US incarceration rate
Another article on the subject.
Yeah, it seems like a safe bet that we've got too many people in jail, and probably a ridiculous number of them are in there for marijuana and the like.
But I'm continually amazed by people who quote official statistics from places like the PRC as if they were unquestionably true. I recently saw somebody quoting Cuba's official incarceration figure as if it were gospel. After the Cold War, we found that eastern bloc statistics of all kinds -- absolute gospel to the left, for decades -- weren't merely fudged a bit; they were outright fantasy.
I've never had a very high opinion of Lew Rockwell, and it hasn't improved. Usually, though, you figure you can at least rely on libertarians not to trust dictatorships quite so blindly. I mean, given that libertarians are supposed to have the (laudable) habit of distrusting governments, what it is it about the rulers of the PRC that strikes Rockwell as uniquely trustworthy?
Not to belabor the obvious, but the PRC as a whole bears a pretty close resemblance to a US prison, doesn't it?
Posted by: Launching Midgets with a Rail Gun at December 12, 2006 12:13 PM
From my law school experience and practice, I can safely say that our justice system needs repair. However, Mr. Rockwell ignores the fact that it is as much (if not more so) the lack of punishment early in a juvenile career that tends to lead to incarceration. For example, I had two criminal law professors in school of the liberal stripe. Both said in their experience that over 90% of the defendants were guilty of their accused crime (one said 90%, the other, a federal public defender, said IIRC 95%). The individuals that were guilty had a rap sheet (or sheet) and the innocent tended not to. It is my belief that if we punish somewhat harshly early, we solve problems later. (BTW, the other professor was Irene Rosenberg, who I have a lot of respect for even if I disagree with her on many issues.)
Posted by: Josh at December 13, 2006 09:03 AM
The other things to keep in mind, marijuana is usually not a long term prison sentence...more like county jails unless you're holding a carload. There are a lot of violent offenders from crystal meth who wind up with aggravated assault or theft charges...but I suppose some of you folks want to legalize that as well. there are a lot of gang bangers behind bars for violent crime as well, and I don't think it's going to far to say that a good part of the reason for the bulge in US prison population, and in particular the larger share of blac on black violent criminals is the Great Society social experiment that made the black father superfluous...no stable black male role model in a large number of families kindled the fires that led to the current gangsta culture that Bill Cosby and a few other brave black leaders are criticizing. Can I prove causation? no...it's correlation, but it's very strong correlation.
Posted by: Doug In Colorado at December 14, 2006 02:59 PM