Violent crime continues to be a major social and economic problem in the United States and elsewhere, with terrorism an increasing factor. For decades now, many public leaders have assumed that the problems of crime and legal accountability can only be addressed through an expansion of government surveillance, regulatory and policing operations, prior restraint and imprisonment, and social welfare bureaucracy.
During the twentieth century and especially since World War II, the legal system has become increasingly bureaucratized and centralized, with a steady decline of accountability and responsiveness and ever higher costs to the average citizen and the victims of crime.
The Center on Law and Justice provides a substantial and critical review of past policies and evaluates alternative approaches to tort liability, criminal justice, constitutional law, property rights, civil liberties, the rule of law, and much more.
Within recent years, an increasing number of scholars and policy experts have asked whether there may be better ways to address legal issues by de-bureaucratization, emphasizing individual accountability and the empowerment of the citizenry in all aspects of the law. But what is the track record of these and other approaches? Are there lessons we can now learn which can be implemented in cities and neighborhoods that will really make a difference? Can we safeguard constitutional liberties, protect the innocent against fraud and malfeasance, and also have safe streets? And, what about the impact of drugs, guns, sentencing, prisons, welfare, racial and gender discrimination, and many other issues?
The Independent Institute’s Center on Law and Justice carefully examines these and other questions. Its mission is to examine the legal crisis facing Americans, and to provide the basis for meaningful legal reform.