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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CLEVELAND SURVEY OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE

CLEVELAND SURVEY OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE

The CLEVELAND SURVEY OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE of 1921 was the first thorough study of the criminal-justice system of a major American city and served as a model for surveys in at least 7 states and for Pres. Hoover's Commission on Law Observance & Enforcement (known as the Wickersham Commission), the first such national assessment. The Cleveland survey analyzed the work of the police, prosecutors, coroner's office, criminal courts, and correctional system; probed legal education; weighed the role of psychiatry in criminal justice; and assessed the adequacy of crime reporting in the local press. Funded by the CLEVELAND FOUNDATION and promoted by its director, RAYMOND MOLEY, the survey was co-directed by Roscoe Pound and Felix Frankfurter of Harvard Law School. They assembled a team of nationally known experts and drew on such local talent as Western Reserve Univ. sociologist Chas. E. Gehlke. Recommendations included: reorganizing the police department to improve the training and discipline of officers; creating effective court procedures and record keeping; abolishing the grand jury as a means of indictment; establishing court dockets organized to reflect the gravity and complexity of cases; improving the method of appointing judges; replacing the coroner's office with a medical examiner; employing psychiatric procedures to prevent crime and treat offenders; upgrading legal education; curbing newspaper sensationalism; and, finally, establishing a citizens' organization to educate the public and press. The last recommendation led to the establishment of the Cleveland Assn. for Criminal Justice, a coalition of business, professional, and civic groups. This organization achieved only limited reform, but it served as a useful civic watchdog in criminal justice for 3 decades. The Cleveland survey epitomized the Progressive outlook, relying on objective professional experts to provide the basis for nonpartisan civic reform and efficient public administration.