Elizabeth Daigneau is GOVERNING's managing editor.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kleiman's book is strikingly unconventional. He asks us to put aside thoughts of vengeance, and instead ask "what set of actions would result in the least total harm and cost, from crime and crime-control efforts combined?"
In place of the current high severity "lock-em-up and throw away the key approach," he advocates "swift and certain" but less severe punishment. Judge Alm's approach in Hawaii illustrates the idea perfectly: People on probation in the HOPE program are warned that violations of probation will result in swift and certain punishment. They are subjected to frequent randomized drug testing. If they fail or skip an appointment, they are quickly apprehended and remanded to jail - but only for a few days. The result has been a dramatic improvement in compliance.More surprisingly, it hasn't been hard to enforce. Once probationers accept that the threat of apprehension is real and punishment certain, most - even substance abusers - stop violating. In this dynamic, Kleiman sees a new approach to law enforcement:
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