Book cover of Criminal Incapacitation

Criminal Incapacitation

by William Spelman

Publisher: Springer-Verlag New York, LLC
ISBN: 9780306443831

Synopsis of Criminal Incapacitation

This book is the first attempt to bring together diverse research on criminal offenders to estimate the effectiveness of incapacitation. The author analyzes inmate surveys, arrest records, and other data to estimate the production function of the criminal justice system; determines likely benefits and costs of general and selective incapacitation policies; and details an economic theory to help policymakers decide on the appropriate level of imprisonment.


Supports the proposition that a few career criminals are responsible for most crime, and that if we can identify them and remove them, essentially for good, from society, then we will not have overcrowded jails, overworked police, or unsafe streets. The arguments for and against such an approach are becoming increasingly volatile. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

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