American families shouldn’t be separated, either

That is the title of my Bloomberg column, here is my basic proposal:

Let’s take one-tenth of those women and move them from prison to house arrest, combined with electronic monitoring. That would allow for proximity to their children. If the U.S. isn’t plagued by a subsequent wave of violent crime — and I don’t think it will be — let us try the same for yet another tenth. Let’s keep on doing this until it’s obviously not working.


According to one 2010 study, more than 1.1 million men and 120,000 women in U.S. jails and prisons have children under the age of 17.


From 1991 to 2007, the number of children with a mother in prison more than doubled, rising 131 percent. About two-thirds of the women in state prisons are there for nonviolent offenses. Sixty percent of those women have children under the age of 18, and in one survey one-quarter of the prisoners’ children were under the age of 4. Forty-one percent of the women in state prison had more than one child…One estimate suggests that 11 percent of the children of imprisoned mothers end up in foster care.

We can do this.


Begins with parents getting married and being committed to making a great life for their children

Right, because marriage prevents people from committing crimes.

Who's to say it doesn't? I don't know the facts, but I'd bet big money it does.

Would you support another unreproducible social science study that tells you one way or the other? I know my opinion.

If you work at retail, you'd know that diapers and baby formula are almost always the top target for thieves and are often kept under lock and key for this reason. Now without saying marriage is a bad/good thing, I'll just say that if you have extra mouths to feed and facing poverty, the incentive is massive to take some "shortcuts."

He's probably referring to more serious crimes than shoplifting diapers.

But that's the point, with 3 strikes laws and so on there are some families separated because of stealing stuff. We aren't talking all gangbangers here.

No but we are talking about three-times convicted felons here. It is not obvious to me that by the time they are up to their third felony conviction they have anything to offer society except prison rape.

And crime is highly heritable too. So their children are probably beyond salvation anyway, but if there is a chance, they will probably benefit from being separated.

How about we compromise by exiling them and their families to some remote part of the country where the rest of us will never have to deal with them?

Oh, like Australia? Or, where else might we find such a place?

Crime is pretty explicitly a social construct. A crime is defined by violating a rule that society has constructed. Rules which may or may not involve violence or infliction of deliberate harm on others. As such crime cannot be inherited. Misanthropy and violent tendencies perhaps, but it would be incorrect to say that criminality per se is heritable.

What a muddle. You think "pretty explicitly a social construct" has ANY objective meaning? I'm not all that bright, so I have to admit I have no understanding of what you meant by claiming a crime is "explicit" in any way. And then "social construct". Not to go all recursive on you, but isn't language a social construct? Words? What can you and I agree to which doesn't involve our agreeing on something? Your argument, near as I can figure, is: Crimes are "defined" arbitrarily therefore the tendency to commit them can't be inherited. Two words for you:non sequitur.

"Synchronize your watches."
"I don't know how to do that."
"I don't wear a watch."
"Time is a construct."


I agree with Hazel above and add that as society and technology change, crime rates can change dramatically with genes remaining the same.

"Crime is pretty explicitly a social construct." Well perhaps you were never shot by a robber or had your daughter raped. Maybe then you would think of a less pleasant statement about crime.

I would be in favor of allowing non-violent criminals to serve a sentence outside of a prison. Why not? But it should be very carefully monitored for recidivism.

'Prison rape'? I thought we were talking about mothers here, is that a big problem in women's prisons?

No, he's saying that married people are less criminal. Wendall's testimony is not in opposition to this since the thieves may be unmarried or even single mothers.

Priorities. It doesn't require marriage necessarily, but two committed parents are the best way to raise children. I understand older, educated single mothers can make it work, but for struggling families without fathers the task is monumental.

A dear friend, who died a couple years ago, taught at a challenging inner-city elementary school. Over dinner one night she popped off and said the best thing that could be done for her students would be to get their dads out of jail so they could raise their kids.

Children want two parents, and they know it. If you doubt this, just ask one of them.

Yeah I'm sure the 20 something year old gangbangers just can't wait to raise their baby mama's children! Lol!

I had the same thought. My children have a steady father who is always there for them. I was raised the same way, but my dad was not -- a situation he pledged not to repeat when he married. My life has been the better for it.

We can blame the moms, but after 50 years of Great Society programs, we're moving into a third generation of mothers who never knew their own fathers and have no expectations of anything different.

People can change. We have to start somewhere.

Ah but if everyone including the "gangbangers" are committed to marriage before children those "gangbangers" will not have children because it is clear that women do not want to marry them.

The funny thing about ISIS is that their recruits destroyed the little fantasies that people on the left and right have in their heads. Recruits tended to be educated, middle class not poverty (take that liberals) and have engineering or medical degrees and employed (take that libertarians) and they were married and cared much about their faith (take that conservatives). I hope the age of Trump shows the general problem of groupthink/tribethink we have these days and why we should rethink everything.

Very good post, +1

+100! Mood and tribal affiliation makes lemmings of us all. Best comment here for some time.

Seems to me the conservatives come off best here - they don't deny ISIS takes culture (marriage, faith, etc.) seriously. They think the content of it matters and doubt that their way is compatible with ours.


The whole idea of lumping all religions together seems silly. Combining pacifists with ISIS does not seem helpful.

'Recruits tended to be educated, middle class not poverty'

Foreign recruits, it should be noted.

'have engineering or medical degrees and employed'

Foreign recruits, it should be noted.

Where do the local recruits come from in relative SES. I doubt that it is from the very bottom of society (I'd guess the middle) but I really do not know. Do you have any idea?

If poverty causes crime it will lower criminality.
If poor morals causes crime, it will lower criminality.
Also if married, one parent will still be there.

At least one parent will still be there to shoplift diapers.

At least this is consistent, which is more than we can say for the wild Democrat masses screaming and crying about family separation as if it is a new feature of the law enforcement system.

It would be really great to solve a lot of real problems affecting Americans, but a large chunk of society what's to virtue signal about their superior morality expressed through spending inordinate amounts of U.S. wealth and time and blood on foreigners. And yes this goes for the Defense department as well.

Confucius say American priorities FUBAR.

What problem is more important and "real" than children in concentration camps?

Enlighten us, o sociopath.

You mean Democrats like Melania Trump or Laura Bush? Maybe what Trump/Sessions are doing is a bad idea. Thats okay though, get mad at us evil Democrats.

One thing I like about this site is that it isn't (usually) a party-based food fight.

I'm tired of all of you.

What's wrong with competition and freedom of speech? if it doesn't kill you it makes you greater. Your weak attempt at bipartisan virtue signaling is noted. You and the evildem have forgotten why Trump was elected president. Let me give you a hint: corrupt Soros paid Hillary dems and crooked swampy elites that need to be drained. When Trump finishes his term in 6 years you will see why his presidency will be one of the greatest.

You and Evil Democrat have my best wishes, I guess, but you're making my point for me.

Man are you coming across stupid, MAGA guy.

Man are you coming across stupid, MAGA bro.

I agree with the headline on FLOTUS statements. Separating families sucks. What’s the solution aside from “catch and release”/ de facto open borders. At least TC’s argument is consistent. Democrats can’t be honest on this issue because it would hurt them politically, but this tension is unsustainable. The facts don’t support the Democrat argument without D support for open-borders or CJ reform that frees all or most parents.

Actually all Trump has to do is go back to the old way of doing things, illegals crossing with children used to be kept together and referred to immigration courts not federal courts:

There's a better, not horribly immoral, way to do this.

"Actually all Trump has to do is go back to the old way of doing things, illegals crossing with children used to be kept together and referred to immigration courts not federal courts"

The status quo prior to Trump's policy change was "come back to court voluntarily to be deported" aka open borders. The new reality is that Democrats are going to have to articulate what it is that they supported with that status quo. Crying children is a diversionary tactic designed to sidestep public debate on the harsh reality of law enforcement and lack thereof.

I agree Family Separation is a bad idea. So Trump should pardon Paul Manafort right now so he can spend more time with his family.

Did that sound clever in your head before you typed it?

What are you, Hitler!?! Kids are crying so we have to do what I wanted to do anyway!

We are all law breakers now!

One at a time, we can arrest the entire lower-middle-class, and instead of putting them in jail, put them on house arrest with ankle monitors. Then move on to the middle-middle-class, then the upper-middle-class.

Getting people out of jail is great. But making it easy for the state to monitor every single person is not. I honestly think a caning (that doesn't leave permanent marks) is a good punishment for first offenders, far better than locking people up for weeks or months and destroying their job skills.

Seems worth trying to me!

I have not seen strong evidence for the idea that harsh and long prison sentences are an effective deterrent against criminal activity. If many crimes are committed during "irrational" moments of intense emotion and passion, then it's hard to see how harsh punishments would help prevent them. After all, there seems to be plenty of evidence that humans are not so great at this whole "instrumental rationality" thing...

Long sentences keep dangerous people off the streets. If deterrence fails, prison bars will do just fine.

Dangerous to whom? Your car? Not all people in jail are there for violent crimes.

If it's his car then of course it's a danger to him. That's a well understood reason why someone would need to be kept away from society, because they're stealing people's stuff! Typically other financially strained people's stuff.

Is non-bank robbery theft now included along with smoking weed as some kind of victimless crime?

True: me only write short sentences.

Are you Chinese by any chance? Is it true what they say about Asian guys .... you know what I'm talking about.

If many crimes are committed during "irrational" moments of intense emotion and passion, then it's hard to see how harsh punishments would help prevent them.

If. That word is doing a lot of work there. If indeed. I have never seen an act of domestic violence. Domestic issues result in a great deal of passion and, fairly often, crimes of passion. Involving murder, rape or beatings.

Yet I have never seen an act of domestic violence. Not on the street. Not in the supermarket. Not in the car park. Not in the street next to the school where the parents wait to pick up their children. Not once. How about you?

It is almost as if people know how to keep their passions under control or something.

I totally agree with you that the chance of being caught certainly will affect the likelihood of someone committing a crime. Many people smarter than myself have suggested that it is the threat of punishment being "swift and certain" that provides much of the deterrence, as opposed to punishment being "cruel and long".

I thought it would be pretty funny argue for giving every parent a get out of jail free card. Little did I suspect that Tyler Cowen would be a serious argument on Bloomberg supporting this extraordinary leniency!

I have a better idea: day care centers in prison.

Well, he's only making the argument as to mothers. Fathers can rot in jail, apparently.

Well, not if they identify as female. Then they will become Tyler's darlings, whose desires constitute the highest moral good we know.

You care about fathers? Good for you. you must be a virtue signaler. The poor criminal fathers in jail, who after all will look after them? Thank god for people like Tom T.

Point thoroughly missed. How about you try to do what Tyler didn't, and explain why your point of view doesn't apply equally to female prisoners?

"Extraordinary leniency" ?
What is extraordinary is the proportion of its population that the US incarcerates. Nowhere else on the planet comes close.

Our crime rates are also extraordinary. Just saying, might be a relationship there.

Apologies if I'm missing sarcasm, but this is bordering on a tautology. Our "crime rates" are extraordinary mainly because of the huge number of things we define as "crimes", noting that while many countries count pot usage or dealing as a crime, very few think it anywhere near worth jailing someone for it.

CPS traumatizes children and breaks apart families everyday in America. In poor neighborhoods, people call CPS on each other for revenge. CPS takes children out of homes on claims alone and then collects evidence. Children placed in foster homes are sometimes abused worse than anything they suffered at home, to say nothing of the trauma suffered when ripped out of their home by state agents. Spend some time with people in low income areas and you will hear all sorts of stories.

Your attempts at virtue signaling almost moved me. Almost

That was not virtue signaling, that was just an accurate picture of the truth.

And, let me add this .... it is a good thing so many mothers and fathers are in jail. You have to understand that there are millions of bad people out there who treat their children badly, and those children are better off with their nasty parents safely locked up.

It is to Tyler's credit that he does not know this, It is sort of touching that he believes that all those children are not totally stoked that Mom or Dad are in prison and unable to continue mistreating them.

That is what criminals do, mistreat people. Don't think for a second that there are not a lot of them out there - can you really imagine that you don't know how bad the bottom 10 percent of parents are? And, you know, there are millions of parents who are in the bottom 10 percent. Unfortunately for me, I know how nasty they can be.

Their kids know, though, and a hundred years from now there will be dozens of songs and movies and novels celebrating the kind USA of 2018, where criminals , including "young mothers" with a violent streak, were regularly locked up and kept from hurting their kids.

Anyway, it is to Tyler's credit that he does not look at this as cynically as I do. I guess.

He was advocating release of non-violent offenders. While it's likely not entirely exclusive of child abuse, it's probable that non-violent offenders are less likely to be child abusers.

That is a fair point.

But, seriously, you have to be really anti-social to be an attractive young woman and get sent to jail for a non-violent crime.

I know that, you know that, everyone knows that.

I am actually fairly liberal on criminal justice issues - I think every person who was incarcerated for marijuana possession post-1959 should get a big fat reparations check, and I will be thrilled when Martha Stewart and Blagoyevich get their pardons - but I know as well as you that the Martha Stewarts of the world, and the Blagoyevichs, are probably not kind people at heart, and probably never were good parents.

Look, you do not read this on the internet much, but one of the great things about America is that we jail the sort of people who are unloveable parents at a higher rate than less compassionate countries do.

Of course this means that we are less likely to produce a Knausgaard type writer - what was he going to do, write about his boring visits to his sad boring dad in lock-up? - but - and once again, I empathize with the tens of thousands of Americans who have been unjustly jailed, and I will never stop clamoring that they receive reparations - but still, the fact is, those children whose parents are in the bottom ten percent, maybe even the bottom 20 percent, could have no better birthday present or Christmas present than having bad violent Dad or Mom sent to jail for a few years so that they could be safe, for a while, from the criminal nastiness that people like that almost always inflict on their children, when they are in a mood to do so.

Once again, you know what I am saying is true. It is hard to admit it, but it is true.

While true, doesn't that send a bad social message to the children? "Mommy shoplifted thousands of dollars worth of stuff, but some of it was for you and she loves you a lot so we won't keep her away from you because it's bad for your development" is an irresponsible thing to communicate to children, who are rapidly learning the rules of society, rather than "your mom is a thief and violated the social trust which holds our economy and society together; she's going away for a bit, you'll see her later, make sure you don't do what she did or we'll do the same to you."

You make a good point there.

I have not thought through all this. Among the 100 or people I know best, the really bad parent ratio is, I would guess, much less than 1 in 20, but I am sure that among the larger group of people who live in my metropolitan area - and again I am guessing - it is much higher than that.

I think if you look at basic criminology numbers - for example, 1 in 25 people are, at age 30, active sociopaths or psychopaths, another 1 in 25 are so bipolar or so addicted to drugs as to effectively be, towards their children, effectively equivalent to a psychopath, and another 1 in 25 are just cold-hearted SOBs - you are easily looking at lots of people in any large community, many of them way too intelligent to indulge in violent crime that might come to the attention of the police, who are - to put it as nicely as possible - Dickensian horrors to their biological children, their step-children, or their foster-children. And that is in a normal first world society.

Once again, it is always worth saying that the particular parent who is in the bottom 1 out of 20 with respect to lack of decency and lack of non-criminality, even non-violent non-criminality, is probably a much worse parent than most people think.

I like this idea.

How about we agree to stop pulling baby animals away from their mothers?? We could raise the very low bar much higher and agree that it's unacceptable practice (a) on the farm, (b) in prison even for most criminals, and (c) at our borders.

Obviously there's more going on, but when everybody turns a blind eye to animal cruelty in society, you get cruelty applied to those being vilified at the moment, for they are always spoken of in an animalistic nature.

Rip babies out of illegal immigrant mothers' arms? That is cruel! By all means, we should deport the entire family.

We do, and have been doing that for decades.

Answer me this, Swami.

Why did they not seek asylum in Mexico?

We can do this.

They were careless people, Tom and Daisy...

Outside the faculty bubble and the social work bubble, this idea would be seen for what it is, a reductio ad absurdum.

this is democratic nonsense. maybe less cuddling of criminals and more serious in the letter of the law is in order.

We can start at the top. Har har.

I'd love to throw both of the things you and OP love in jail. Prison blues for Putin and Trump makes me proud as a full-blooded American.

Let's separate children from their Trump voting parents. Seems fair to me.

It's OK. My children vote for Trump.

Let's rent air-conditioned, luxury tour buses. Then re-unite the virtuous criminals with their human shields, er, children.

Then, drive them back to Teguchigalpa or wherever they belong.

Seems like a plan.

Is there any doubt that a significant portion of the Democrat party would support changes to child abuse laws that criminalized certain methods or cultures of upbringing children or teaching children certain customs or values which would disproportionately or entirely target Trump supporters?

I'm sure in that hypothetical world we could rely on NPR to repeat ad nauseum the fact that "there is no law that requires these kids to be separated from their parents!", play audio clips of crying children, and claim the Chelsea Clinton administration is using the kids as leverage against Trump supporters. Yep.

Let's do this for fathers as well as mothers. Two parent families are important. Maybe make release conditional on cohabiting with the mother. A stay-at-home-dad would help the mother get out and find work.

Tyler's basically conceding that the fathers aren't going to stay meaningfully around their kids' lives even if they're out of prison. I.e., that incarceration is not the cause of absentee fathering.

Let's do this for fathers as well as mothers.

What's fascinating about you is that you've developed the illusion that you're perspicacious.

Someone misses Art Deco

I'm a little hit or miss sometimes. I didn't read the news last night before Marginal Revolution, so I was unaware of the blowup about the child separation policies in the mainstream media yesterday.

Per @DLind:

"There is literally an entire suite of 'Alternatives to Detention,' from ankle bracelets to a high-touch case management system Trump ended in 2017, that allows DHS to monitor ppl in deportation proceedings. Release isn't just 'release.'"

Yes, there are alternatives.

And with those alternatives that you vouch for, less than 40% bothered to show up for their FIRST court case.

Ankle bracelet monitoring works when people have an attachment to their community and can be mostly trusted to not cut and run. It does not work when there is a 13 million person population in which they can camoflague themselves.

Just change the damn law to make de facto and de jure the same.

Open the borders. That’s the only logical and humane policy.

I'm afraid that Cowen's scheme would give rise to some fairly serious perverse incentives.

Let's suppose I'm a 15-year-old girl in the projects, contemplating a carreer of crime. My female friends and relatives who've procreated and then been caught breaking the law got sent home with a sheaf of baby-formula vouchers and raising-healthy-children pamphlets. My female friends and relatives who haven't spawned got packed off to jail for the same offenses. It seems to me that I've got a pretty strong incentive to get my eggs fertilized; that baby that I bore at age 16 could mean the difference between probation and prison.

He's impliedly conceding that that's likely to happen anyway.

There's quite a few spanish speaking countries that, while not being quite as enlightened as what you describe, let women keep pre-school kids in jail, as a possible improvement over separating babies from their mothers.

It will never cease to amaze me what kind of suffering and bad outcomes people that claim to favor "family values" seem to be happy with. It's almost as if they thought that criminality was genetic, and criminals were not human.

Criminality is obviously, to some degree, genetic. For that and many other reasons, it might make sense to discourage criminals from having children. At least don't give them get out of jail free cards.

(I wouldn't count non-violent, non-health/safety related offenders as "criminals" for the purposes of this discussion).

[Citation Needed]

Sociopaths are well represented among violent criminals, and these people do in fact lack the basic components that make us "human" (e.g. empathy). Neuroimaging confirms that a sociopath has an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex, arguably the most "human" part of our anatomy. I must admit, I do not see much that is human in a hardened, violent criminal.

Some silly stuff in that column, most of all an uncharacteristic failure to even consider incentives. Starting in the first paragraph, as if African slaves and Native Americans were voluntarily entering American jurisdiction.

Anyone who doubts many, many people's willingness to use their own children as human shields to exploit popular compassion is thinking in very narrow terms.

This is definitely one of Tyler's silliest. He may have jumped the shark.

Expand this to include brothers, sisters, cousins, etc and I believe we are on our way to self-ownership. Next up, re-enfranchisement.

Yes, more dregs of society to vote for the Democrat party. This is clearly a top priority! You must be so proud!

I'm a Democrat. Am I evil too? You must be up worried at night . Boogity boogity boo!

I don't think you're evil but I do think the Democratic Party is motivated to expand the franchise for their own benefit. By the way Evans, how is living in TN? Must be so lonely living amongst gun wielding racists. That's almost as bad living as living in San Francisco and watching people sniff their own buttholes.

Isn't the Republican Party motivated to expand the franchise for their own benefit? Isn't any party?

The US incarcerates at 4 times the rate of Australia.

That means Americans are locked up at about the same rate as indigenous Australians.

That's a bit rough.

I mean, after all, a much higher percentage of our population is descended from convicts so you'd think we'd have a lot more "crime genes". But the United States makes me think cultural factors might be much more important than genetic ones.

So why does your country lock up so many of the darker colored people? Many people talk about racism in the US criminal system. Maybe it's time to talk about Australian racism.

Australians lock up indigenous people at a high rate because we're racist pricks. I thought everyone knew that? Fortunately, we're not as big pricks as we used to be, but we're still not implementing the policies required to get indigenous lifespans up to the Australian average or their unemployment rate down to the Australian average. But if we did that I suppose we'd have less money to spend on locking up boat people.

Fortunately, we're not as big pricks as we used to be, but we're still not implementing the policies required to get indigenous lifespans up to the Australian average or their unemployment rate down to the Australian average.

I am fascinated - what possible policies could Australia implement that would have a snowball-in-hell's chance of raising indigenous life spans to the average? Or their unemployment rate down?

I may be a distant observer but I would have thought the health problems of Australian Aboriginals was due to welfare and a lack of work. Which means they are dying of diabetes and alcohol. It was not racism that forced White Australians to give Black Australians welfare.

And I would think the unemployment rate was due to the Equal Pay laws. If you have to pay a Black and a White the same, it makes sense to pay the one with English and fewer family obligations. Which leads on to the lovely policy of insisting that Aboriginals do not learn English but are poorly taught in an indigenous language spoken by, at most, a few thousand people. Good luck getting a job in Silicon Valley with that. Neither of those laws was forced on Australia by racists.

In fact I would think that indigenous Australians' problems are entirely due to well meaning smug Urban White idiots who keep trying to help them and f**king up big time. What do you think?

Here is a graph of Australian life expectancy:

There's no real dips at all. It flattens in the 70s, but the introduction of old age pensions, the susso, unemployment benefits, national health care and so on don't seem to have reduced life spans. If they have, I can't see it on the graph. Maybe where you are any expansion of welfare results in blood in the streets, but it doesn't seem to happen here.

So that would be no, you cannot name a single policy that would make a lick of difference to Aboriginals? Well here's one - abolish the Equal Pay laws. Aboriginal health outcomes are the product of idleness and alcohol. The solution is paid work.

That is a nice graph. But Aboriginals are a trivial percentage of the Australian population and so you would hard expect to see any changes to the whole of Australia. But if it levels off in the 1970s, that would be when the Discrimination laws were passed.

Are you saying that welfare reduces the lifespan of indigenous Australians but not non-indigenous Australians? If so, that's interesting. What mechanism would you say might be responsible for this result? A genetic reaction to the ink used in dole forms?

It seems to be the case - although it is possible that those levels of welfare lower lifespan of non-Aboriginal Australians too only you don't notice because of the larger number of people involved.

There may be a genetic reason. Primitive hunters and gatherers have no experience of alcohol or complex carbohydrates or boiling water for that matter. They get jobs on farms where they are given flour, sugar, and alcohol. They lose said jobs because of well meaning leftist idiots. So they are no longer nomadic, but they continue to consume said flour and alcohol. What kills indigenous Australians? Diabetes. Heart disease. Alcohol. They have not used their 40,000 years to evolve with a high carb diet or with alcohol. Native Americans suffer many of the same problems.

However we are missing the real point - which is you accused your fellow countrymen of casually supporting what amounts to genocide because they hate Black people. You have been asked about this and you have not suggested one thing they could do to improve Aboriginal welfare. In other words, your argument, such as it is, is merely a Blood Libel.

So you are suggesting indigenous Australians might have a below average life expectancy because they have genetic problems. So like hemophiliacs then? In Australia, we give hemophiliacs treatment that extends their lifespan. It's very costly, but we do it anyway. It seems reasonable to do the same for any genetic problems indigenous Australians may have.

You wrote, "However we are missing the real point - which is you accused your fellow countrymen of casually supporting what amounts to genocide."

Now that hurts. Even if we are only doing it casually, I'd like to think we'd do a better job of it. It's not as if we're strangers to the concept.

You want me to suggest a thing to improve aboriginal welfare? I said increase life expectancy and reduce unemployment. That's two things. If you want another one we could decrease the frequency of magpie attacks as they disproportionately affect indigenous Australians.

Or you want specifics? What I would do if I was Prime Minister Turnbull? A job guarantee. A job, say 20 hours a week, for every indigenous Australian who wants it. That would be nice to have for all Australians, but if we can only do it for some, that seems like a good mob to give it to.

I am suggesting it may be true that they have a problem. But no one seems to know - that sort of genetic research is not popular. So there seems to be nothing anyone can do about it because without knowing which genes are to blame, you can't fix them.

Australians are entirely alien to the concept of genocide. Given there was no genocide in Australia.

You want me to suggest a thing to improve aboriginal welfare? I said increase life expectancy and reduce unemployment. That's two things.

As trolls go, you are not very good. You need to work harder at it.

Or you want specifics? What I would do if I was Prime Minister Turnbull? A job guarantee. A job, say 20 hours a week, for every indigenous Australian who wants it. That would be nice to have for all Australians, but if we can only do it for some, that seems like a good mob to give it to.

Even I know the answer to this one - and it is your country:

So those genocidal government policies have been in place for what? Your entire lifetime?

As is turns out, a quick search shows that they used to have a scheme just for indigenous people too:

We were treating hemophiliacs before we knew what genes were responsible and we still don't treat the genes. We alleviate the symptoms.

Australians are alien to the concept of genocide? I wonder what my father's workmate who had the number tattooed on his arm would have said to that? But I guess genocide would also have to be an alien concept to Europeans.

I don't know what it's like in US English, but in Australia job and dole have different meanings.

Diabete and heart disease are complex lifestyle diseases. Medical treatment can only do so much and only works if there is regular follow-up. Access to care I imagine is a large barrier in isolated indigenous communities, but I don't think these health disparities would go away even with equal access given the complex etiology of these conditions (lifestyle, diet, genetics, poverty, and so on). It's not as simple as treating someone with hemophilia.

They are complex health problems that aren't easily fixed. But my point was actually that in my country if people have problems that are genetic or partially genetic we still help them out. And more broadly that, in my culture, if someone has been dealt a bad hand in life we generally help them out.

So I am curious, how does it feel to be repeatedly corrected on the history and politics of your country by a stranger half way around the world?

Having an outsider give you a new perspective on your own culture is an eye-opening and exhilarating experience. Or at least that's what I've been told.

The colonised (Native American+Afro American) proportion of the US population is about 4 times the proportion in Australia, which might be a clue to cultural factors.

Surrogate parents are better than shitty biological ones.

The inherent assumption in that statement is that, if you have been incarcerated, you are a shitty parent.

I think that this is likely more often than not a valid assumption.

If you are one of the inmates that is likely to be responsible with your freedom once you are released, you are likely to be paroled.

It's not crime genes. People are tribal. if you were raised and live in a homogeneous neighborhood of Catholics or Swedes, you feel a greater responsibility to uphold neighborhood values.

Diversity may be our strength, but as our country has segregated into income- and ethnic-based silos (which has varied based on immigrant levels and economic prospects over time), the commitment to community values has been strained.

We now are seeing particular effects, for several reasons besides immigration. The center is not holding.

Looking at the crime rates for the US the center seems to be holding a lot better than it was 30 years ago.

Okay, fine, but that's a very low bar.

I live near the beach in California, and our "community" now includes hundreds of young, able-bodied, white homeless guys who prefer stealing bikes and smoking meth to getting jobs or moving back to their families' homes. They seem to prefer to regard themselves as victims and those of us with housing as owing them a living.

Meanwhile the local paper speaks of "jobs Americans won't do" and plumps for open borders/seasonal visas. The WSJ reports that the US has more job openings than unemployed people. Most of the jobs are in places where a three-bedroom apartment costs less than a studio in my neighborhood.

Also in California, you almost have to work at it to get charged with a crime. The prisons were too full, and it now takes several felonies to get prosecutors' attention. If it's nonviolent crime, more than several over years.

The whole picture suggests a general decline of community values. I don't want a lot of people in prison either, but the situation is odd.

The argument seems valid. Take California, for example. The politicians plan to offer free medical care to all residents, illegal and legal. But the 50,000 people living on the streets have a life span of 48 years, and live a few miles from the medical center. They will still die young.

1. Why mothers only... why not fathers...
2. prison isn't just to reduce crime, its also to punish illegal behavior.
3. Would should woman who committed burglary get house arrest but the man who was her partner get jail?
4. I entirely support liberalizing visitation with families for all inmates. I also believe inmates should be help closer to their support network.
5. I'm also for reducing the penalties for all non-violent crimes.
6. This whole separating kids/parents thing is nothing but emotional blackmail.

Fact remains that any parent and child who shows up to a border crossing and applies for asylum via official process, will not be separated.

Only adults and children's who consciously try and sneak across the bored (illegally) are being separated.

Not to mention, the smuggling journey for these children is much more dramatic than the necessary treatment of them by ICE.

Its either open borders or not open borders. If you are a refugee, go to a border crossing and turn yourself in.

If only Tyler's modest proposal was in place when 7 non-violent criminals were busted in Houston after a streak of ATM heists, the children in the quote below would not have to get separated from their wonderful parents:

"Two other couples were also arrested for sitting in what police described as 'look-out cars' with their children inside the vehicle."

We already reward people who can't support themselves to have children. Why not throw in another perverse incentive to this group of people? What can go wrong?

In the end, I think Tyler's article is not what it seems on the surface. He's pro-Trump on separating children at the border, and this article is his was of simultaneously virtue signaling that he cares about families, and exposing the hypocrisy of people getting worked up about border separations by pointing out that we do this to our own residents and citizens who commit non-violent crimes.

I do encourage you to click through the link and see the types of people Tyler's proposal would reward for reproducing. Tyler knows this. We know this. This article can not possibly be serious.

Fortunately, we live in a reality where not all things are considered in black and white terms.

For example, it would be possible to recommend this for non-violent crimes in general, without mandating that 100% of non-violent offenses be dealt with that way.

Best prison reform proposal I've heard.

There’s no easy solution to this particular problem.

But isn’t the greater problem, which underlies most social pathologies today, the number of kids being born to parents who lack the will, desire or ability to care for them.

Telling a young woman that a child will be - in effect - a get-out-of-jail-free card, simply adds yet another incentive to single motherhood.

It costs Calfornians $75k/year to lock up its inmates. Incarceration is getting too expensive, mostly because housing/real estate and health care costs are insane. Prisoners get this for free, the middle class to get both. At this rate, California should just send prisoners to Stanford/Harvard or buy them a house in a cheap part of the country or heck give them outright cash $25k and save taxpayers some money. This isn't limited to the golden state, other states are seeing their prison costs going up and up. Crime doesn't pay but prisons cost a lot of money

“If California wants to save, it could do so by letting Central American countries offer prison services for some of its prisoners. Companies could build and operate prisons and would have to apply ISO 9000-type quality certifications. This would probably generate a set of global good prison practices that would benefit everyone.”

jesus christ... the state of america...

It is extremely useful for the society that proposals like that one here by Tyler Cowen are made. They open up new thinking spaces that are always much needed.

Why should we only monitor violent crime? Why is there this assumption among people who want to let everyone out of prison that nonviolent crime is in terrible too?

Burglary is non-violent and it makes people feel unsafe in the very place they should feel safest for decades after it happens.

Selling heroin is non-violent and it kills more people then all violent crime by a factor of four.

"Why is there this assumption among people who want to let everyone out of prison that nonviolent crime is in terrible too?"

Because they are, by and large, not the victims of nonviolent crimes. This is yet another place where the poor will suffer so that the not poor can feel virtuous.

My wife and I were temporary foster parents for the state around 8-9 years ago. At one point we had 4 girls that were handed to us on an emergency transfer on a Friday night. A report had come in that the parents were smoking marijuana. A state CPS worker showed up, confirmed the report and immediately removed the girls.

I'm not sure the parents (two couples) spent a night in jail. But the girls were in foster custody for a year. This is not new.

What an astoundingly stupid post. Why not:"Let's take a random 10% of those women and put them in charge of day care centers"? Hey, TC, let's start with the sex offenders! For the most part, people in jail are on the margins of being able to cope in our society. The vast majority have serious alcohol, serious drug or serious emotional problems. Many have low IQ`s. On the other hand, I'm not sure what TC is arguing. I assume he is claiming it would be "better" in some way. Better for whom? The criminal? The child/children? The family? The community? The economy? Let's start with the assumption that any such change in our criminal justice system must have (statistically) clear benefits to the child. Where's the evidence for that? (Somehow, random trial seem problematical: how many women who are pedophiles or violent abusers of (or incapable of caring for, or uninterested in caring for) children should we give parental custody to?) I haven't researched it, but afaik no Nobel Prizes (in STEM) have been awarded to convicted felons. (Yeah, peace prizes.) I'd really be interested in determining whether or not (I'd guess not) ex-cons have contributed more, less, or the same to society as people who have never been indicted. My modest proposal: Any felony conviction, after exhausting appeals, removes all parental rights. Its another way to solve the mothers in prison problem; make them non-mothers by definition. I went to a private high school, lived in a dorm. It wasn't too bad, BUT the opportunities for bullying in ANY dorm situation is enormous. The recent bruh-ha-ha about "separating families" is just a emotional ploy by the open borders crowd. I don't think they'd be OK (I hope!) of allowing children to live in adult prisons. We know what happens in adult prisons, right? In ANY prison, right? So, lets suggest that it is possible for "families" to stay together in prison. There seems to be a significant number of Americans who buy that idea.
I blame it on our failing educational system. We are failing to teach more and more of our children the critical thinking skills WE need them to have for a stable beneficial democracy. Hey! Let's change our voting system, and assign each person a weight based on their Myers-Briggs T-F type (with high-T types having a voting weight of 4, and high-F types having a weight of 1). If we're just wanting to come up with ways to "improve" our society, I'd bet it would be far more effective than his silly idea.

Of course, Tyler is completely on board with family courts that separate children from their fathers by the millions on no real evidence but testimony from an ex that wants cash and prizes as a reward for breaking her vows.

Kind of related

Peter Bagge's cartoon about his experience in a woman's prison.

And the response to a failing society that can't employ marginal people is, ,to all the good liberals, millions more people who are set up to fail and have no safety net in a culture that has destroyed its institutions becuase of too much immigration and capitalism.

This just underscores that the US ruling class lacks the intelligence and competence to run simple government programs. If only we could just pay a country like Japan to run their immigration and prison systems here in the US for our population. Much cheaper and a million times more competent.

Tyler asks to free mothers from prison while stating in the very same article that there are almost TEN TIMES as many fathers in jail.

Yeah, tell us how you're no misandrist like the last 5 times you posted radfem positions like this one.

Given that the USA has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, we should all join those athletes in refusing to stand up for the national anthem or the pledge of allegiance.

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