Targeting career criminals: a developing criminal justice strategy

by Joan R. Petersilia, Marvin Lavin

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A state-of-the-art survey of programs that target the career criminal for special criminal justice efforts. In particular, it focuses on how to link these programs into an integrated structure. The information was collected through telephone interviews, mail surveys, and site visits. The state of career criminal programs is one of considerable imbalance among the sectors of the criminal justice system. In the prosecutorial area long strides have been taken and are continuing. An ambitious beginning has been made in the police field, but only a few police departments have made concrete achievements in dealing selectively with career criminals. In the corrections area and to a lesser extent in parole there is reluctance to tailor resources to offenders on the basis of prior records. The author emphasizes the need to make an early and reliable identification of serious offenders. Having this capability is crucial to the effectiveness of efforts against career criminals.

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