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Rural and Urban Criminal Justice (From Social Work in Juvenile and Criminal Justice Settings, Third Edition, P 53-74, 2007, Albert R. Roberts and David W. Springer, eds. -- See NCJ-217866)

NCJ Number
H. Wayne Johnson; James A. Hall; Bushra Sabri
Date Published
12 pages
This chapter considers the communities in which crime and delinquency occur and in which the criminal justice systems operate, both rural and urban.
The authors report that crime rates are generally higher in cities than in rural areas, higher in central cities than in suburbs, and higher in suburbs than in rural areas. There is some evidence that rural areas have proportionately as much crime as urban centers; however, they do not have as much reported crime. The lack of crime reporting in rural areas may be due to the tendency of rural residents to be independent and intolerant of law enforcement intervention except in unusual circumstances. In responding to crime and delinquency, society has developed a criminal justice system that consists of three subsystems: law enforcement, courts, and corrections. This chapter describes the organization and functions of these subsystems in urban and rural areas. One section of the chapter focuses on community-based alternatives to traditional criminal justice programs. Attention is given to programs that divert offenders from traditional formal justice processing to programs that target behavior modification. A discussion of specific types of community-based alternatives addresses pretrial and related services; intensive supervision, including house arrest; community service; group homes and halfway houses; and shelters for short-term care. A discussion of the social work role in urban and rural criminal justice notes that the literature on rural social work emphasizes the need for a generalist worker who is skilled in the major methods of social work, which includes direct service and program development suited to the needs of the community and its traditional service network. In the urban setting, social work requires more specialization and cooperation among workers with various types of specialized training and backgrounds. 6 tables, 1 figure, and 69 references