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Volume 15, Number 91 


lidst Despar 

• • 




Readers are invited to submit 
items for publication , 
indicating whether 
the sender can be identified . 
Items must be fully documented 
and not require any comment. 

MEATY NEWS The General Accounting Office (GAO) pulled a fast one on the 
meat packing industry when it made several unannounced 
plant inspections between June 1980 and Jan. 1981. Its findings: More than a 
quarter of the plants were not in basic compliance with one or more of the six in- 
spection-program requirements. 

PRO DETROIT LEWIS In an effort to strike-up better relations with the auto in- 
dustry, Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis quashed a 
scheduled reprint of “The Car Book," which was popular with consumers but a 
bur on the back of Detroit. Lewis called the book “anti-industry” and said it 
contained errors and outdated information. Ralph Nader called the action “a 
radical move against the consumer.” 

S FOR ENERGY America shelled out a whopping $387 billion in 1980 for ener- 
gy, compared to $83 billion in 1970. What in blazes happened? 
OPEC for one, higher utility expenditures for another. And of course, the Mid- 
west, along with the Northeast, is the land of the highest utility bills. 

MORE TAXES Wage-earners will pay as much as $195.75 more in Social Securi- 
ty taxes next year as a result of a tax rate increase scheduled to 
go into effect Jan. 1. The new rates are expected to raise an additional $4.8 bil- 
lion, but experts agree even that will do little to bail out the deeply troubled 

EPA WATERED DOWN It looks like Reagan appointee Ann Gorsuch is doing a 
bang-up job at the Environmental Protection Agency 
(EPA). Since her confirmation in May of this year, the agency has referred only 
ten cases to the Justice Dept, for enforcement action. Prior to then, the EPA 
had been responsible for upwards of 200 cases per year. 

LIVING ROOM PIRATES Based on an appeals court ruling in San Francisco this 
October, a person sitting in his or her living room is 
criminally liable if they’re recording a television program off the air with a video 
recorder. Copyright infringement was the court’s logic. Legislation has been in- 
troduced in both houses of Congress that would overrule the ruling. 

TV SNOOPERS While television viewers may be delighted with the emerging 
video cornucopia on their screens, they’ll squirm when they 
hear about the associated privacy intrusions. With marvel ous technologies like 
cable, computers and viewdata arriving on the scene, privacy in the home is 
slowly being chipped away in four specific ways warn PXpBrtS' intrusion inter- 

ception, misuse of information and collection of individual and household infer- 

FEDERAL MONSTER MYTH? Contrary to public perception, the greatest 
, . . growth in government has been at the state 

and local levels, not the federal level, reports Congressman Paul Simon (111). In 
1949, 13.9 out of every 1,000 Americans worked for the federal government; in 
1979, it was 12.7. In 1950, state and local government employees represented 67 
percent of the government work force; in 1979, 82 percent. In 1960, state and 
local government combined purchases did not match those of the federal gov- 
ernment; in 1980, state and local government purchases were twice as much. 

GOOD FOR FUNDRAISING In its endeavors to defeat liberal opponents, the Na- 
tional Conservative Political Action Committee 
(NCPAC) has learned to fatten its coffers by stirring up furor among conserva- 
tives. Last spring, they asked conservatives via direct mail whether U.S. Sena- 
tor Ted Kennedy should be targeted for defeat in 1982. A resounding 77 percent 
of the respondents said yes, and a stream of dollars flowed into NCPAC. Actual- 
ly, NCPAC doubts that they can defeat Kennedy— but it does raise funds. 

Page Two 




EDITORIALS / Majority favors ERA; 

Reagan keeps people off government’s back 5 


Robert L. Smith 7 

MISSOURI EASTERN: Hope for prisoners/ 

Lauren Markow 8 

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Volume 15, Number 91 

Page Three 


What’s wrong with our prisons? 

The following unsolicited letter was 
written by David A. S toller, a current 
inmate at Missouri Eastern. Stoller, 
previously an inmate at the Central 
Missouri Correctional Center (CMCC), 
sent the letter to Missouri Eastern 
superintendent Col. Gerard Frey. 

The first portion of the letter was 
written at CMCC; the second at Mis- 
souri Eastern. Stoller s overall per- 
ception of the problem of corrections 
is remarkable. Here \ he contrasts pris- 
on life in an older institution versus 
Missouri Eastern and its new ap- 
proach. ( The letter underwent minor 
editing for clarity.) 

August 4 , 1981 

After the experience of having been 
incarcerated for over a year, I’ve 
come to the conclusion that the quali- 
ty of most inmates entering and leav- 
ing the division of corrections is just 
about the same— rotten! Maybe 

I feel that the true failure lies with 
the typical institution's staff. Not 
that they do anything wrong — in fact, 
they often admit and try to reconcile 
their mistakes— but that there really 
aren't enough of them. 

The guards have little incentive 
and are too few in numbers. The case- 
workers and counselors are over- 
worked and spend most of their time 
on disciplinary problems rather than 
counseling and working cases. Educa- 
tion officers have little opportunity to 
provide meaningful rehabilitation be- 
cause, quite simply, there is no 
money in the budget for them or their 

The institutions are so understaffed 
that sometimes it is hard to find a 
guard! One night my partner and I 
(you never go anywhere alone in the 
penitentiary) witnessed a knife and 
pipe fight in the main corridor. We 
caned it the “Seven Hall Massacre.” 
The fight involved eight armed prin- 
cipals. Knives were stabbing, pipes 
were thumping, someone was 
visciously swinging a machete and 
lots of people were hurling billiard 
balls like major league pitchers. Sev- 
eral innocent bystanders were struck 
and injured they didn’t even know 
what was happening. 

I wanted to report the incident as 
soon as I escaped the crossfire — there 
was blood all over and people were 
dying. When my partner finally lo- 
cated the duty captain and informed 
him of the melee, the captain quickly 
got on his walkie talkie and ordered 

his subordinates to the area with first 
aid kits and made arrangements for 
transportation to the hospital. 

I returned to my hall, which was 
quickly locked down for an institu- 
tion-wide weapons search. The shake- 
down failed to produce the two and 
half foot machete, but did produce an 
assortment of other unused weapons. 
But none of the weapons used in the 
“Seven Hall Massacre” were recov- 
ered. Thanks to the captain, none of 
the inmates died— it was a wonder. 

Last night was a real panic! An in- 
mate smashed in the steel door of the 
canteen (our grocery store!) with a 
hundred pound dumbbell. A swarm of 
no less than 150 inmates gathered 
like a school of sharks at a feeding 
frenzy as the cases of cigarettes 
(retail $330 each) were thrown out in- 
to the main corridor to be snatched 
up by anyone with enough heart to 
plunge into the riotous crowd. The 
feeding frenzy lasted for over 20 
minutes and was interrupted not by 
the guards (I never saw one) but by 
the routine blowing of the “count- 
time” siren. 

How these and many other similar 
events could even take place is prob- 
ably more than a little puzzling to 
most people— but not when you stop 
to think that there just aren’t enough 
guards to watch us and keep us under 
control. Maybe those on duty are pro- 
vided with such little incentive to be 
ambitious— it is a dangerous job. 
After all, we’re not nice people. 

Or is it simply frustration? 

Your average inmate has seldom 
been accused of being dumb. In fact, 
it is generally accepted that they are 
by and large a rather clever lot— crim- 
inal clever. If the institution could in- 
crease its staff or its use of technolo- 
gy, then maybe the guards could out- 
smart and outmuscle the 480 of us 
who run loose behind the walls and 
fences of this institution (CMCC). 
But as it stands, the 16 of them are 

Now with the environment we are 
allowed to create for ourselves, even 
those of us who are least malignant 
and would most like to reform, we 
quickly harden. In an effort to sur- 
vive we choose up sides, and of course 
choose the side that is strongest. In- 
evitably, we regress from residents to 
inmates to become quite simply— con- 
victs. We run most typical institu- 
tions. We can do anything we want 
except rehabilitate ourselves and 
leave (although there are exceptions 
to the last two statements— not the 
first.) We become animals even if we 
are not already. 

Nov. 12, 1981 

But alas, I heard a rumor that the 

great state of Missouri is trying a no- 
ble experiment. There is a placed 
called the Missouri Eastern Correc- 
tional Center. “Pacific” for short. 

Here they are trying one more shot 
to reshape the division of corrections 
into a workable, successful and pro- 
ductive program. 

And so far, at first glance, at the 
beginning of the experiment, things 
look good. The experiment seems to 
have a bright future. 

The first thing that strikes you 
about the place is its fine appearance. 
Buildings of modem and “civilian” 
architecture stretch out across an ap- 
pealing landscape that gives the im- 
pression of a small, yet spacious 
junior college campus— until, of 
course, you notice the double barbed 
wire fences and gun towers. 

The next thing you notice (or at 
least an inmate notices) is the lack of 
tension. The atmosphere is calm. Con- 
trolled calm, not accidental or ap- 
peasement calm. It may have some- 
thing to do with the ostentatious 
(though not inordinantly expensive) 
amount of area delegated to educa- 
tional and recreational facilities. 
Maybe it lends hope to the inmate, 
helping to quell his frustration. 

But don’t let the campus architec- 
ture and atmosphere fool you. The 
place is designed quite strategically 
and technologically to favor the 
guards, in contrast with some of the 
older institutions. It is possible and 
quite practical (and practiced) for 16 
guards to watch every room (we don’t 
have cells, but the doors can be se- 
curely locked from the outside) in the 
512 room institution. 

The remainder of the institution 
seems equally well under constant ob- 
servation by another dozen or so 

In short, I get the feeling that the 
guards run this whole place— not just 
the fence. And as odd as it may sound 
for an inmate to say so— that makes 
me feel comfortable. 

I can relax and let the animal that 
grew in me at other institutions go 
back to sleep. I can relax and pay at- 
tention to more important things like 
taking advantage of the many mean- 
ingful rehabilitation programs avail- 
able here; find a satisfying and re- 
warding skill or vocation and become 
a member of society instead of its an- 

Of course, this place won’t rehabili- 
tate us all. But at least those of us 
who want to rehabilitate ourselves 
will be able to take advantage of the 
programs, atmosphere, privacy and 
control offered by this institution— 
and become a little better grade of 
person than we were. 

David A. Stoller 

Page Four 

FOCU S/Midwest 

Majority favors ERA 

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) 
appears to be floating in limbo. It is still 
three states short of ratification with only 
a year left in the extended ratification 
period. The polls show resounding sup- 
port for the amendment on the natioral 
level, as well as in both Missouri and Illi- 
nois — two non-ERA states. 

So what is the hang-up? State legisla- 
tures, that’s what. 

Under the shadow of a conservative ad- 
ministration, many allegiances change, 
especially when it comes to getting one- 
self reelected. 

Based on a perceived conservative shift 
in the country, many legislators are play- 
ing it safe by being vague or non-commit- 
tal in their support of the amendment. 

In this particular instance, polls don’t 
mean a lot, because support for the 
amendment would certainly look bad to 
conservative dishevelers around the na- 

Thus, we are faced with a crisis of sorts, 

a crisis in backbone. 

Ironically, many of the same legislators 
might sway toward the amendment if cor- 
responding pressure was put on them by 
well-organized pro-ERA groups. 

Reagan keeps people 
off government's back 

Ever since Presidential Counselor Ed- 
win Meese praised the highly-publicized 
Heritage Foundation report urging re- 
moval of restraints on domestic intelli- 
gence gathering, a shadow has been cast 
over personal liberties in America. 

Meese said several of the suggestions 
found in the report would be considered 
by the new administration, including one 
which would greatly increase surveillance 
of domestic radical groups by using sur- 
reptitious infiltration and illegal informa- 
tion gathering techniques. And these 
would be only the first steps. 

Recently, the Reagan administration 
m ide good on its intentions. On Nov. 6, 
President Reagan signed an Executive 
Order giving U.S. intelligence agencies in- 
creased powers to collect information on 
Americans. Government snoopers are 
now free to examine credit, bank and 
other personal records, as well as employ 
informants— all in pursuit of “significant 
foreign intelligence. ’ ’ Domestic-based 
foreign corporations and American cor- 

Volume 15, Number 91 

porations abroad now are targets of even 
more intelligence scrutiny. 

Coupled with these developments is the 
incipient effort aimed at truncating the 
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). 
Adopted in 1966 and strengthened in 
1974, the FOIA has been the bedrock of 
accountability in government. Indeed, it 
is the envy of many other democracies. 
The act has been instrumental in uncover- 
ing abuses by the CIA, FBI and other 
government agencies. 

Under the Reagan administration, Con- 
gress is being prodded to strip the FOIA 
of much of its efficacy. 

Bobby R. Inman, deputy director of the 
CIA, said during Senate Select Commit- 
tee on Intelligence hearings that his agen- 
cy along with the National Security 
Agency (NS A) should be completely ex- 
empt from the act since the nature of 
their work is “necessarily secret.” Inman 
also said FOIA requests drain his agency 
of resources and personnel. 

It is certainly not difficult to see an 
emerging pattern: reduced governmental 
accountability and stepped-up domestic 
spying. FBI Director William Webster 
has been pressured by critics of the FOIA 
including Samuel Francis, editor of the 
Heritage Report, and Jeremiah Denton, 
the reactionary Alabama senator and 
head of the Senate Judiciary Subcommit- 
tee on Security and Terrorism, to relax 
guidelines which restrict investigation of 
so-called domestic radicals. Webster, 
however, has remained reluctant to do so, 
and should be commended for not buck- 
ling under. 

It is hardly surprising to see the 
Reagan clique unleash U.S. intelligence 
agencies, based on the same old xenopho- 
bic notion of “foreign intelligence” gath- 
ering. It is surprising, however, to see the 
same agencies unleased with such un- 
abashed zeal on the American people. 
And it is downright shocking to watch 
the means stripped away to make these 
agencies accountable to American citi- 

It is a step backward for the Republi- 
can Party. And although the snoopers 
have been unleashed, the ability to scruti- 
nize them— the FOIA— is still at hand. A 
concerted effort must be mounted by all- 
including traditional Republicans— to 
protect the act from those extremists who 
would rob it of its effectiveness in safe- 
guarding our basic freedoms. 

Page Five 

During the past five years, more prisons have been built than at 
any other time in our nation's history. And despite their infamous 
record of failure , the trend continues as our society rapidly forges a 
prison-oriented mentality with few — if any — alternatives to offer. 

Yet alternatives do exist, having recently captured attention in the 
face of a senseless build-up of an already vast prison wasteland. Bol- 
stered by a wave of court-ordered reform, alternatives have emerged 
at every level of the prison scheme and are receiving serious consider 
ation by those determined to provide sensible, economical and 
humane incarceration of offenders. 

In this, the second of two special issues, FOCUS/Midwest brings 
the issue of prison alternatives to our readers, in the hope that an in- 
formed public can support the sweeping changes needed to insure 
that every offender is given a reasonable chance to change his or her 
behavior through rehabilitation and a positive, supportive environ- 

Presented are a series of reports and essays by nationally-known 
proponents of workable alternatives to imprisonment Included is an 
in-depth look at Missouri's own alternative prison effort, Missouri 
Eastern Correctional Center. 

Several national contributors came through with material for this 
issue despite their regular duties and commitments. Locally, 
FOCUS/Midwest is especially indebted to Scott Decker, an assistant 
professor of Administration of Justice at the University of Missouri- 
St. Louis, whose advice and consultation proved invaluable in gath- 
ering the divergent aspects of alternative corrections. 

The ideas presented here and in the previous issue (Numbers 90 
and 91) are climbing to the top of the social agenda in America, Col- 
lectively, they represent a call to action over problems in our criminal 
justice system that must ultimately be confronted. The result, hope- 
fully, will be a reasoned approach to punishment that is both sensible 
and humane in its treatment of offenders. 

Page Six 


A reasoned approach to punishment 

By Robert L. Smith 

A rising crime rate and an under- 
standable public fear of crime have 
prompted lawmakers to “get tough” 
on crime. But harsher public policy, 
determinate sentencing and increased 
sanctions have not and cannot de- 
crease crime in America. 

In fact, they have aggravated the 
traditional problem of trying to con- 
fine a large number of offenders un- 
der conditions that are humane, safe, 
fair and constitutional. Limited hu- 
man and fiscal resources require that 
institutionalization only be used for 
public safety or for any possible de- 
terrent effect. 

Only a small portion of the present 
prison population would be classified 
as residual— that is, those persons 
who require ultimate control for pub- 
lic safety. These offenders are usual- 
ly dangerous, violent, prone to recid- 
ivism and hard to treat. Sometimes 
they are psychologically disturbed. 

While they must be isolated from 
society (and frequently from each 
other), they comprise only a small 
portion, 15-25 percent, of the total 
prison population. For the remaining 
offenders, a wide range of alternatives 
exist that are cost-effective and safe. 

Prisons have long been burdened 
with the myth that crime is somehow 
limited to or caused by the success 
or failure of the correctional system. 
Imprisonment per se has virtually 
no impact on crime rates, since the 
majority of criminals are neither ar- 
rested, prosecuted nor convicted. 

Less than 25 percent of all felony 
crimes are cleared by police. Of that 
percentage, less than three percent 

Robert L. Smith is the Assistant Di- 
rector of the National Institute of 
Corrections in Washington, D.C. 

are placed under correctional care. In 
other words, 75 percent of all felonies 
are not dealt with at all by our crimi- 
nal justice system. Even with a magi- 
cal 100 percent correctional success 
rate, crime on the streets would not 
be affected since the total number of 
imprisoned is too small in relation to 
the total number of people commit- 
ting crimes. 

The paradox between the perceived 
and real impact of imprisonment is 
rooted in public ignorance. Just be- 
cause the public thinks excess cus- 
tody reduces crime, we waste expen- 
sive resources— prisons— on those 
who do not need this level of control 
or punishment. 

Numerous alternatives exist that 
present intelligent practicable solu- 


A wide range of proven alternatives 
to imprisonment include uncondi- 
tional discharge, probation , fines or 
restitution orders and community 
service orders. 

Still others are hybrids that com- 
bine features of incarceration with 
less restrictive programs. An exam- 
ple is intermittent confinement— at 

A recent study found 
that if cells are 
available, they will be 


night, on weekends, or on other peri- 
odic bases— with or without restric- 
tions on unconfined activity. Con- 
victed offenders might, for example, 
be permitted to maintain full-time 
employment while spending nights, 
weekends, or both, in a correctional 
institution. Conversely, offenders 
might be required to attend an insti- 
tution-based work or educational pro- 
gram during the day, while spending 
free time at home. 

Other, more severe options involve 
the “split-sentence,” consisting of a 
short period of confinement, usually 
less than six months, coupled with a 
term of probation. The split sentence 
option is primarily an alternative to 
longer periods of otherwise debilitat- 
ing incarceration. 

Other major alternatives to long- 
term prison sentences consist of pro- 
cedures that shorten the period of 
full-time incarceration or seek to re- 
duce its impact. Parole and other con- 
ditional release programs are the pri- 
mary term shorteners. Graduated re- 
lease programs can also shorten the 
prison stay. Day release, educational 
and vocational furloughs all help to 
shorten the offender's stay in prison, 
while offering some respite from its 
rigors. The paramount goal is to pre- 
sent a number of non-institutional 
based programs in order to sidestep 
the megaprison altogether. 

In trying to distinguish among 
community-based and institution- 
based programs, experts suggest that 
such labels as halfway house, group 
home, shelter care facility, camp, 
ranch, or similar formal descriptions 
of programs are not very helpful. 

The key to successful reintegration 
of offenders into communities lies in 
the extent and quality of their rela- 
tionships with the community. This 
includes social, personal, family and 
( continued on page 22) 
Page Seven 

Volume 15, Number 91 

Missouri Eastern: 
Hope for prisoners 

By Lauren Markow 

Col. Gerard T. Frey 

Build more prisons! 

Regardless of the demonstrated 
failure of the prison system in this 
country, that policy remains consis- 
tent. It was the driving force behind 
the recent completion of the Missouri 
Eastern Correctional Center. 

Missouri Eastern is a 512-room, 
medium security prison located 35 
miles west of St. Louis in Pacific, 
Missouri; it represents the state’s 
ninth investment in the prison busi- 
ness. Touted by Missouri officials as 
innovative and responsive to “the 
state s most urgent criminal justice 
need, the $25-million prison received 
its first inmates recently. 

The lofty goals of Missouri Eastern 
depend on one assumption: that it 
will not become overcrowded. The 
prison itself was constructed in part 
to relieve inmate overcrowding else- 
where in the state. 

David Blackwell, acting director of 
the division of Adult Institutions 
says, “We’ll hold the best hopes for 
Mo. Eastern. Of course, it could dete- 
riorate rapidly if it gets congested,” 
adding. It s an expensive proposi- 
tion, but by the time you get one 
prison built, you’ll need two more.” 

Prison management 

A. “programmatic” managemei 

style wiU prevail at the new prison £ 

A y su P erin tendent Ge 
aid T. Frey A retired army colon 
with a masters degree in politic 
science, Frey has served as a paro 
board member, warden and prison e: 
ecutive in Delaware 

“We’re not just an inch ahead c 
things, Frey said about the ne 1 
prison, “we’re five miles ahead c 
everyone. We’re not responding t 
standards, we’re creating them.” 

Missouri Eastern has four wing 
which house 128 men each. Sex o 
fenders, violent criminals and dru 

abusers are housed separately. The 
remaining units house other offend- 

Each unit is supervised by its own 
team of custodial and treatment staff 
members under the direction of a 
“mini- warden.” 

Inmates from elsewhere in Mis- 
souri filed applications to occupy the 
new facility in Pacific. Those with 
chronic medical problems and recent 
conduct offenses were ineligible. 
Otherwise, the inmate selection was 
screened to ensure that no high secur- 
ity risks were included. 

The management at Missouri East- 
ern will try to cut back excessive 
leisure time or “dead time.” Inmates 
will work paid eight-hour days in the 
prison furniture refinishing shop 
(wages will be based on quality and 
quantity of output), take vocational 

training or attend educational classes 
.offered within the prison as spon- 
sored by area colleges. 

“The inmates here will work hard 
and they’ll learn to appreciate leisure 
time rather than experience it as a 
way of prison life,” said Frey, “The 
emphasis will be on responsible 

Federal prison model 

Missouri Eastern represents an ef- 
fort to close the gap between the 
types of correctional environments 
offered by state and federal institu- 
tions. Traditionally, state prisons lag 
far behind in programs, training per- 
sonnel and living conditions. 

Similar to the eight federal prisons 
built since 1974, Missouri Eastern’s 
layout utilized a campus design. The 
40-acre campus of two-story brick 
buildings is surrounded by a maxi- 
mum security perimeter consisting of 
razor-wired fence spotted with guard 
towers. According to Frey, this 
layout provides a medium security at- 
mosphere in the prison, with a max- 
imum security benefit to the citizens 
of Pacific. 

Recruitment and training of guards 
for the Pacific facility are designed to 
meet federal standards. In the past, 
rural correctional institutions have 
been staffed largely by people from 
the immediate rural community. Lo- 
cated, however, within a 50-mile radi- 
us of St. Louis, a more “urbanized” 
group will comprise the Missouri 
Eastern custodial staff. The hope is 
that an ethnically mixed staff will 
mean better communication and 
cooperation from the largely urban, 
minority prison population. 

Staff training took place in Pacific. 
“We had seven weeks of on-the-job 
training [which is] important to give 
everyone an idea of what the commu- 
nity was like,” explained Frey, 

Page Eight 


“There are no traditions here good or 
bad, we’ll make our own. But we do 
have standards.” Frey said all staff 
members received training in CPR 
(cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) and 
hostage situations. 

In addition to formal regulations, 
Frey intends to institute a few infor- 
mal policies of his own. Inmates who 
misbehave will be given three re- 
prieves prior to being reassigned to 
another institution. 

While the cells house only one in- 
mate each, they are expected to be 
kept clean and uncluttered. Inmates 
will be confined to their sub-unit resi- 
dence only at night, and each carries 
his own keys. 

“The attitude here will be firm but 
fair. A guy’s got to make choices out 
there and we want an atmosphere 
here for good, responsible choices 
from living habits to work habits.” 

Mixed opinions 

While many Missouri officials 
share Superintendent Frey’s enthusi- 
asm about the new Pacific facility, 
others are less optimistic. 

George “Buzz” Westfall, St. Louis 
County Prosecutor maintains “It s 
just a matter of time before Pacific is 
overcrowded. How can it be helped? 
It’ll ease the situation for the other 
facilities for a while, but ultimately 
we’ll need more space.” Westfall said 
Missouri needs more prison space on 
all levels— minimum, medium and 
maximum security. 

Construction of new prisons has 
always involved a tumultuous politi- 
cal process. Director Blackwell il- 
lustrates the point: “Its a simple no- 
tion. If you have X number of convic- 
tions you need X number of beds; we 
have to approach the legislature, he 
said, adding, “I wouldn’t want to go 
down in history as someone who built 
more prisons, but if there’s a need, 
there’s a need.” 

The need for additional prison 
space in Missouri was initially per- 
ceived during the administration of 
former governor Warren Hearnes. 
The appropriation for a new prison, 
however, didn’t come until 1976 dur- 
ing the final months of Christopher 
Bond’s first term as governor. 

During the first year of the Teas- 
dale administration, a battle flared 
over both the site and type of facility 
to be built. Essentially, both Bond 
and Teasdale supported the plan to 
put a medium security prison near 
Kansas City, and were supported 
widely by members of the House. 

A loud public outcry coupled with 
heavy opposition in the state senate 
threw the plan into turmoil. The sen- 
( continued on page 23) 

Inmates in health care class 

A couple of inmates visiting another in his room 

Inmates show off desk they built in prison furniture shop 

Volume 15 , Number 91 

Page Nine 

ACLU Position Statement 


Bill of 


“ Before society can 
expect an ex- 
prisoner to become 
productive and 
independent, it 
must allow him 
the means for 


independence. ” 

The National Prison Project was 
formed in 1972 by the ACLU. It re- 
sulted from the consolidation of 
two smaller reform projects, one of 
which stemmed from the Attica 
prison riot of 1971. While neither of 
the earlier projects had any paid 
staff members, the national project 
has a fulltime paid staff of 18, with 
50 to 75 independent lawyers work- 
ing on various prison lawsuits 
across the nation. 

1. We believe that no new jails or pris- 
ons should be constructed by local, state 
or federal officials until all possible alter- 
natives to incarceration are examined and 
utilized. The cost of dealing with offend- 
ers, in other than a dosed institution, will 
in the long run result in financial savings. 
Thus there should be maximum funding, 
staffing and utilization of non-institu- 
tional corrections to minimize future hu- 
man and economic waste. 

2. We advocate the discontinuance of 
indeterminate sentencing in favor of fixed 
maximum terms to be imposed by the 
court at the time of sentencing. This fixed 
term should be relatively short, not to 
exceed two years in most cases. It is now 
generally realized that in this country im- 
prisonment has been used indiscriminate- 
ly and excessively, and that long sen- 
tences not only seriously debilitate men 
and women but tend to increase the pros- 
pects of recidivism. 

We urge that certain general principles 
should govern sentencing practices: 

A. The categories of crimes for which 
imprisonment may be imposed, the cri- 
teria for imposing a sentence of imprison- 
ment, and the grounds on which a court 
may exercise its discretion should be de- 
fined with a reasonable amount of preci- 

B. Incarceration should be restricted to 
those offenders whose recorded criminal 
behavior indicates that the protection of 
society cannot be afforded in any other 
way or where surveillance in the commu- 
nity has been without effect; 

C. Fines, restitution, community-based 
treatment facilities, probation and a range 
of other alternatives should in most cases 
be preferred to imprisonment as a sanc- 

D. The obligation to prove the necessity 
for restricting freedom should always rest 
with the state; 

E. Courts should be required to state 
reasons for sentences imposed and an ap- 
pellate procedure for the speedy review 
of sentencing decisions should be pro- 
vided to assure uniformity and fairness. 

3. In conjunction with the abolition of 
indeterminate sentencing, we advocate 
the elimination of parole as a prison re- 
lease mechanism. Once the sanction of 
imprisonment is utilized, the actual length 
of time to be served shall be fixed by the 
sentencing court, subject only to being 
reduced by earning good time. All earned 
good time should be vested and, in the 
event of serious misbehavior, should only 
be forfeited prospectively. 

4. We believe that work release pro- 
grams should be expanded allowing in- 
mates to go outside the prison to obtain 
productive and gainful employment. In 
addition, every prisoner must, at least, be 
given the opportunity to work within the 
institution at the prevailing wage in jobs 
and occupations which are useful in the 
“free world.” At present, prisoners are 

paid such low wages that many of their 
families are forced to subsist on welfare. 
Furthermore, the skills prisoners pres- 
ently learn are either archaic or of little 
use in competing for jobs in the outside 

5. We support the expansion of educa- 
tional release programs allowing as many 
prisoners as possible to obtain high school 
and college degrees. Every prisoner must 
be given the opportunity to advance him- 
self educationally and to obtain, either 
inside or outside the institution, a high 
school diploma or college degree. 

6. We believe that the rule of law must 
replace the secret and unchallenged de- 
cision-making process which is the hall- 
mark of most correctional institutions. 
When an inmate faces the possibility of 
substantial punishment (either the loss 
of good time, confinement in punishment 
cells, a change in security status, or the 
revocation of any significant right, entitle- 
ment or privilege), he or she should have 
certain minimal due process guarantees 

A. advance notice of charges; 

B. the right to be represented by coun- 
sel at the hearing and to present witnesses, 
confront one's accusers, cross-examine 
opposition witnesses, and present evi- 
dence of innocence; 

C. the right to a hearing before an im- 
partial tribunal; 

D. the right to a written record of the 
hearing and the right to appeal this deci- 
sion to the highest administrative body 
and the courts if necessary. 

7. We believe that, as a general propo- 
sition, prisoners should retain all consti- 
tutional rights except those absolutely 
necessary to ensure the maintenance of 
prison security and discipline. Within this 
contextual framework prisoners should 
be allowed to: 

A. read what they wish; 

B. exercise their religion; 

C. correspond by uncensored mail with 
friends, family and the media; 

D. obtain necessary legal assistance; 

E. obtain necessary medical and psy- 
chiatric attention; 

F. be free from cruel and unusual pun- 
ishment such as isolation in solitary con- 
finement cells, lengthy confinement in 
maximum security cells, extensive ware- 
housing without involvement in positive 
treatment programs and, certainly, cor- 
poral punishment; 

G. pursue other basic civil rights, such 
as marriage, conjugal and family visits, 

8. We believe that arbitrary limitations 
on the civil rights of ex-offenders must 
be re-examined and eliminated. Before 
society can expect an ex-prisoner to be- 
come productive and independent, it must 
allow him the means for achieving inde- 
pendence, i.e., the right to vote, the right 
to obtain employment, the right to obtain 
a driver's license, etc. 

Page Ten 

FOCUS^A iidwest 

Against The Walls 

The John Howard Association's Policy Statement on 

Our nation's prisons and jails are 
in the midst of a population explo- 
sion. Over half a million men, women, 
and children are today behind bars in 
the United States, with the number 
rising daily. The situation in Illinois 
is, if anything, worse. 

• From January 1, 1975 through 
January 1, 1981, there was a 49% 
increase in the number of state 
prisoners in the United States. 

• From 1972 through 1978, the net 
growth in the number of prison- 
ers in state facilities was more 
than three times as great as the 
increase in capacity. 

• During the period from 1975 
through 1981, the number of Il- 
linois state prisoners skyrocketed 
from 6,672 to 12,473— an increase 
of 87% in just six years. Since 
1974,, the prison population has 
increased by 98% while bed space 
has only increased 25%. 

• The Illinois Department of Cor- 
rections (IDOC) estimates that 
if no steps are taken to alter cur- 
rent policies there will be 16,877 
state prisoners by January 1985 
— a further increase of 33% over 
the next four years. 

Why is this population explosion 

® Imprisonment is not due to a 
comparable rise in the crime rate 
The United States Department of 
Justice reports that rrom 1973 
through 1978 there was no sig- 
nificant increase in the rate of 
violent crime. Indeed, some cat- 
egories, notably burglary, showed 
a significant decrease. 

• It is not because there is a con- 
sensus that prisons are an effec- 
tive deterrent to criminal activity 

• It is not the result of widespread 
faith in prisons as vehicles for 

® It is the result of more convic- 

tions, dispositions, and prison 
sentences. For example, in Cook 
County reported crime increased 
from 1972 to 1979 by 12.8% and 
arrests increased by 13.4%, while 
dispositions increased by 333%, 
felony convictions by 470%, and 
imprisonment by 177%. 

The reality is that we continue to 
imprison more and more Americans 
for longer and longer periods of time 
because we simply don’t know what 
else to do. In response to widespread 
concern about criminal victimization, 
our political “leaders" have failed to 
provide leadership, our government 
“planners" have failed to develop 
plans, the “architects" of our correc- 
tional systems have failed to propose 
strategies. The result is that our pris- 
ons are a failure, a failure guided by 
neither a coherent correctional philos- 
ophy nor long-range program to ef- 
fect such a strategy. 

• The General Revenue Fund allo- 
cations for the Department of 
Corrections grew by 363% be- 
tween 1970 and 1982— an annual 
rise of over 30%. 

• The Department's budget allo- 
cation for Fiscal Year 1982, ex- 
cluding capital development fund 

The John Howard Association is a 
private , non-profit prison watchdog 
agency formed in 1901. Named after 
the 18th century English humanitari- 
an John Howard, the association ad- 
vocates more humane and effective 
correctional policies for incarcerated 
adults and juveniles in Illinois. The 
two main purposes of the JHA are to 
keep the public informed as to prison 
developments and press for system- 
wide reforms. 

Overcrowding in Illinois 

appropriations, is over a quarter 
of a billion dollars. From 1970 
through 1982, the Department 
has been allocated over one and 
a half billion dollars. 

• During the same period, the De- 
partment also received almost 
half a billion dollars for capital 

The Illinois General Assembly has 
pursued a “get tough" policy, ignor- 
ing both the financial and the human 
costs of their actions. 

• Current Illinois law requires man- 
datory prison sentences for mi- 
nor non-violent offenses. In one 
tragic example of this policy a 
defendant was found guilty of 
stealing a can of oil worth $1.55 
from an auto parts store. The Il- 
linois Supreme Court ruled that 
he must receive a minimum sen- 
tence of three years in prison. 

• Illinois continues to imprison ex- 
offenders who have violated no 
law, but have failed to comply 
with technical conditions of pa- 
role or mandatory supervised re- 
lease. In the two-year period from 
February 1979 through January 
1981, the Prisoner Review Board 
returned over 1,300 men and 
women to prison for such tech- 
nical violations. 

• The introduction of determinate 
sentencing in Illinois was sup- 
posed to diminish discretion in 
determining how long an indi- 
vidual prisoner would remain in- 
carcerated. Instead, discretion 
was shifted from the sentencing 
court to prison staff. The De- 
partment's disciplinary system 
permits revocation of large 
amounts of good time for minor 
infractions. During Fiscal Year 
1980, the Department of Correc- 
tions added an aggregate of over 
486 years to prison sentences 

Volume 15, Number 91 

Page Eleven 

“Filling prisons beyond a reasonable capacity . . .” 

The state of Illinois ranks 3 1st in the 
country with an imprisonment rate of 
96 prisoners per 100,000 citizens. Of the 
approximately 20,253 inmates in the 
state, 13,245 are being held in state 
prison facilities, the remainder in local 

through such revocations. 

• Proponents claimed that Illinois 
House Bill 1500 would have little 
impact on the total prison pop- 
ulation, offsetting the increased 
sentences for major offenses by 
reducing sentences for minor of- 
fenses. Projections of the impact 
of the new law recognized that 
the net effect would be primarily 
to lengthen sentences, hence in- 
crease population. 

This has been exacerbated by more 
recent legislative actions: 

• passage of the “three-time loser 
bill,” requiring mandatory life 
imprisonment upon conviction 
for a third serious felony. 

• adoption of the Habitual Juve- 
nile Offender Act, ensuring 
lengthy prison sentences for cer- 
tain juvenile offenders; and 

• constant reclassification of of- 
fenses to provide longer and long- 
er prison sentences. 

One result of this overreliance on 
incarceration has been severe over- 
crowding. Illinois’ prison capacity of 
13,245 will be exceeded in the Fall of 
1981. If the nationally recognized 
standards were applied to IDOC, the 
capacity would shrink to 8,758 in- 

Despite the following IDOC efforts 
to relieve overcrowding, the system 
is on the brink of a population crisis 
that requires a comprehensive and 
long term solution: 

• Early release of 4,346 inmates 

• Granting meritorious good time 
of 8,047 days in 1980 and 280,451 
days in 1981. 

• Reduction in good time revoca- 
tion of 221,976 days in 1980 and 
207,647 days in 1981. 

• Increase in good time restored 
of 31,029 days in 1980 and 44,251 
days in 1981. 

Human suffering is, however, by 
no means the only adverse effect of 


• Filling prisons beyond a reason- 
able capacity places an impos- 
sible burden of prison staff, re- 
sulting in staff “burn-out” and 
high turnover. The result is staff 
who are perennially demoralized, 
overworked, and inexperienced. 

° Overcrowding is universally ac- 
knowledged to be a significant 
factor leading to prison violence. 

• Prisons are increasingly unable 
to provide basic life-support ser- 
vices for their bourgeoning pop- 

• An institution which provides 
wretched living conditions while 
being unable to ensure delivery 
of basic services is incapable of 
producing productive members 
of society. 

In thirteen years, the Department 
has spent almost two billion dollars. 
The population of the adult prisons 
increased during that period by 72%, 
while the costs (general revenue fund 
allocations plus capital development 
appropriations) rose by 533%. Ap- 
proximately 66% of the Department’s 
budget, excluding capital develop- 
ment appropriations, currently goes 
to adult prisons, at a cost of over 
$13,500 per year for each prisoner. 
The annual cost per person for such 

non-prison alternatives as probation, 
in contrast, are as little as $700 per 

If the state does not take care of 
the problems in its prisons, the courts 
will do it for them. A growing num- 
ber of corrections professionals have 
come to question whether it is pos- 
sible, given current overcrowding, to 
operate prisons and jails in a consti- 
tutional manner. Major prisons in at 
least 25 states today operate under 
court order, including the entire state 
correctional systems in at least nine 
states. In at least 16 more states, 
major lawsuits are pending dealing 
with overcrowding or overall condi- 
tions. Hundreds of county jails, in- 
cluding those in four of the nation’s 
five largest cities, are under court or- 


° Eliminate or reduce manda- 
tory minimum sentences 

° Allow probation for all of- 

• Eliminate or reduce Manda- 
tory Supervised Release 

• Prohibit counties from com- 
mitting misdemeanors to the 
Illinois Department of Cor- 

° Eliminate Mandatory Super- 
vised Release technical viola- 

• Expand non-incarceration 
sanctions; including: 

• realistic fines 

° restitution and commu- 
nity service orders 

• special probation condi- 

• direct sentences to com- 
munity facilities 

° Reduce length of sentences 
across the board for non-vi- 
olent Class 3 and 4 offenses 
° Provide financial incentives 

Page Twelve 

FOCUS /Midwest 

for communities to retain of- 

0 Establish for each IDOC fa- 
cility ironclad capacity limits 

• Appropriate funds to expand 
IDOC’s non-prison placement 
and release alternatives 

• Increase local responsibility 
for offenders, i.e., up to 2 
years in county jails 


• Hold training seminars to ex- 
pand knowledge of sentenc- 
ing options 

o Advocate for the establish- 
ment of defendant-oriented 
pre-sentence reports 

o Utilize private agencies to 
develop non-custodial sen- 
tencing options for individual 


• Develop and promulgate sen- 
tencing guidelines 

o Conduct sentencing councils 
and training seminars 

• Require mandatory non-wai- 
vable pre-sentence investiga- 

° Increase use of intermittent 
or shock confinement 

• Support the expanded use of 
intensive probation units 

o Order contractual agreements 
with private sector agencies 
for treatment of offenders 
with special needs (e.g., men- 
tal illness, drug and alcohol 
addiction, etc.) 

• Develop non-custodial penal- 
ties for probation revocation 


• Expand community place- 
ment options and use them 

• Reduce by 50% sanctions for 
prison rule violations 

• Identify renovatable struc- 
tures suitable for minimum 
security prisons 

The penalties assessed when 
states lose these suits can cause fur- 
ther expense to the taxpayer— in ad- 
dition, of course, to the cost of de- 
fending against the lawsuit. A fed- 
eral court in Washington, D.C., for 
example, recently awarded inmates 
of Lorton Reformatory one dollar to 
each inmate for each day that he had 
been held in the unconstitutionally 
overcrowded institution. The total 
amount awarded was $600,000. In a 
growing number of instances, the 
courts have appointed masters re- 
sponsible to the court to oversee ad- 
ministration of prisons or prison sys- 
tems; the bill for the services of these 

masters is, of course, paid from pub- 
lic funds. 

Illinois must not wait for the courts 
to correct our mistakes. A compre- 
hensive plan for corrections in Illinois 
must take into account the full range 
of sentencing alternatives available, 

• improved and revamped proba- 

° community service orders; 

° restitution; 

• expanded use of work-release; 

• expanded use of periodic impris- 
onment; and, 

• expanded use of fines, including 
introduction of day fines. 

Any long-range solution to the cri- 
sis in Illinois corrections must in- 
clude subsidies and financial incen- 
tives to local governments to encour- 
age the development of alternative 
sanctions which are less costly and 

A police dog roots through the debris 
for drugs or weapons during 1979 
Stateville shakedown. 

more effective than prison. 

1. The John Howard Association 
calls upon Governor Thompson 
to establish a Corrections and 
Criminal Justice Task Force to 
develop long-range plans for Illi- 
nois corrections. 

2. The task force should move to 
rapidly establish a pilot project 
designed to effect a program of 
community-based corrections. 
Careful consideration should be 
given to the use of split sen- 
tences, and to placement in coun- 
ty jails of offenders with sen- 
tences of less than two years. 

3. The task force should utilize the 
following National Institute of 
Corrections overview of options 
to reduce overcrowding. 

State corrections officer with police 
dog during 1979 Stateville shakedown. 

Volume 15, Number 91 

Page Thirteen 

Swedish crime control offers an example of a national, coordinated, systemic ap- 
proach to the problems of crime and incarceration. While Sweden is obviously 
not the United States with its thousands of independent systems, several of the 
approaches and comparisons presented here are worthy of consideration in 
American criminal justice circles. 

Crime control in Sweden 

By John R. Snortum 

Crime in America has reemerged as 
a central political concern. A national 
task force has been appointed to re- 
view federal crime control policy, and 
similar commissions have been estab- 
lished in a number of states. 

The United States is not the only 
nation to agonize about a crime pro- 
gram, for escalating crime rates have 
afflicted Western Europe as well. 
Thus in 1973, Sweden established a 
commission to propose “Measures to 
Fight Crime and Improve Public 

Admittedly, it would be unrealistic 
to propose that programs from 
abroad be imported to this country 
ready made, because of the great dif- 
ferences. In addition, Sweden has a 
lower crime rate than the U.S. and a 
much lower rate of violent crime. 
Nevertheless, the experiences of 
other countries can give perspective 
to our own understanding of crime 
problems and countermeasures. 

Discussed here are eight Swedish 
crime prevention programs grouped 
in three categories: general crime pre- 
vention, crime prevention in public 
places and motor vehicle accident 

This is followed by (1) a compari- 
son of Swedish and American police 
practices, (2) implications for Ameri- 
ca and (3) a summary of conclusions. 

General crime prevention 

The 1973 Swedish crime commis- 
sion recommended the assignment of 
at least one “crime prevention offic- 

This article has been exerpted with per- 
mission from “ Police and Crime Preven- 
tion: Swedish Perspectives and U.S. Prob- 
lems, ” published in the Bulletin of the In- 
stitute of Governmental Studies of the 
University of California (VoL 22 No. 3). 
Copyright © 1981 by the Regents of the 
Univers i ty of California. 

er” to each of the 199 police districts 
in Sweden. The current national com- 
plement is 180 such officers, whose 
principal function is to advice individ- 
uals, groups, and businesses on tech- 
niques for reducing victimization 
from residential burglary, armed rob- 
bery, forgery, and consumer fraud. 

The residential burglary program is 
two-pronged. First, the police at- 
tempted to cut burglary profits by in- 
stituting a national, multi-media cam- 
paign to make people aware of their 
own criminal liability in receiving 
stolen goods. Second, the crime pre- 
vention officers promote what they 
call “target hardening” by convinc- 
ing people to install better locks and 
to engrave their property. 

Sweden’s property engraving pro- 
gram resembles our “Operation Iden- 
tification,” but the centralized com- 
puter system used by Swedish police 
gives them distinct advantages. 
Whereas U.S. residents may engrave 
any of several kinds of personal infor- 
mation on their property, Swedes all 
use the “person-number” that each 
individual is assigned at birth, which 
is also used for everything from bank 
accounts to vehicle registration. 

In the U.S., the likelihood of tracing 
engraved property decreases the far- 
ther it is taken from the owner's com- 
munity. On the other hand, Sweden’s 
national computer access enables the 
Swedish police to establish the own- 
ership of engraved property recov- 
ered anywhere in the country. 

The U.S . Is not the 
only nation to agonize 
about a crime program. 

Control check forgery has been the 
most dramatic success story in gener- 
al crime prevention. Between 1965 
and 1970, there was a 400 percent in- 
crease in check fraud in Sweden. The 
problem seemed to center on the so- 
called “bank guarantee,” whereby 
the banks agreed to cover all forged 
and stolen checks passed to retailers, 
up to the value of 300 kronor ($60). 
This reduced the incentive for mer- 
chants to insist on proper identifica- 
tion for small checks, knowing that 
someone else would stand the loss. 

The police played an active role in 
negotiating an agreement between 
bankers and retailers to abolish the 
bank guarantee, and to require posi- 
tive proof of identification in cashing 
checks. As a result, check forgery de- 
creased by about 80 percent between 
1970 and 1972 and has remained rela- 
tively constant ever since. 

In Sweden's best known crime pre- 
vention program, 386 block police of- 
ficers are assigned to informal neigh- 
borhood offices in storefronts or 
apartment complexes. These officers 
“know their turf.” They walk the 
beat early in the morning when 
trucks delivering daily supplies may 
be left untended, or late in the after- 
noon when the day’s receipts are be- 
ing counted. The block police have 
probably counseled most of the delin- 
quent youth in each neighborhood, 
and they know which of the local alco- 
holics tend to become cantankerous 
when drunk. Block police are fre- 
quent drop-in visitors to youth clubs 
and union halls, consequently most 
community residents are likely to rec- 
ognize the local officer on sight as 
“our cop.” The program is easily the 

John R. Snortum is the George C.S. Ben- 
son Professor of Public Affairs at Clare- 
mont Men's College, Claremont, Califor- 

Page Fourteen 


most popular of all crime prevention 

Crime prevention in public places 

In 1973, the Swedish Parliament 
passed a law that clarified existing 
police power to detain for up to six 
hours any person who “disturbs the 
public order or constitutes an imme- 
diate danger.” 

Police use of this power has been 
evaluated. No evidence was found 
that temporary custody was used to 
suppress political dissent. Fewer 
than one percent of those detained 
contested their detention by com- 
plaining to higher police officials, to 
the courts, or to the ombudsman. 

The use of temporary custody in 
combination with high-visibility pa- 
trols as a crime prevention tactic in 
Stockholm's Humlegarden Park area 
was responsible for restoring the park 
for general use. as public order of- 
fenses decreased from 1,895 cases in 
1973, to 119 cases in 1975. 

Motor vehicle accident prevention 

Sweden and Norway are reputed to 
have the toughest drinking-and-driv- 
ing laws in the Western world. 

Swedish law goes beyond the be- 
havioral manifestations of drunken 
driving to prohibit specified blood al- 
cohol levels, per se. The first-offense 
penalty for driving with a blood alco- 
hol level of 1.5 parts per thousand or 
more is typically one month in prison, 
and a second offense within three ^ 
years ordinarily draws a two-month 

Moreover, drivers whose blood alco- 
hol levels are between 0.5 and 1.5 re- 
ceive heavy fines, and in addition 
driving privileges are suspended for 

Since 1960, violent 
crime in the United 
States has quadru- 
pled. In 1980, 23,000 
people were murdered 
versus 9,000 in 1960. 
The same year, 82,000 
women were raped 
versus 17,000 reported 
in 1960. More than 
5,000 people were 
robbed, up from 
108,000, and 650,000 
were assaulted, up 
from 154,000 in 1960. 

“If there is a single underling theme (in 
Sweden), it is a relentless opposition to 
violence in all forms. Any prospect of 
reducing violence seems to draw support 
— whether it be strict gun controls, 
censorships of television violence, hidden 
cameras . . .” 

one year when blood content is found 
to be in excess of 0.8 parts per thou- 
sand. More people are sentenced to 
Swedish prisons for drunken driving 
than for any other offense (34 percent 
in 1978). 

In 1975, Parliament ordered ran- 
dom roadside checks to determine 
compliance with the law. During the 
first 35 months of testing, beginning 
February 1975, 1,182,482 breath 
analysis samples were obtained, with 
less than one percent showing blood 
alcohol levels above 0.5 parts per 
thousand, and other studies reported 
even lower rates. When contrasted 
with much higher U.S. rates these 
findings suggest the possible deter- 
rent effect of Swedish laws. 

Comparison of police practices 

Trying to compare a centralized 
police force of 16,000 Swedish officers 
with the range of practices in 40,000 
U.S. law enforcement agencies must 
necessarily be impressionistic. 

Security and violence 

Despite Sweden's reputation for 
liberalism in criminal justice, Swed- 
ish law appears to give a higher prior- 
ity to community security and a low- 
er priority to individual rights than 
American law. 

Thus, some Swedish crime preven- 
tion tactics require significant intru- 
sions on personal privacy and free- 
dom of movement, e.g., random road- 
side breath checks, covert surveil- 
lance, detention without formal 
charges or judicial review, and na- 
tionwide computer banks keyed to 
the universally assigned “person- 

Furthermore, there is no tradition 
of bail for pretrial release. Suspects 
are normally detained before trial for 
all serious crimes, and may also be de- 
tained if the courts declare a risk that 
the suspect will abscond, commit new 
crimes, or try to intimidate wit- 

What are the trade-offs that moti- 
vate Swedish acceptance of such in- 
trusions? If there is a single underly- 
ing theme, it is a relentless opposition 
to violence in all forms. Any prospect 
of reducing violence seems to draw 

support— whether it be strict gun 
controls, censorship of television vio- 
lence, hidden cameras in the sub- 
ways, or preventive detention of indi- 
viduals who present a significant 
threat of danger to others. An un- 
necessary death caused by a drunken 
driver is considered no less tragic 
than death at the hands of an armed 

Accordingly, Swedes are willing to 
go along with severe drinking-and- 
driving penalties. Swedish officers 
may stop drivers without having to 
“show cause,” and virtually all driv- 
ers asked to do so will risk self-incri- 
mination by taking a breath test. 

The strength of Sweden's determi- 
nation to reduce violence is expressed 
in other ways, such as the voluntary 
agreement with the toy trade ban- 
ning the sale of all war toys, including 
guns and toy soldiers. The rationale 
for the ban was a belief that availabil- 
ity of such toys implies an acceptance 
of violent acts as an appropriate way 
of handling interpersonal or interna- 
tional disputes. 

Going even further, Parliament 
passed a law prohibiting parental 
use of physical punishment of chil- 
dren (by 259 votes to 6). The immedi- 
ate goal is reducing the obvious kinds 
of parental brutality involved in the 
“battered child syndrome,” but a 
long-term objective is interrupting 
patterns of childrearing that seem to 
produce unfeeling adults who readily 
resort to violence. 

Constraints on the use of force 

While Sweden gives police broader 
discretionary powers than the U.S., 
Swedish police are nevertheless sub- 
ject to greater restraints on their use 
of force. Swedish police carry side- 
arms, but under strict regulations on 
how they may be used. In a recent 
four-year period in Stockholm, for ex- 
ample, there were only 17 instances of 
firing a police weapon, three of them 
to kill badly injured animals. 

Moreover, there is important prac- 
tical and symbolic significance in the 
fact that, during a 41 -week program 
of academy training for police re- 
cruits, 154 hours of academy time is 
devoted to psychology, sociology. 

Volume 15, Number 91 

Page Fifteen 

Swedish police were reorganized and nationalized in 1965. 

and forensic medicine, as against only 
38 hours given to weapons training. 
The police psychology text includes 
such unconventional topics as yoga 
breathing techniques for emotional 
self-control, and the use of humor to 
defuse volatile situations. 

Communication within the criminal 
justice system 

American law enforcement is typic- 
ally organized around a “zone de- 
fense/' with police jurisdictions look- 
ing almost exclusively after criminal 
activities within their own bounda- 
ries. This means strong incentives for 
police to develop investigative leads 
within their own areas, but little mo- 
tivation to learn about criminal activ- 
ity in neighboring cities. 

The problem is particularly acute in 
an area like St. Louis where 100 com- 
munities merge almost imperceptibly 
along high-speed freeways. When a 
mobile robber or burglar commits 
successive crimes in perhaps a dozen 
police jurisdictions, the lack of effec- 
tive communication greatly reduces 
the odds that any single agency will 
develop sufficient leads to solve the 

When Swedish police were reorga- 
nized and nationalized in 1965, 554 
municipal districts were converted in- 
to a national force operating through 
119 police districts. 

Among the more obvious benefits 
of nationalization were standardiza- 
tion of records, centralization of tech- 
nical services, provision of more uni- 
form training and equipment, and in- 
creased flexibility to deploy person- 
nel across district boundaries in 
responding to emergencies or shifts 

Comparisons and contrasts 

If we exclude the 20 to 30 U.S. po- 
lice departments that are noted for in- 
novation and research (e.g., Kansas 
City, Rochester, New York City, 
Washington, D.C.) it is safe to gener- 
alize that the vast majority of Ameri- 
can departments are organized 
around traditional assumptions. 
They may espouse an active “crime 
attack model,'' but they are basically 
reactive, merely responding to calls- 
for-service. They seldom modify tra- 
ditional police roles, and apparently 
evaluate their operations intuitively 
rather than experimentally. 

In contrast, Swedish police have 
demonstrated a willingness to experi- 
ment with new police tactics, new 
police roles, and major organizational 

In addition, the Swedish police 
have taken reasonable steps to secure 
objective evidence about the effec- 
tiveness of many of their programs, 
and they are actively exploiting mod- 
ern technology— video cameras, 
radar, computerized information re- 
trieval, and police helicopters. 

Instead of waiting for crimes to be 
reported, they are developing active 
tactics to deter or prevent crimes, 
e.g., roadside breath testing, high 
visibility park patrol, subway police, 
and preventive detention. 

Despite the “hard edge" of these 
aggressive Swedish police tactics, 
they seem to be able to preserve their 
role and public image as “helpers" 
(e.g., block police, recreation leaders, 
law-and-justice teachers, emergency 
rescue teams, and crime prevention 

In short, it may be wrong to as- 

“Swedish social democracy provides a 
more coherent political framework for 
criminal justice goals, standards, and 
practices than can be found in the U.S. 
Some of these . . . deserve further study, 
because they may suggest alternatives to 
our present fixation with the policy of 
giving longer sentences . . . 

in workloads. 

The most important gain for crimi- 
nal investigation and police research 
is the nationwide computer system 
that provides direct access to crimi- 
nal records, fingerprint files, traffic 
records, passport control, and files 
for both stolen and found property. 

sume that “crime attack" and “com- 
munity service" are mutually exclu- 
sive. If crime has multiple causes, 
both philosophies may have their own 
special areas of effectiveness. 

If evidence for the effectiveness of 
any of these Swedish programs 
should eventually prove more defini- 

tive, questions about American appli- 
cations will naturally arise. It should 
be remembered, of course, that Swed- 
ish police practices evolved in a small- 
er, more homogeneous country with a 
lower crime rate, and with many so- 
cial and political values that differ 
from our own. 

Classical traditions of American 
government would pose problems for 
some of these Swedish programs that 
would be difficult to resolve. For ex- 
ample, how could we increase the cen- 
tralized coordination of police investi- 
gations while still retaining the pre- 
sumed advantages of local control. 
How could closer collaboration be- 
tween police and prosecutor be facili- 
tated, while still preserving vital pro- 
tections against overzealous polic- 
Similarly, other Swedish policies 
seem at first glance to run counter to 
some conceptions of individua 
rights. Stringent gun control is al- 
leged by some to abrogate the ng 
to bear arms; the use of hidden sub- 
way cameras and centralized compu 
er records might be considered in- 
fringements on the right to privacy, 
and random roadside sobriety checks 
and preventive detention might con- 
flict with the right to be presumed in- 
nocent until proven guilty. 

On the other hand, some of the al- 
leged rights and freedoms noted 
above can be interpreted so as to jus- 
tify inadequate gun control, prevent 
the development of effective police in- 
formation systems, or impede efforts 
to reduce the death toll from traffic 
accidents and violent crime. Under 
present conditions, what happens to 
other human rights that are equally 
important? What about the right to 
safe transit on public highways and 
the right to use public parks without 
fear of physical threats and social in- 
timidation? What about the right to 
life itself? 

Some broader “Lessons from Sweden’’ 

Obviously, there is no Swedish pro- 
gram or combination of programs 
that can be offered as “the answer” to 
crime in America. 

Nevertheless, whatever may be its 
other shortcomings, Swedish social 
democracy provides a more coherent 
political framework for criminal jus- 
tice goals, standards, and practices 
than can be found in the U.S. Some of 
these "contextual principles’ behind 
Swedish criminal policy deserve fur- 
ther study, because they may sug- 
gest constructive alternatives to our 
present fixation with the policy of 

Page Sixteen 

FOCUS /Midwest 

giving longer sentences to traditional 

First, Swedish criminal policy pro- 
vides a broader definition of violence 
and a more equalitarian targeting of 
potential offenders. At a time when 
Americans are preoccupied with 
“crime in the streets," we need to be 
reminded that drunk and speeding 
drivers take far more lives than the 
usual forms of homicide. “Death-by- 
drunken-driver" is such a common oc- 
currence in the U.S. that major news- 
papers do not give prominence to 
such news. 

While Americans are notoriously 
punitive toward traditional offenders, 
we are extraordinarily lenient with 
ourselves. The U.S. has a lenient 
standard of drunkenness. In all 
states except Utah and Idaho, the 
blood-alcohol standard is set at 1.0 
parts per thousand, against a level 
half that high (0.5) in Sweden, Nor- 
way, Finland, and the Netherlands, 
and 0.8 in France, Denmark, and 
West Germany. Even at the 1.0 level, 
U.S. enforcement is generally lax, and 
because court calendars are already 
overcrowded, drunken drivers are 
often allowed to plea bargain for les- 
ser charges. 

Second, police and prisons are not 
the first line of defense in Sweden, 
but the last. Criminal policy is an in- 
tegral part of a broader political 
philosophy that construes crime as a 
social problem rather than as a prob- 
lem of the “deviant" individuals who 
offend. Accordingly, greater use is. 
made of nonpunitive means of pre- 
venting or reducing crime, e.g., better 
social planning for decent housing, 
adequate child care, and equitable 
distribution of economic opportuni- 
ties. From this perspective, it be- 
comes more important to prevent an 
offense than to catch an offender. 

Third, Swedish social democracy 
seems to provide a broader basis for 
civic “ownership" of the mechanisms 
of criminal justice than is apparent 
in the United States. Police and pris- 
oners alike are the orphans of the 
American political system. We would 
prefer not to know what is happening 
inside American prisons, but seem to 
believe that “whatever it is, they 
probably deserve it." 1 

In contrast, given the Swedish view 
of crime as the product of a faulty so- 
cial structure, there is less need to 
stigmative offenders as villains or 
subject them to their “just deserts" 
in brutal prisons. Swedish prisoners 
retain their voting rights, are allowed 
reasonable compensation for prison 
work on products sold on the open 
market, and are given opportunities 
to join Swedish labor unions upon 

their release. (Some suggest that a 
practical reason for the widespread 
Swedish interest in maintaining 
humane prisons is that average citi- 
zens recognize that they could some- 
day be inmates themselves if they 
run afoul of the drinking-and-driving 

Police work in the U.S. is cloaked in 
mystery and bears a slightly disrepu- 
table taint. We employ police vir- 
tually as a “mercenary force" to han- 
dle criminal matters, while the rest of 
the citizenry stands well clear. We 

. . Swedish police 
have demonstrated a 
willingness to 
experiment with new 
police tactics, new 
police roles, and 
major organizational 

often wink at police improprieties be- 
cause, after all, crime is a dirty busi- 
ness. And if a public investigation 
forces attention to such improper tac- 
tics, we register shock and further 
distance ourselves from the police. 

Swedish police seem to have wider 
discretionary powers than U.S. 
police, but they also appear to be 
tightly supervised and are subject to 
clearly defined procedures of internal 
and external review. Despite occa- 
sional criticism of the police in the 
Swedish press, there is a more per- 
vasive citizen identification that 
“these are our police— to be directed 
and controlled as we see fit. ’ 

Summary and conclusions 

Sweden has shown considerable in- 
ventiveness in exploring new police 
roles and tactics. While there is still 
only limited evidence on the effective- 
ness of individual programs, collect- 
ively they demonstrate an impressive 
range and intensity of crime control 

efforts. .. 

Compared to American police, 
Swedish police enjoy closer coopera- 
tion with the public prosecutor and 
they are more efficiently organized 
for regional coordination and for na- 
tionwide information retrieval. 

Because of Sweden’s traditional lib- 
eralism, it is not surprising that 
Swedish police are heavily committed 
to community service programs in 
education, recreation, crime preven- 

tion, and neighborhood policing. 

On the other hand, it is revealing to 
learn that Swedish police are equally 
committed to a “crime attack" 
model, using paramilitary tactics to 
intercept crimes in progress. These 
programs include: random roadside 
breath tests to control drunken driv- 
ing; high visibility traffic patrols 
combined with radar surveillance to 
control speeding; high visibility park 
patrols combined with preventive de- 
tention to control public order of- 
fenses; and foot patrol teams com- 
bined with video surveillance to con- 
trol subway crime. 

There are some broader principles 
of police practice and criminal policy 
in Sweden which offer alternative and 
perhaps more useful approaches to 
crime control in the U.S.: 

The current emphasis on punish- 
ment in American criminal policy 
may have some short-range benefits 
for community security, but in the 
long run seems likely to increase the 
alienation between offenders and the 
community. In addition, the current 
U.S. trend toward “less government" 
means decreased social services for 
released prisoners. If the gap is to be 
filled by other means, help must pre- 
sumably come from religious organi- 
zations, private enterprise, organized 
labor, and private philanthropy. 

While these groups hold enormous 
potential to change the face of Ameri- 
can corrections, there is little likeli- 
hood that this fragmented array of re- 
sources will become a viable force, be- 
cause we still lack a national “guiding 
vision" that is capable of portraying 
ex-offenders as worthy recipients of 
our private efforts. 

If we are unwilling or unable to 
translate our reputed American 
values into actions, the centralized 
benevolence and governmental pro- 
grams of Swedish social democracy 
provide a reasonable alternative. 


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Volume 15, Number 91 

Page Seventeen 

Alternatives to prison 

By Margaret Phillips 

Americans are justifiably con- 
cerned with a rising wave of crime 
over the past decade. Whether at the 
local, state or federal levels, prisons 
are overcrowded, so much that many 
convicts are discharged early to make 
room for others. 

Confronted with a lack of facilities 
and demands for longer sentences 
handed out at a faster pace, the obvi- 
ous answer is to build more prisons. 
Will that mean more security for 
Americans and a lower crime rate? 
Many studies show the answer is no. 

Solid evidence has been around for 
years that proves that prisons and 
high incarceration rates do not reduce 
the rate of crime. As unpopular as 
this evidence is, it forces us to exam- 
ine other alternatives. 

Unfortunately, magic wands are in 
short supply. Social conditions such 
as crime have a multiplicity of causes 
and cannot be successfully tackled 
without a coordinated approach tak- 
ing into consideration the complexity 
of the individual, of society and of the 
whole phalanx of economic and politi- 
cal pressures. 

Even so, it would be hard to find 
worse alternative than prisons in to 
ering crime. This is a surprising co 
elusion but the evidence supports i 
Wiliam G. Nagel, in a paper e 

titled On Behalf of a Moratorium < 
Prison Construction” (Crime & DeU 
quiney April 1977), presents the i 
suits of a fifty-state survey to aset 
tam what correlations exist betwe< 
violent enme, incarceration rate ar 
other factors. Nagel, a former exec 
tive vice president of the Americ: 
Foundation Correctional Institut 
found no correlation between 

Margaret rnuups edits the moratc 
bulletin published by the Criminal J x 
Task Force of the American Fr 
Service Committee. 

state’s crime rate and its rate of in- 
carceration. It suggests that high im- 
prisonment rates do not lessen crime. 

He found, however, positive corre- 
lations between unemployment and 

crime, and poverty and crime. 

* * * 

Alternatives to imprisonment are 
available before and after the crime is 
committed. The most wholesome ap- 
proach would mean an alternative to 
the potential offender that would en- 
able him or her not to commit the 
crime. Alternatives after sentencing 
refer to probation and programs 
available to the judge in lieu of prison 
terms. Many programs incorporate a 
remedial approach, for example, 
treatment for drug addicts. 

Lately, a backlash has emerged 
spurred by office seekers who play on 
public fears that such alternatives 
“coddle criminals.” This trend ig- 
nores all alternatives and advocates 
the construction of enough prisons to 
“solve” the crime problem. Officials 
fail to point out, however, that most 
offenders will be eventually paroled 
after a prison stay that will most like- 
ly intensify their violent, anti-social 
tendencies. The logic of that ap- 
proach would demand that most pris- 

“ Solid evidence . . . 
proves that prisons 
and high incarceration 
rates do not reduce 
the rate of crime.” 

oners would be incarcerated for life. 

In considering crime and puiusn- 
ment, it must be understood tha 
prisons will always be needed to 
strain some people; the derange 
predatory killers who are unreachame 
and truly dangerous. While we can 
certainly dream of, and w°r 
wards, the utopian setting 
those malevolent tendencies w _ 
cured before the crimes occur, society 
must be protected in the meantime. 

But the remainder of the pnson 
population, according to corrections 
officials quoted by Jessica Mitford in 
her 1974 classic. Kind and Usual Fun- 
ishment, could benefit greatly ™ 
the right combination of counselling, 
job av aila bility, drug treatment, vo- 
cational training and tutoring m 
basic reading or arithmetic skills, 
need is vast. As any issue of Fortune 
News (a paper published by, for, and 
about ex-offenders) reveals, most peo- 

l I 1 , * nwArilW*. 

tive citizens. _ . * 

Over the past two decades, many or 
these alternatives have been imple- 
mented (at least in appearance). But 
even when a sincere effort was insti- 
tutionalized, the allocation of re- 
sources was rarely adequate. Too 
often, failure was the result. This, in 
turn, was gleefully exploited by oppo- 
nents of alternatives. Thus some pro- 
ponents advocate that unless alternar 
tive programs are adequately funded 
and supported, it is better not to un- 
dertake such programs at all. 

* * * 

Probation is the basis for most al- 
ternatives. Probationary status 
coupled with treatment programs 
could provide a viable alternative, 
which in conjunction with shorter 
prison terms, would bring the United 
States in line with the more produc- 
tive and healthier approach of other 

Page Eighteen 

FOCUS /Midwest 

industrialized nations. 

Another appealing concept is resti- 
tution. It requires the offender to 
compensate his or her victim, either 
directly or indirectly. Whether it re- 
sembles Missouri’s recent law requir- 
ing convicted offenders to pay into a 
common fund out of which victims re- 
ceive compensation or like Minneso- 
ta's more personal approach of hav- 
ing property offenders communicate 
with their victims to work out pay- 
ments or other arrangements, con- 
cern for the victim is the central 

Treatment programs for drug ad- 
diction, alcoholism, and emotional 
problems are another kind of alterna- 
tive to prison. These are most effec- 
tive when supplemented by educa- 
tional and vocational training. With 
few exceptions, such attempts are 
coupled with probationary status. 

In many countries, a system of day 
fines is relied on heavily. The amount 
of the fine is keyed to income in order 
to be equally burdensome to all of- 
fenders. Community service has occa- 
sionally been used by innovative 
judges, but, unfortunately, it has 
never become a staple of the Ameri- 
can judicial system. 

Halfway houses, which provide a 
period for decompression for offend- 
ers about to be released, offer a taste 
of freedom in a structured and guided 
setting. Such transition stops are cru- 
cial for prisoners who have been in- 
carcerated for long periods of time. 
Many have lost— or never knew— the 
ability to manage a budget, apply for 
a job, and the many other demands 
dictated by urban life. 

For juveniles, conditions are grim. 
Kenneth Wooden's Weeping in the 
Playtime of Others depicts the pain of 
institutionalized children, and as 
reported in Jericho (No. 24, Spring 

“Each year hundreds of thousands 
of children are inappropriately held in 
juvenile detention centers, delin- 
quent training schools, adult jails and 
other so-called correctional facilities. 
Evidence of degrading and inhuman 
abuses practiced in these institutions 
is prevalent. Research on top of re- 
search has documented the debilitat- 
ing and destructive effects of impris- 
onment on children. Yet, the secure 
confinement of young people aged 8 
to 15 continues.” 

Resources are scarce, and few chil- 
dren who need help are getting it. 
Child psychiatrist Suzanne Singer of 
Therapy Consultants and Associates 
in St. Louis says that small size is an 
essential part of her program’s effect- 
iveness. If she accepts more dis- 
turbed children than she can feel in- 

volved with, therapeutic value is lost, 
Singer believes. 

Jails are overcrowded not only be- 
cause they house convicts but also 
many innocents. The pre-trial de- 
tainee has yet to be found guilty. The 
only valid reason for pre-trial deten- 
tion is the assumption that the ac- 
cused may flee and not appear in 
court. Speeding up the trial process 
would thus be a significant factor in 
lowering jail population. Increased 
use of recognizance bonds and more 
reasonable cash bonds are other, sim- 
ple but effective, ways to cut over- 

Another alternative not only to re- 
duce the prison population but also 
reduce the load on the justice system 
are pre-trial diversions. Under this 
option, charges are dropped if the of- 
fender promises to meet certain con- 
ditions, such as keeping a job, getting 
help for drug or other problems, and 
so forth. 

* * * 

Do these alternatives work? 

At the very least, they certainly do 
no worse than prisons to alleviate the 
incidence of crime, and at consider- 
ably less expense. A recent five-vol- 
ume report entitled American Prisons 
and Jails , compiled by Abt Associ- 

Prisons “a disaster/’ 
says Burger 

Chief Justice Warren Burger 
called U.S. prisons “a disaster” 
in a recent commencement 
speech to graduates of the 
George Washington University 
law school. Burger said “the 
number of young, functional il- 
literates in our institutions is 
appalling,” adding, “without 
these basic skills what chance 
does any person have of secur- 
ing a gainful occupation when 
that person is released and be- 
gins the search for employment 
—with the built-in handicap of a 
criminal conviction?” 

The chief justice suggested 
two small steps to alleviate the 
problem which he said would be 
acceptable in the 1981 economic 
climate. He first proposed the 
establishment of a national 
training academy for prison 
personnel, so that their training 
might be upgraded and stand- 

The second step would be to 
force every illiterate inmate to 
take basic courses in reading, 
writing and arithmetic. 

ates for the National Institute of Jus- 
tice concludes, “while new facility 
construction is often considered the 
most direct response to prison popu- 
lation pressures, the findings of this 
study suggest that this option alone 
is probably unaffordable and may do 
little to alleviate crowded 

Of course, horror stories hit the 
headlines when halfway house resi- 
dents or work-release participants 
commit crimes. Downplayed are the 
stories of men and women who 
learned to read and write, found a job, 
and are now helping others free them- 
selves from a life of crime. For exam- 
ple, one of the founders of NASCO 
(Narcotics Service Council, a drug 
treatment program in St. Louis) is 
Don Mitchell, a former heroin addict. 

The methods which work best ap- 
pear to be those with least taint of of- 
ficial repression. As the authors of 
the American Friends Service Com- 
mittee's Struggle For Justice said in 
1971, prisons which attempt to reha- 
bilitate play a double role, often con- 
tradictory: the prison's first purpose 
is to detain and punish, and that it 
does brutally. 

But when that same institution 
then invites trust and candor from 
prisoners, small wonder that the 
trust is withheld. And without trust, 
programs which try to offer badly 
needed help will fail. Punitive and re- 
habilitative functions probably can- 
not be combined in one program. 

Even the best alternative programs 
either do not have the resources to of- 
fer a wide range of help or can handle 
only a limited number of people. In- 
deed, some critics charge that many 
supposed alternatives are only exten- 
sions of the existing system. Andy 
Hall, in Southern Coalition Report 
( Jericho, , No. 21, Summer 1980) 
claims that many community-based 
programs are actually controlled by 
existing correctional institutions 

with the same deplorable results. 

* * * 

The only real alternative to crime 
and prison, then, may well be drastic 
structural changes in our environ- 
ment. Unemployment might repre- 
sent the single most powerful cause 
of crime. It brings a host of problems, 
particularly for disadvantaged youths 
who try to reconcile their marginal 
role in a society which values materi- 
al acquisition and status above all. 

Other changes are not so obvious 
and frequently run counter to public 
myths. A recent study has shown a 
perceptible rise in the homicide rate 
after publicized official executions 

(continued on page 22) 

Volume 15, Number 91 

Page Nineteen 

Courts expand prisoner rights 

By Donna White 

“As a consequence of his crime, a 
prisoner not only forfeits his liberty, 
but all his personal rights except 
those which the law in humanity ac- 
cords him. At least for the duration of 
his prison sentence, he is no more 
than the slave of the state/’ So said a 
Virginia judge more than a hundred 
years ago in Ruffin v . Com- 

Since then, life for the convicted of- 
fender hasn’t changed much. As the 
prison door slams shut, the offender 
is not only stripped of his or her liber- 
ty, but also voting rights, the right to 
hold public office, the right to own 
property, the right to sue, be sued or 
serve as a juror. Together, they com- 
prise the stark legal realities of im- 
prisonment in America. 

Throughout pre-trial detention, the 
trial itself and post-trial proceedings, 
constitutional protection of the ac- 
cused is of paramount concern. 

But as the wheels of justice wind 
down, the convicted felon is ejected 
into the constitutional void of incar- 
ceration, where his or her civil rights 
face a gloomy existence. 

To the courts, imprisonment is con- 
sidered a custodial task of the state. 
Not long ago, courts shied away from 
interfering in the administration of 
prisons for fear of undermining the 
legitimate interest in prison dis- 
cipline and safety. 

Courts become involved 

A new court stance was adopted, 
however, as the civil rights move- 
ment of the 19608 forged ahead. Out 
of that movement came the concern, 
first, for minority prisoners and later 
for all prisoners as hideous and inhu- 
mane prison conditions were exposed. 
Suddenly, the courts were confronted 
with a dire constitutional need de- 
manding their intervention. 

In the wake of the 1971 Attica pris- 

Page Twenty 

on uprising, the courts began to regu- 
late the internal operation of prisons, 
although with some reluctance. Soon, 
as more and more cases challenging 
the lack of prisoner rights hit the 
courts, the judicial “hands off’ policy 
was abandoned. 

Prisoner suits challenged almost 
every conceivable condition of con- 
finement, including disciplinary 
rules, access to legal materials, medi- 
cal care, visiting and correspondence, 
right to counsel, right to safety and 
even grooming standards for prison- 
ers. As a result, several major deci- 
sions in favor of prisoners assured 
them some protection. 

In Holt v. Sarver (1978), the court 
adopted the “totality of conditions” 
approach to prison conditions. Under 
this approach various inhumane or 
unsanitary conditions individually in- 
sufficient to violate constitutional 
standards may have the cumulative 
effect to deprive a prisoner of his or 
her constitutional rights. 

Pugh v . Locke (1976), marked the 
death knell of inmate servitude. Here 
the court issued a remedial order that 
attempted to correct deficiencies in 
virtually every aspect of prison life: 
overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, 
inadequate plumbing, heating, light- 

. . as the wheels of 
justice winds down, 
the convicted felon 
Is ejected Into [a] 
constitutional void.. ." 

ing and ventilation; insufficient men- 
tal and medical health services, inade- 
quate staff resources, recreation, 
work opportunities and protection 
from violence. 

The civil rights movement further 
prompted a declaration from the U.S. 
Supreme Court that prisoners did not 
lose their constitutional rights as a 
consequence of incarceration. Under 
this legal umbrella, far-reaching court 
decisions came in the early 1970s, 
partly because political and legal de- 
velopments of the 1960s had co- 
alesced around prisons, and partly be- 
cause strikes and rebellions inside 
prisons grew more radical and fre- 

Lawyers responded to the in- 
creased political activity surrounding 
prisons; prison law became a new spe- 
cialty. And judges became more sym- 
pathetic toward prisoners. 

But although the new court deci- 
sions made a practical difference for a 
few prisoners and were sometimes 
useful in political efforts to change 
prisons, they had little direct effect 
on prison life itself. Still, with the 
opening of various legal avenues, 
prisoners can continually seek to 
ameliorate, via the courts, the condi- 
tions of their incarceration. 

Missouri prison developments 

In Missouri, judicial relief concern- 
ing prison conditions was achieved 
by pursuing several different angles. 

First, in order to challenge prison 
conditions, prisoners had to have ac- 
cess to legal counsel and materials. 
This was secured through challenges 
based on the right of due process of 
law, as applied to states in the 14th 

In Ex parte Hull (1941), the 
Supreme Court prohibited the scruti- 
ny by prison authorities of petitions 


“right to petition ... a fundamental right .” 

for habeas corpus. The court deter- 
mined that the right to petition the 
court for a redress of grievance was a 
fundamental right to which inmates 
were entitled. 

Prison administrators, however, 
often prohibited or discouraged “jail- 
house” lawyers from assisting other 
inmates in their applications for 
writs. The court in Johnson v. Avery 
(1969) outlawed this practive observ- 
ing that prisoners had little or no ac- 
cess to professional legal representa- 
tion or law libraries in preparing com- 

Thereafter, in Procunier v. Marti- 
nez (1974), the court held on due pro- 
cess grounds that the state could not 
prohibit attorneys from employing 
law students and paraprofessionals 
from interviewing their client-in- 

Later, in Bounds v. Smith (1977), 
the Supreme Court went further and 
imposed an affirmative duty on the 
state to provide viable legal access to 
the courts by requiring prison autho- 
rities to provide adequate legal assis- 
tance to prisoners which included law 
libraries or assistance from persons 
trained in law. 

A second approach was to petition 
for habeas corpus relief based on in- 
humane prison conditions. Tradition- 
ally, a writ of habeas corpus would be 
brought by a person who was suppos- 
edly illegally confined or restrained of 
his or her liberty. Officials would 
have to produce the cause for incar- 
ceration. Later it was used to chal- 
lenge some defect in the arrest or trial 

proceedings or jurisdiction of the sen- 
tencing court. 

Finally, in a major Missouri case, 
McIntosh v. Haynes (1977), the court 
allowed the use of habeas corpus as a 
mechanism to bring eighth amend- 
ment violations (of cruel and unusual 
punishment) before the court. Prior to 
this case, Missouri courts had sum- 
marily dismissed habeas corpus pro- 
cedures attacking prison conditions 
on the grounds that they failed to 
state a cause of action. 

After McIntosh, an inmate in Mis- 
souri now had two avenues of habeas 
corpus relief to challenge conditions 
of his or her confinement. The prison- 
er first may apply for relief in the 

state court. Then, if unsatisfied, the 
prisoner may pursue a writ in federal 
court upon exhaustion of all state 

Under habeas corpus relief an ag- 
grieved prisoner files a petition in 
court alleging aspects of confinement 
violate his or her rights against cruel 
and unusual punishment. If the peti- 
tioner produces sufficient evidence to 
back up the charges, the court grants 
the writ. 

The writ is then forwarded to the 
officer in charge of the prisoner, who 
files a return stating the reasons for 
confinement. The prisoner is turned 
over to the custody of the court. Fi- 
nally, after hearing the prisoner’s tes- 
timony plus that of other witnesses, 
the court disposes of the case. Fur- 
ther remedy in federal courts may be 
sought by a prisoner who is aggrieved 
by the state decision. 

While habeas corpus relief applies 
to a prisoner’s physical well-being, 
the courts have not addressed prison 
rules or regulations which impair the 
exercise of free speech or religion. 

While the habeas corpus relief ad- 
dresses specific instances of prisoner 
deprivation, it fails to tackle the larg- 
er problems of overcrowding and un- 
sanitary conditions in the institution. 

In the McIntosh case, the Ameri- 
can Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed 
a comprehensive class action suit on 
behalf of all inmates in the Missouri 
State Penitentiary. The petition 
sought declaratory and injunctive 
relief for violations of constitutional 
rights. Complaints and reliefs fell in- 
to two separate areas: overcrowding 
and unsanitary conditions; and inade- 
quate medical care. 

After three years of litigation. 
Judge Elmo B. Hunter said that al- 
most half of the inmates were living 
in conditions “which this court views 
as intolerable, inhumane and totally 
unreasonable in light of modem con- 
sciousness and shocking to the con- 
science of this court.’’ Hunter subse- 
quently ordered a substantial remedi- 
al plan into effect. An outgrowth of 
that order to reduce overcrowding re- 
sulted in the recent completion of the 
new prison facility near Pacific, 

Eighth amendment challenges to 
prison conditions are certain to con- 
tinue as a result of major inmate vic- 
tories such as in the McIntosh case. 

Donna White is an assistant professor of 
Administration of Justice at the Universi- 
ty of Missouri-St. Louis, and a member of 
the Missouri Bar Association. 

Historical oddities 

Domestic animals were tried in the secular court versus their untame 
brethren who were tried in the ecclesiastical court. Pigs were often accused of 
murdering infants (which is a bit suspicious considering the infanticidal ten- 
dencies among women in the middle ages). If a guilty verdict was reached, 
the pig was usually dressed in a man’s clothing then hanged in the public 

The executioner always held an exalted place in society, even if he was per- 
sonally abhored by the mobs. England produced the most infamous line of 
executioners, including one Edward Dennis. During his reign as public ex- 
ecutioner, Dennis was unfortunate enough to be caught among the pillagers 
during the Gordon riots of the late 1770s. Amidst a great furor, he was found 
guilty and sentenced to death, prompting the judge to remark, “He who has 
swung so many, must at last swing himself!” Dennis was later granted a free 
pardon so that he “may hang his fellow rioters.” 

When Spanish inquisitors came to England in the 16th century to spread 
the various techniques used in extracting a confession from heretics, they 
complained that the country lacked both the implements of torture and peo- 
ple trained in their use. This, among other reasons, prevented the Inquisition 
from ever gaining a foothold in England. 

Volume 15, Number 91 

Page Twenty-One 

ists blowing a lot of steam when 
talking about their audiences? Yes, 
say two new studies that found 
press estimates of the TV preachers’ 
audience of 40 to 130 million to be 
grossly off from their real audience 
figures of seven to ten million. It 
seems the press routinely excepts 
evangelical audience figures, while 
ignoring other concrete measures of 
viewership. William Martin at Rice 
University and Jeffrey Hadden at 
the University of Virginia have both 
concluded in separate studies that 
the American public has had some 
interesting myths foisted upon them 
by overzealous media in search of 
dramatic numbers. 

SOBER-UP PILL? Drunks of the 
world may yet 

have a prayer. Medical researcher 
Ernest Noble has been working 
diligently on what he calls an 
“amethystic,” or sober-up pill. No- 
ble’s work is presently focused on a 
drug known as ephedrine, which 
would arouse the brain’s cate- 
cholamine system, thereby releasing 
adrenaline into the blood. But don’t 
hold your breath, Noble doesn't ex- 
pect to have a general purpose 
salvation for the besotted for ten 

ARTIFICAL BLOOD Synthetic blood 

is coming of 
a ge, reports Forbes. Developed by a 
Japanese firm, the synblood is com- 
patible with all blood types and is 
applicable to about 75 percent of all 
transfusion needs. Known as 
Fluosol-DA, the manufacturers see 
its use when real blood is unavail- 
able such as at the scene of an acci- 
dent or in the emergency room. 

PARENT RIGHTS Parents have 
rights too, as 
the latest edition in a handbook 
series produced by the American 
Civil Liberties Union explains. The 
Rights of Parents handbook covers 
every legal aspect of parenthood in- 
cluding such topics as divorced, 
separated, unwed, gay and foster 

parentage. Norman Dorsen, ACLU 
president and editor of the series, 
said, “The rights of parents and the 
integrity of the family are firmly 
rooted in the Constitution, yet they 
are often taken for granted and 
seldom explained. This handbook 
provides needed guidance at a time 
when we can no longer afford to 
take our parental and familiar rights 
for granted.’’ The guide is written in 
a question-and-answer format and is 
available from the Literature De- 
partment, ACLU, 132 West 43rd 
Street, New York, NY 10036 ($2.50). 


Educational handbook 
on KKK to aid schools 

Violence, the Ku Klux Klan and the 
Struggle for Equality by Dr. Robert 
B. Moore, Council on Interracial 
Books for Children, 1841 Broadway, 
New York, N.Y. 10023 ($4.95) 

Violence , the Ku Klux Klan and the 
Struggle for Equality is a first-of-its- 
kind informational and instructional 
kit on the Ku Klux Klan. Available 
for use by schools, this junior and 
senior high school curriculum was de- 
veloped by the Council on Interracial 
Books for Children, the National 
Education Association and the Con- 
necticut Education Association. 

“The Klan seeks to spread racial 
hatred and segregation in our 
nation’s schools,” says Dr. Robert B. 
Moore, principal writer of the hand- 
book and staff member of the New 
York-based Council on Interracial 
Books for Children. “Schools with ra- 
cial tensions become a target of Klan 
efforts to exacerbate those tensions. 
Klan recruitment efforts directed at 
10 to 17-year old white students have 
been reported from Boston to Los An- 
geles, from Birmingham to Oklahoma 

The three educational organiza- 
tions developed the curriculum to 
meet the needs of teachers who ex- 
pressed concern about the lack of in- 
structional materials that would help 
them effectively respond to students 
questions and concerns about the 

The 72-page handbook includes a 
concise background information on 
the history and role of the Ku Klux 
Klan, including a variety of resource 
materials consisting of news clip- 
pings, poetry, excerpts from fictional 
and non-fictional books, and Congres- 




*■-»(>»■ *0 M ******** *r 

* o* **•*< f < * » to* 

tN* MwkV'* f 4ut«***' 

sional testimony, as well as an anno- 
tated bibliography and glossary. 

“The Ku Klux Klan,” said Moore, 
“is a white terrorist organization 
formed after the Civil War that used 
violence and intimidation in its ef- 
forts to re-impose white supremacy in 
the South.” 

Now, according to Moore, Ku Klux 
Klan membership and terrorism are 
once again on the rise. “Klan mur- 
ders, beatings, violence and intimida- 
tion are directed against a variety of 
groups, particularly blacks, Jews, im- 
migrants from Latin America and 
Southeast Asia, and lesbians and gay 

The handbook presents numerous 
instances of recent Klan violence, 
notes the existence of Klan paramili- 
tary training camps in various parts 
of the country, and mentions a 55 per- 
cent increase in Klan-related cases in- 
vestigated by the U.S. Justice De- 
partment in 1980 from 1979. 




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