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May 11, 2006

US leads the world ... in locking people up

A helpful reader has pointed me to posts at Opinio Juris and Andrew Sullivan's blog noting a recent publication on global incarceration rates from the International Centre for Prison Studies at King's College in London. The publication, which is the sixth edition of the World Prison Population List, can be accessed at this link.  Here are some key findings:

  • The United States has the highest prison population rate in the world, some 714 per 100,000 of the national population, followed by Belarus, Bermuda and Russia (all 532), Palau (523), U.S. Virgin Islands (490), Turkmenistan (489), Cuba (487), Suriname (437), Cayman Islands (429), Belize (420), Ukraine (417), Maldive Islands (416), St Kitts and Nevis (415), South Africa (413) and Bahamas (410).
  • However, almost three fifths of countries (58%) have rates below 150 per 100,000.
  • Prison population rates vary considerably between different regions of the world, and between different parts of the same continent.

Andrew Sullivan comments that the report shows that "the land of the free is also the land of the unfree," and Peggy McGuiness says it is "certainly clear that our culture tolerates having a much larger portion of our population imprisoned than any other democracy."  In the same vein, I will add that these numbers inform my own work; I always find it difficult to reconcile our country's supposed commitment to freedom and liberty with our extraordinary rates of incarceration and harsh sentencing policies.

May 11, 2006 at 07:56 AM | Permalink

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Comments

It is true and certain that freedom and liberty are fundamental precepts of our democratic culture in America, but these precepts have never existed in a vacuum. Pointing to the level of incarceration in this country as a critique of our commitment to freedom and liberty avoids the real question -- is this level of incarceration what justice requires? Justice, after all, must incorporate accountability for offenders and safety for victims and the community.

We can have reasonable discussions about whether or not sentences in certain classes of crimes (i.e., drug crimes) adequately reflect our values as a society, and this blog has always done an excellent job of questioning the propriety of certain sentencing philosophies. But any examination of how America honors freedom and liberty must consider not only the freedom and liberty which criminals have forfeited by committing crimes but also the freedom and liberty which our community of potential future crime victims has gained by the incarceration of said criminals. This view may not be popular among some academics and defense attorneys (and will surely be savaged by subsequent commenters here!), but it seems to me just and proper.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 11, 2006 11:03:11 AM

Dear Anonymous,

You might look at the material I pasted from some recent works by David Garland, Antony Duff, Franklin Zimring, Gordon Hawkins and Brian Barry at the Opinio Juris link above for the question of how justice and freedom relate to our comparatively and unconscionably high incarceration rate. I've also put together a list of books and articles on 'criminal law, punishment & prisons' that are helpful in addressing this topic that I'd be happy to pass along if you wish.

Posted by: Patrick S. O'Donnell | May 11, 2006 11:45:50 AM

You make a reasonable point, Anonymous, though is there any evidence that long sentences in non-violent drug cases has enhanced "the freedom and liberty [of] our community of potential future crime victims"? I agree that crime victim concerns need to be large part of the freedomn calculus, but I rarly see a serious effort reflect on freedom and liberty when politicians espouse tough on crime rhetoric.

My main point is that, if we were truly as committed to freedom and liberty as some like to claim, we would have a whole lot more public debate about these issues and perhaps more push-back on the massive increases in incarceration in recent decades.

Posted by: Doug B. | May 11, 2006 11:48:30 AM

I see a complete disconnection between high incarceration rates and the level of freedom in society -- at least, as an American, as I understand freedom.

In a lawless world, there is no incarceration and little freedom, at least as I understand it. (Violence and death leave little room for true freedom.)

In a free society that is self-governed under the Rule of Law, we are all able to break the law as we choose. And in such a society, we are also all (as a group acting through our self-governed state) free to lock up criminals who are caught and convicted. Higher incarceration rates may simply reflect a greater number of criminals who feel free to break the law AND a society that has enough self-confidence to feel free to incarcerate criminals.

Obviously, in a rigid society that uses social constraints (ridicule, ostracism) to keep behavior "in line," people don't feel free enough to break the law. Or in a society that has lost its self-confidence to enforce its own laws, society does not feel free to incarcerate criminals. Although lawless (think Sudan), and conformist (think Japan), and insecure (think France) societies may have lower incarceration rates, I'll take the American form of freedom any day. It's called "Ordered Liberty."

Obviously, I wish that all Americans could feel free enough to violate any laws that they wanted and, at the same time, that each of us would freely choose to obey the law. We then would never have to exercise our collective freedom to incarcerate criminals. Alas, many of my fellow citizens (and clients) choose to freely break the law. Our incarceration rate is the result of those decisions, as well as the material wealth and self-confidence that allows us to prosecute and imprison criminals. Although it may indicate a lot of things, our incarceration rate is not a reasonable indicator of lack of liberty.

Mark

Posted by: Mark | May 11, 2006 1:11:50 PM

Mark stated that: Obviously, in a rigid society that uses social constraints (ridicule, ostracism) to keep behavior "in line," people don't feel free enough to break the law.

If this statement were true, Russia under Stalin would have had a very low level of incarceration... just a bit of history...

Posted by: anonymous | May 11, 2006 2:02:49 PM

‘Criminal conduct is no lower class monopoly, but is distributed throughout the social spectrum. Indeed, whilst “street crimes” and burglary attract the most attention, the less visible crimes of the powerful may be argued to produce significantly greater social harm, in terms of both monetary loss and of physical injury and death. But the same is not true of the distribution of punishment, which falls, overwhelmingly and systematically, on the poor and the disadvantaged. Discriminatory decision-making throughout the whole criminal justice system ensures that the socially advantaged are routinely filtered out: they are given the benefit of the doubt, or are defined as good risks, or simply have access to the best legal advice. Serious, deep-end punishments such as imprisonment are predominantly reserved for the unemployed, the poor, the homeless, the mentally ill, the addicted, and those who lack social support and personal assets. Increasingly, this class bias has taken on a racial complexion, as disadvantaged minority groups come to be massively over-represented in the prison population and on death row.’
--Antony Duff and David Garland

'[C]rime crackdowns have their most dramatic impact on less serious offenses that are close to the margin between incarceration and more lenient penal sanctions. The pattern of nonviolent offenses absorbing the overwhelming majority of resources in crime crackdowns can be clearly demonstrated in the recent history of criminal justice policy in the United States. During the decade 1980-1990, for example, the state of California experienced what might be described as the mother of all crime crackdowns. In ten years, the number of persons imprisoned in California quadrupled, and the population of those incarcerated in the state’s prisons and jails increased by over 100,000.’
--Franklin E. Zimring and Gordon Hawkins

'The prison is used today as a kind of reservation, a quarantine zone in which purportedly dangerous individuals are segregated in the name of public safety. In the USA, the system that is taking form resembles nothing so much as the Soviet gulag—a string of work camps and prisons strung across a vast country, housing two million people most of whom are drawn from classes and racial groups that have become politically and economically problematic. The prison-community border is heavily patrolled and carefully monitored to prevent risks leaking out from one to the other. Those offenders who are released “into the community” are subject to much tighter control than previously, and frequently find themselves returned to custody for failure to comply with the conditions that continue to restrict their freedom. For many of these parolees and ex-convicts, the “community” into which they are released is actually a closely monitored terrain, a supervised space, lacking much of the liberty one associates with “normal life.” This transformation of the prison-community relationship is closely related to the transformation of work. The disappearance of entry-level jobs for young “underclass” males, together with the depleted social capital of impoverished families and crime-prone neighbourhoods, has meant that the prison and parole now lack the social supports upon which their rehabilitative efforts had previously relied. Work, social welfare, and family support used to be the means whereby ex-prisoners were reintegrated into mainstream society. With the decline of these resources, imprisonment has become a longer-term assignment from which individuals have little prospect of returning to an unsupervised freedom.’
--David Garland

‘In the whole country, 75 per cent of drug users are estimated to be white and around 15 per cent black, yet blacks account for “35 per cent of all drug arrests, 55 per cent of all drug convictions, and 74 percent of all the sentences for drug arrests.” [….] The discrepancy between outcomes for blacks and whites can be further explained by the way in which “jury commissioners and lawyers have long engaged in discriminatory practices that result in disproportionately white juries.” If all else fails, the venue can be changed, as in the example of a particularly brutal assault on a black prisoner by white policemen: on the ground that everybody in New York City would be “biased,” the case was moved to upstate New York. The point is that, even if white jurors are not guilty of crude racial prejudice, their experience of the police is likely to have been far more benign than that of blacks, so they are strongly inclined to believe them. [….] The net result of the discrepancies between the treatment of black and white adults is that blacks are three times more likely than whites to be imprisoned if arrested and get on the average a six-month longer sentence for the same offence. [….] Since blacks are convicted of more felonies than whites (for all the reasons we have seen), they are by far the most affected by “three strikes” laws. Thus “in California…blacks make up 7 per cent of the general population, yet as of 1996 they accounted for 43 per cent of the third-strike defendants sent to prison. The consequence of the cumulative disadvantages suffered by blacks is an astonishing rate of incarceration: it is “higher than the total incarceration rate in the Soviet Union at the zenith of the Gulag and in South Africa at the height of the anti-apartheid struggle.” “On any given day upwards of one third of African-American men in their twenties find themselves behind bars, on probation or on parole. And at the core of the formerly industrial cities of the North, this proportion often exceeds two thirds.” “One [black] male out of every twenty-one [is in prison] and one of nine between [the ages of] twenty and thirty-four.” The proportion went on rising since this was written in 2002, and a year later stood at 12 per cent for this age group, compared to 1.6 for white men. Ominously for the future of black communities, “one of every fourteen black children [had] a parent who [was] behind bars” even several years ago, so the proportion might be higher now. [….] The process of cumulative disadvantage rolls on after release from prison. So far from getting a helping hand, ex-prisoners are given a vicious boot to keep them down. “Without a college degree, former prisoners have little chance of earning more than a minimum wage. Even low-skilled jobs are difficult to obtain for anybody with a felony record.” Discrimination is easy and perfectly legal: in many states, the prison administrations have “put their entire databases on-line, thus making it possible for employers and landlords to discriminate against ex-convicts with full legal impunity.” Convicts may be specifically prohibited by federal laws from getting any list of jobs such as plumbing or barbering. They are also prohibited by federal law from living in public housing, even visiting friends and relatives who live in public housing. [….] Finally, having survived jail and parole, ex-prisoners in fourteen states are denied one of the basic rights of citizenship—the right to vote—for the rest of their lives. In this, the USA is “far out of line with international norms: no other democratic nation bars ex-offenders from voting for life.” The impact of this on blacks is, of course, grossly disproportionate to their numbers: “[F]elony disenfranchisement among black males is seven times the national average, and in Alabama and Florida, 31 per cent of black men are permanently disenfranchised.”’
--Brian Barry

‘[T]hree-quarters of the spectacular growth in the prison population can be attributed to the “war on drugs,” which is a complete failure on its own terms: it has been estimated that the availability and purity of cocaine and other drugs are greater than before it started. At the same time, “the rate of murder, robbery, assault, and other types of violation has declined in the last decade.” Yet in that same period, “there has been a marked increase in accounting and corporate infractions, fraud in health care, government procurement and bankruptcy, identity theft, illegal corporate espionage and intellectual piracy.” One really good corporate fraud can net the lifetime proceeds of many thousands of those who are currently serving long jail sentences for theft. [….] The ethos, the prosecutors and the judges today are much more like those of the 1920s: sympathetic to business and contemptuous of blacks. Financial malfeasance on a massive scale is, of course, the preserve of those in relatively privileged positions—some, like company directors, already immensely rich, but greedy enough to manipulate the prices of their stock so as to maximize their share options. If there were ever a group of people of whom it could be said that they chose to commit crimes voluntarily—free of financial necessity, well educated and full aware of the nature of their acts—it would be the perpetrators of these swindles. But they either get off scot-free or are given punishments that are extraordinarily light (often no more than paying back their ill-gotten gains), in relation to the scale of their misdeeds and the number of lives ruined by their actions: those, for example, whose life savings have been lost, like the employees of Enron whose occupational pensions simply disappeared. As the founder of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners said: “The message is clear in the mind of the better-educated public that, if you want to commit a crime, fraud is the way to go…. The take is better, and the punishment is generally less.”’
--Brian Barry

Thanks Mark. I can rest easy now knowing I need not worry about any of the messy facts above, for this nation's incarceration rate simply and solely reflects the results of those who have freely chosen to break the law...in comfortable and fortuitous combination with 'the material wealth and self-confidence that allows us to prosecute and imprison criminals.'

Posted by: Patrick S. O'Donnell | May 11, 2006 4:25:56 PM

"anonymous" seems to confuse Stalinism with a system of social constraints. This is bad history all around. Russian history, including its Stalinist chapter, is not known for its conformist strictures. (Cultural Revolution, by its very nature, is intended to DESTROY historical social-constraint mechanisms. Lenin and Stalin are good examples ("New Soviet Man"), and Mao and Pol Pot work nicely too.)

Totalitarianism is anything but a system of ostracism and ridicule. It is total STATE control over the lives of every -- with the gulag or a bullet to the back of the head (not ridicule or ostracism) as primary agents of conformity.

I guess I should have added totalitarian and other illegitimate, authoritarian societies to my list of "not free" societies. I really thought that this was not necessary, but anonymous proved me wrong. So, to the list of anarchic, conformist, and insecure "not free" states, please feel free (no pun intended) to add totalitarian and authoritarian states.

Mark

Posted by: Mark | May 11, 2006 5:23:29 PM

Readers might be interested in the following event being held later this month at UC Santa Barbara related to some of the discussion above:

UCSB’S NEW RACIAL STUDIES PROJECT
RACE, CRIME, & CITIZENSHIP SYMPOSIUM

During this symposium, we will consider the contemporary criminal "justice" crisis as a racial phenomenon. Our goal is to reassert the importance of democracy, equality, and human rights in the organization and operation of the system. To that end, this symposium brings together scholars, students, activists, and grass-roots organizers, including formerly incarcerated persons, whose work helps us to better understand the macro-and micro-dimensions of the crisis and how best to challenge and change the contradictory nature of the American criminal "justice" system.

THURSDAY, MAY 18

9:30-10:00 Continental Breakfast and Welcome Reception (MCC Lounge)

10:00-11:30 Panel I-Understanding “the Crisis”: Race, Justice Processes, and Democracy in the 21st Century (MCC Theater)

Panelists:

Elliott Currie, Department of Criminology, Law, and Society at the UC Irvine.
Alexes Harris, Assistant Professor of Sociology, University of Washington
Barry Krisberg, President, National Council on Crime and Delinquency
Geoffrey Ward, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice, Northeastern University

11:30-12:30 Lunch

12:30 -2:00 Panel II-Pathways to Freedom: Reclaiming Self, Community, and Citizenship Post-Incarceration (MCC Theater)

Panelists:

Glenn Martin, Co-Director, National H.I.R.E. Network, Legal Action Center
Vivian Nixon, Founder, Re-Enter Grace Ministries and the College and Community Fellowship
Tony Coleman, All of Us Or None
Discussant: Nikki Jones, Assistant Professor of Sociology, UC Santa Barbara

2:30-4:00 Panel III–Sustainable Activism and Alliances for Change (MCC Theater)

Panelists:

Patrisse Cullors and Mark-Anthony Johnson, Labor/Community Strategy Center and the Bus Riders Union
Sarah Haley, Dump Farallon Campaign, Yale University
Gaye Johnson, Department of Black Studies, UC Santa Barbara
Ralph Ambruster-Sandoval, Department of Chican@ Studies, UC Santa Barbara
Moderator: Kaia Stern, Department of Black Studies, UC Santa Barbara and the Graduate Division of Religion, Emory University

5:00 Keynote Address: Kimberle' Williams Crenshaw, Professor of Law, UCLA Law School and Columbia Law School, "On Gendered Violence and Racialized Prisons: An Intersectional Tale of Two Movements"

Introduction: Melvin Oliver, Professor of Sociology, UC Santa Barbara; Dean, Social Sciences Division, College of Letters and Sciences, UC Santa Barbara

FRIDAY, MAY 19

10:00-11:30 Research Roundtable (MCC Lounge)

11:45-1:30 New Racial Studies “Brown Bag” Session: Beyond “the Crisis”? Race, Justice, and Citizenship in the 21st Century (MCC Lounge)

Co-Moderators: Nikki Jones and Howard Winant

Note: Lunch will be provided for symposium panelists. We encourage others who are interested in attending to bring their lunch to this session

FOR MORE INFORMATION, SEE THE NRSP WEBSITE: www.newracialstudies.ucsb.edu

As I'm always learning of events back east that, unfortunately, I can't attend, I thought it only fair I let readers know of this! I'm hoping to at least attend Professor Crenshaw's talk on 'Race, Crime, and Citizenship' Thursday evening.

Posted by: Patrick S. O'Donnell | May 11, 2006 6:14:56 PM

I didn't even notice that Patrick O'Donnell's long post was a response to my argument. I missed it because P.O.'s post wasn't an argument at all; it was just a long series of factual analyses made by others. Personally, I'd like to see P.O. make an ARGUMENT from his facts. To wit, "These facts show that the U.S. incarceration rate is an indicator of a lack of liberty. And the liberty of society to define and punish crimes should not count as 'liberty.' [Explain.]"

P.O.'s final post indicates that he's in academia. I hope that the academy has not stopped expecting its members to actually advance arguments, rather than simply having participants spout off some facts and then assume that "everyone" knows the arguments that follow.

And maybe someone can fill me in: Is P.O.'s snide ad hominem attack thrown in to finish off his "argument" de rigeur in the academy these days? I certainly hope not, but maybe others can fill me in. I'm just a humble, naive practicing attorney.

Mark

Posted by: Mark | May 12, 2006 11:31:52 AM

[By the way, this is the first Anonymous in this thread, not the second one. From now on, I'll use the pseudonym AnonymousCR to atempt to avoid confusion.]

Patrick, I appreciate your posting those bits above. In fairness, though, with the notable exception of Brian Barry's longish section about drug crimes, most of those excerpts were long on rhetoric and short on specifics. Let me try some rhetoric of my own.

Sadly, and damnably, it is axiomatic in today's America that prison populations are racially disproportionate. All responsible citizens have a duty to examine this system to attempt to understand why this shameful disparity exists and to try to ameliorate it as best we can with the abilities we possess. This is especially true for attorneys and even more true for prosecutors. But to point out what may be obvious to others, the presence of racial disparity in a system does not establish the presence of racial animus in a system, despite the best-written of the excerpts above.

Now, to pull the curtain of anonymity aside a bit: I am a criminal prosecutor in a southern state in America. So obviously I view these issues from a particular perspective and I recognize that fact. But if I can add this important note to this discussion, I hope that it is this -- I have NEVER heard a prosecutor or a law enforcement officer say that we need to select a jury that is predominately white. NEVER. I have never heard or seen anything that would even hint at that. This doesn't mean that the system of jury service in this country doesn't call whites for jury pools at a higher rate than it does people of color, since I suspect that it does. But the explicit discrimination described in the Duff and Garland piece above is simply not a part of my experience as a prosecutor. I cannot tell you that it does not happen (because, sadly, my omniscience does not extend beyond the boundaries of my perception), but I can assure you that any prosecutor who suggested such a thing would lose his or her job in any district I have worked in, and any law enforcement officer who hinted at such a thing would be shunned by other officers and prosecutors alike (and their future cases would be handled with a high degree of skepticism).

All of that is designed to preface the following. It seems right and just to me to point out the severe racial disparities which result from the application of our criminal justice system. If I am uncomfortable with the comparison made above that likens the system of incarceration and post-release supervision to a Soviet gulag, it is just and right that I feel such discomfort (at the very least) because that comparison (though perhaps overly dramatic) is quite apt. As I said above, we must all look at the results our system of justice has wrought and examine the root causes of such a debacle.

However, the point I made in my original post still stands -- any discussion about the extent to which our society values freedom and liberty cannot be informed solely by outrage over the high levels of incarceration in this country. That outrage may be justified, and it may be righteous, but there is more to freedom and liberty in America than that which is lost by those who commit crimes.

Now, to address the disparity in treatment between "white collar crime" (what a horrible name) and drug crime. Nothing posted above about the disparate treatment of these two types of offenses can be denied, nor should it. But some common sense is in order here. Think for a moment about how relatively straightforward it is to investigate and prosecute the overwhelming majority of drug crimes. For a possession crime, you usually need one police officer and a lab test. You might need to being in the analyst who tested the drugs, or you might not. For a more serious distribution or trafficking offense, you might require a few additional witnesses, and the defense might require more in the way of substantiating the lab work. But generally, these cases are easy to try in front of a jury and easy to win.

White collar crime, though, is a whole different ball of wax. These crimes are incredibly complicated and can be ruined easily at the very beginning of the investigation by sloppy forensics. Everyday prosecutors are surprisingly unused to subpoena practice, and the subpoena is one of the primary tools used to carry out these prosecutions. Even if the investigation leads to an indictable offense, have you ever tried to explain one of these cases to a jury? They are ridiculously difficult to try as a prosecutor, and even a little confusion on the part of the jury leads right in to the best defense argument possible -- the defendant just got confused and made a big mistake. These cases take weeks to try, require experts in forensic accounting that most prosecutors themselves don't really understand, and often result in acquittals.

Now add to this the fact that, like it or not, those convicted of drug crimes are much more likely to have a criminal record that will lead to enhanced sentencing, while your typical white collar criminal is likely to have no criminal record at all. I suspect that this contributes quite a bit to the sentencing disparities described above.

Oh, and did Brian Barry tell too much truth above? He states that drug crimes have been responsible for 75% of the recent growth in prison populations, and then he says that rates of violent crime have declined during the same period. I know that confusing causation with correlation is a common mistake in this area, but I just wanted to point this out. :)

--cr

Posted by: AnonymousCR | May 12, 2006 12:31:29 PM

Dear Mark,

It's true, I didn't make an argument. I've been (like everyone else) very busy, in my case grading papers, etc., and thus it was easier for me to post that stuff and let folks draw their own conclusions. I'm not an expert in this area, but found the posted material helped me place the incarceration rate figures in a 'bigger picture' that made sense, unlike your resort to abstract libertarian platitudes that I could not reconcile with the 'facts on the ground' (much like arguments in neo-classical economics the last thirty years or so...one more reason to lament the passing of John Kenneth Galbraith). Ad hominem arguments (e.g., when an attorney attempts to impugn the character of a witness...) are not even prima facie fallacious (that's why they fall under the heading of 'informal' logic), although for pragmatic reasons we might make that presumption (see David Walton's work on this), and thus in this instance, I think mine was perfectly appropriate: after all, I was only quoting from you, why so defensive? Nonetheless, I did not intend it to be 'snide,' and I'm sorry you understood it as such.

I'm only a part-time 'academic' at best (in fact, I teach one course at a community college), having entered the academic world in my 40s after a career as a finish carpenter. So, I'm only tenuously 'academic' (my other part-time job involves 'landscape maintenance'), although I have published a few things and have other items coming out anon. In other words, your question above suggests a willingness to draw a generalization from my 'snide ad hominem attack,' yet even armed with a few affirmative responses from other bloggers, this would still amount to a rather rash or hasty generalization of the sort you don't want to make, given your obvious concern with proper argument. That is to say, one can hardly infer anything about what may or may not be de rigeur in the academy given my lowly and fragile status therein. And I have nothing to match your background in the law (an implied appeal to authority here?), so please don't get too bent out of shape over my comments. Sometimes facts serve to puncture the resort to apologetic and formulaic airy abstractions in which the admittedly important principles and values they assume or invoke are trivialized or distorted (indeed, over time, it contributes to deep scepticism if not cynicism about such principles) owing to their lack of clear connection with reality, with the facts outlined, for example, in the instant case.

All good wishes,
Patrick

Posted by: Patrick S. O'Donnell | May 12, 2006 1:43:45 PM

Dear cr:

Thanks for your very informative response to the material I pasted. I'll certainly give what you have to say here much thought. Incidentally, Barry's point was simply that the people being locked up were not the folks committing violent crime, which had been decreasing, and thus you're right to hesitate about inferring any causal connection between the two figures (although I'll admit to having had all-too-uncomortable experiences with individuals who take illegal drugs, and also commit crimes like burglary, assault, etc.). Again, I'm most appreciative of your thoughtful reply to the remarks (original sources available upon request) I pasted.

Best wishes,
Patrick

Posted by: Patrick S. O'Donnell | May 12, 2006 2:29:37 PM

Prof. O'Donnell,

Thanks for the explanation. It's good to find out a little more about you. To the extent that I saw snideness where none existed, I apologize. I guess it's one of the weaknesses of web communication.

I am interested, when you get the time, in seeing your fleshed-out argument. I don't dispute your facts, and I appreciate hearing them. I just want to see you develop an argument from them. Maybe they aren't directed toward the connection (if any) between incarceration rates and liberty. Maybe they're connected to race and society, or race and the criminal-justice system, without a connection to the "freedom" that exists in our society. Whatever your take on these subjects, I'd appreciate hearing it.

As for your career, I have nothing but best wishes for you. You obviously are interested, knowledgeable, and hard-working. Your students are fortunate, and I look forward to your first book. It will be one more than I'll ever write.

Mark

Posted by: Mark | May 12, 2006 3:27:40 PM

Mark,

I appreciate the gracious remarks.

Who knows? When I used to unload the tools from from my truck every evening (a necessity owing to the likelihood that they would not be there in the morning if I failed to do so!) I never envisioned publishing encyclopedia entries on Islamic philosophers, writing about critical thinking pedagogy, investigating the doctrine of stare decisis, or sending out book proposals (as you might guess, it's the 'jack-of-all-trades' syndrome, but I'm more interested in the politics and ethics of intellectual responsibility than professional standing and status): nothing could have been further from my mind! So...one day you may indeed write that book!

All the best,
Patrick

Posted by: Patrick S. O'Donnell | May 12, 2006 7:50:58 PM

Attorney's for the plaintiffs please; these times of three strikes and harsh sentencing is indeed by all standards of the Geneva Conventions cruel and unusual punishment hereso.

In its own opinion torture is when you are prone to prison rape, sleep deprivation, having to act as though you are a murderer and like murderers if you are a non-violent offender within the prison or jail gates and due largely in part to our law makers being homosexuals and murderers. f

For example Bill Lockyer and Bill Jones both 3 strikes authors, both I can state why told they before fleeing murderer felons, they want to torture every non-violent 3 striker and in furtherance's, spread diseases and homosexuality God damn they and all the State Attorney Generals on their sided now.

The home of the free is a haven for Congress, Senate, all the Supreme Court Judges to dance on the victims since these a fore specified are themselves enzyme sepulchers, enzyme meaning: copulate wrongfully and sepulcher meaning: murdered a person or child; right Suter?

I advise the Swiss Convention on Torture and inhumane treatment to cite the U S and U N Commission for letting the criminal leaders of our country impose 3 strikes to life in prisonment as The Geneva Conventions placement of barbaric opportunist's of Soviet Knowledge.

The Presidents were murderers, Joint Chiefs of Staff also. In fact their wasn't a courtroom to be serviced that wasn't a enzyme liable charge when we came to save and no one came to side it sold to a Diablo Sonny's .

The problem here are the government representatives are all enzyme sepulchers and the police are 95 % percentile the same therehaveus.

So they are driving the civilian crazy or causing civilian to take a medication to deserve as if they too laud enzyme sepulchers. My Sheriff and his Lt. are murderers and so is that pervert Tony Rackauckas Orange County Ca.

I supported Hells Angels and Mexican Mafioso members offing these Senators and government police at a time when I wasn't willing to rush the Folgers to my knee accidents Mr. sedatives right.

Except for Heroin and needles medicine offense should always be a check box monthly ticket able ledger amount, no more than 100 dollars for not more than 12 months and release infraction Judge Grey.

Most the Judges are murderers and enzyme sepulcher's or sympathists, baby's. Instead of making tattoo parlors illegal they resolve to inflame gang associations. Instead of only allowing a citizen who is worth $100,000 dollars apply for gun permit the Judges are laughing at the verdicts, the police get away with murder, murderer Ron Lowenberg Hunt. Beach, like speed demons in Ferrari's and basketball coach Lt's. Horn Dan Johnson and Steve Howieson, cops I escorted off my property when I was younger.

The Presidents, a 3 strikers they selves were suppose to enforce our borders from illegal entry. Instead the perjurorists allowed amnesty directly against star elders orders in El Cajon and Nellis Groom Lake, Northrop, Lockheed where I've been a clairvoyant and lead telepath since 1994 January 01 to the deeds dastardly despondence.

So I if I appear to advise to execute a death warrant hit on fat boy Lockyer and Bill's' Jones and take they out Mickey Mouse can fly sulphur dioxide or suggest for a Hells Angels Chapter to mail sodium cyanide and lace a few dollars with lethal special detention to show what if in its own opinion thinks about enzyme sepulchers imposing wicked, cruel and unusual detention and dissidence's on those poor inmates that were non violent long term victims of doomsday seekers for government busted to an act; Walvis Bay sure do Daisey dear diary I write of cosmic pentagrams; if I had access to V X spill I'd definitely mail special detention to these animals and defoliate their ambitions, right General Schoomacher's still an enzyme sepulcher liar and so is John Jumper Generals Pace and Hagee God Damned swallower's too END. DONE IN HB CA 19 SEPTEMBER 2006 FOR THE FORGOTTEN SONS OF THIS WORLD IMPRISONED FOR CRIMES WE DIDN'T COMMIT SUCHLY THE CURE IN GOD'S WILL WE TRUST ALL DIE GO WAYWARDLY SONS. STAND UP, BE COUNTED AND BE SEEN THEREFORE UNITE US WITH PEACE ON EARTH AND GOODWILL TO ALL WHO COME TO PASS LOVE LOVE, IS THIS LOVE AMEN (Inscribed out of Faith and fears)

Posted by: Bill Lockyer Murder Fag | Sep 19, 2006 3:31:07 PM

What a word Freedom I love that word. If you want freedom don't ask for it.you need to take it by force.We always think that we have freedom and we don't.If we talking about freedom how in the world two months ago in New orlands, there was few black kids were sitting on the bus and the bus driver asked them to got up and go sit down way the back we have that inccident i said inccident 1950's and now how in the world we are living in the 21st centry and it is happening again. How can we said we have freedom. I believe we still on bondage here in United States of America the greatest ANtion on Earth. We said that we are free it is a good word but there's no action goes with it. we need to start mathing our words with our actions.

Jean Louis B.Saint Louis Studentt of Criminal Justice.

Posted by: Jean Louis B. Saint Louis | Oct 12, 2006 11:18:24 AM

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