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CRCC — Result In Brief

Project ID: 44351
Funded under: FP6-POLICIES
Country: Italy

Exploring how punishment can better reduce crime

An EU-funded study into the costs of crime repression has contributed to knowledge on the costs and benefits of penal policies. Those working in the penal system contributed to assessments of the efficacy of policies in preventing and reducing crime.
Exploring how punishment can better reduce crime
The 'Crime repression costs in context' (CRCC) project worked on the assumption that EU countries have only recently started crunching the numbers on the costs of crime. As such, there are still challenges to be resolved regarding how such costs are calculated.

During initial stages, the CRCC team conducted an extensive review of the literature to outline the sociological and legal framework of penal and penitentiary policies in Europe. This activity aimed at pinpointing existing problems in costs evaluation. Amongst other outcomes, researchers concluded there is a need to first agree on what is considered to be a cost and what a benefit for the proposal and adoption of a specific policy. Not only is agreement in this respect lacking in the community of European experts, but the differences in penitentiary practice and administration across Europe make its realisation seem impossible.

Proceeding from the literature review, researchers embarked on an empirical-ethnographic study of the cultural and theoretical paradigms influencing the daily activities of those working in social services, immigration, prison, parole and probation services, immigration services, and drug use prevention. This line of research mainly considered to what extent these penal actors believe certain penitentiary systems are effective in reducing crime and recidivism (i.e. the return to crime following punishment).

CRCC’s research activities further analysed the perceptions of penitentiary actors with regard to the quality of penitentiary services and their efficacy in minimising social costs associated with detention. Their perception of direct as well as indirect costs of drug-related crimes formed another area of focus in the study. This offered valuable insight into how effective envisaged policies and practices for combating illegal drug use and drug-related crimes actually are.

Project researchers made extensive use of its own online platform for presentations and discussions, as well as storing all project materials with easy access for all project partners. Such an initiative offers valuable insight into major areas for consideration in Europe’s approach to crime and its prevention.

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