Top Researchers Advise on Criminal Justice Reform in “The Prison Journal”; Chicago Experts Arthur Lurigio, Pamela Rodriguez Featured

(Chicago, IL) – The Prison Journal has released a landmark publication on criminal justice reform that is a must-read for policy makers across the country. Chicago’s Arthur Lurigio, professor of psychology and criminology at Loyola University Chicago, and Pamela Rodriguez, president of Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC), one of the nation’s leading prison alternative programs, are featured authors and guest editors of the special edition. 

Harry K. Wexler of the National Development and Research Institutes (NDRI) is also a lead author and guest editor of the special publication.

The issue, Criminal Justice Reform: Issues and Recommendations for Corrections, presents a series of articles by several of the nation’s preeminent researchers in criminal justice. They discuss the nature and consequences of the current criminal justice crisis and strategic solutions that can reverse the costly trends of the past 30 years.

A total of 7.3 million Americans are now incarcerated or on probation or parole, equal to one in every 31 adults, an increase of 290% since 1980. Drug offenders in prisons and jails have increased 1200% since 1980. A significant percentage of these offenders have no history of violence or major drug selling activity.

“Increasingly, the drug war that has been waged for 30 years is seen as a ‘failure’ or a creator of more harm than good,” writes criminologist Alfred Blumstein in the special issue. “Nevertheless, it has been pursued with increasing intensity using arrest and incarceration as its dominant outcome measure.”

“There is a growing U.S. national consensus that with proper attention to the policies that drive the size of prison populations, these populations can be reduced,” add researchers Todd Clear and Dennis Shrantz. “Concurrently, the current fiscal crisis has created enormous pressure to reduce prison populations, with a first-in-decades showing of political support.”

“Sustainable reforms require legislation,” write the guest editors. “Without that leadership, or in the absence of political will or public support for the changes recommended, they will end up as so many other efforts—forward-thinking ideas filed away on a shelf.”

The issue can be downloaded from http://tpj.sagepub.com/content/91/3_suppl.toc. After October 31, it can be accessed with the following user ID: Edtpj and password: Sagetpj. The publication’s articles include:

Many national groups have called for correctional reform, including the Council of State Governments, the Pew Center on the States, the Sentencing Project, and the Vera Institute of Justice.

TASC, Inc. is a statewide, nonprofit organization with a 35-year history of providing alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent offenders in Illinois.

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