Statement prepared for the Subcommittee on Crime of the House Committee on the Judiciary

by Peter W. Greenwood


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Our only means to control violent crime in the near term is through the effects of incarceration, and research on criminal careers is providing some evidence that we can become more effective in deciding who should be incarcerated, thus reducing crime substantially as well as making more efficient use of existing facilities. Additional research efforts could (1) provide police, prosecutors, judges, and parole boards with the information they need to identify the most dangerous offenders who present the greatest risk to society; (2) find out if deterrence really works; (3) determine whether incarceration extends an offender's career or merely takes him out of circulation for a while; (4) find out if more police or particular patrol or enforcement strategies can make a difference; and (5) determine whether current enforcement policies designed to reduce the supply of drugs are worthwhile.

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