The Capacity to Punish

by Henry N. Pontell

Published by: Indiana University Press

140 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 x 0.00 in

  • Paperback
  • 9780253203366
  • Published: February 1985


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Henry Pontell convincingly demonstrates that despite the expenditure of millions of dollars, the enactment of many new laws exacting harsher punishments, and the growth of a vast criminal justice system, America is losing its "war on crime." By focusing on deterrence through punishment meted out by our criminal justice system, our courts receive more cases than they can handle, and our prisons and jails overflow with inmates. The message from a beleaguered criminal justice system, according to the author, is clear: there is limited capacity to punish. Pontell suggests that the first step toward solving the crime problem is to stop perceiving it—and using it—as a political issue and to begin to approach it from a reasoned, scientific, humane methodology.