What would happen if we started to hold corrections officials — prison wardens and the managers of probation agencies — accountable for the proportion of their alumni or clients who commit new crimes? I speculate on that question in the latest issue of Blueprint. The piece refers to Dukenfield’s Law; more about that here


Sasha Volokh tends to agree, though with more stress on the virtues of privatization. His article lays out the requirements of a good accountability system, but without directly addressing the question of how to get one influenced in the face of contractors’ political power. (He does point out that public-employee unions — in this case the correctional officers — can pose a comparably serious problem.)

Now that we have some Very Rich People apparently bound for prison, I wonder if anyone has addressed the question of what to do when an inmate (or his friends and relations) acquires a big block of stock in the prison company? It’s not far-fetched, when you consider that a major motivation for membership on hospital boards of directors is reported to be the special treatment board membership ensures.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

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