Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: June 02, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971928 | Print ISBN: 9781412950855 | Online ISBN: 9781412971928| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement
The National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement was the first national commission to study crime in the United States. Also known as the Wickersham Commission, after its chair George Wickersham, the commission systematically studied the growing national crime problem that arose in the 1920s. The commission included legal scholars, practitioners, and veterans from various state and city crime commissions. During its work from 1929 to 1931, the commission held hearings, collected evidence, reviewed statistics, and debated policy options. Several issues in the commission reports are related to race and crime, including Mexican American immigrants, the third degree, crime and the foreign-born, and early statistics on prison populations. The idea for a national crime commission surfaced during the 1928 presidential contest between Republican Herbert Hoover and Democrat Al Smith. For the first time, crime appeared as a significant campaign issue in a presidential election. Prohibition revealed glaring weaknesses within the ...