Ceremonial Justice, Loose Coupling, and the War on Drugs in Texas, 1980-1989

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The degree to which the criminal justice system operates as an integrated network of agencies has not been systematically examined. This article illustrates how the police, courts, and corrections systems in Texas adapted to the conflicting demands to increase enforcement of drug laws and punish offenders, on the one hand, and complied with a prison population cap, on the other. Results show that drug arrests remained a small proportion of total law enforcement efforts. The drug war was waged in the courts. Convictions resulted in the incarceration of more offenders. Inmates were released early to maintain compliance with population caps. © 1993, SAGE Periodicals Press. All rights reserved.

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