The Exile Nation Project - Interview with Mark Kleiman, Ph.D

The outspoken and controversial author, UCLA Professor and former Justice Department official gives his take on the origins of the American incarceration crisis.
Charles Shaw
9 November 2011

The Land of the Free punishes or imprisons more of its citizens than any other nation. This collection of testimonials from criminal offenders, family members, and experts on America’s criminal justice system puts a human face on the millions of Americans subjugated by the US Government's 40 year, one trillion dollar social catastrophe: The War on Drugs; a failed policy underscored by fear, politics, racial prejudice and intolerance in a public atmosphere of "out of sight, out of mind."


Mark Kleiman, Ph.D is a Professor of Public Policy at University of California Los Angeles. A former Justice Department official in the late 1970s, he is the author of When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment.

As a Justice Department official, Dr. Kleiman was deeply concerned by the massive increase in crime that occurred during the 1970s. He believes that it was this crime wave that led to the crisis of mass incarceration the US has today.

This complete interview is #6 of 100 in The Exile Nation Project's archive, which can be found on ExileNation.org.


In this excerpt, Professor Kleiman explains the benefits of using swift and certain drug laws instead of broad and severe punishment for various offenders. He also gives a few examples of successful harm-reduction models already in effect, such as the Hope Program.

In this excerpt, Professor Kleiman describes what happens when our justice system fails to discern the difference between ordinary violent crime and drug transaction crimes.

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