When will mass incarceration end?, America fact of the day

by on February 5, 2016 at 12:39 am in Current Affairs, Data Source, History, Law, Political Science | Permalink

The break in the prison population’s unremitting growth offers an overdue reprieve and a cause for hope for sustained reversal of the nearly four-decade growth pattern. But any optimism needs to be tempered by the very modest rate of decline, 1.8 percent in the past year. At this rate, it will take until 2101 — 88 years — for the prison population to return to its 1980 level.

And this:

Other developments should also curb our enthusiasm. The population in federal prisons has yet to decline. And even among the states, the trend is not uniformly or unreservedly positive. Most states that trimmed their prison populations in 2012 did so by small amounts — eight registered declines of less than 1 percent. Further, over half of the 2012 prison count reduction comes from the 10 percent decline in California’s prison population, required by a Supreme Court mandate. But even that state’s achievement is partly illusory, as it has been accompanied by increasing county jail admissions.

Three states stand out for making significant cuts in their prison populations in the past decade: New York (19 percent), California (17 percent), and New Jersey (17 percent). The reductions in New York and New Jersey have been in part a function of reduced crime levels, but also changes in policy and practice designed to reduce the number of lower-level drug offenders and parole violators in prison. But the pace of reductions in most other states has been quite modest. Moreover, 22 states still subscribed to an outdated model of prisoner expansion in 2012.

There is more here from Marc Mauer and Nazgol Ghandnoosh.

1 Dmitri Helios February 5, 2016 at 1:12 am

How is the decline in crime rates (broadly) since 1980 linked to the rise in prison population? Or is that crimethink?

2 Moreno Klaus February 5, 2016 at 2:08 am

Correlation is not causation… If i am not mistaken, this happened in other countries as well…

3 DZK February 5, 2016 at 7:06 am
4 Derek February 5, 2016 at 8:49 am

What did they do? Ressurrect a 70’s era criminologist? The ones that were as wrong as the communists of that era were wrong, with as many bodies to account for when their policy prescriptions were implemented.

5 Bob from Ohio February 5, 2016 at 9:21 am

A “study” from a standard issue left-wing group (Brennan Center for “Justice”) published in a left-wing anti-American paper.

Very persuasive!

6 So Much For Subtlety February 5, 2016 at 9:26 am

A standard issue left-wing pressure group which admits that they have no idea what caused the drop in crime. But they are sure it wasn’t locking up all those criminals!

7 Jan February 5, 2016 at 1:47 pm

Look at you, just seeing through the bullshit.

8 Steven Davenport February 5, 2016 at 11:24 am

Rise and fall of the crack epidemic has a lot to do with it. So do improvements in policing practices. Many believe that leaded gasoline had been causing increased levels of aggression, and so the removal of lead in may also be responsible for the drop in crime.

9 Urstoff February 5, 2016 at 11:57 am

So we should be watching Flint’s crime levels over the next 20 years as a natural experiment?

10 Steven Davenport February 5, 2016 at 12:38 pm

Sure. Kevin Drum writes about this stuff. Studies exist.

11 Art Deco February 5, 2016 at 1:27 pm

No, studies do not exist. Drum’s shtick was based on a bivariate temporal association between lead levels and crime rates (and limited to the post war period).

12 carlolspln February 5, 2016 at 1:46 pm

” bivariate temporal association between lead levels and crime rates”

That’s not all there is. If you understand how science works, there must be a putative mechanism. Oh, wait:

https://www.mailman.columbia.edu/public-health-now/news/what-ways-does-lead-damage-brain

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/713475

(& limited to the post war period)

I reckon 60-70 years of data is sufficient.

13 Jan February 5, 2016 at 1:48 pm

Art, this is only controversial in your head.

14 JWatts February 5, 2016 at 1:56 pm

There are indeed various studies that point to lead as a contributing factor in crime. Which of course implies that increasing the population in prison actually made sense and probably did act to decrease crime.

Cutting the lead intake would have been better, but since that wasn’t recognized at the time, dealing with the symptoms was better than ignoring the situation.

15 Art Deco February 5, 2016 at 2:03 pm

I reckon 60-70 years of data is sufficient.

The only things which would be ‘sufficient’ would be multivariate ecological studies, and that’s not what Drum refers to. Crime rates have fluctuated up and down over the course of the last 125 years, the rate and degree of industrialization notwithstanding. As long as Drum is trading in monocausal explanations, he might offer a tidbit as two why crime was declining in the first half of the 20th century, especially between 1930 and 1950.

16 Agra Brum February 5, 2016 at 6:39 pm

Flint is a bad example, because while the lead contents went up, the average amount of lead in the blood of a child in Flint is still below what it was 5 years ago (due to ongoing lead paint remediation and the like). Any bump from what happened over the last 18 months would be lost in the statistical noise – the amount of lead that used to be in blood was massively larger than today.

17 chuck martel February 5, 2016 at 1:13 am

None of those incarcerated, now or in the future, will be able to pass a background check and will thus be unable to get a normal job or rent an apartment, among other things, forever. What do you suppose that they’ll do to keep body and soul together after they leave the big house? It’s unlikely that incarceration levels will drop very much in that the prison industry is looking out for its own interests. There’s big money in crime for cops, attorneys, judges, parole officers, criminal justice departments in colleges, construction companies and prison guards and their unions.

18 So Much For Subtlety February 5, 2016 at 2:31 am

Indeed. All those people know that there is a lot of money available – as long as they do nothing about crime. If they locked people up, crime would go down and they would have to get another job to pay the mortgage. So they do as little as possible to reduce crime.

As for the actual criminals, yet again we see locking people up works. Letting them out doesn’t. We ought to stop doing that.

19 chuck martel February 5, 2016 at 10:00 am

One of the problems with locking everybody up is that those doing the locking are just as criminal as those they’re incarcerating: http://www.richmond.com/news/local/crime/article_2c519cfd-1614-56d1-8d86-0a7e07e3fbd1.html

20 Art Deco February 5, 2016 at 1:21 pm

One of the problems with locking everybody up is that those doing the locking are just as criminal as those they’re incarcerating

No, they’re just as criminal in the imaginations of malicious fools.

21 Nathan W February 5, 2016 at 1:28 pm

Kids going to jail for selling dimebags while those responsible for the Flint situation bear no personal responsibility?

There are reasons people think this way.

22 JWatts February 5, 2016 at 2:00 pm

“Kids going to jail for selling dimebags while those responsible for the Flint situation bear no personal responsibility?”

So you’re advocating punishing the employees of the Flint Department of Water? No competent engineer working there could have missed treating the pH balance in the water supply. It’s fundamental to modern American water treatment.

23 Art Deco February 5, 2016 at 2:07 pm

Kids going to jail for selling dimebags while those responsible for the Flint situation bear no personal responsibility?

You seem ever to live in a world of fictions and caricatures of your own manufacture. Only about 40% of those convicted of crimes in this country are remanded to state prisons or county jails. The rest receive time served, probation, community service, &c. Time spent in county jails is typically measured in weeks. Even the mean prison sentence is just 30 months. About 20% of those in prison are in for a top count which is a drug charge, and, no, it’s not ‘dime bags’.

24 Art Deco February 5, 2016 at 2:14 pm

So you’re advocating punishing the employees of the Flint Department of Water? No competent engineer working there could have missed treating the pH balance in the water supply. It’s fundamental to modern American water treatment.

Inept employees of the water department are not law enforcement, which was the subject of ‘chuck martel’s’ inane and oft-repeated lie-insult. If you wish to prosecute someone, you have to find a provision in the Michigan Compiled Laws that they’ve violated.

You remember that train crash outside of Philadelphia last May? Has one Brandon Bostian the engineer been prosecuted? No, because sometimes the courts take their bloody time doing their jobs, especially when it is not established just what happened. (Recall also that the Arizona courts took 5 years to dispose of the case of the blatantly guilty Jodi Arias. No clue why her public defenders were permitted to gum up the works like that, but the courts stink on occasion).

25 chuck martel February 5, 2016 at 3:23 pm

The witless bozos that defend the corrupt coercion complex that intimidates and robs the population aren’t even as aware as astrology buffs and flat-earthers. http://nailheadtom.blogspot.com/search?q=dorner

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/apr/23/local/la-me-dorner-settlement-20130424

26 Art Deco February 5, 2016 at 3:48 pm

witless bozos that defend the corrupt coercion complex

I’m afraid none of us deep into our cups could be witless enough to fancy that anarchism will produce anything more congenial than Lebanon, ca. 1981. Thanks for sharing.

27 JWatts February 5, 2016 at 5:03 pm

“Inept employees of the water department are not law enforcement, … If you wish to prosecute someone, you have to find a provision in the Michigan Compiled Laws that they’ve violated. ”

I didn’t say prosecute. I said punish. They should, at a minimum, be fired.

28 Art Deco February 5, 2016 at 10:14 pm

They’re public employees. And they’ve got a union.

29 chuck martel February 7, 2016 at 10:01 am
30 Aaron J February 5, 2016 at 1:18 am

I am more optimistic. Shows like Making a Murderer positively affect public opinion, and some GOP senators have already seen the light on this issues. Local prosecutors in big cities are realizing that “fairness” is now as valuable as “tough on crime.” The numbers will go down.

31 Tarrou February 5, 2016 at 7:38 am

At least until people realize that “fairness” in arrests and convictions isn’t matched by “fairness” in criminal activity rates.

32 Steven Davenport February 5, 2016 at 12:41 pm

Much of the rise in incarceration rates is linked to Federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws and equal sentencing laws, which were passed partly as a way to ensure equity in sentencing. But equity was achieved by raising the bar on everyone. Individual decisionmakers like judges were disempowered. Now you have a runaway train effect, where judges cannot control their own sentences, and the only way to stop dishing out decades long sentences for certain crimes is to introduce national policy. No abillity for adjustment or reaction at the local level. So be careful what you wish for

33 JWatts February 5, 2016 at 2:01 pm

It’s the classic Top Man syndrome from top down control hierarchies.

34 Art Deco February 5, 2016 at 10:13 pm

Much of the rise in incarceration rates is linked to Federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws and equal sentencing laws,

About 89% of all prison inmates are the charge of the state and county governments. Federal law hasn’t a thing to do with why we have a large state prison census.

35 jorod February 5, 2016 at 1:27 am

The California experience.. God bless those judges and Constitutional lawyers… http://www.city-journal.org/2013/23_4_california-prisons.html

36 MC February 5, 2016 at 3:14 am

Don’t forget the voters who bought the propaganda in favor of Prop. 47.

37 mulp February 5, 2016 at 3:09 pm

When will you start the Prop 13 and prop 47 referendum override referendum to automatically hike taxes to pay to increase the number of people in prison?

38 Stephan February 5, 2016 at 4:47 pm

Good report. Thanks!

39 prior_test February 5, 2016 at 2:01 am

‘The break in the prison population’s unremitting growth offers an overdue reprieve and a cause for hope for sustained reversal of the nearly four-decade growth pattern. But any optimism needs to be tempered by the very modest rate of decline, 1.8 percent in the past year. At this rate, it will take until 2101 — 88 years — for the prison population to return to its 1980 level.’

Charles Murray, noted libertarian scholar, is probably unhappy to hear that, though the time scale probably suits him just fine. ‘In 1979, Murray co-authored a series of studies on juvenile crime underwritten by the US Department of Justice, titled “Juvenile Corrections and the Chronic Delinquent” calling for mass-jailings of youths — a plan Murray argued was not “philosophically barbaric and expensive.” The Carter Administration rejected Murray’s proposals; however, under the Reagan Administration, juvenile and minority incarceration rates soared.’ http://shameproject.com/profile/charles-murray/

Mission accomplished, Mr. Murray, mission accomplished.

40 So Much For Subtlety February 5, 2016 at 2:38 am

Crime has declined massively. New York is now safer than Britain for virtually all crime except murder.

Well done Mr Murray. Millions of people are safer because of your ideas. And thousands are alive. Mostly young, Black and poor.

41 Thiago Ribeiro February 5, 2016 at 5:05 am

“New York is now safer than Britain for virtually all crime except murder.”
I can not say if saying “all crime except murder” is meant as a serious statement or satire. Well done, Mr. Poe.

42 Ted Craig February 5, 2016 at 8:53 am

It’s a serious statement. Murder is one of the least random crimes. They are mainly relationships gone bad, either professional or personal.

43 Hoosier February 5, 2016 at 9:15 am

So what explains them happening more in the US than in Britain?

44 celestus February 5, 2016 at 10:18 am

Culture of honor. Demographics of U.S. murderers are pretty heavily tilted towards groups whose ancestors were living in the South 200 years ago. Real-world availability of guns to those groups, regardless of local gun control laws, is a factor as well.

45 Ricardo February 5, 2016 at 10:38 am

True, as long as we understand that “personal relationships” gone bad include the sorts of situations that start off as parking lot brawls outside of bars or strip clubs. A significant number of murders go either unsolved or else are considered unclassified by the DoJ in terms of the relationship between victim and perpetrator as well.

46 Thiago Ribeiro February 5, 2016 at 11:06 am

“Murder is one of the least random crimes. They are mainly relationships gone bad, either professional or personal.”
And relationships only go bad in the USA?

47 Hoosier February 5, 2016 at 11:18 am

I’ve heard these explanations before, and they make sense, but they don’t put the US- particularly the South- in a very good light. I suppose there’s nothing to be done about it, but forgive me for preferring to live in a place where people don’t feel justified to murder someone over their honor being impinged.

Are there any studies on the economic benefits to a community over this practice? There must have been some incentive for such a culture to have developed.

48 Art Deco February 5, 2016 at 1:30 pm

At peak murder rates (10 per 100,000), about 1/2 the murders recorded in this country were random crimes – people killed in robberies and burglaries and the like. It is true that homicide outside of inner city zones is nowadays due to domestic disputes and readily soluble for that reason. The amplitude of the variation over time is higher for random murder than acquaintance murder.

49 Boonton February 7, 2016 at 1:18 pm

“So what explains them happening more in the US than in Britain?”

Fewer guns.

50 Moreno Klaus February 5, 2016 at 2:11 am

Ironically the land of the free has one of the highest rates of incarceration in the industrialized world. Propaganda and reality do differ…

51 Jason Bayz February 5, 2016 at 2:25 am

You should write that comment more frequently. It’s a really insightful point.

52 So Much For Subtlety February 5, 2016 at 2:27 am

It is not remotely ironic. In the land of the free the elected politicians have to do what the voters want. So they jail criminals. In most of the world there is either no democracy or very limited democracy. A European politician is only worried about how high up the party list his name is going to be. The voters can go copulate with themselves for all he cares. European politicians have police bodyguards anyway. So they don’t care if rapists, indeed entire rape gangs, roam the streets. Not their problem.

The freer a country is, the more likely it is that actual criminals will be punished.

53 Nathan W February 5, 2016 at 3:27 am

America couldn’t possibly be very free. You’re not even allowed to put green plants in your body that aren’t dangerous to anyone.

The streets of China are far safer than those of America. According to your logic, should I conclude that China is free?

54 So Much For Subtlety February 5, 2016 at 3:55 am

There isn’t a country in the world where you are allowed to put every green plant into your body. Especially not dangerous ones. Like marijuana. Nor can you with something like thalidomide for instance.

China has less violent crime. It has a lot more petty crime than America. There is less violent crime because the criminals who run the state don’t like to share the monopoly on violence. So Bo Xilai for instance tortured confessions out of people and then executed them. As has been openly shown on television in China. Bo may be in prison but the people he put in prison are still there.

If the US population wanted torture and execution there would be a lot less violent crime in the US too.

55 Thiago Ribeiro February 5, 2016 at 4:59 am

“There is less violent crime because the criminals who run the state don’t like to share the monopoly on violence.”
So America being the most violent rich country is, in fact, a badge of honor. Who would have guessed?
“It has a lot more petty crime than America.” Why so many petty crimes? The criminals who run the state don’t mind sharing the spoils with their less successful breathen? America has a serious violence problem, it is probably the most serious problem America has or ever had, it may be the most serious any developed country has today.

56 So Much For Subtlety February 5, 2016 at 5:24 am

Thiago Ribeiro February 5, 2016 at 4:59 am

So America being the most violent rich country is, in fact, a badge of honor. Who would have guessed?

Not really as it is a product of its demography. But in the old days when the police did not care much for civil liberties and Miranda was not yet dreamed up, America had a lot less crime. So there are a lot of ways of controlling crime that do not reflect well on the people who choose them.

Why so many petty crimes? The criminals who run the state don’t mind sharing the spoils with their less successful breathen?

They can’t catch them. Guns are a threat to the government. Pick pockets are not. The Chinese police openly don’t care about crime. They sit in their police stations and read the newspapers all day. Like Brazilian policemen really. But not so corrupt.

America has a serious violence problem, it is probably the most serious problem America has or ever had, it may be the most serious any developed country has today.

But not tomorrow. Because Europe is determined to import violence prone people and so their crime rates will go up. America does not have a serious violence problem anyway. Black America does. It does not affect vast swathes of suburbia. As long as they don’t get off at the wrong subway station.

57 Nathan W February 5, 2016 at 6:13 am

Marijuana is dangerous. Hahaha. But you’re smart.

I have to worry about my wallet more in China than the USA. Hahaha. But you’re worldly.

There is no torture or execution in the USA. Hahaha. But you’re informed.

Enjoy your freedom. Perhaps a million password holders can access detailed information on your every move without a warrant. But the USA is not a police state.

58 Thiago Ribeiro February 5, 2016 at 6:30 am

“But not tomorrow. Because Europe is determined to import violence prone people and so their crime rates will go up. America does not have a serious violence problem anyway. Black America does. It does not affect vast swathes of suburbia. As long as they don’t get off at the wrong subway station.”
So the country that could not be half free, half slave almost eight scores ago can be half safe, half terrorized today. For how long?
Not to deny the corruption among Brazilian policemen, but the basic problem is a lot simpler: there is no reason we should be more efficient policing than we are doing anything else: the investigative police has few resources and little training (like in the USA, a lot of crimes are never solved– it is the opposite of Japan, where they almost always get the guy) and the military police is overextended and underequipped. The military police of states like São Paulo e Rio de Janeiro are with no doubt among the western military forces with more experience in armed confrontations, which by itself is a measure of how much space the crime has swalled since the late 70s. The only way to break the back of organized crime would be a full scale attack on the strongholds of crime and civil war– exactly the same thing Americans would have to do if they ever want to have civilized homicide rates (but why should they if homicides are a symbol of their freedom?).

59 So Much For Subtlety February 5, 2016 at 8:37 am

Nathan W February 5, 2016 at 6:13 am

This was a remarkably content-free response. Yes, marijuana does cause changes to the brain which are generally not good. Yes, you have to worry more about petty crime in China than in America. Yes, there is no torture in America.

Perhaps the US government is listening to everything everyone says. I doubt it. But the Chinese government does. Every bit of software, every type of social media in China, is required to have a back door to allow the Chinese government to check what is on your computer or mobile phone.

Thiago Ribeiro February 5, 2016 at 6:30 am

I have no idea how long America can remain half-terrorized. As long as the voters of Chicago want to I guess.

Your defense is really that Brazilians are incompetent at everything so it is not their fault? The police are under-resourced because the big cheeses fly in and out by helicopter. So they do not care. Lots of money can be found for Olympic venues. None can be found for policing.

The Japanese police always get *a* guy. Not necessarily *the* guy.

60 Derek February 5, 2016 at 8:59 am

Thiago, Brazil was one of the last countries to abolish slavery, a couple decades after the civil war. So stuff your moral preening.

Wasn’t it in Brazil where the cops and business people were actively kiling poor kids who were stealing? Is that still happening? A black kid gets shot by police in the US and it is a major controversy, affecting police procedures, forcing examination of all kinds of things.

61 Thiago Ribeiro February 5, 2016 at 9:32 am

I am saying what should obvious: if a underdeveloped country had its act together on policing, it proprably would have its act together on most aspects of state policy and it would not remain underdeveloped for long. Poverty and lack of resources compound the problem. Excellence pockets aside, like aeronautical industry, agricultural research, etc. it is not clear why you would expect Brazilian polices to be better than Brazilian (state) hospitals or Brazilian (state) schools . America is the outlier here, its violence problem is much worse than its per capita GDP would make us think. No one really knows why it is so. The “Americans enjoy their freedom to kill one another” explanation is downright stupid, to say the least.
“The Japanese police always get *a* guy. Not necessarily *the* guy.”
Those dastardly Japanese, always making us look bad, refraining from enjoying their God(s?)-given freedom to shoot people on a whim!
“The police are under-resourced because the big cheeses fly in and out by helicopter. So they do not care. Lots of money can be found for Olympic venues. None can be found for policing.”
And before that a secret A Bomb project that didn’t yield even fireworks, before that secondhand aircraftcarriers the French didn’t want anymore, before that nuclear plants that didn’t work, before that weapons for our Paraguayan allies to use against us, etc. As a Brazilian writer said, you can’t just improvise underdevelopment, you need to work hard and steadily on it. We make it seem much easier than it really is. It is another reason why America’s violence problem seems so out of place, by the way.
“I have no idea how long America can remain half-terrorized. As long as the voters of Chicago want to I guess.”
In other words, you are tied to a corpse and drowning, but enjoys wondering when the other guy will wake up from his nap and finally pull his own weight. Good luck with thar.

62 Thiago Ribeiro February 5, 2016 at 10:40 am

“Thiago, Brazil was one of the last countries to abolish slavery, a couple decades after the civil war.”
127 years ago. We still have cities built by the Confederates, who got here, after their plan of founding a country dedicated to the proposition that some people are just property failed. The Imperial regime, with its stringent voting requirements (about 1 % of the population could vote) and led by an Órleans tyrant, did not represent the Brazilian people, its aspirations and ideas. Yet, at the end, the Emperor saw what Mr. Lincoln had seen 30 years before: a nation can’t be half slave, half free, not without some kind of Berlin Wall. As soon the Empire couldn’t anymore enforce slavery in the outer provinces, Slavery was dead.
“Wasn’t it in Brazil where the cops and business people were actively kiling poor kids who were stealing? Is that still happening?”
It is very rare nowadays. The current administration strongly frowns on indiscriminated killings.
“A black kid gets shot by police in the US and it is a major controversy, affecting police procedures, forcing examination of all kinds of things.”
Evidently, black people had never ever been shot in the USA before 2014. Sometimes spanked, as Mr. Rodney King, but clearly not shot. It is funny how those procedures are only changing now. those examinations are only happening now I mean, neither Blacks nor policemen (some people are both) are a new thing in the good, old USA. What changed, Blacks, police or public? “Sexual intercourse began. In nineteen sixty-three (which was rather late for me)”– Larkin
I guess racial tensions in the USA began in 2014. A little late in my opinion, but whatever.

63 So Much For Subtlety February 5, 2016 at 7:38 pm

Thiago Ribeiro February 5, 2016 at 9:32 am

So you are saying that the US is to blame because they get so much right but cannot negotiate a perfect solution to the extremely complex issues around race, crime and violence – while Brazil is a great country that is not to blame for anything because they can’t get anything right at all and so it is fine that they also can’t get policing right?

How interesting.

The Japanese police have the ability to jail and execute people on a whim. With no interference from the Courts. If America had the same problem, it would have a lot less crime.

But I agree the problem is that Black America does not care and is not pulling its weight. Even if that was a bit racist of you to say so.

Thiago Ribeiro February 5, 2016 at 10:40 am

It is very rare nowadays. The current administration strongly frowns on indiscriminated killings.

So that is alright then. As long as they frown on it.

64 Thiago Ribeiro February 6, 2016 at 4:58 am

So you are saying that the US is to blame because they get so much right but cannot negotiate a perfect solution to the extremely complex issues around race, crime and violence – while Brazil is a great country that is not to blame for anything because they can’t get anything right at all and so it is fine that they also can’t get policing right?”
No, again, I am saying the obvious. One doesn’t expects a rich country, with a reasonably educat populace, adequate public services, including a reasonable number of well-trained policemen to be a place for carnages in peace time . It is just unheard of in modern times. Clearly, China, Nepal, Vietnam, Liberia and other very poor countries are doing something Americans aren’t. And evidently when one-third of your homicides are never solved (better than our 80%-plus rate, but yet…), it is hard to say you have policing figured out. Again, the Japanese know what they are doing, and it is a much poorer country than the USA.
“How interesting.”
Isn’t it?
“The Japanese police have the ability to jail and execute people on a whim. With no interference from the Courts. If America had the same problem, it would have a lot less crime.”
Yep, the Japanese cops, their white gloves and their reign of terror.
“But I agree the problem is that Black America does not care and is not pulling its weight. Even if that was a bit racist of you to say so.”
A little less racist and surely a lot less idiotic than believing that being white can protect you from a large, unprecedent and lasting breakdown of law and order.
indiscriminated killings.
“So that is alright then. As long as they frown on it.”
Sometimes, it is all it takes. Like the procedures that, I am told, are being changed because someone was shot by cops in 2014 while being Black. I doubt those “procedures” took some five decades to claim their first victim. Maybe people in the USA are frowning on such killings. Better late than never.

65 So Much For Subtlety February 6, 2016 at 10:07 am

Thiago Ribeiro February 6, 2016 at 4:58 am

No, again, I am saying the obvious.

Actually it looks as if that is precisely what you are saying. You keep on saying it.

One doesn’t expects a rich country, with a reasonably educat populace, adequate public services, including a reasonable number of well-trained policemen to be a place for carnages in peace time .

One? Who precisely? One expects a population used to violence to continue to be violent. One expects family breakdown to lead to more social breakdown.

Clearly, China, Nepal, Vietnam, Liberia and other very poor countries are doing something Americans aren’t.

Sure. Torturing people for instance.

Again, the Japanese know what they are doing, and it is a much poorer country than the USA.

The Japanese have a Japanese population that is not prone to violence. The police have a free hand to jail people as they like. If America had the same free hand, there would be a lot less crime.

A little less racist and surely a lot less idiotic than believing that being white can protect you from a large, unprecedent and lasting breakdown of law and order. indiscriminated killings.

I don’t think being White can. Not in America. Not in Brazil. Unless all your neighbors are White too.

Like the procedures that, I am told, are being changed because someone was shot by cops in 2014 while being Black. I doubt those “procedures” took some five decades to claim their first victim. Maybe people in the USA are frowning on such killings. Better late than never.

Except they don’t. There is nothing wrong with any of those deaths except the Baltimore one. What you see is an organized attempt to stop police doing their job. Leading to more crime. America’s Civil Rights movement has a body count and it is not small.

Meanwhile Brazil is vastly more violent than America was when it was that poor but you don’t care because 1. you are not Brazilian and 2. it doesn’t allow you to make whatever politically correct comment you feel like making this week.

66 Thiago Ribeiro February 6, 2016 at 3:09 pm

“One doesn’t expects a rich country, with a reasonably educat populace, adequate public services, including a reasonable number of well-trained policemen to be a place for carnages in peace time .
One? Who precisely?
People who know the statistics of all other rich countries and many poor countries, for instance.
“One expects a population used to violence to continue to be violent. One expects family breakdown to lead to more social breakdown.”
Well, we have only one data point for the kind of breakdown you talk about, the USA. There is no other rich country experiencing such breakdown of law and order. With all their liberalism and welfare, no European country is experiencing such social breakdown. It is simply unprecedent. I guess it is the much vaunted American excepcionalism in action.
“‘Clearly, China, Nepal, Vietnam, Liberia and other very poor countries are doing something Americans aren’t’.
Sure. Torturing people for instance.”
Of course, they probably learned it from the Japanese. Or the Canadians. Or the Indians. Or the Chileans.
“The Japanese have a Japanese population that is not prone to violence. The police have a free hand to jail people as they like. If America had the same free hand, there would be a lot less crime.”
I see, if only the police could disband the people and choose a new one … Also public education would fare much better with a new people. Not to mention corporations, ONGs, churches, hospitals (all that sick people, Japanese people live longer!), sports teams, Army and government in general. You may be onto something here. Swapping 300 million-plus Americans for 300 million-plus Japanese may prove difficult, though– specially, because there is not that much Japanese guys around and they are not making many of them.
It i remarkable how the Japanese police can rule the country with an iron fist without littering the streets with corpses or jailing all the population the American way. It must be part of their inscrutable Asian deception.
“A little less racist and surely a lot less idiotic than believing that being white can protect you from a large, unprecedent and lasting breakdown of law and order. indiscriminated killings.
I don’t think being White can. Not in America. Not in Brazil. Unless all your neighbors are White too.”
I am sure some Romans thought the same thing. The Barbarians live far away…
“Except they don’t. There is nothing wrong with any of those deaths except the Baltimore one. What you see is an organized attempt to stop police doing their job. Leading to more crime. America’s Civil Rights movement has a body count and it is not small.”
It must be easier to police Blacks when they are on the back seats, then. I wouldn’t know. We never had such rules here.
“Meanwhile Brazil is vastly more violent than America was when it was that poor but you don’t care because”.
So is the modern USA it seems. Or at least, say, Louisiana with its double digit homicide rates (death per 100,000 habitants).
“1. you are not Brazilian”
No, you are not a telepath.
“2. it doesn’t allow you to make whatever politically correct comment you feel like making this week.”
Instead of the perennial racist comment you want to make about everything? Or subtle and sophisticated comments like “Japan is safe because those Japanese cops are crooks, and Europe is safer than the USA because we are free to kill one another. USA # 1!”?

67 So Much For Subtlety February 6, 2016 at 6:11 pm

Thiago Ribeiro February 6, 2016 at 3:09 pm

Well, we have only one data point for the kind of breakdown you talk about, the USA. There is no other rich country experiencing such breakdown of law and order. With all their liberalism and welfare, no European country is experiencing such social breakdown.

That is not true. As I said, New York is now safer than London for all crime except murder. Sweden has such a rape problem they have been told off by the UN. Everyone is enjoying the benefits of a racially diverse post-immigration society. America is just ahead of the pack.

I see, if only the police could disband the people and choose a new one

Western politicians are doing their best.

It i remarkable how the Japanese police can rule the country with an iron fist without littering the streets with corpses or jailing all the population the American way. It must be part of their inscrutable Asian deception.

Ethnically homogeneous societies have things like social capital and trust. They don’t need a lot of violence. Nor does White America. Nor does Japanese America. Japanese Americans have lower crime rates than Japanese Japanese. So it is not as if America is doing much wrong.

It must be easier to police Blacks when they are on the back seats, then. I wouldn’t know. We never had such rules here.

Yes you, or rather they, did. Brazil has its own history of racism and racial discrimination. It is easier to police Blacks when they are discriminated against. Under Jim Crow they had much lower crime rates. Even today parts of the South keeps crime down about as well as Brooklyn does. With a fraction of the resources.

Or subtle and sophisticated comments like “Japan is safe because those Japanese cops are crooks, and Europe is safer than the USA because we are free to kill one another. USA # 1!”?

Yes. Those comments are much smarter. You could learn from them.

68 Thiago Ribeiro February 7, 2016 at 4:16 am

“‘Well, we have only one data point for the kind of breakdown you talk about, the USA. There is no other rich country experiencing such breakdown of law and order. With all their liberalism and welfare, no European country is experiencing such social breakdown.’
“That is not true. As I said, New York is now safer than London for all crime except murder. Sweden has such a rape problem they have been told off by the UN. Everyone is enjoying the benefits of a racially diverse post-immigration society. America is just ahead of the pack.”
All crime except murder… I am glad New York is fighting jaywalking, but maybe they should think again about that murder thing. Seems important. Again, no modern country has ever experienced in peacetime the breakdown of law and order America has experienced.

“‘It i remarkable how the Japanese police can rule the country with an iron fist without littering the streets with corpses or jailing all the population the American way. It must be part of their inscrutable Asian deception.’
“Ethnically homogeneous societies have things like social capital and trust. They don’t need a lot of violence. Nor does White America. Nor does Japanese America. Japanese Americans have lower crime rates than Japanese Japanese. So it is not as if America is doing much wrong.”
Again, no modern country has ever experienced in peacetime the social breakdown America has experienced. Anyway, I thought it was about the Japanese (and Chinese and Canadian and Liberian) police terrorizing the populace with a iron fist.

“‘It must be easier to police Blacks when they are on the back seats, then. I wouldn’t know. We never had such rules here.’ Yes you, or rather they, did. Brazil has its own history of racism and racial discrimination. It is easier to police Blacks when they are discriminated against. Under Jim Crow they had much lower crime rates. Even today parts of the South keeps crime down about as well as Brooklyn does. With a fraction of the resources.”
Calling Dr. Bull Connor. Calling Bull Connor. There is nothing in Brazilian history like your Ku Klux Klan or your Jim Crow or your church bombings or your lynchings. The old Emperor was a good friend of Gobineau, but he opposed his racial views.

“‘Or subtle and sophisticated comments like “Japan is safe because those Japanese cops are crooks, and Europe is safer than the USA because we are free to kill one another. USA # 1!”?’
Yes. Those comments are much smarter. You could learn from them.”
Well, they go a long way explaining Americas problems, as symptoms.

69 Thiago Ribeiro February 5, 2016 at 10:55 am

“They can’t catch them. Guns are a threat to the government.”
I thought criminals would get guns anyway– because they are, you know, criminals. It is what we hear every time someone wants to defend the guns trade. Apparently countries that really want to enforce guns bans can enforce guns bans.

70 Cliff February 5, 2016 at 11:32 am

It must be fun creating a fantasy world in your head that you can inhabit, where you imagine failings of countries you don’t know anything about, based on no facts whatsoever. Brazil is a hundred times as violent as the U.S. but still you can dream in your masturbatory fantasy about the U.S. being so violent. Just ignore all the facts about the U.S. being less violent than Europe, pretend they’re not true! Close your eyes and pretend!

71 Thiago Ribeiro February 5, 2016 at 12:40 pm

“masturbatory fantasy about the U.S. being so violent.”
Yes, son, I am the one who compiles statistics for every American town, plus every single developed country you care to name plus many underdeveloped ones. Clearly, I am the one you must blame for hurting your little feelings.
“Just ignore all the facts about the U.S. being less violent than Europe, pretend they’re not true! Close your eyes and pretend!”
All, those exclamation points, you must be right. Yes, the most violent rich country is much safer than Europe, except for having more homicides than all Western Europe put together. Or 1 billion-plus habitants China. Aside for living, all other activities are safer in the USA.
“Brazil is a hundred times as violent as the US”
No, it is not. Like the USA, it is simply divided into those who matter and can lead relatively safe lifes and those who don’t matter and … who cares about them?

72 Jan February 5, 2016 at 11:25 am

You have this backwards. In the US, governed by a brutal two-party system, politicians are more accountable to their parties than their European counterparts, who are more accountable to the electorate.

73 So Much For Subtlety February 5, 2016 at 8:08 pm

Jan, on what planet is that even close to true? The US gets stuck with Trump and Sanders *over*the*objections* of their parties. Europe has nothing like this. The equivalents there would have to start their own parties. Which the Ruling Parties would do everything in their power to strike down and prevent from winning. That is why there are so many new parties. The electorate is unhappy with the status quo but the parties have an iron grip on politics and so no established politician is willing to give the voters what they want.

You may as well claim the Moon is made of green cheese for all the logic and truth in that claim.

74 Thor February 5, 2016 at 8:56 pm

Cruz, too, is regarded with anxiety and disdain by the GOP. (But arguing with Jan is counterproductive.)

75 Art Deco February 5, 2016 at 1:32 pm

The liberty of the free citizen is not in the least impaired by jailing reprobates. (Or it is so impaired only in the minds of criminals and stupid bourgeois who fancy rough trade).

76 Jason Bayz February 5, 2016 at 2:19 am

The break in the prison population’s unremitting growth offers an overdue reprieve and a cause for hope for sustained reversal of the nearly four-decade growth pattern. But any optimism needs to be tempered by the very modest rate of decline, 1.8 percent in the past year. At this rate, it will take until 2101 — 88 years — for the prison population to return to its 1980 level.

This is nonsensical. If America in 2101 had the 1980 number of prisoners, that’s the absolute number, it would have a far lower rate of imprisonment than it did in 1980 because the population will be larger.

77 Chip February 5, 2016 at 4:21 am

It will end when government stops financing dependency and broken families. It will end when most kids grow up in a stable home with a father. It will end when voters understand that bureaucrats don’t create jobs. It will end when society recognises that most politicians want citizens to be desperate, fearful and thankful for handouts.

Mass incarceration is a symptom of a greater problem that is too overwhelming to solve. Better to tilt at symptoms.

78 Michael February 5, 2016 at 10:24 am

This.

79 mulp February 5, 2016 at 3:22 pm

Did Reagan usher in a surge in the decay of society, or reverse the decay?

Did leftists-liberals gain increasing political power since 1980 or did conservatives gain increasing political power and thus gain control over the laws and justice system and thus increase or reduce the decay in society?

Are the States that hail Reagan as the hero and damn FDR-LBJ-Obama where decay of society has been eliminated, or where decay has increased more than average?

Unless you see those on Federal administrated welfare state, who are almost entirely 62 and over, are the cause of decay in society, it is the States that create the framework for society in nearly every respect, and thus promote or do nothing to influence the decay you see as the cause. States do the education, they set the family incomes, the decide who is denied jobs, who is forced into poverty, decide who carry a black market that might as well be carved into their forehead or worn as a sign on their breast.

80 Thiago Ribeiro February 5, 2016 at 4:47 am

If one commits a crime, one needs to be punished. If Americans want to end the so-called mass incarceration (what does it even mean?), they must address its real cause, a breakdown of law and order, which left unchecked would destroy the fabric of civilization. Things being as they are, America is already the most violent developed society. What would happen if criminals were freed?

81 Michael February 5, 2016 at 10:09 am

+1.

I still don’t get why I should care about “mass incarceration”. Let’s not kid ourselves, the overwhelming majority of these folks committed crimes, violent crimes. This is not driven by “pure possession” drug charges, and it most certainly is not driven by false imprisonment. It is driven by violent offenders, and our period of “mass incarceration” correlates with a period of nearly unprecedented drop in crime levels. Is it the only cause of the drop? No. But its not like it is unrelated, either.

82 anon February 5, 2016 at 11:02 am

California changed because they couldn’t work the budget any other way. It got to where they were spending more on prisons than on state universities. Not a good trend.

83 JWatts February 5, 2016 at 2:12 pm

Yes, but that’s mostly attributable to California paying its Prison staff at very high levels.

“Prison guards can retire at the age of 55 and earn 85% of their final year’s salary for the rest of their lives. They also continue to receive medical benefits.

Our officers earn a great salary, and a retirement package you just can’t find in private industry. We even pay you to attend our academy.” … you could earn $3,050 a month at cadet academy.

Prison guards, on the other hand, get seven weeks of vacation, five of them paid. ”

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748704132204576285471510530398

84 Thor February 6, 2016 at 1:50 am

Robots!

85 Cliff February 5, 2016 at 11:33 am

Well crime is way way down and lower than in Europe, so not sure what you are talking about

86 Thiago Ribeiro February 5, 2016 at 12:44 pm

Homicides, for instance. There are more homicides in the USA per year than in 1 billion plus habitants Red China. Or all the Western Europe put together. Such lasting breakdown of law and order in a rich country in peacetime is almost unheard of.

87 chuck martel February 5, 2016 at 11:18 pm

So, what’s your point? Is it that the US culture of violence is inferior to that of China and Western Europe? That Western Europe and China have more draconian and effective techniques to pacify their subjects? That if the US imprisoned even more people the place would be much safer? How many, roughly, would have to live behind bars before everything would be hunky-dory? How about half the population, including all black males under 70 years of age and white males without at least 6 semesters of college? Observed from a distance, American society would seem to be perhaps the most violent and dangerous in world history. Even that of the Comanches never required such a percentage of imprisoned males for the rest of their society to exist. Ergo, there must be something dramatically wrong with American culture. What do you suppose it might be?

88 Thiago Ribeiro February 6, 2016 at 5:08 am

“How about half the population, including all black males under 70 years of age and white males without at least 6 semesters of college?”
If you really need to bring homicide rates to a civilizated level, you have a really dangerous situation. Even the Nazis wouldn’t have to lock behind bars or exterminate such large section of a conquered Western Europe. At this point, you are just an occupying force in your own country, surrounded by Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, Blue-Collar Whites and whoever else frightens you. Can the American establishing fight a winning war against half of its subjects? I doubt it. Meanwhile, a frightened, desperate, tired and nauseated populace sees no other option but throw itself at the feet of Trump and Sanders.
“Is it that the US culture of violence is inferior to that of China and Western Europe? That Western Europe and China have more draconian and effective techniques to pacify their subjects?”
Both, I guess.

89 chuck martel February 6, 2016 at 9:29 am

” a frightened, desperate, tired and nauseated populace”

Who are those people? They must be invisible because bars, football stadiums, supermarkets, freeways and restaurants are choked with millions exhibiting the opposite qualities. Nobody sane is throwing themselves at the feet of any of these hideously inappropriate and unqualified candidates for national office that the bizarre modern media republic presents for approval. Taking citizenship seriously, they feel obligated to at least consider the fraudulent options. It looks as though the current political environment is actually the huge set of the ultimate Mel Brooks movie, the definitive picture of collective insanity. Thankfully, not everyone takes it seriously.

90 Thiago Ribeiro February 6, 2016 at 3:29 pm

“Nobody sane is throwing themselves at the feet of any of these hideously inappropriate and unqualified candidates for national office that the bizarre modern media republic presents for approval. Taking citizenship seriously, they feel obligated to at least consider the fraudulent options.”
Well, they went farther than most other candidates. I mean, where is Mr. Carson? Where is Mr. Gingrich? What happened to Jeb! ? Is he still a candidate? I have no idea.
“Thankfully, not everyone takes it seriously.”
Iowa Primary voters didn’t seem to be in on the joke. Only a people with no hope for its children would take Trump (in fact, he actually reminds me of Franz Liebkind) and Sanders seriously. An alienated, confused populace, frightened by rampant crime (hence Trump’s line about Mexican rapists), beaten up by foreign competion and unemployment, betrayed by its leaders decided to cast its lot with an adventurer and a old, crazy Hippie. America is now before its Rubicon.

91 S February 5, 2016 at 4:52 am

The 1980 prison population count is a platonic ideal.

92 Jody February 5, 2016 at 5:50 am

Mass incarceration will end when…

We bring back public flogging and the stocks.

93 Nathan W February 5, 2016 at 6:15 am

I’d take flogging over years in prison any time. A week after flogging you can go back to work. Five years out of the workforce for selling dimebags and any career prospects whatsoever are basically over.

94 So Much For Subtlety February 5, 2016 at 9:09 am

Some serious people agree:

Moskos, Peter, In defense of flogging, New York: Basic Books, 2011

I doubt anyone would be back at work in a week though. Not these days.

95 Thor February 6, 2016 at 1:52 am

“So, yeah, like I wanna work again, y’know, sometime … but my flogging scars haven’t healed say my counsellor … and yeah, it’s only been a year, so dude, I’m just not ready.”

96 Bob from Ohio February 5, 2016 at 9:33 am

“any career prospects ”

These felons never had any “career prospects”.

According to the Justice Dept,;

“About 41% of inmates in the Nation’s
State and Federal prisons and local
jails in 1997 and 31% of probationers
had not completed high school or its
equivalent.”

The percentage with college education is 12% versus 48% in the general population.

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

We imprison criminals. Not first time offenders either. Most committed crimes before being actually sent to prison.

Old article (1985 but no reason to think things have changed):

“WASHINGTON, March 3— Almost 84 percent of arriving inmates at state prisons around the country in 1979 were repeat offenders, according to a study conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and made public today.”

http://www.nytimes.com/1985/03/04/us/84-repeat-offender-rate-examined.html

97 Nathan W February 5, 2016 at 1:35 pm

They should help them get their GED.

98 Art Deco February 5, 2016 at 2:17 pm

Says the man who has not a clue how American prisons operate.

You recall the state corrections employee who was an accessory to that splashy prison break in Dannemora, NY? What was her job at the prison? That’s right, vocational instructor.

99 So Much For Subtlety February 5, 2016 at 8:43 pm

One of the interesting things Steve Sailor said about The Wire is that the Middle Class Jewish English Lit majors who wrote it literally could not imagine anyone not wanting to be an English Lit major. So they cannot imagine that every criminal isn’t like them. Hence Stringer Bell – a middle class Jewish English Lit major’s idea what a gangster is like.

So what if we help them get their GEDs? Given they had a chance of twelve years of education and rejected it, why do you think it would help?

As for their lives being over, tell Marky Mark. Mark Wahlberg was convicted in an unprovoked vicious racially-motivated attack on a Vietnamese man. How is he doing? Tim Allen? The convicted drug dealer. Kelsey Grammer? Robert Downy Junior? Robert Kennedy, Jr. – heroin possession. Classy that one. CeeLo Green took a plea for administering drugs to a woman and then raping her. How is his career working out? Paris Hilton has done time for cocaine possession. How is she doing? And so has 50 Cent. Ja Rule has been in prison for all sorts of things.

James Brown went to prison at 16 for armed robbery. Had problems with the law pretty much all his life. Didn’t seem to hold him back.

For that matter Whitney Houston might be alive today if Bobby Brown had been arrested once in a while. For something. Given the long list of things he did.

100 Nathan W February 11, 2016 at 1:24 am

SMFS – Quite a lot of people don’t do everything perfect the first time, then get a GED later.

We do not pull up the ladder behind us. At least not yet, in modern society.

101 felon February 5, 2016 at 8:49 pm

I have been able to find very few studies on the effects of a criminal record on the careers of folks with bachelor’s degrees. Does anyone know of any?

102 Nathan W February 11, 2016 at 1:25 am

I would be more concerned about the number of criminals who never both to pursue advancement because they think they will be blacklisted in prospective future careers.

103 rayward February 5, 2016 at 6:38 am

Is spending on prisons and prisoners a conservative or liberal phenomenon? I worked in my state’s legislature when mandatory minimum prison sentences became popular – in the 1970s. I’d write the committee report on a proposal including the cost but my members didn’t care. And it wasn’t just a matter of wanted to appear tough on crime; as important was the additional spending in the districts where the state prisons were located. Back when the “pork chop gang” controlled my state’s legislature, prisons were concentrated in the rural districts of the most powerful members. That history continues today, as the largest state prisons are located far from the urban centers where most crimes occur. The towns located near the prisons are, in essence, prisons too because the economy is based on state spending at the prisons – for the guards, cooks, administrators, constructions, etc. For a politician from those districts, mandatory minimum sentences are a form of state relief without which the populations and economy of the districts would disappear. I often drive through those districts. As I sit at the red light of the town’s few stop lights, I see plaques commemorating, not confederate soldiers, but long dead politicians who were responsible for the prisons in the district.

104 Steve Sailer February 5, 2016 at 6:59 am

How many memorials are there commemorating all the crime victims who suffered because of the Warren Court Era?

I’ve heard of a couple, one in Orange County, CA, one in Westchester County, NY.

But in general crime victims get written out of The Narrative.

105 mulp February 5, 2016 at 3:30 pm

In your view, justice requires jailing someone or executing them for the victims, regardless of what beatings and lies are required to get confessions or convictions regardless of finding the actual guilty party?

Executing and imprisoning innocent people is a virtue because someone needs to be sacrificed as the scapegoat for the crimes of the unknown?

You must rejoice at every civil forfeiture you hear off, something the Warren Court would damn.

106 Thiago Ribeiro February 5, 2016 at 7:47 am

” That history continues today, as the largest state prisons are located far from the urban centers where most crimes occur. The towns located near the prisons are, in essence, prisons too because the economy is based on state spending at the prisons – for the guards, cooks, administrators, constructions, etc. For a politician from those districts, mandatory minimum sentences are a form of state relief without which the populations and economy of the districts would disappear.”
I remember to have read the same thing about a Mordovian prison for foreign common criminals in the former Soviet Union. The guards/bureaucrats’ wages and bribes were all that the village nearby had to support itself. There is not much that can be done to change such things.

107 MOFO February 5, 2016 at 11:21 am

“I’d write the committee report on a proposal including the cost but my members didn’t care.”

If your current writing is any indication, they didnt care because you wrote it as one unbroken paragraph that no one read.

108 MC February 5, 2016 at 2:03 pm

LOL.

109 Nathan W February 5, 2016 at 1:38 pm

For profit prisons have perverse incentives in a system of extensive lobbying and political contributions (legalized corruption).

Sanders’ position on this is alone, for profit prisons, probably is enough for me to prefer him as a candidate.

110 Thomas February 5, 2016 at 4:02 pm

This isn’t exclusive to for-profit prisons. Leftists are insufferable fools. The biggest lobbyists for law and order are the public unions of police officers, and the public union of prison guards.

111 Nathan W February 11, 2016 at 1:26 am

Not sure what your ideological attack has to do with anything, but anyways, yes, obviously police and guard unions to not help matters in coming to some sensible policy.

112 Steve Sailer February 5, 2016 at 6:57 am

Here’s the Crime Misery Index of imprisonment plus homicide (which is modeled on the Economic Misery Index of unemployment plus inflation):

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

It would be more reassuring if the people denouncing mass incarceration today apologized for what their ideological forefathers did to urban America in the 1960s: “We’re sorry we pretty much wrecked America’s cities by being soft on crime in the 1960s and 1970s. We’ve learned our lesson. You can trust us this time because we won’t make the same mistakes twice. Instead, this time we’ll do something much different, which is …”

And then tell us what your new innovation is going to be. For example, maybe there’s something much better than imprisonment that’s now possible using new technology.

“A Clockwork Orange,” for example, is about an attempt to get away from imprisonment using a new technology, which, in real life, doesn’t actually work. But there’s always hope for some breakthrough.

113 Steve Sailer February 5, 2016 at 7:03 am

The British government, for example, has opted for turning their whole country into Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon, with video cameras everywhere.

Maybe that’s not a bad idea. When I was in Oxford in 1994, it was like a scene out of “A Clockwork Orange” in terms of rates of car theft and home invasion. But crime has come down a lot in Britain over the last 20 years, so maybe their technocratic approach to fighting crime is a good idea.

114 Art Deco February 5, 2016 at 9:50 am

See Theodore Dalrymple on the utility and disutility of CCTV cameras. They are, per Dalrymple, essentially useless because the courts are unwilling to impose serious penalties for much of anything.

115 LR February 5, 2016 at 8:03 am

GPS and sound record criminals with bracelets. You will know where they are to within 10 ft at all times, and if they are near other criminals.

116 anon February 5, 2016 at 10:00 am

Agree. Tech will shrink monitors until they look like a smart watch or fitness band. No stigma, but big increase in public safety.

I don’t really share the fear that if we do it for convicted criminals we’ll do it for everyone. I think the public feels strongly in the division. They want to be safe from criminals, and private in their own lives.

And monitors will be accepted as an avoid jail deal. Not bound on writhing prisoners.

117 Nathan W February 5, 2016 at 1:41 pm

The slippery slope is this: it becomes so cheap to track people that we start tracking more and more people until … voila! Everyone is tracked.

But I prefer GPS monitoring to sentencing for quite a lot of infringements.

Amazing to think that what the NSA can easily do in practice accords honest citizens less rights than to criminals w.r.t. GPS surveillance.

118 Steve Sailer February 5, 2016 at 7:14 am

Of course, there was a 17% leap in the homicide rate in 2015 in the 50 biggest cities, which appears to correlate substantially with Obama Administration-promoted agitation against law enforcement in Baltimore and similar heavily-black cities:

http://www.unz.com/isteve/black-lives-apparently-dont-matter-big-city-homicides-up-nearly-17-in-2015/

And that’s not counting the 2015 slaughter in Ferguson-adjacent St. Louis, which is only the 59th biggest city in the country.

A general lesson of post-WWII American history is that liberal, anti-white, anti-incarceration, anti-police ideological trends, such as in the 1960s and in 2015, tend to lead to blacks shooting blacks in horrific numbers.

119 Ricardo February 5, 2016 at 10:12 am

As the source of that article makes clear, there were still decreases in homicide rates in 13 of these 50 largest cities and there isn’t any clear correlation between major clashes with police and sharp increases by city.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/national/2015-homicides/

120 Michael February 5, 2016 at 10:14 am

The “Ferguson effect” seems limited to only some cities, and not all. Interestingly, the drops in prison populations are only in some states…

121 Psmith February 5, 2016 at 10:21 am

Also see Peter Turchin’s work.

Depending on how seriously you take him (and the murder rate spike in BLM cities), lock ’em up and throw away the key may come back in a big way.

122 Nathan W February 5, 2016 at 1:45 pm

First time I’ve seen someone use the words “anti-white” in a way that wasn’t obviously driven by white supremacist propaganda.

Such a thing does exist. But no one likes people who overplay the race card.

123 JWatts February 5, 2016 at 2:17 pm

“But no one likes people who overplay the race card. ”

Jesse Jackson was ridiculously powerful in his hay day. So, I don’t really think that comment is true.

124 Art Deco February 5, 2016 at 2:20 pm

I think you’ve confounded ‘powerful’ with ‘obtrusive’. Jackson ran a successful protection racket for a number of years, but never had much influence on policy.

125 mulp February 5, 2016 at 3:56 pm

So, Obama is totally responsible for all the smartphones with audio-video recording capability, and the Obama phone program was purely intended to collect video to increase persecution of police?!?

WOW! Obama really is devious in recruiting silicon valley and China in a
New angry black war on the police!

126 LR February 5, 2016 at 7:45 am
127 Art Deco February 5, 2016 at 2:23 pm

Because liberal radio reporters fancy Spicoli and despise rednecks.

128 mulp February 5, 2016 at 4:02 pm

Given the statements used in opposition to limits on weapons of mass murder, I’m thinking the 2nd amendment gives me the right to own tank killers and surface to air rockets to defend myself from jack boot government thugs with their tanks, black helicopters, and drones.

Why can’t everyone have personal rockets for defense, not to mention land mines and other anti-personnel weapons, under the second amendment???

129 LR February 5, 2016 at 7:52 am

If you are not willing to lock people up for more than a year for illegal loaded gun violations (Chicago), you get what you deserve. And you bet that means more minorities in jail for guns – and they deserve to be there if you are really serious about curbing gun violence. Background check type laws are fine but they wont have anything but a minor impact on any of the real, criminal gun violence issue in the US. If you are not serious about curbing gun violence, which is largely a feature of our minority communities, please continue to complain about the NRA, gun shows, and AK47s.

130 Nathan W February 5, 2016 at 1:46 pm

NRA and loopholes don’t help, but the sort of conversation you’re getting in to needs to happen, in my opinion.

131 Keith February 5, 2016 at 7:55 am

In California they are letting criminals out and crime is rising. This results in more young black males killing other young black males.

How is this a good thing?

132 Todd February 5, 2016 at 8:27 am

“California’s violent crime rate is at its lowest since 1967. California’s violent crime rate dropped by 1% in 2014 to a 47-year low of 393 per 100,000 residents.”

“Property crime decreased again after a noticeable uptick in 2012. The 2014 property crime rate of 2,459 per 100,000 residents is down 7.7% from 2013 and below the 50-year low of 2,594 reached in 2011.”

http://www.ppic.org/main/publication_show.asp?i=1036

133 PKSully February 5, 2016 at 10:15 am

Percentage change in murders, 2015 over 2014: San Diego +15.6, LA +8.5, SF +15.6, San Jose -6.3, Long Beach +56.5, Sacramento +55.6, Fresno -14.9, Oakland +3.8

134 Willitts February 5, 2016 at 9:02 am

Beg the question much?

A large prison population isnt bad per se. The costs to society of not incarcerating those people are seldom considered.

Many of the people jailed for so-called non-violent crimes have plead in sentencing, facts or mitigation. It is a myth that our prison population is full of pot smokers. 90% of sentences are pled out of court, often two to three levels below the charged crime.

135 Bob from Ohio February 5, 2016 at 9:41 am

Few of the people crying over “mass incarceration” live in the communities where most offenders live and prey.

Its easy for middle class suburban dwellers to get all misty eyed at the poor repeat offenders we send to prison. Their children do not have to plan their walks to school to avoid gangs. If female, they don’t use “bra purses” to hide their money on the theory that even most criminals won’t search the breast area.

136 Willitts February 5, 2016 at 10:05 am

In my experience, you are correct although that is somewhat of an ad hominem. People who live in low crime areas are entitled to opinions about incarceration rates. But you are correct that they may lack a sense from experience of the high costs of crime.

If anythng, I think we give shorter sentences today than what I achieved in the 80s, particularly for violent crime. I put an adult who led a group of teenagers in an unprovoked battery away for three years. Today, he might get six months. Our national sense of shame and scorn are being diluted.

137 Jan February 5, 2016 at 11:29 am

In may ways, it doesn’t matter if it is 3 years or 6 months. The amount of time is not more or less of a deterrent. The important fact to remember is that once that person is convicted, his life is basically ruined.

138 Cliff February 5, 2016 at 11:38 am

Did you pull that conclusion out of your ass?

139 FUBAR007 February 5, 2016 at 11:57 am

Cliff, would you hire an ex-convict? Even if their offense was non-violent and relatively minor? Or, would you, like most people, at minimum shuffle their resume/application to the bottom of the pile?

I can’t say that I would hire one.

But, that does then beggar the question: what do we these people?

140 TMC February 5, 2016 at 12:09 pm

I, for one, would like him not doing additional damage on the streets for the additional 2.5 years.

141 Jan February 5, 2016 at 1:50 pm

Cliff, no.

TMC, that is a fair argument. Deterrence and rehabilitation are the arguments that are not backed by good evidence.

142 felon February 5, 2016 at 9:03 pm

If your definition of “ruined” is doing unskilled or part-time work…then maybe. I suspect that the effect of a conviction is greater the smarter you are, so that for a person with an Ivy League degree, I could understand if they decided they were a disgrace to their family and jumped out a window. For folks who would be doing unskilled work anyway, it probably doesn’t matter much.

143 FUBAR007 February 5, 2016 at 11:49 am

IMO, the issue with mass incarceration is less quantity than it is quality and accountability.

I take it you’re a former prosecutor. If so, I’m curious as to your knowledge/opinion on a number of incarceration-related issues:

1) Overcrowding – real or mythical problem? Is closing minimum-security facilities and integrating their convict populations with those of maximum-security facilities a good idea? Or, does it just make things worse by a) increasing recidivism and/or b) making non-violent prisoners easy prey for violent prisoners?

2) Prison rape – real or mythical problem? If real, what can and should the authorities do about it? Or, is it a perfectly acceptable phenomenon that should simply be regarded as an inherent aspect of incarceration? That is, regardless of the severity and degree of their offense, convicts are convicts and, as such, deserve what they get?

3) More broadly, what rights should convicts be entitled to while incarcerated? Should they even have rights at all?

4) Rehabilitation programs – worthy investment or waste of money?

5) The so-called “prison-industrial complex” – real or mythical? If real, are there potential perverse incentives at work in allowing for-profit companies to operate facilities and manage incarceration?

6) In cases where convicts are exonerated–which does happen, but is a rarer occurrence than the media would have us believe–what penalties, if any, should the prosecuting and sentencing authorities (i.e. investigators, prosecutors, judges, etc.) face? Not just for any malfeasance, but for incompetence? That is, even if they charged, prosecuted, and sentenced in good faith, but still fucked up and got it wrong?

144 Art Deco February 5, 2016 at 9:48 am

Exhibit #637 toward demonstrating two theses: soi-disant libertarians have the outlook of adolescents and soi-disant libertarians should be allowed nowhere near the levers of policy.

145 Urstoff February 5, 2016 at 12:04 pm

America has to choose real leaders, like your crazy aunt or racist grandpa

146 Art Deco February 5, 2016 at 1:18 pm

Thanks for the stupid non sequitur. It’s been an education.

147 Edward February 5, 2016 at 10:41 am

It’ll end when Black Americans in greater numbers form healthy family units featuring well adjusted men as providers and head of household. Until then mass incarceration will only rise.

148 Nathan W February 5, 2016 at 1:50 pm

The causality might be a bit reverse too.

Long prison sentences for trivial crimes makes the cycle worse.

149 Art Deco February 5, 2016 at 2:30 pm

American courts do not make a habit of ‘long prison sentences for trivial crimes’ except in the space between your ears. You’re most likely to see something like that in federal court, but federal court encompasses only 11% of the convictions handed down by courts in this country and its subjects are disproportionately white collar.

150 Nathan W February 11, 2016 at 1:32 am

I don’t know why you defend the American prison system as NOT remotely harsh, when by most conventional measures the USA has one of the most incarcerated populations in the planet.

151 Floccina February 5, 2016 at 11:03 am

in part a function of reduced crime levels, but also changes

Seems to me that more and better police is a huge winner in that it reduces crime and reduces prison costs. I think that the black lives matters view of things as understandable but IMHO they would do better to push for not just for better police but more police. I would guess that would allow them to attract more support even among blacks (also and end to the war on drugs and punishment that fits the crime more.)

152 Willitts February 5, 2016 at 11:21 am

The cost of police is often the largest single expense in a city’s budget, and in smaller towns it is even a majority. The appeal for more police is understandable, but it is fiscally infeasible.

Also, the number of cops per unit of area isnt significant explanator in crime rates. When Clinton proposed to add 100,000 cops, this translated to about 1 additional officer per municipality, on average. The actual increase was about 35,000, many were only temporary, and many werent put on the streets.

The physical act of putting criminals behind bars is the most signifcant regressor in crime rates. Although it would be constitutionally prohibited and morally reprehensible, we could probably permanently lower crime rates by executing all felons and violent misdemeanants, merely for its specific deterrent effect. The general deterrent effect would be gravy.

153 Art Deco February 5, 2016 at 2:34 pm

The appeal for more police is understandable, but it is fiscally infeasible.

The entire budget for the police department and jail service in the City of New York (including the general state charges for the pension system) amounts to just north of 2% of local domestic product in the five boroughs. That is one effective department with a challenging population to patrol. No, that is not ‘fiscally infeasible’.

154 chuck martel February 6, 2016 at 9:41 am

Just like potatoes and teaspoons, cops are subject to marginal utility. When a village hires its first cop, he’s probably worth his pay. As time goes by, the 115th one added to the ever-increasing payroll isn’t as valuable to the city as that first guy was. But he gets paid the same, or more. It’s a violation of basic economics.

155 MOFO February 5, 2016 at 11:27 am

When talking about crime, its always good to note that some of our stats might be phony:

http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/May-2014/Chicago-crime-rates/

New York has a similar thing going on.

156 Judah Benjamin Hur February 5, 2016 at 12:14 pm

If there were any justice in the world, the people who let animals and thugs out of prison would be the ones getting raped and killed.

157 Thiago Ribeiro February 5, 2016 at 1:43 pm

If there were so justice in the world, we would need no prisons.

158 Nathan W February 5, 2016 at 1:54 pm

Unlimited punishment is indefensible.

Defending limited punishment is defensible, and even extremely good if existing punishments are too strong, but you suggest that such people should become victims of rape and murder.

You are a sick man.

159 Art Deco February 5, 2016 at 2:22 pm

Again, mean time served in state prisons in this country is 30 months for those so remanded. That’s ‘unlimited’?

160 Nathan W February 11, 2016 at 1:38 am

I hold that you underplay the punishment, whereas you hold that I overplay it.

But in the way he posed it, EVER releasing them would be an abrogation of “justice”. It was in that sense that i consider it as injustice, and not in the sense where you and I might disagree as to whether 1 year or 10 years is “too much” for a given contravention of the criminal code.

161 Judah Benjamin Hur February 5, 2016 at 10:37 pm

Looking at your blog, I’ll defer to your expertise on being sick and demented. Yet I see nothing objectionable in hoping that those who impose violence on the public bear the entire cost.

162 Nathan W February 11, 2016 at 1:36 am

Thanks.

I see someone from the “criticism of Israel is racist” crowd has showed up.

163 Nathan W February 11, 2016 at 1:41 am

What cost would you impose on the Zionists who imposed violence on the public of Palestine in their militant colonization in the modern Middle East?

After all, you insist that those who “impose violence on the public bear the entire cost.”

However, you might have to join Hamas to find a group that will be willing to meet your standards, and unfortunately almost the entire world condemns their strategies in this long fought war.

164 Becky Hargrove February 5, 2016 at 4:17 pm
165 LR February 6, 2016 at 11:06 am

“All men are created equal”. Nice thought. Suppose it’s not true?

166 Nathan W February 11, 2016 at 1:44 am

No one really believes that.

The kinds of equality that people fight for are things like access to legal/political representation, or equal access to levers of success.

But we’re not half as unequal as some might suppose. Most people can simply do most things that most people. And in the area where they do best, are specialized in some area that’s generally irrelevant to what most other people are doing.

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