Speedy Disposition: Monetary Incentives and Policy Reform in Criminal Courts

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Monetary incentives are increasingly seen as attractive alternatives to strict regulatory approaches for achieving objectives. This book examines one of the most ambitious attempts to use monetary incentives in the criminal justice system: New York City’s $8.25 million Speedy Disposition Program (SDP). New York City officials introduced SDP as an incentive scheme to encourage the city’s six District Attorneys to accelerate the disposition of those criminal cases that most contributed to the city’s chronic jail overcrowding problem. Substantial financial rewards would be given to those DAs’ offices that managed to dispose of their oldest felony cases, those cases involving “long-term detainees.”

The implementation of SDP in New York City — and the responses of the city’s district attorneys to it — provides fascinating tales that teach much about innovation in criminal justice, about new approaches to court reform and delay reduction, and more generally, about the uses of monetary incentives as policy tools. Further, the program provides a rich source for analysis of the considerations that should go into the design of incentive programs, and into the contextual factors that argue for their applicability in other areas.
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About the author

Thomas W. Church is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, State University of New York at Albany

Milton Heumann is Professor in the Department of Political Science at Rutgers University.

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SUNY Press
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Social Science / Criminology
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Over the last decade there has arisen considerable disquiet about the relationship between criminal justice and its publics. This has been expressed in a variety of different ways, ranging from a concern that state criminal justice has moved too far away from the concerns of ordinary people (become too distant, too out of touch, insufficiently reflective of different groups in society) to the belief that the police have been attending to the wrong priorities, that the state has failed to reduce crime, that people still feel a general sense of insecurity.

Governments have sought to respond to these concerns throughout Europe and North America but the results have challenged people's deeply held beliefs about what justice is and what the state's role should be. The need to innovate in response to local demands has hence resulted in some very different initiatives. This book is concerned to delve further into this contested relationship between criminal justice and its publics. Written by experts from different countries as a new initiative in comparative criminal justice, it reveals how different the intrinsic cultural attitudes in relation to criminal justice are across Europe.

This is a time when states' monopoly on criminal justice is being questioned and they are being asked on what basis their legitimacy rests, challenged by both globalization and localization. The answers reflect both cultural specificity and, for some, broader moves towards reaching out to citizens and associations representing citizens.

This new textbook will provide students of criminology with a better understanding of criminal justice policy and, in doing so, offers a framework for analysing the social, economic and political processes that shape its creation. The book adopts a policy-oriented approach to criminal justice, connecting the study of criminology to the wider study of British government, public administration and politics.

Throughout the book the focus is on key debates and competing perspectives on how policy decisions are made. Recognising that contemporary criminal justice policymakers operate in a highly politicised, public arena under the gaze of an ever-increasing variety of groups, organisations and individuals who have a stake in a particular policy issue, the book explores how and why these people seek to influence policymaking. It also recognises that criminal policy differs from other areas of public policy, as policy decisions affect the liberty and freedoms of citizens. Throughout, key ideas and debates are linked to wider sociology, criminology and social policy theory.

Key features include:

a foreword by Tim Newburn, leading criminologist and author of Criminology (2nd Edition, 2013),

a critical and informed analysis of the concepts, ideas and institutional practices that shape criminal justice policy making,

an exploration of the relationship between criminal justice and wider social policy,

a critical analysis of the debate about how and why behaviour becomes defined as requiring a criminal justice solution,

a range of case studies, tasks, seminar questions and suggested further readings to keep the student engaged.

This text is perfect for students taking modules in criminology; criminal justice; and social and public policy, as well as those taking courses on criminal and administrative law.

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The book offers a readable, interesting and accessible analysis, addressing an array of different criminal activities, including:

violent crime drug crime white-collar crime organised crime fraud corporate crime.

Crime and the Economy is written with clarity and flair. Technical terms, where used, are fully explained; relevant examples punctuate the discussion; and key points are supported by graphs and diagrams. It is essential reading for undergraduates, graduate students, and academics in criminology and sociology.

Compact Criminology is an exciting series that invigorates and challenges the international field of criminology.

Books in the series are short, authoritative, innovative assessments of emerging issues in criminology and criminal justice – offering critical, accessible introductions to important topics. They take a global rather than a narrowly national approach. Eminently readable and first-rate in quality, each book is written by a leading specialist.

Compact Criminology provides a new type of tool for teaching, learning and research, one that is flexible and light on its feet. The series addresses fundamental needs in the growing and increasingly differentiated field of criminology.

This publication is copyright. Other than for the purposes of and subject to the conditions prescribed under the Copyright Act, no part of it may in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, microcopying, photocopying, recording or otherwise) be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted without prior written permission. Enquiries should be addressed to the publishers.

Sir Alfred Stephen (1802-1894) reached the pinnacles of conoial life in New South Wales Chief Justice, Lieutenant Governor President of the Legislative Council philanthropist, patron of the arts, he is a textbook example of aspirations and possibilites---and success---in colonial Australia.

Born in St. Kitts. West Indies, and part of the great English legal civil service and literary family that includes Sir Janes Stephen and Virginia Woolf, Alfred Stephen left England for Tasmania in the 1830s. Ambitious and aggressive, he became a pioneer Crown law officer and was astonishingly successful financially, equally tactelelss, he fell out with the authorities and moved to Sydney in 1839 when offered a temporary judgeship.

He found instant success, becoming Chief Justice in 1844 and serving with great distincition until 1873, a term never exceeded in the state. At the same time, he was a central figure in the development of the great pubic institutions which came to dominate Sydney's social and cultural life-among other the University of Sydney, the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, the NSW Art Gallery and the Australian Museum.

In addition, and despite the difficulty of providing for his many children on a fixed income, he was a great phianthropist. At his death, his funeral procession down Colege Street in Syndey had 120 carriages and extended for half a mile.

Dr John Michael Bennett, A.M. was awarded the 2006 New South Wales History Fellowship to assist in the writing of this biography.

John Bennett's meticulous, detaileld, and illuminating study of Sir Alfred's career and his contribution to law, politics, social reform and Austraian culture and society brings to life the remarkable public contributions of a remarkable man.

This book is essential reading for all those interested in the history of colonial politics and nineteenth century Australian society. Professor Stephen Garton

In this, the thirteenth and most ambitious volume in his series of judicial "lives", John Michael Bennett continues a project he began as a Semor Research Fellow in Law at the Australian National University 40 years ago.

Described by Australian Historical Studies as a series that adds "an important missing dimension in the field of legal history in Australia [and makes] engaging reading". It refelects Dr. Bennett's fastidious research couped with his long experience in professional law practice and in various academic positions.

His extensive publications chiefly in Legal History, but also as a law reporter and sometime Editor-in-Chief of The Australian Digest, have received much recognition and praise. He was twice awarded the C. H. Currey Memorial Fellowship by the State Library of New South Wales; was a Churchill Fellow in 2000 and received the New South Wales History Fellowship 2006 for the writing of this book.

On examination of published works, he has received the rare degrees of Doctor of Laws (Sydney) and Doctor of Letters (A.N.U.), and he is an Honorary Doctor of Letters (Sydney). A Life Member of The New South Wales Bar Association, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2005 for services to the law.
The federal Superfund program for cleaning up America's inactive toxic waste sites is noteworthy not only for its enormous cost - $15.2 billion has been authorized thus far - but also for its unique design. The legislation that created Superfund provided the Environmental Protection Agency with a diverse set of policy tools. Preeminent among them is a civil liability scheme that imposes responsibility for multimillion dollar cleanups on businesses and government units linked - even tangentially - to hazardous waste sites. Armed with this potent policy implement, the agency can order the parties who are legally responsible for the toxic substances at a site to clean it up, with large fines and damages for failure to comply. EPA can also offer conciliatory measures to bring about voluntary, privately financed cleanup; or it can launch a cleanup initially paid for by Superfund and later force the responsible parties to reimburse the government.

In this book, Thomas W. Church and Robert T. Nakamura provide the first in-depth study of Superfund operations at hazardous waste sites. They examine six Superfund cleanups, including three regions and both 'hard' and 'easy' sites, to ask 'what works?' Based on detailed case studies, the book describes various strategies that have been applied by government regulators and lawyers and the responses to those different strategies by businesses and local government officials.

The authors characterize the implementation strategies used by the EPA as prosecution, accommodation, and public works. They point out that the choice of strategy involves setting priorities among Superfund's competing objectives. They conclude that the best implementation strategy is one that considers the context of each site and the particular priorities in each case. Looking toward the reauthorization of Superfund, they also offer recommendations for improvements in the organization of the program and discuss proposals for change in its liability scheme.

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