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Law and (Norms of) Order in the Inner City

By Tracey L. Meares and Dan M. Kahan


This article surveys recent works that seek to enrich criminal law policy analysis by incorporating social norms. The article does not purport to adduce the \u22true\u22 or even the \u22best\u22 definition of \u22social norms\u22; rather it breaks that term down into a cluster of related concepts that are frequently subsumed within it, including \u22social organization,\u22 \u22social meaning,\u22 and \u22social influence.\u22 The motivation for grouping these concepts together, moreover, is as much political as conceptual. Using a pragmatic standard of assessment, the article uses the social norms literature to identify a host of politically feasible law enforcement policies—from curfews to gang-loitering laws to order-maintenance policing to reverse stings—that deter as well or better than severe prison sentences but that avoid the destructive effect of those sentences on inner-city communities

Publisher: Yale Law School Legal Scholarship Repository
Year: 1998
OAI identifier: oai:digitalcommons.law.yale.edu:fss_papers-1481
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