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Future Is Now - Target Hardening and Bio-Medical Intervention in Deviance

NCJ Number
Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 13 Issue: 3 Dated: (March 1980) Pages: 54-75
S Dinitz
Date Published
22 pages
Target hardening and biomedical intervention in deviance are discussed as crime prevention measures, and particular attention is given to ethical issues involved in biomedical intervention.
The failure of a century of crime prevention and treatment programs predicated on traditional conceptions of etiology--family disorganization, poverty, intrapsychic disabilities, and sociocultural deprivation--has stimulated the search for innovative and scientifically tested means for preventing and modifying criminal behavior. One of these means is target hardening, which involves creating a physical defense which will prevent or deter those with criminal intentions from executing their plans for victimization. Such target hardening includes the use of obstructions, alarm systems, architectural design, and weapons. While such target hardening may be successful in reducing crime in the secured space, indications are that the crime will be displaced to other vulnerable targets. Biomedical interventions, such as critical organ surgery (castration), psychosurgery, drug treatment, and the use of biomedical techniques in behavior modification, have all had supporters convinced that external interventions in biological functions can reduce aggressive and threatening human behavior. The use of drugs to revise body chemistry and consequent behavioral modes is the most accepted of the biomedical interventions. However, fundamental ethical issues should continue to thwart all but the most narrow use of biomedical interventions bearing upon human behavior because these interventions tend to be intrusive, irreversible, involuntary, and overcontrolling. A total of 83 footnotes are listed.