Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Why Are Our Prisons Overcrowded?

Why are our prisons overcrowded?

a. Too many criminals
b. Too many laws
c. Not enough prisons

If you answered "b", you are CORRECT, sir!

Lots of background and graphics.


Anonymous said...

My fiance raised what I think to be an interesting point/question: What would happen to career criminals if our drugs/vice laws were liberated? Would they all straighten up and fly right (i.e. get jobs at Mickey Dees)? Or would they find new criminal activities?

Anonymous said...

You forgot d. Not enough swift capital punishment.

Dirty Davey said...

How do you distinguish between "too many laws" and the WRONG laws? The US clearly has a higher incarceration rate than the western European democracies. Does it also have more laws and regulations?

Or are the levels of law/regulation similar, but with different enforcement/punishment mechanisms crowding the prisons?

To conclude (b), international comparisons would have to show a connection between "number of laws" and incarceration rates (where "number" is measured by whatever means you use to define "too many").

Anonymous said...

The graphic you linked to says "80% of the increase comes from changes in sentencing policy that made punishments more harsh." So, how is "too many laws" relevant?

There may be 4,500 criminal offenses in the US Code--only relevant for federal prisons--but I'd be willing to bet that fewer than 100 of those account for 95% of federal prisoners.

Anonymous said...

Lots of graphs, but I fail to see how they prove a point. Piling up numbers is only piling up numbers. Pseudo-logic.