Does Punishment Matter?

Brief Analyses | Crime

No. 101
Wednesday, January 26, 1994

The myth that punishment has failed to deter crime is being advanced by those who argue that we imprison more and more people without a significant reduction in crime. The facts say otherwise. From 1950 to 1974 " a period during which imprisonment for serious crime declined sharply " the crime rate soared. In 1974, the rate of imprisonment began increasing and, as a result, the crime rate leveled off in the 1980s and has actually declined in recent years. Still, the rate of serious crime remains distressingly high.


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