Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Decriminalization broadly refers to the removal or reduction of criminal penalties from particular substances or activities. Although the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, decriminalization and legalization are not the same thing. Legalization implies complete removal of governmental control, whereas acts or substances that are decriminalized are still subject to state control even if the acts are no longer considered criminal. Commentators often vary on their interpretation of the term, based on the extent to which the state is involved in regulation. Terms such as partial decriminalization and full decriminalization specify the extent of state Decriminalization ...