US criminologist Professor Daniel Nagin will argue it is possible to reduce crime and punishment at a free public lecture at Griffith University on Thursday, March 17.

Professor Nagin says crime, prison costs, and imprisonment numbers can be reduced if policy-makers move from a reliance on severity-based policies to a more effective use of police to make the risks and consequences of crime clearer.

“Recent empirical studies on deterrence have shown only a marginal deterrent effect of increasing already lengthy prison sentences” he said.

“Increasing the visibility of police also has a marginal deterrent effect and the experience of imprisonment compared to non-custodial sanctions such as probation, does not prevent re-offending.

“We also recommend a large increase in research and evaluation resources to identify sanction and policing policies that are most cost effective in preventing crime.”

Professor Nagin, from Carnegie Mellon University, is a Fellow of the American Society of Criminology and the American Society for the Advancement of Science.

His research focuses on the evolution of criminal and antisocial behaviours over the life course, the deterrent effect of criminal and non-criminal penalties on illegal behaviours, and the development of statistical methods for analysing longitudinal data.

His work has appeared in the American Economic Review, American Sociological Review, Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Journal of Sociology, Archives of General Psychiatry and Stanford Law Review.

WHAT: Public Lecture — Reducing Crime and Imprisonment

WHEN: Thursday, March 17, 4.30pm-6.30pm

WHERE: Lecture Room 1.39, Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University, South Bank.