state hospitals and asylums for the mentally ill, and the number of such persons in custody was staggeringly large, in fact comparable to contemporary levels of mass incarceration in prisons and jails. President Kennedy's message to Congress – the first and perhaps only presidential message to Congress that dealt exclusively with the issue of institutionalization in this country – proposed replacing state mental hospitals with community mental health centers, a ...


Pot As Pretext: Marijuana, Race, And The New Disorder In New York City Street Policing, Amanda Geller, Jeffrey Fagan Jan 2011

Pot As Pretext: Marijuana, Race, And The New Disorder In New York City Street Policing, Amanda Geller, Jeffrey Fagan

Faculty Scholarship

Although possession of small quantities of marijuana has been decriminalized in New York State since the late 1970s, arrests for marijuana possession in New York City have increased more than tenfold since the mid-1990s, and remain high more than 10 years later. This rise has been a notable component of the city’s “Order Maintenance Policing” strategy, designed to aggressively target low-level offenses, usually through street interdictions known as “stop, question, and frisk” activity. We analyze data on 2.2 million stops and arrests carried out from 2004 to 2008, and identify significant racial disparities in the implementation of marijuana ...


Incarceration And The Economic Fortunes Of Urban Neighborhoods, Jeffrey Fagan, Valerie West Jan 2011

Incarceration And The Economic Fortunes Of Urban Neighborhoods, Jeffrey Fagan, Valerie West

Faculty Scholarship

New research has identified the consequences of high rates of incarceration on neighborhood crime rates, but few studies have looked beyond crime to examine the collateral effects of incarceration on the social and economic well being of the neighborhoods themselves and their residents. We assess two specific indicia of neighborhood economic well-being, household income and human capital, dimensions that are robust predictors of elevated crime, enforcement and incarceration rates. We decompose incarceration effects by neighborhood racial composition and socio-economic conditions to account for structural disadvantages in labor force and access to wealth that flow from persistent patterns of residential segregation ...


Reducing Mass Incarceration: Lessons From The Deinstitutionalization Of Mental Hospitals In The 1960s, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2011

Reducing Mass Incarceration: Lessons From The Deinstitutionalization Of Mental Hospitals In The 1960s, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

In 1963, President Kennedy outlined a federal program designed to reduce by half the number of persons in custody in mental hospitals. What followed was the biggest deinstitutionalization this country has ever seen. The historical record is complex and the contributing factors are several, but one simple fact remains: This country has deinstitutionalized before. As we think about reducing mass incarceration today, it may be useful to recall some lessons from the past. After tracing the historical background, this essay explores three potential avenues to reduce mass incarceration: First, improving mental health treatment to inmates and exploring the increased use ...


The Paradox Of Law Enforcement In Immigrant Communities: Does Tough Immigration Enforcement Undermine Public Safety?, David Kirk, Andrew V. Papachristos, Jeffrey Fagan, Tom R. Tyler Jan 2011

The Paradox Of Law Enforcement In Immigrant Communities: Does Tough Immigration Enforcement Undermine Public Safety?, David Kirk, Andrew V. Papachristos, Jeffrey Fagan, Tom R. Tyler

Faculty Scholarship

Frustrated by federal inaction on immigration reform, several U.S. states in recent years have proposed or enacted laws designed to stem the flow of illegal immigrants into the U.S. and to facilitate their removal. An underappreciated implication of these laws is the potential alienation of immigrant communities – even law abiding, cooperative individuals – from the criminal justice system. The ability of the criminal justice system to detect and sanction criminal behavior is dependent upon the cooperation of the general public, including acts such as the reporting of crime and identifying suspects. Cooperation is enhanced when local residents believe that ...


An Institutionalization Effect: The Impact Of Mental Hospitalization And Imprisonment On Homicide In The United States, 1934-2001, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2011

An Institutionalization Effect: The Impact Of Mental Hospitalization And Imprisonment On Homicide In The United States, 1934-2001, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

Previous research suggests that mass incarceration in the United States may have contributed to lower rates of violent crime since the 1990s but, surprisingly, finds no evidence of an effect of imprisonment on violent crime prior to 1991. This raises what Steven Levitt has called “a real puzzle.” This study offers the solution to the puzzle: the error in all prior studies is that they focus exclusively on rates of imprisonment, rather than using a measure that combines institutionalization in both prisons and mental hospitals. Using state-level panel-data regressions over the 68-year period from 1934 to 2001 and controlling for ...