Mark A.R. Kleiman

Mark Kleiman died July 21, 2019. A memoriam to his life and career can be found here.

Mark Kleiman was Professor Emeritus of Public Policy in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and was employed at NYU at time of his death.

Mr. Kleiman was the author of Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control; of Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results;  and of When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment, listed by The Economist as one of the “Books of the Year” for 2009.  Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (co-authored with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) was published in July 2011 by Oxford University Press. He edited the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis.

In addition to his academic work, Mr. Kleiman provided advice to local, state, and national governments on crime control and drug policy. Before he came to UCLA in 1995, he taught at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and at the University of Rochester. Outside of academia, he had worked for the U.S. Department of Justice (as Director of Policy and Management Analysis for the Criminal Division), for the City of Boston (as Deputy Director for Management of the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget), for Polaroid Corporation (as Special Assistant to the CEO, Edwin Land), and on Capitol Hill (as a legislative assistant to Congressman Les Aspin). He graduated from Haverford College (magna cum laude, majoring in political science, philosophy, and economics) and did his graduate work (M.P.P. and Ph.D.) at the Kennedy School.

Mr. Kleiman blogged at The Reality-Based Community, at samefacts.org

SELECTED BOOKS & PUBLICATIONS

When Brute Force Fails
Since the crime explosion of the 1960s, the prison population in the United States has multiplied fivefold, to one prisoner for every hundred adults — a rate unprecedented in American history and unmatched anywhere in the world. Even as the prisoner head count continues to rise, crime has stopped falling, and poor people and minorities still bear the brunt of both crime and punishment. When Brute Force Fails explains how we got into the current trap and how we can get out of it: to cut both crime and the prison population in half within a decade.
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Excess: Drug Policy for Results
Kleiman, M. Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results. New York: Basic Books, 1992. Kleiman, M.Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Cost of Control. Greenwich, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1989.
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Mark Kleiman Named One of the Politico 50 The Public Policy professor is recognized by Politico Magazine as an important thinker and doer in American politics.

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Public Policy professor Mark Kleiman has been named one of Politico Magazine’s “Politico 50,” which is the political magazine’s list of the most interesting “thinkers, doers and dreamers who really matter in this age of gridlock and dysfunction.”

Accompanying Kleiman on the list are prominent political, academic and religious figures such as Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, Pope Francis and presidential advisor John Podesta. Politico calls Kleiman “an academic with real-world punch” for his work as one of the country’s most prominent drug policy experts.

“Kleiman, 63, a longtime legalization advocate and one of the country’s most prominent drug policy experts, has always looked ahead to the post- prohibition landscape even while the drug war was in full swing…If America’s legal experiments with weed survive, it may be because Kleiman had the good sense to minimize its harmful effects.”

Read more about Kleiman’s work and see what his favorite books of the year are here.

You can see the full list of Politico 50 here and follow along on social media with #POLITICO50.

The Politico 50 were also surveyed about American politics, including the future of Obamacare and the Tea Party, the presidential campaign and Washington and the world. Go here to see their responses.

 

Escaping the prison trap: UCLA professors, criminal justice experts tackle prison crisis at DC forum UCLA participates in first Rosenfield Forum in Washington D.C., bringing together top researchers from across the country.

UCLA brought together top researchers in the criminal justice field, congressional staff, a high-ranking official in the Obama administration and a California congressman for its first Rosenfield Forum in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 8.
More than 70 people participated in the half-day event, titled “Escaping the Prison Trap: How to Have Less Crime and Less Incarceration,” which included three panels and presentations by premiere scholars from UCLA and other institutions.
“We’re fortunate that within the walls of our school we had a diversity of approaches to the issues” that helped UCLA in hosting this forum, Franklin D. Gilliam Jr., dean of the UCLA School of Public Affairs, said in his opening remarks. “At the risk of sounding immodest, this diversity of approaches and viewpoints is a hallmark of our school and one of its great strengths.”
U.S. Associate Attorney General Thomas J. Perrelli, the third-highest ranking official in the Justice Department, led off the forum with a discussion of the Obama administration’s approach to crime prevention and reduction. His comments underscored Gilliam’s point about the wealth of expertise at UCLA.
“Everyone always talks about being ‘tough’ on crime, but our focus is being ‘smart’ on crime,” said Perrelli, who also worked under former Attorney General Janet Reno during the Clinton administration. “Research in this area is not research for its own sake; it is the kind of thing we really do hope to examine, implement and, frankly, learn more from. There really are people, particularly in this Justice Department, who are listening to the outcomes of your conversations and the research that you develop. We’re excited to hear more.”
“Escaping the Prison Trap” sought to address some of the major issues confronting the U.S. justice system today, including the country’s unprecedented incarceration rate; the role of communities in reducing crime, especially among juveniles; and the development of innovative programs for deterring crime and reducing prison crowding.
Two additional Rosenfield Forums will bring together UCLA scholars with national and local leaders this academic year; the next addresses transportation issues, and the final forum will explore issues related to youth in the foster care system.
“We’re excited, we’re thrilled to be here in Washington,” Gilliam said at the outset of the forum, which helped broaden UCLA’s influence as an institution committed to helping solve some of the nation’s most pressing problems. “We want to promote UCLA faculty and inform — and hopefully influence — the national debate.”
Throughout the four-hour discussion, scholars laid out the problems with our current prison system and ways to fix it.
“You have to figure out what works,” Perrelli said. “Nothing, really, should be off the table, and if you’re going to figure out what works, you need evidence and research to do that.”
He asked for the academics’ help on that front.
“Help us think outside the box about the next generation of promising approaches,” he said. “I think we’re asking the right questions about how to really make communities safer, how to reduce crime.”
Using evidence-based approaches and research and determining how to use governments’ limited resources more effectively is the path U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s Justice Department will follow, he added.
U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D–Calif.) repeated Perrelli’s request for assistance as he wrapped up the forum.
“We desperately need the expertise and insight of the people in this room,” he told the eight panelists and the experts assembled in the audience. “It’s always a fight in Congress” to try to change policy when crime is the issue.
Anyone who attempts to implement programs similar to the ones discussed during the three panels gets tagged as being “soft on crime,” Schiff said, making such programs a tough sell to legislators.
“But look at the crisis in California, where one-fourth of the prison population may have to be released by court order,” he said. “I don’t want to wait until we’re in a situation like that. We need to be more proactive, more thoughtful.”
Perrelli also addressed the issue’s political sensitivity and the implications of reform efforts.
“The easier course politically might simply be to take the ‘tough on crime’ approach, to announce the tough on crime mantra and put more people in jail,” Perrelli said.
But that won’t solve the problem, reduce crime or save money, he added.
“It shouldn’t surprise us that the system that we have now isn’t working particularly well,” Perrelli said. “You think about the amount of money that you’re spending on prisons, particularly in this era of budget cuts, and you ask yourself, ‘If I could make the community as safe or safer than it is today but reduce the level of incarceration and have those funds to do a host of other things, what could we do with that?'”
Panelists discussed a wide range of topics, from the effect of maximum-minimum sentencing guidelines to the perils of treating juvenile offenders as adults and the correlation between prison sentences and unemployment.
“The phrase ‘crime doesn’t pay’ is oft-repeated by those who are ‘tough on crime,’ yet statistics bear out that crime already doesn’t pay, literally,” said panelist Mark Kleiman, a UCLA professor of public policy. “A burglar makes about $8 for every day he’s in prison.”
All the panelists criticized fixes that represent mere “tinkering” and recommended wholesale changes to the system.
“I don’t believe we can fix this with business as usual, but we can fix this — it is real,” said David Kennedy, director of the Center on Crime Prevention and Control at the City University of New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
David F. Weiman, an economics professor at Columbia University and Barnard College, offered just one reason why fundamentally changing the system would be so challenging.
“The status quo is deeply entrenched,” he said. “It’s an uphill battle because there’s a system already in place.” Weiman likened the potential need to close prisons to the extremely politically sensitive process of military base closures.
“Imagine closing prisons,” Weiman said. “Each prison has constituency,” just like the bases.
As the forum wrapped up, Gilliam said that Associate Attorney General Perrelli had laid out the theme in his opening remarks.
“Maybe the theme of the whole forum is being ‘smart’ on crime,” Gilliam said. “It’s not a matter of whether we are ‘tough’ on crime, but are we ‘smart’ on crime?”
Gilliam also encouraged academics, when returning to their research, to focus even more on solutions.
“One of the things that plagues this field is a ‘crisis’ focus,” he said. “There aren’t enough solutions.”

Crime Forum Opens in Washington DC: Judge Alm Delivers on HOPE Rosenfield Forum brings together researchers to discuss methods of crime reduction

WASHINGTON, DC—Addressing the record incarceration rates across the U.S. and the boom in the prison population, the UCLA School of Public Affairs launched the first in a series of public discussions on critical national issues with the opening dinner of the Rosenfield Forums at the National Press Club in Washington DC.

“The Rosenfield Forums are an opportunity to bring together some of the country’s best thinkers, practitioners, advocates, policy makers, and other stakeholders,” says Dean Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr., “This week’s particular event focuses on encouraging all of us to think a little differently about how we reduce crime in the United States. This is an important and deeply corrosive phenomenon: it corrodes the public space, it corrodes our young people, and it crowds our prisons. Much of the worlds of crime and punishment are artificially constructed around these two poles—too much crime and too much incarceration. What you’ll see in this event is scholars grappling with the complexities of these issues, and presenting some elegant solutions—elegant in both simplicity and power.”

The inaugural forum, “Escaping the Prison Trap: How to Have Less Crime and Less Incarceration,” featured a keynote address on October 7 by the Honorable Steve S. Alm of the Hawaii State Judiciary. Alm is the creator of Project HOPE (Hawaii’s Opportunity and Probation and Enforcement), an innovative crime reduction program for drug offenses that has had dramatic success rates. Judge Alm described a frustrating sentencing and incarceration system that amounted to little more than a revolving door for minor drug offenders to move in and out of the judicial system.

“I can send them to the beach, or send them to prison—it’s crazy that these were the only options.” After gaining cooperation from several agencies, including the probation department, the sheriffs and U.S. marshals, Judge Alm created a systematic approach in which offenders were given instructions for calling a telephone hotline to see if they were selected that day for random drug testing. If they tested positive for drugs, they are arrested on the spot and brought up for a hearing within two days. “Swift and certain consequence is the key.” Says Alm, “If probationers know there will be caught and punished, they will not violate. Probation officers are pleased with the results, because clients were showing up to their appointments, and showing up sober.”

The program has had remarkable success in Hawaii (up to a 50% drop in repeat offenses among drug probationers); has been replicated by other judges; and has become the focus of research by UCLA Public Policy Professor Mark Kleiman and Pepperdine University Public Policy Professor Angela Hawken. The Department of Justice has funded a program to introduce the program to other jurisdictions across the country.

The Rosenfield Forums continue on October 8 at the Rayburn Building on Capital Hill with panel discussions on: reducing juvenile crime and incarceration, led by Associate Professor Laura Abrams of the Department of Social Welfare; the consequences of mass incarceration, led by Professor Michael Stoll of the Department of Public Policy; and getting more crime control with less punishment, led by Professor Mark Kleiman of the Department of Public Policy.