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Encyclopedia > Wickersham Commission

The Wickersham Commission was established in May of 1929 when President Herbert Hoover appointed George W. Wickersham (1858-1936) to head the National Committee on Law Observation and Enforcement, popularly called the Wickersham Commission. Herbert Clark Hoover (August 10, 1874 – October 20, 1964) is best known as being the 31st President of the United States (1929-1933). ...


The Commission was an 11-member group charged with identifying the causes of criminal activity and to make recommendations for appropriate public policy. The emphasis was almost entirely on the widespread violations of national alcohol prohibition. The Commisssion documented the widespread evasion of prohibition and the numerous counterproductive effects it was having on American society. Rather than recommending the repeal of prohibition, as many expected, it recommended that much more aggressive and extensive law enforcement should be employed in an effort to force compliance. Prohibition agents destroying barrels of alcohol. ... The first consignment of liquor for Canberra, following the repeal of prohibition laws in 1928. ...


The Commission also investigated police interrogation tactics. It concluded that "[t]he third degree---the inflicting of pain, physical or mental, to extract confessions or statements---is widespread throughout the country."


Sources

  • Vernon, John. The Wickersham Commission and William Monroe Trotter. Negro History Bulletin, 1999 (January-March).
  • National Prohibition of Alcohol in the United States
  • Miller, Marc L. and Wright, Ronald F. Criminal Procedures, Cases, Statutes, and Executive Materials. Second Ed. 2003.
  • Recods of the Wickersham Comission

  Results from FactBites:
 
IADLEST Model Minimum Standards (8105 words)
Such a commission should have the authority and responsibility to decertify or suspend or revoke the licenses of sworn personnel who perform the duties of law enforcement and corrections officers, and other related public officers, for failure to observe training requirements, incompetence or egregious misconduct, and to determine the mechanics and conditions for such decertification.
The state should provide the commission with sufficient funds to enable it to reimburse or subsidize every law enforcement and corrections agency 100 percent of the salary, or underwrite the cost of training programs to be completed by the employees of state, county and local law enforcement and corrections agencies.
Commission regulations authorized by state law should establish minimum standards for the accreditation, administration, and delivery of basic training programs required for professional certification or licensing of entry-level police and corrections officers, regardless of whether such programs are delivered by state-run academies, individual law enforcement agencies, institutions of higher learning, or a combination thereof.
Wickersham Commission Report on Alcohol Prohibition - Conclusions and Recommendations (707 words)
The Commission is opposed to repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment.
The Commission is of opinion that the cooperation of the states is an essential element in the enforcement of the Eighteenth Amendment and the National Prohibition Act throughout the territory of the United States; that the support of public opinion in the several states is necessary in order to insure such cooperation.
The Commission is of opinion that prior to the enactment of the Bureau of Prohibition Act, 1927, the agencies for enforcement were badly organized and inadequate; that subsequent to that enactment there has been continued improvement in organization and effort for enforcement.
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