The Prison Boom and the Lack of Black Progress

by on July 15, 2014 at 3:52 am in Data Source, Economics, History, Law, Uncategorized | Permalink

There is a new and extremely distressing NBER paper by Derek Neal and Armin Rick:

More than two decades ago, Smith and Welch (1989) used the 1940 through 1980 census files to document important relative black progress. However, recent data indicate that this progress did not continue, at least among men. The growth of incarceration rates among black men in recent decades combined with the sharp drop in black employment rates during the Great Recession have left most black men in a position relative to white men that is really no better than the position they occupied only a few years after the Civil Rights Act of 1965. A move toward more punitive treatment of arrested offenders drove prison growth in recent decades, and this trend is evident among arrested offenders in every major crime category. Changes in the severity of corrections policies have had a much larger impact on black communities than white communities because arrest rates have historically been much greater for blacks than whites.

The paper is here.  There are ungated copies here.

1 Steve Sailer July 15, 2014 at 3:55 am

Or maybe it was “The Crime Boom and the Lack of Black Progress?”

2 andrew' July 15, 2014 at 4:12 am

Or the lead boom and the lack of everyone’s progress.

3 Moreno Klaus July 15, 2014 at 4:41 am

Or maybe most of these people are arrested for minor offenses (possessing 0.0005 mg crack), go to prison, graduate from Crime University and never find normal work again…

4 andrew' July 15, 2014 at 5:05 am

Plenty of whites get busted too. So what is the mathematical marginal incentive comparing between two groups where one starts out with less to lose?

Maybe drug use (not necessarily dealing) should be less artificially punished in communities where we would turn to anything for an escape if it were us.

5 Eric Rasmusen July 15, 2014 at 5:45 pm

Except they don’t. You have to work pretty hard at crime to go to prison.

6 andrew' July 16, 2014 at 5:11 am

But it is still effective deterrence?

7 The Anti-Gnostic July 15, 2014 at 7:33 am

Just think how much smarter Niels Bohr would have been!

8 Brenton July 16, 2014 at 4:44 pm

Your ignorance on the subject shows as your example is actually a counterexample to the point that you’re trying to make.

9 Quite Likely July 15, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Except that crime has been declining for most of the post-1980 period, starting in the early 1990s. So not so much.

10 cassander July 15, 2014 at 5:27 pm

so, had it not been for the massive rise of crime in the 60s and 70s, in the 80s the country would have just started locking black people anyway? Just for funsies?

11 KPres July 15, 2014 at 8:58 pm

So the crime boom created a prison boom that ended the crime boom. Sounds right.

12 Paul A'Barge July 21, 2014 at 11:24 am

“Changes in the severity of corrections policies have had a much larger impact on black communities than white communities because arrest rates have historically been much greater for blacks than whites”

No, Changes in the severity of corrections policies have had a much larger impact on black communities than white communities because crimes committed have historically been much greater for blacks than whites.

Arrests are a result. Crimes are the provocation. Now, address why Blacks have been committing more crimes than whites.

13 Moreno Klaus July 15, 2014 at 4:39 am

It is Apartheid 2.0… Or is the US justice system just plain ridiculous? (or both?)

14 prior_approval July 15, 2014 at 5:24 am

It’s like you read Sailer’s mind, or at least his words – ‘What you won’t hear, except from me, is that “Let the good times roll” is an especially risky message for African-Americans. The plain fact is that they tend to possess poorer native judgment than members of better-educated groups. Thus they need stricter moral guidance from society.’

Predictably, such notable lefties as John Podhoretz, writing in the hard left National Review Online blog, called this “shockingly racist and paternalistic” as well as “disgusting”. As if the notably politically correct National Review/NRO doesn’t have a long tradition of disciminating against people like John Derbyshire, for merely expressing such views in public.

15 andrew' July 15, 2014 at 5:35 am

BUT.

Weed can basically only destroy your life if the government helps using my money.

16 andrew' July 15, 2014 at 5:37 am

(And, if you respond that illegal weed isn’t actually enforced, that is odd, but more importantly how many other offenses are similar to weed (e.g. indoor prostitution) in that regard- the main risk is the government rod.)

17 The Anti-Gnostic July 15, 2014 at 7:41 am

Thought experiment: all drugs are completely legalized. Do gangbangers start looking at spreadsheets, renting commercial space and opening drug dispensaries?

18 HL July 15, 2014 at 10:11 am

I see what you’re trying to get at mister, the solution as always is more education. We haven’t been able to reach a huge swath of the population yet because GOP legislatures like the one in Kansas have crippled our teachers and administrators through draconian budget cuts. Do we really want to live in a world where we can’t even afford our own children’s future?

19 XVO July 15, 2014 at 12:06 pm

haha no, my bet, they start trafficking children, collecting protection or committing robbery. As is happening with legalized pot, real business people will get in on the business when they are protected from violence. It would certainly reduce gang ability to make money though. People tend to have a pretty strong reaction to violent crime committed towards innocents and it’s much less lucrative than the drug trade.

20 Justin July 15, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Of course not. But now we have a few virtuous feedback cycles in place:

1. Drug dealers are no longer role models for black boys. (Or if they are, they are the spreadsheets and and commercial space types, who make reasonable role models).
2. Black men, no longer in prison for drug crimes, find themselves in much steeper competition for black women (since most dating is within one’s ethnic group). This gives black women more power and they use it to demand jobs and parental investment in children. Black men follow the incentives.

As a cultural conservative, I don’t think this will work (although it might help, depending on the elasticity of demand for drugs). But that also plays on my subjective priors. You can’t settle the issue by with a though experiment.

21 Easily Amused July 15, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Gangbangers are driven out of business by entrepreneurs who reduce prices, and remove the windfall profits that make the illegal trade so lucrative.

22 China Cat July 16, 2014 at 9:16 pm

No. They continue to carjack, rob convenience stores and trade in legal goods and services in a black market with no regulation and no taxation.

They buy fewer caddys is all.

23 jon July 15, 2014 at 6:06 am

True that. Hit first, ask questions later
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsHLMDc-Z-c

24 Art Deco July 15, 2014 at 8:30 am

It is Apartheid 2.0… Or is the US justice system just plain ridiculous? (or both?)

No, aspriant social engineers and press agents for the criminal class are plain ridiculous.

25 Arjun July 15, 2014 at 2:45 pm

It’s pretty sad (not to mention unscientific) that you think that entire populations that have little option except to be a part of the black market don’t deserve better.

26 Art Deco July 15, 2014 at 4:07 pm

It is pretty sad that you operate under the illusion that people knock-off convenience stores because they have ‘little option’ except to be a part of the black market.

27 Steve Sailer July 15, 2014 at 5:32 am

The late James Q. Wilson on racial gaps in crime:

“Black men commit murders at a rate about eight times greater than that for white men. This disparity is not new; it has existed for well over a century. When historian Roger Lane studied murder rates in Philadelphia, he found that since 1839 the black rate has been much higher than the white rate. This gap existed long before the invention of television, the wide distribution of handguns, or access to dangerous drugs (except for alcohol).”

http://media.hoover.org/sites/default/files/documents/0817998721_115.pdf

28 lemmy caution July 16, 2014 at 8:43 am

The gap is much lower for non-violent crimes and the prison system puts a lot of people in jail for non violent crimes. This means that reasonable reforms of the prison system will actually increase the percentage of the prison population that is black. Which is fine since it would also reduce the effect of the prison industrial complex on the black community.

29 Brenton July 16, 2014 at 4:46 pm

Are we talking about jail or prisons? What percentage of Americans in prison (not jail) are there without having committed any violent crimes?

30 Paul A'Barge July 21, 2014 at 11:27 am

What? What are you talking about? Jail vs Prison? Do you really believe that waving your hands, dancing about and spouting nonsense is having the effect you desire? Because it’s not working.

31 Chip July 15, 2014 at 6:03 am

What is the propensity for crime among white children in broken families?

I suspect it track quite closely with black children in such families.

The difference is that so many black children (70%) now grow up without a father in the house.

Raising kids is tough, especially today when the norm isn’t to shoo them out the back door but to mentor and nurture them closely throughout their schooling with an eye always on college (see Tiger Moms).

So increased broken families versus more competition equals dire outcomes.

We are looking at the need for a complete cultural transformation in the black community.

32 ChrisA July 15, 2014 at 6:11 am

Chip – you are going to have some trouble sorting out cause and effect in the broken homes saga. Surely someone who abandons their family has a tendency towards fecklessness and short term thinking. If this trait is heritable (and a large fraction of psychological traits do seem to be heritable) then the one would expect that children in broken homes would have a greater tendency towards fecklessness as well.

33 Chip July 15, 2014 at 9:35 am

Most people have a tendency toward fecklessness. The goal is not to provide incentives – cultural and financial – to promote it.

34 ChrisA July 15, 2014 at 9:30 pm

“Most people have a tendency toward fecklessness” – well I think I would dispute that having lived in Switzerland and Scotland. But the main point is that people vary in their tendency towards fecklessness, in fact you admit that by saying that the cohort of people from broken homes have a greater tendency to crime than people who are not from broken homes. The question is therefore, is it the broken home that increases their tendency to fecklessness (in other word, nurture) or the fact that people who have a greater tendency to fecklessness due to genetic factors are more likely to have children in broken homes (or the nature explanation)? Likely it is not one or the other, but both, but we can’t just ignore or pretend the nature explanation is not valid just because we don’t like the implications. I would say that I agree with you about minimizing incentives for broken homes, not because it might change the behavior of children in such circumstances, but because broken homes are not good things in themselves.

35 Steve Sailer July 15, 2014 at 6:26 am

“I suspect it track quite closely with black children in such families.”

No.

36 Dan Weber July 15, 2014 at 9:02 am

Are you going to leave us hanging?

37 Quite Likely July 15, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Yes.

Actually I have no idea, but this is a fun way to argue!

38 Z July 15, 2014 at 8:12 am

Actually, it does not track at all. But, that will not stop you from believing it does. The biggest challenge facing black America is liberal white people, with heads full of nonsense like this, trying to help black Americans.

Ignorance is a choice. Buy this book and read it: http://tinyurl.com/kukxg7d

39 Chip July 15, 2014 at 9:34 am

Single parent children across the western world – Canada, England, Scotland, Australia etc – have a greater propensity to crime. So yes it does track with the experience in the US.

Both black and white children with a father in the home don’t commit crime close to the rate of a fatherless child. Single parent kids in the UK are 9 times more likely to commit crime.

There was a study in Canada – Ontario I think – that found single parent families were a stronger indicator for crime than poverty, race or education.

40 Yancey Ward July 15, 2014 at 10:08 am

Good grief! The word “track” doesn’t mean what you think it means.

41 Jan July 15, 2014 at 3:24 pm

You need to explain this or STFU.

42 Art Deco July 15, 2014 at 8:26 am

We are looking at the need for a complete cultural transformation in the black community.

—–
Why not do something that’s been done of late and is within the ambo of conventional and necessary government functions, like change police tactics, put boots on the ground in the slums, and quit confounding punishment with secular ministry?

43 Brian Donohue July 15, 2014 at 9:33 am

What percentage of black American children were born into two-parent households 60 years ago?

44 Art Deco July 15, 2014 at 1:37 pm

North of 85% were within wedlock. Some went up for adoption. It was common among blacks ca. 1950 for a custodial stepfather to appear by the time the out-of-wedlock child was five. See Jesse Jackson’s biography. (Jackson’s natural father was a prosperous local businessman who was already married and had other children. His stepfather worked for the Post Office).

45 Easily Amused July 15, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Sounds great. Citations please.

46 gu July 20, 2014 at 10:00 pm

Yes, let’s ignore centuries of common knowledge that black people are less civilized and more violent, let’s ignore the consistently lower impulse control, lower IQ and higher testosterone that they possess (all things that correlate with crime btw).

You people are disgusting.

47 wiki July 15, 2014 at 6:04 am

Doesn’t this also match the Moynihan noted rise in fatherless black kids from the 1960s (which would have start to have big effects beginning in the late 70s), the aftereffects of black nationalism and anti-assimilationism, and the William Julius Wilson claims about the hollowing out of the black middle class in African American neighborhoods?

48 The Anti-Gnostic July 15, 2014 at 7:34 am

It’s called ‘welfare.’

49 Millian July 15, 2014 at 9:54 am

Whites have now reached black single-parent rates that prevailed when Moynihan wrote. So that’s not the answer, because society hasn’t collapsed. Unless, like many here, one believes that the era of low incomes and lynchings was a better society than today’s.

50 The Anti-Gnostic July 15, 2014 at 10:36 am

More hysterical liberal screeching. The number of lynchings nationwide from 1860 – 2000 is the work of a few months in modern urban America.

Also, yet more high-g atheist bafflement at discovering the rules of social conservatism weren’t written with them in mind. Just because Jodie Foster is a successful single mom doesn’t mean women on the left-side IQ distribution should try it. Bourgeois and elite class whites remain quite straight-laced.

51 Art Deco July 15, 2014 at 1:39 pm

So that’s not the answer,

I’m not sure why Anti-gnostic fancies it’s a mark of a high IQ to think that all social phenomena must have a single cause.

52 Eric Rasmusen July 15, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Hasn’t society collapsed? Of course,society as a whole has not— but at the bottom third, white or black, male labor participation has fallen, wage rates are stagnant, and the state of culture is abysmal.

53 dearieme July 15, 2014 at 6:14 am

“because arrest rates have historically been much greater”: that can’t be right. It must at least be the conviction rate, and perhaps the sentencing-to-jail rate, that matters.

54 Steve Sailer July 15, 2014 at 6:29 am

The federal government tracks the “homicide offending” rate. Here’s fromm the most recent Obama Administration report, a 2011 PDF by Alexia Cooper and Erica L. Smith of the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics: “Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980-2008:”

“Based on available data from 1980 to 2008—

“Blacks were disproportionately represented as both homicide victims and offenders.…The offending rate for blacks (34.4 per 100,000) was almost 8 times higher than the rate for whites (4.5 per 100,000).”

http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/htus8008.pdf

55 Willitts July 15, 2014 at 12:13 pm

“Whites” include Hispanics, so the homicide rate of Blacks is well over ten times that of non-Hispanic Whites.

56 Jan July 15, 2014 at 3:29 pm

Also, notable:
The U.S. Sentencing Commission stated that in the federal system black offenders receive sentences that are 10 percent longer than white offenders for the same crimes. The Sentencing Project reports that African Americans are 21 percent more likely to receive mandatory-minimum sentences than white defendants and are 20 percent more likely to be sentenced to prison.
http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/race/news/2012/03/13/11351/the-top-10-most-startling-facts-about-people-of-color-and-criminal-justice-in-the-united-states/

57 KPres July 15, 2014 at 8:55 pm

Long rap sheets tend to have that effect.

58 S July 15, 2014 at 7:00 am

When people write papers they say “incarceration rate”. When people buy houses they say “crime rate”.

59 The Anti-Gnostic July 15, 2014 at 7:36 am

How the market prices white neighbors is one of those economic phenomena that economist’s wives understand better than they do.

60 anon July 15, 2014 at 8:23 am

Sad, but probably true.

61 China Cat July 16, 2014 at 8:27 pm

True, but probably not sad.

62 Larry July 20, 2014 at 9:27 pm

Anti-Gnostic,

I wish you would stop posting things that will distress our host.

63 Rahul July 15, 2014 at 7:04 am

How exactly are they measuring the “relative position”? I was too lazy to read the paper.

64 Steve July 15, 2014 at 8:06 am

In the 1920s, the black-market profits of Alcohol Prohibition lured Irish and Italian men into crime, now it is Drug Prohibition luring in Black and Hispanic men. The US murder rate has peaked twice over the past century, in 1933 and 1980. In the former case it was whites dying, so we did something about it, but in the latter case we just roll our eyes and throw up our hands. What I still don’t understand is why conservatives fail to make the prohibition-violence-gun-control connection. The first US gun-control legislation, the 1934 National Firearms Act limiting automatic weapons (e.g. Tommy guns), was in response to the gang warfare, e.g. the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. On drugs issue conservatives are shooting themselves in the foot.

65 Art Deco July 15, 2014 at 8:20 am

The homicide rate has declined by 50% nation-wide since 1980 and by 75% in loci with vigorous initiatives in law enforcement (e.g. New York). I cannot see how that counts and ‘rolling eyes’ and ‘throwing up hands’.

66 andrew' July 16, 2014 at 5:00 am

Again, a post hoc story.

67 Art Deco July 16, 2014 at 8:03 am

No, there was a seven-fold increase in the prison population during those years and innovations in policing in New York. Libertards and the social work industry are very vigorous in refusing to draw implications from that.

68 Brenton July 16, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Worth noting that NYC’s relatively early and extreme drop in crime coincides with their relatively early and aggressive actions towards the problem of (childhood) lead exposure.

69 The Anti-Gnostic July 15, 2014 at 8:26 am

And after Prohibition, the Irish and Italian gangs all became brewers, vintners and distillers, right?

It doesn’t occur to libertarians that drug laws don’t make people criminals; they put the trade in the hands of criminals.

70 mofo. July 15, 2014 at 9:54 am

“It doesn’t occur to libertarians that drug laws don’t make people criminals; they put the trade in the hands of criminals”

That doesnt occur to libertarians? Thats news to me, can you cite some kind of source for that?

71 The Anti-Gnostic July 15, 2014 at 10:29 am

Read that sentence and reflect.

The libertarian mantra is that the reason the drug trade is pathological and violent is because drugs are illegal. That’s not true, because there’s a thriving drug trade on most college campuses and hippy co-ops and college students and hippies aren’t doing drive-by’s.

72 mofo. July 15, 2014 at 11:39 am

Just because some of the drug trade is not violent does not mean that all of it is. Conversely, big Pharma do not go to war with each other. Liquor companies dont murder their competitors.

In any event, i dont know of any libertarian worth listening to that thinks that drug laws per se make people violent.

73 andrew' July 16, 2014 at 5:15 am

Let’s talk semantics. If i have to get painkillers from a stranger in an alley and thus go strapped because I have to provide my own police services, did the laws make me violent?

This is how Richard kuklinski killed one of his victims. A doctor who wanted to buy some black market drugs.

74 andrew' July 16, 2014 at 5:02 am

And we are right.

We are talking about those parts

If a criminal is making me a taco and never commits crime, I don’t care that to you he is still a criminal.

75 Z July 15, 2014 at 8:28 am

William F. Buckley was a drug legalizer so I’m not sure I’d say conservatives promote drug prohibition. Similarly, a lot of liberals have argued for prohibition. The Red Team is more closely associated with prohibition, only because the Blue Team is more closely associated with squandering money on treatment.

Even though I’m more inclined to the legalization side, I think it is fantasy to think it will make much of a difference in the ghetto. The oxycontin express is not running 24×7 in the great white ghetto because it is prohibited or taboo. Similarly, the corner boys of West Baltimore are not going back for their MBA’s once the heroine trade goes legit. Since crime is largely a ghetto phenomenon these days, legalization is not going to change the crime rate much at all.

The urban and rural ghettos are where we stash our superfluous people. Keeping them on drugs and fighting one another means they don’t wander off the reservation and make trouble for the rest of us. Until we build out cloud cities or Apple Stores in the sky, the reservation system is here to stay.

76 Z July 15, 2014 at 8:31 am

That’s “heroin.” Damn you to hell lack of an edit button!!!

77 Mark Thorson July 16, 2014 at 1:44 am
78 Art Deco July 15, 2014 at 8:40 am

There are no ‘rural ghettos’ nor is there some agent ‘stashing’ people there. People live in trailer parks because that’s what they can afford. People live in slums for that reason and a complex of others.

New York City has in recent decades had homicide rates near national means. There are sixty community districts in the City of which the most viperous are Ocean-Hill / Brownsville and Bedford-Stuyvesant. The homicide rates in these two districts have run around 23 per 100,000 in the last 15 years. That’s not much worse than the inner city means in Rochester and Buffalo (19 and 20 per 100,000 respectively). Black residents in New York City are exposed due to residence to homicide rates of about 8.6 per 100,000 on average, or about the inner city average in Utica. When you’ve got an institutional committment, you can accomplish something.

79 Z July 15, 2014 at 9:21 am

You’re just arguing for gussied up war socialism. The trouble with that is exhaustion sets in and it becomes a racket. Proof of that is all around you.

Anyway, you never did explain why you think drug legalization would be a catastrophe. I’d certainly like to know why you think that and what you meant by a catastrophe.

80 Art Deco July 15, 2014 at 9:26 am

You’re just arguing for gussied up war socialism. The trouble with that is exhaustion sets in and it becomes a racket. Proof of that is all around you

There is no ‘proof’ of that anywhere and ‘war socialism’ is a nonsense term.

81 Z July 15, 2014 at 9:44 am

Sorry AD, but I believe that is checkmate. Maybe next time you will bring your A-game.

82 Art Deco July 15, 2014 at 1:40 pm

You assert something and it’s ‘check-mate’?

83 Jan July 15, 2014 at 3:32 pm

Stoppin’ and friskin’.

84 Easily Amused July 15, 2014 at 6:07 pm

It works!

85 mq July 23, 2014 at 6:35 pm

There are “no rural ghettos”? Just about every rural village in the deep south has local chapters of urban gangs, and that’s common in parts of the midwest as well.

86 andrew' July 16, 2014 at 5:05 am

The difference, z, is libertarians don’t expect miracles.
All I’ve said is when we legalize mj, and we will, we won’t notice, and so far we haven’t.

Other drugs will be fine too. But I’m content to start with the easiest predictions of reality. No need for miracles here.

87 Art Deco July 15, 2014 at 8:18 am

Libertarians have an allergy to law enforcement, because its vigor reflects an acknowledgement that markets are not omnicompetent and that rough and authoritative characters have their function in society. We get it. Please go back to your porn and your video games, Spicoli, and leave serious people to make policy decisions in this country.

Is the ratio of median or mean income levels to be found between different ethnic groups necessarily a policy problem? General disorder, the decay of educational institutions, retreat from labor markets, and decaying building stock would seem sufficiently challenging problems in and of themselves without fussing over differences in occupational choice, or family relations, or in competitive drive and intramural politics in work settings.

88 anon July 15, 2014 at 8:25 am

General disorder, the decay of educational institutions, retreat from labor markets, and decaying building stock would seem sufficiently challenging problems in and of themselves without fussing over differences in occupational choice, or family relations, or in competitive drive and intramural politics in work settings.

Hell Yes! All of these are the result of standard libertarian initiatives and positions.

Sheesh.

89 Z July 15, 2014 at 8:35 am

Whittaker Chambers was right this crowd fifty years ago. Nothing much has changed.

90 mofo. July 15, 2014 at 9:58 am

“Libertarians”… you keep saying this word, but it doesnt mean what you think it means.

91 Z July 15, 2014 at 11:09 am

You keep saying “it doesnt mean what you think it means” but that does not mean what you think it means.

92 The Other Jim July 15, 2014 at 10:21 am

>Libertarians have an allergy to law enforcement

I love it when they lead off with a straw man. You can just skip the rest of the comment.

93 Willitts July 15, 2014 at 12:21 pm

Seems to square well with my experience.

Give a rabid libertarian enough time and encouragement, and he will tell you the US Constitution is invalid. Long before that point, he will explain why police are the “men with guns” who enforce immoral laws.

Of course there are many different types of libertarians enabling each of them to cower behind the hairs of any broad brush.

94 Art Deco July 15, 2014 at 1:56 pm

The Other Jim does not care to acknowledge his confederates’ first priority is the drug laws, like any stoner adolescent.

95 Andrew' July 15, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Are you guys actually saying anything?

You assume the net benefit of current law enforcement custom is highly positive. Do you know?

96 Art Deco July 15, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Yes, the net benefit of law enforcement is positive. Those of us not taking bong hits understand this.

97 Andrew' July 15, 2014 at 3:23 pm

I see what you did there you clever little devil.

You left out the “highly” part and I don’t think it is necessarily true.

It certainly isn’t true if you have legal consequences from a lot of things including marijuana use and outting the NSA.

98 Andrew' July 15, 2014 at 3:34 pm

In other words, no you aren’t saying anything except no-true Scotsman tautological question begging.

For example,
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/04/marijuana-arrests-cost-racially-biased_n_3385756.html
Marijuana enforcement costs on the order of $3B per year for net negative value. Total drug war enforcement is something on the order of $30B per year.

Your point seems to be that at least we are incarcerating some people who would also cause more damage than the damage done by the negative value parts of law enforcement.

99 Andrew' July 15, 2014 at 3:35 pm

Oops, that’s $40B. Probably just the expenditures, not the unaccounted costs.

100 Steve Sailer July 15, 2014 at 8:39 am

Here’s the Crime Misery Index graphing both the homicide rate and the imprisonment rate over time on the same scale:

http://isteve.blogspot.com/2005/04/introducing-crime-misery-index.html

101 Rahul July 15, 2014 at 8:52 am

So basically, we are dumping 400% more guys in prison and getting rewarded by a 20% *increase* in crime rate? What gives?

*per capita & with 1950s as the baseline & with homicides as proxy for crime. Steve’s choices, not mine.

102 Steve Sailer July 15, 2014 at 9:06 am

The total numbers in prison fell while the homicide rate was doubling from 1964-1975.

103 Rahul July 15, 2014 at 9:25 am

And what about 1950-2000?

104 Art Deco July 15, 2014 at 1:55 pm

Index crime rates have fallen by about 30% since 1980 and homicide rates by about 50%.

105 Andrew' July 15, 2014 at 3:24 pm

And probably not due to law enforcement.

106 Art Deco July 15, 2014 at 4:09 pm

You fancy.

107 Floccina July 18, 2014 at 5:28 pm

I have heard that crime count for crimes other than homicide are unreliable.

108 Joe July 15, 2014 at 10:04 am

The beginning of the upward slope of that misery index seems to coincide with the release of the Moynihan Report of 1965. Maybe he was onto something.

109 Steve Sailer July 15, 2014 at 9:45 pm

He was.

110 Floccina July 18, 2014 at 5:30 pm

BTW it seems to tell use that prison is a very weak crime suppressant. More and better police would seem to be a better bet. Also things like welfare and schooling spending seem to have no effect on crime.

111 The Other Jim July 15, 2014 at 10:49 am

It’s great that you are drawing attention to this problem. Black lives did not improve at all under Obama. They got quite a bit worse.

However, we are living under the worst political class in US history. Any “solution” to this problem will only be more welfare and more criminals freed to roam the streets. It will be announced triumphantly and received with great applause. And the hole will get deeper.

112 Quite Likely July 15, 2014 at 12:43 pm

So you see outcomes for blacks in the US stop improving right when Reagan got into office and started to reduce the welfare state and throw more of them in prison, and your conclusion is that too much welfare and not enough people in prison is the problem?

113 Art Deco July 15, 2014 at 1:50 pm

There has been a seven-fold increase in the prison population since 1980 (state initiatives, not federal, by and large. ‘Reagan’ was not ‘throwing’ people into state prisons. Question: was the racial composition of the prison population any different in 2010 than it was in 1980? If not, why do you fancy that more incarceration is responsible for arresting an antecedent trend toward increases in the ratio of black incomes to white incomes?

As for ‘the welfare state’, the Reagan-era initiatives concerned the ancillary aspects of it – benefit levels for AFDC, housing subsidies, &c. There was an attempt by Congress to rein in Social Security Disability with legislation in 1980 which led to a mess of media demagoguery against the Republican administration tasked with implementing it. The effort eventually failed.

114 Art Deco July 15, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Just to point out that there are around 1.1 million blacks incarcerated at any one time, out of about 32 million black adults. Difficult to believe that tail is wagging the dog.

115 andrew' July 16, 2014 at 5:08 am

Not hard to believe at all. What is the cumulative felony conviction rate?

Then those get sloppy seconds for jobs.

The rest is just mathematical determinism.

Sure there are propensities. We just have no idea how much is attributable to feedback.

116 Art Deco July 16, 2014 at 8:01 am

Then those get sloppy seconds for jobs.

Have a look at Bureau of Labor Statistics figures. About a quarter of the jobs in the economy qualify as ‘sloppy seconds’. The criminal population has general skill deficits (IIRC, Wilson and Herrnstein said IQ scores tend to be about a half-standard-deviation below the median), so you’re looking at roughly 40% of the positions to which they could reasonably aspire under ordinary circumstances.

I have two people in my immediate vicinity who’ve been through the mangle. One had a mess of petty charges and has been through rehab multiple times. The other was convicted of a serious felony and spent 14 years in prison. Both have above the median employments, now, one wage-earning and one salaried. Ex-cons often manage passably well.

117 Anthony July 15, 2014 at 12:37 pm

62 comments, and nobody has yet asked if the paper even shows any correlation between the lack of relative black economic progress and the increase in the black incarceration rate, much less attempts to conclude any causation.

What would the black unemployment rate be if black men were incarcerated at the same rate as white men?

118 China Cat July 16, 2014 at 8:39 pm

Considering the two groups are very different, I’m not sure we can entertain the hypothetical.

119 Marie July 15, 2014 at 7:45 pm

This is my drum to beat, I guess, but 94 comments in with all sorts of speculation on what causes black crime rates to be higher, and not a single reference to public schools.

Not that these young men spend most of their waking hours there before beginning to commit crimes, or anything.

120 Moreno Klaus July 16, 2014 at 4:29 am

It’s not about the schools, it’s about the parents…

121 Marie July 16, 2014 at 9:19 am

Yeah, that’s what they tell us. The parents that also spent 50 to 75% of their formative waking hours in the schools.

I am persistently amazed that we can set our kids in any X for the majority of their formative hours throughout childhood and teen years, then when a population as a whole has an outcome we don’t like as young adults we entirely factor X out of the equation.

122 Art Deco July 16, 2014 at 11:37 am

The parents that also spent 50 to 75% of their formative waking hours in the schools.

Let’s see: 180 day school year, 7 hours per day, and that’s 1260 hours, or 24 hours per week. Youngsters awake about 110 hours per week, so that’s north of 21.5%. You say 50-75%, so let’s split the difference and say 63.5%.

(63.5 / 36.5) / (21.5 / 78.5) = 6.35.

Off by a factor of six. Close enough for government work?

123 Marie July 16, 2014 at 5:11 pm

Since I used to teach public school, I could pretend I was just proving my point?

I could say I meant “formative” as in subtracting the 5 hours a day on video games and TV and the hour a day on brushing teeth and etc., and that I figured almost all these folks were spending their summers in school and probably in school and school extension programs from 6 to 4 or from 8 to 6 each day. Would that give me 68%? But I’d be lying, I just did it wrong and since it matched up with my assumptions I didn’t double check.

I’m never doing math here again. Now I’m off to research boxed curriculum math programs that don’t rely on parent help for my kids. Not kidding.

124 sansfoy July 16, 2014 at 7:15 am

Why don’t we ever see comparisons of the crime rates in black populations in other countries with that in the United States? There are large populations from the African diaspora in Brazil, Canada, the UK, Honduras, Colombia, etc, and these countries also European-derived populations as well. If the crime ratios look similar across countries, then it would seem to indicate that certain groups are more or less criminally inclined than others. If not, then it would seem to indicate that there’s something unique about racial relations in the United States.

125 Art Deco July 16, 2014 at 5:29 pm

Caribbean countries tend to have high homicide rates. The thing is, all negroid populations in the western hemisphere consist of the descendants of manumitted slaves (and conditions in the Caribbean were severe compared to British North America).

Tropical and Southern Africa has elevated homicide rates, but the severity of the elevation varies a great deal temporally and spatially.

A brief remark by Mark Steyn makes the point: “If you want to know why Haiti is Haiti and Barbados is Barbados, biology doesn’t get you very far”.

126 Floccina July 18, 2014 at 3:31 pm

Some of the welfare programs could be contributing to this in a feedback loop.

127 jdgalt July 20, 2014 at 1:07 pm

The big unanswered question here (and one that is very hard to get a handle on) is, how much of the difference in conviction rates represents bias on the part of police officers, jurors, and/or the system itself, and how much represents an actual difference in rates of bad behavior between blacks and whites?

I don’t know how you control for bias in a situation where every possible observer has significant preconceptions.

128 Zippy July 20, 2014 at 3:49 pm

I am quite shocked that Steve Sailor hasn’t brought up his favorite topic: immigration. Whatever one thinks of H1B visas and highly-educated workers coming to the US, it’s quite clear that the importation of low-IQ but otherwise tractable Mexicans to compete with low IQ blacks is a disaster for blacks.

The solutions are actually quite simple, but they would drive our chattering classes to gibbering incontinence.

129 jdgalt July 24, 2014 at 1:24 am

@Anti-Gnostic: My prediction is that once legalized, everybody goes to their local Walgreens or Rite-Aid for whatever substance strikes their fancy. If those companies decide fun-drugs are too non-PC for them to carry, then liquor or cigarette stores will carry them.

Of course this assumes that legalization carries with it tax rates low enough that buying from legal sources is at least slightly cheaper than buying from illegal sources. Under Colorado-style legalization, I expect to see a huge drop-off in sales at the legal stores within a few months, because most adults who regularly use will either grow their own or continue to patronize the illegal dealers they used in the past.

130 Justin July 15, 2014 at 3:33 pm

I’m bad at the internet. Is that a clever satire or sincere?

131 XVO July 15, 2014 at 12:06 pm

@Anti-Gnostic

132 Justin July 15, 2014 at 3:40 pm

ok, it’s not me. I wrote a new post just to test. Replies are definitely not being properly placed.

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