When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime (and Less Punishment)
About This Event

Since the crime explosion of the 1960s, the prison population in the United States has grown fivefold--a rate unprecedented in American history. Is there an alternative to incarceration?

In his new book, When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton University Press, 2009), Mark A. R. Kleiman, director of the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Public Affairs's drug policy analysis program, argues that smarter enforcement strategies are the answer. He makes the case for concentrating resources on the worst offenders, such as gangs that commit the most serious crimes, rather than dispersing those resources evenly among all inner-city gangs. The goal of corrections must be to reduce reoffending, instead of letting most misconduct go unpunished and lashing out occasionally with ferocious punishments, as our probation system does now. Data support the value of imposing swift and certain, but not necessarily severe, punishment as an effective form of behavioral control. For example, strictly monitored, nonviolent drug offenders who receive immediate jail stays for probation violations are significantly less likely to commit new crimes. Such enlightened practices are already underway in a handful of cities across the country, with promising results so far. The new policies are even more cost-effective than existing policies.

At this AEI conference, Mr. Kleiman will present the thesis of his new book. Distinguished experts in domestic drug policy and criminology, Robert L. DuPont, M.D., of the Institute for Behavior and Health and James Q. Wilson of Pepperdine University, will comment on the feasibility and limits of such a strategy. Sally Satel, M.D., a resident scholar at AEI and the staff psychiatrist at the Oasis Drug Treatment Clinic in Washington, D.C. will moderate the discussion.


Speaker biographies

Robert L. DuPont, M.D., is president of the Institute for Behavior and Health, vice president of Bensinger, DuPont and Associates, and clinical professor of psychiatry at the Georgetown University School of Medicine. He also maintains an active psychiatric practice specializing in addiction and anxiety disorders. Previously, Dr. DuPont served as the first director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and as the second White House Drug Chief from 1973 to 1978. He has also worked for the District of Columbia Department of Corrections, heading parole and halfway house services before founding the D.C. Narcotics Treatment Administration. Dr. DuPont has written more than two hundred professional articles and eighteen books and monographs, including Getting Tough on Gateway Drugs: A Guide for the Family (American Psychiatric Press, 1984), A Bridge to Recovery: An Introduction to Twelve-Step Programs (with John P. McGovern, M.D.; American Psychiatric Press, 1994), and The Selfish Brain: Learning from Addiction (American Psychiatric Press, 1997). He is a life fellow of both the American Society of Addiction Medicine and the American Psychiatric Association and was chairman of the drug dependence section of the World Psychiatric Association from 1974 to 1979.

Mark A. R. Kleiman is professor of public policy in the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Public Affairs, and the editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Previously, he taught at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and at the University of Rochester, and was the first Thomas C. Schelling Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Maryland.  Mr. Kleiman teaches courses on methods of policy analysis and on drug abuse and crime control policy. He has worked as director of policy and management analysis for the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, as a staffer on Capitol Hill and in Boston City Hall, and as special assistant to Edwin Land as chief executive officer of Polaroid Corporation. Mr. Kleiman's current book is When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton University Press, 2009).  He is also the author of Against Excess:  Drug Policy for Results (Basic Books, 1993) and Marijuana: Costs of Abuse,Costs of Control (Greenwood Press, 1989). In addition to his academic work, Mr. Kleiman provides advice to local, state, and national governments on crime control and drug policy.

Sally Satel, M.D., is a resident scholar at AEI. She is also the staff psychiatrist at the Oasis Clinic in Washington, D.C. She has served on the advisory committee of the Center for Mental Health Services of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and in summer 2003, she was a member of the Fowler Commission that investigated sexual misconduct at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Dr. Satel was an assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine from 1988 to 1993. From 1993 to 1994, she was a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow with the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee. Dr. Satel has testified before the House Ways and Means Committee, the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, the Senate Special Committee on Aging, and the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees. She has written widely in academic journals on topics in psychiatry and addiction medicine and has published articles on cultural aspects of medicine and science in the New York Times, The New Republic, Commentary, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal. Dr. Satel is the author of PC, M.D.: How Political Correctness Is Corrupting Medicine (Basic Books, 2001), coauthor of One Nation Under Therapy (with Christina Hoff Sommers; St. Martin's Press, 2005), and editor of When Altruism Isn't Enough: The Case for Compensating Kidney Donors (AEI Press, 2009).

James Q. Wilson is chairman of AEI's Council of Academic Advisers and currently the Ronald Reagan Professor of Public Policy at Pepperdine University. He was the James Collins Professor of Management at University of California, Los Angeles, from 1985 to 1997 and the Shattuck Professor of Government at Harvard University from 1961 to 1987. Mr. Wilson is the author of fifteen books, including The Marriage Problem (HarperCollins, 2002); Moral Judgment (Perseus, 1997); On Character (expanded edition, AEI Press, 1995); Crime and Human Nature (with Richard J. Herrnstein; Simon & Schuster, 1985); Thinking About Crime (Basic Books Inc., 1975); and Varieties of Police Behavior (Harvard University Press, 1968). He has also edited or contributed to books on urban problems, government regulation of business, and prevention of delinquency among children. Mr. Wilson has been a director of the Police Foundation, a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, a member of the attorney general's Task Force on Violent Crime, the chairman of the National Advisory Commission on Drug Abuse Prevention, and the chairman of the White House Task Force on Crime. He is a former member of the boards of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and the RAND Corporation. Mr. Wilson has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Bradley Prize.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine

What's new on AEI

AEI Election Watch 2014: What will happen and why it matters
image A nation divided by marriage
image Teaching reform
image Socialist party pushing $20 minimum wage defends $13-an-hour job listing
AEI Participants


AEI on Facebook