Princeton has posted a .pdf of the introduction to my new book.Â Here’s how it starts:
Engineers have a sardonic saying: When brute force fails, you’re not using enough. For three decades, in the face of the great crime wave that started in the early 1960s, we have been trying to solve our crime problem with brute force: building more and more prisons and jails.
Recently, the crime problem has diminished though the downtrend stopped around 2004 but we still have a huge crime problem, to which we have now added a huge incarceration problem: there are now 2.3 million people behind bars at any one time, and that number continues to grow.
Is there an alternative to brute force? There is reason to think so, and pieces of that alternative approach can be seen working in scattered places throughout the world of crime control. But the first step in getting away from brute force is to want to get away from brute force: to care more about reducing crime than about punishing criminals, and to be willing to choose safety over vengeance when the two are in tension.