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January 7, 2010

"Study says Texas death penalty a homicide deterrent"

The title of this post is the headline of this new AP article.  Here is how it starts:

As many as 60 people may be alive today in Texas because two dozen convicted killers were executed last year in the nation's most active capital punishment state, according to a study of death penalty deterrence by researchers from Sam Houston State University and Duke University.

A review of executions and homicides in Texas by criminologist Raymond Teske at Sam Houston in Huntsville and Duke sociologists Kenneth Land and Hui Zheng concludes a monthly decline of between 0.5 to 2.5 homicides in Texas follows each execution. “Evidence exists of modest, short-term reductions in the numbers of homicides in Texas in the month of or after executions,” the study published in a recent issue of Criminology, a journal of the American Society of Criminology, said.

The study adds to decades of academic dissection of the death penalty and deterrence. Results over the years vary from capital punishment saving more lives than suggested in this study to no conclusive effect.

This study, however, is the first to focus on monthly data in Texas, where researchers said the number of executions — 447 since capital punishment resumed in 1982 — is statistically significant enough “to make possible relatively stable estimates of the homicide response to executions.” A national deterrent effect can't be determined because “most states ... have not engaged in a sufficient level or frequency of executions per year,” they said.

Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the California-based Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, which supports capital punishment, said the study “would be sufficient by itself to justify the death penalty.”

January 7, 2010 at 10:01 AM | Permalink

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Comments

I know Texans are bad people that need the DP to keep them in line, but is there any chance that a decline in homicides was due to 1) not enforcing laws; 2) people moving in or out; 3) economic factors; or 4) increased literacy.

Whatever the case, I wonder what the authors chose something as sexy as the DP to study rather than the easier to quantify subjects of deterrence against shoplifting.

Posted by: S.cotus | Jan 7, 2010 10:18:28 AM

Yes but out of the 60, 59 are illegals so it's a wash.

Posted by: . | Jan 7, 2010 10:34:45 AM

If the study is correct -- and I don't know, because I haven't read it -- then Kent is right: the case for the DP is conclusive.

The study shows that far more innocent life is saved by the DP than is taken by it. This is true even if one makes the preposterous assumption that everyone put to death in Texas is innocent.

To blanketly oppose the availability of the DP under those circumstances is to say that society should KNOWINGLY sacrifice dozens of innocent lives. Such a proposition is, obviously, an abomination. No sane person could believe it. It is for precisely that reason that the abolitionists here will (indeed must) dismiss the study without having read one word or it.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 7, 2010 10:47:31 AM

it'a a fake.
http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/studies-researchers-find-no-empirical-support-deterrence-theory

Posted by: claudio giusti, italia | Jan 7, 2010 10:49:20 AM

"To blanketly oppose the availability of the DP under those circumstances is to say that society should KNOWINGLY sacrifice dozens of innocent lives."

/iraq

Posted by: . | Jan 7, 2010 10:51:26 AM

Iraq is not the subject of this blog. Sentencing is. What part of the study do you dispute and on what basis?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 7, 2010 10:59:58 AM

claudio --

"[I]ts a fake."

You can take DPIC's biased view or the AP's neutral view.

Of course not even the DPIC calls the study a "fake" Richard Dieter calls its conclusions "suspect" (which as I explained he must), while admitting that he's in no position to analyse it statistically.

The AP, unlike the DPIC, is not an abolitionist organization. This is what the AP report says further down the page:

"David McDowall, a professor at the State University of New York at Albany and an expert in statistical analysis of crime and violence patterns, said the study appeared solid and used standard accepted research methods.

“What the study does is try to control a constant variety of factors that vary over time by chance and then try to assess whether any decreases in homicides are large enough that chance can't account for them,” McDowall said.

He said additional research examining homicides in nearby states where the death penalty is less active could add to the Texas study's credibility.

The researchers said they did exactly that and found the frequent use of executions in Texas had a greater cumulative impact on homicides in Texas when compared to homicide numbers in Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma. They didn't include those findings in the final paper because reviewers wanted them to narrow its focus.

Teske acknowledged some experts disliked the results. He speculated criticism came from peer reviewers opposed to capital punishment.

“I have a hard time getting people to understand that this reports a scientific analysis of an issue and is not a political statement,” Teske said."

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 7, 2010 11:31:05 AM

Here's a much better account of the study that raises the main questions about the results, all of which were ignored by the AP story. The biggest ones: Teske says the death penalty deters even if no one knows about it, and they only found a supposed deterrent for NON-capital murders.

Here's what I'd like to see: The exact same analysis applied to New York's murder rates then a comparison with TX. We have among the higher murder rates among states and use the death penalty the most. So let's look at places where murder rates declined much more than ours and see how we compare.

If the death penalty deters so much, I don't see why TX wouldn't have the lowest murder rate in the country.

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Jan 7, 2010 11:54:23 AM

"If the death penalty deters so much, I don't see why TX wouldn't have the lowest murder rate in the country."

Grits, are you dumb or obtuse?

Posted by: federalist | Jan 7, 2010 1:02:02 PM

This is what Grits's linked account actually says:

"They found that many earlier studies had vastly overestimated the effect, but the number of murders did go down in the short-term aftermath of executions.

Based on two different statistical models, they found the effect in the months after each execution to be a reduction of between 0.5 to 2.5 homicides.

That may not sound like much, but as the authors note, “even the estimated .5 deterrent per execution yields an estimated reduction in the expected numbers of monthly homicides of 5 to 10 during the subsequent 12 months, which is substantial.”

I'm sure this isn't the last word on the issue. That's no mystery. Here's the mystery:

This study and previous ones show no correlation between the amount of publicity executions receive and their deterrent effect.

“We have no theory on that,” Teske said on Friday. After a few more questions, he said, “I hear your frustration. If I wasn't working with one of the top guys in the nation, my confidence would be shaken.”

One other mystery: The study shows, as other studies have, more impact on the kinds of murders that don't qualify for the death penalty than on those that do. ###

A few points.

1. It is extremely misleading to claim that, "Teske says the death penalty deters even if no one knows about it." The reason for using that phrasing is to make the study seem absurd while avoiding recounting its actual words. The actual words are that the study shows, (emphasis added) "no correlation between THE AMOUNT OF PUBLICITY executions receive and their deterrent effect."

That would seem odd, to be sure, but it is nothing like the claim that the authors are asserting "the death penalty occurs even if no one knows about it." A relatively small amount of publicity is not even arguably the same as "no one knows about it." A single network news story can travel far and wide.

2. It is point-blank false to say that, "they only found a supposed deterrent for NON-capital murders." What the linked article actually says is that the study shows "MORE impact on the kinds of murders that don't qualify for the death penalty than on those that do." (emphasis added) The statement that the study showed that the DP deterred ONLY non-capital murder is simply a prevarication.

(Nor is it all that surprising that there would be a greater deterrent effect on non-capital murder, since non-capital murder does not feature the degree of malevolence, determination and planning that capital often murder does, e.g., witenss-elimination murder and murder-for-hire).

3. Accoring to the Census Bureau, the murder rate in Texas, a DP state, is 5.9. In NY, a state with no effective DP, it's lower, 4.2. But there's a good deal more to the story. Another populous state, Michigan, also has no DP and has a murder rate SIGNIFICANTLY EXCEEDING EITHER NEW YORK OR TEXAS (that being 6.7). And states that have among the lowest murder rates nationwide (e.g., Utah, South Dakota and Montana) also have among the lowest murder rates (2.2, 2.1, and 1.5, respectively). (Full disclosure: the state with the lowest reported murder rate, New Hampshire (1.1), has no DP).

What these statistics show is that it's not realistically possible to use state vs. state numbers, because you can prove anything you want, all depending on how you manipulate the data. The truth of it is that the murder rate within the United States is going to vary with the demographics, culture, and history of each place. It's somewhat silly to compare New Hampshire to South Dakota or Michigan to Texas, because they are all just very different places.

This much is beyond serious argument, however: In the United States as a whole, over broad swaths of time within the last 50 years, as we have had more executions we have had fewer murders, and more murders with fewer executions. That fact cannot seriously be contested.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 7, 2010 1:25:46 PM

Correction: There is a screwed-up sentence in the third to the last paragraph above. The sentence reads: "And states that have among the lowest murder rates nationwide (e.g., Utah, South Dakota and Montana) also have among the lowest murder rates (2.2, 2.1, and 1.5, respectively)."

It should read: "And states that have the death penalty (e.g., Utah, South Dakota and Montana) also have among the lowest murder rates (2.2, 2.1, and 1.5, respectively)."

Sorry for the error.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 7, 2010 1:43:06 PM

The population of potential Texas death row inmates (tweaking 2nd floor men, angry drunken ex-boyfriends, bumbling convenience store cash appropriators, mediocre drug entrepreneurs, and other associated nitwits) are about as likely to be paying attention to the bi-monthly ritual at the Walls Unit as they are to attend a ice capades show with crippled children.

The blinking red light here is the notion that there is a causal link even if nobody knows about the party in Huntsville.

Wha?

Well gun-butt hammer me, for I am now for-sures-ees that my prayers to the almighty for snow are the proximate reason I had a White Xmas - after all, I *didn't* pray the day after, or the day before, when it was clear. Causal empirical proof by the high standards of Sam Houston Animal Husbandry College.

Retribution and "direct deterrence" are the only reasonably supportable justifications for DP. And, frankly, for most of these miserable scumbags on Texas death row, why do you need more justification than permanent incapacitation? (Before you say there are "other ways" besides CP, Grits, I have three words for you: Kenneth Allen McDuff.)

The problem with DP isn't that it isn't justified in some cases, it's that it's application is rife with disparity. Commit the exact same crime in Harris County and Travis County and receive a vastly different outcome - death row in Houston and community service, therapy, and wet kisses from Grits' pals in Austin. Commit MWP (murder whilst poor) and, voila, the judge will secure you the best sleeping attorney there is.

The Texas taxpayer money spent on this pointless research could be better spent bolstering the current system, providing training and adequate compensation to capital defenders, and investigating better ways to balance out capricious regional application by DA's.

It ain't like you have to justify the death penalty in PRINCIPAL to Texans. Come on.

Posted by: Ferris Bueller | Jan 7, 2010 2:03:35 PM

For the uninitiated: Kenneth McDuff killed three teenagers in one episode in the 1960's. It wasn't a robbery; indeed, if I'm recalling this correctly, it wasn't even a rape (which is somewhat unusual when the victims are teenagers). It was that McDuff enjoyed killing people.

He was sentenced to death. As with most of these characters, his appeals dragged on. They were still pending when the Supreme Court effectively banned capital punishment in 1972 in the Furman case.

Many years later, McDuff was paroled, having convinced the devil-may-care parole board that he was "reformed." (A sort of precursor to Maurice Clemmons, who came to God, etc., while incarcerated). I think it didn't take McDuff another month to kill his next victim. He went all to kill about a dozen more, mostly young women. Eventually he was captured, tried and again given the death penalty.

McDuff's immortal line on being sentenced was this: "Killing a woman is like killing a chicken. They both squwak."

After years of more appeals, he was finally executed under the administration of Gov. George Bush.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 7, 2010 2:33:54 PM

Without staking out a full position, I simply want to note that the "saving lives" formulation, in its purest form, proves too much. It is simply not the case that any government/collective action that involves killing and would "save" more lives than it consumes is morally or ethically acceptable (let alone compelled).

For example, it is quite possible that castrating just 5 or 10 known rapists in a city the size of say, Atlanta, then crucifying them and hanging them from platforms around the city, with their excised genitalia stuffed in their mouths, would cause a precipitous decline in sexual assaults and other violent crimes. Not only would this greatly reduce the amount of total suffering in the community, let's posit that it would also reduce murders, because some significant percentage of those rapes and violent crimes predictably would result in death. Let's say it would prevent 57 deaths. The plan still would be immoral and unacceptable for numerous reasons, including (a) because, over time, it would have hidden costs resulting from the demeaning and dehumanizing treatment of other human beings (even despicable ones); and (b) because it is not morally *necessary*, as there are other, less costful and socially corrosive ways to reduce crime. (In other words, there are no binary choices when dealing with a project as complex as crime prevention, and gruesome extreme punishment is hardly the only, or most effective, lever with which one may try to reduce crime.)

Posted by: Anon | Jan 7, 2010 4:49:22 PM

There are insufficient executions to draw any conclusion, even in Texas. Just as the rate of innocence cannot be used as a pretext to end the DP, so deterrence cannot be lawfully used to promote it. Deterrence is the prevention of future crime, in violation of procedural due process.

There is not enough statistical power. As with all remedies, the DP has a dose response curve. If we had 10,000 executions a year, all crimes would drop due to attrition, and nothing else. The criminals would be missing. Attrition does not violate procedural due process because it gets rid of people for the prior damage they have done. It is a return to status crime, the status of being a bad person, a criminal, but also of causing a minimum amount of harm.

The problem? Many government jobs would end. That is why it is not PC to even criticize the criminal. Government labor unions are incredibly rich and powerful. They fund criminal lover lawyers to intimidate anyone trying to control the criminals. Crime victims should form direct action groups. These should bring street justice to the criminals, their protectors and enablers. These should include left wing academics, especially those. Just beat their asses. They are cult criminals themselves, and deserve no human consideration from crime victims.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 7, 2010 4:49:36 PM

Say whatever you want about the death penalty, but the idea that people would oppose 10,000 executions a year because government employees would lose their jobs isn't just silly; it's almost floridly insane.

Posted by: arx | Jan 7, 2010 4:57:48 PM

Anon --

1. When you construct a gruesome and ghastly premise to your hypothetical, it's hardly surprising that the conclusion turns out to be gruesome and ghastly and thus morally unacceptable. It's akin to saying that, "If we had ham, we could have ham and eggs, if we had eggs." Quite so, but it's not very informative. (P.S. The treatment you hyothesize as something the state would do does not in the slightest resemble the actual administration of the DP but does, most unfortunately, resemble what some of these sex/torture killers have done).

2. And your hypotetical is just that -- a hypothetical. The study noted by Doug in this post isn't. What it shows is that, in the state that executes more frequently than any other, there is a deterrent effect, and a significant one. According to the AP report (which IS a report, not an opinion piece), "As many as 60 people may be alive today in Texas because two dozen convicted killers were executed last year..."

If LWOP has anything like that deterrent effect, I have yet to see any study proving it.

Finally, if Kenneth McDuff had been executed when he should have been, at least a dozen innocent people would be alive today. Society owed them something too. They didn't get it. A more resolute and less foolhardy system would learn, and, in the years since Furman was decided in 1972, ours, fortunately, has.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 7, 2010 5:51:05 PM

Nearly every comparative study of the deterrent effect of the death penalty shows conclusively that it has no impact. There is no better way to study its effect than comparing its introduction and use in different states.

Bill Otis would have you believe that the structurally less-compelling studies that reaffirm his predetermined conclusion are beyond reproach, and that only the studies that disprove what he wants to believe "manipulate the data." Thats laughably obtuse. Then he writes "In the United States as a whole, over broad swaths of time within the last 50 years, as we have had more executions we have had fewer murders, and more murders with fewer executions." Yeah, and within the last 50 years we've had greater economic prosperity, shorter hemlines, more houses, a sharp increase in nose rings and rhinoplasty, and China has dramatically urbanized. You too can pick cause and effect out of a hat!

I understand you like to kill people Bill, but you needn't be so transparent about it.

Posted by: La Rana | Jan 7, 2010 5:51:48 PM

I understand you like to rescue the Kenneth McDuff's of the world, La Rana, and I acknowledge you can't help being so transparent about it.

In its own odd way, though, it's more honest than some of your allies are being.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 7, 2010 6:16:54 PM

La Rana --

One more thing. The human race has thought pretty much from the getgo that there is a link between crime and punishment. (This differentiates punishment from stuff like hemlines, nose rings and sunspots). Thus a normal person would think that there's a link between murder and the punishment for murder. Fifty years of statistics make quite clear what that link discloses.

You, however, know better!

Far out.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 7, 2010 6:26:07 PM

"I understand you like to rescue the Kenneth McDuff's of the world, La Rana,"

Spoken like the sleazy cheap shot artist you are, Bill.

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Jan 7, 2010 6:36:04 PM

Whenever you see someone paraphrased (all or in part) rather than quoted, it's a good bet his actual statement was more nuanced than the paraphrase.

I did not say that one study is sufficient by itself to justify the death penalty. I said that level of deterrence would be sufficient by itself. However, I would not rely on one study to establish that there actually is a particular level of deterrence. For an inexact science such as this, deterrent effect must be inferred from the literature as a whole. A lot of researchers have approached the issue with varying methods, and most of the studies in the last decade have found a significant deterrent effect.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Jan 7, 2010 6:37:30 PM

How can the case of Kenneth McDuff be used to argue that the DP is a deterrent?

Posted by: John Neff | Jan 7, 2010 6:44:32 PM

John Neff --

A single case cannot establish that the DP has general deterrent value. The debate, though, is broader than that, even though that is its most important single component. The broader question is whether the death penalty saves innocent lives. In the McDuff case, it's beyond serious argument that, had McDuff been executed before being rescued by Furman, a dozen innocent lives would have been saved.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 7, 2010 6:54:04 PM

Re: sleazy cheap shot artists.

From Gritsforbreakfast Jul 6, 2009 8:28:05 AM: "Bill, Dudley and SC are just bloodthirsty, believing that all killing by the state is inherently, morally good in all instances."

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 7, 2010 7:07:16 PM

The two dozen convicted killers who were executed will definitely never kill anyone else.

Posted by: Los Angeles Paralegal | Jan 7, 2010 7:18:40 PM

The study was attempting to measure the difference in the level of deterrence between the DP and LWOP. It may be they did a cross-correlation between two time series and if so that may be a good technique. It would be interesting to see a graph showing both time series.

The fact that execution incapacitates a convicted murderer is self evident the question under discussion is if the DP is a greater deterrent than LWOP.

Posted by: John Neff | Jan 7, 2010 8:11:29 PM

John Neff --

Deterrence, or maximum deterrence if you will, is surely important, but certain incapacitation, which an execution provides but LWOP does not, is also important.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 7, 2010 8:18:11 PM

Arx: The rent seeking theory of abolitionist movement is the charitable theory. Not one word of opposition to the 17,000 extra-judicial executions that take place every year, with a 5000 excess among black folks. In 100 years, the KKK lynched 5000 people. The abolitionist enables the murder of that number in a year, after year.

The less charitable explanation is the abolitionist movement is pure evil, supporting pure evil against innocent victims. Even violent criminals believe in the death penalty as a remedy. That collaboration with mass slaughter of 17,000 people every year makes the abolitionist more evil than the repeat violent offender.

You are one of them. Tell me which to choose.

Life without parole is cruel and unusual. It is expensive. It immunizes all crimes after the first murder. There are more murders in prison than there are executions. Supporters of that alternative are equally reprehensible enablers of mass slaughter.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 7, 2010 8:35:01 PM

Deterrence violates procedural due process. You cannot punishes the person for the future crimes of another. It is no more acceptable an argument for the DP as the rate of innocence is an argument against the DP.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 7, 2010 8:37:56 PM

Bill Otis

On July 1,2009 there were 3,279 inmates on death row. It is unlikely that very many of them will be incapacitated by execution at the present rate. My point is that certain incapacitation is an aspiration not a reality. I agree that incapacitation by LWOP is not perfect but under present circumstances for the DP has turned into LWOP for many death row inmates.

Posted by: John Neff | Jan 7, 2010 8:42:27 PM

Incapacitation is the sole mature aim of the criminal law past a certain amount of damage done in the lifetime of a criminal. It aims at the person. It says, enough, time to go. The economic value of a life is a good landmark where this remedy should kick in.

If someone murders a relative who is a busy criminal, alcoholic, child abuser, drunk driver, the net effect is positive. Some murderers should go home.

If an ultra-violent leader of a paramilitary drug gang is caught shoplifting, then the death penalty may be the best remedy for shoplifting.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 7, 2010 10:05:58 PM

Professor Neff --

If present trends continue, the majority of inmates on death row will not be executed, as you say. Some will be, however. The number is difficult to predict, but the average for the last five years is just short of 50 per year. In other words, execution will be an "aspiration" for most but a reality for some. That being the case, certian incapacitation will not be what it could become, but it is more than a mere chimera and thus a legitimate argument for those of us who support retaining the DP.

I appreciate your level-headed and informative comments, by the way.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 7, 2010 10:27:04 PM

The wealthiest and most powerful criminal syndicate in world history is the lawyer profession. It has thoroughly infiltrated and controls 99% of policy decisions of our government.

When the public decides to have a real death penalty to achieve real aims of eliminating crime, instead of the current rent seeking games, the obstacle of the lawyer profession must be removed. The best way is to arrest the entire hierarchy of this criminal cult enterprise simultaneously, about 15,000 cult criminals, try them, hang them for insurrection against the constitution. By an Amendment, ban the lawyer from all benches, all legislative seats, and all responsible policy positions in the executive. Then go after the criminals they are protecting to generate lawyer jobs. Take the $trillions they plunder each year, and divert them into scientific research and development to make the economy an ultra-high tech and productive one, with almost no crime.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 7, 2010 11:30:49 PM

it's a big, big, big fake

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/studies-researchers-find-no-empirical-support-deterrence-theory

Posted by: dott. claudio giusti, italia | Jan 8, 2010 10:00:54 AM

Prof. Neff: The problem with a life sentence is that it isn't. McDuff, whose original capital sentence was commuted to life, being the poster child for this problem.

True, some states now have LWOP statutes (Texas, as it happens, didn't until a few years ago), but those are subject to the whims of politics. Dead is dead, and frankly, that's the only conclusive deterrence in all of penal theory we can all agree on.

While only a minimally functioning person would advocate for the death penalty in non-murder cases (i.e. the legislature of Louisiana and Supremacy Clod), it's pretty clear that outside of the criminal-coddling apologist community most everyone else is okay with sacrificing a Kenneth Allen McDuff to avoid the loss of any other life - even prospectively based on future legal amendments.

While Texas gets a bad rap for many reasons, valid and invalid, I suggest ivory-tower anti-capital punishment crusaders take a look at the narratives behind current residents of the Walls Unit.

Posted by: Ferris Bueller | Jan 8, 2010 10:38:53 AM

"While only a minimally functioning person would advocate for the death penalty in non-murder cases (i.e. the legislature of Louisiana and Supremacy Clod)...."

Ferris, you forgot the President.

Posted by: Kent Scheidegger | Jan 8, 2010 7:52:11 PM

And the Chief Justice.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 8, 2010 10:32:45 PM

You mean "The Triangulator-In-Chief"? Hell, I wouldn't be surprised to find him advocating for abstinance at a whore convention.

Posted by: Ferris Bueller | Jan 8, 2010 10:34:11 PM

Any attempt to correlate death penalty with subsequent murder rates must correct for race distribution of the population. The lawyer has withdrawn the protection of the police and of the court from minority murder victims. The effect of the DP, if any is real, should diminish as the fraction of minorities increases, since the death penalty is for white murder victims, it appears.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 9, 2010 5:10:25 AM

Ferris --

The "Triangulator-in-Chief" was Slick Willy. The present occupant of the Office is no triangulator, which is why he dropped down to 50% approval faster than any President in the history of polling. He's trying to govern the country from the Left, which, as Jimmy Carter proved, and Slick Willy's first two years proved again, can't be done. It's still a center-right country.

I also doubt he'd speak at the convention to which you refer. Why should he when he can bring in Elliot Spitzer?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 9, 2010 8:52:01 AM

Blogs are so interactive where we get lots of informative on any topics nice job keep it up !!

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Post-incarceration re-entry programs are haphazard and often nonexistent, undermining public safety and making it extremely difficult for ex-offenders to become full, contributing members of society. America's criminal justice system has deteriorated to the point that it is a national disgrace. Its irregularities and inequities cut against the notion that we are a society founded on fundamental fairness. Our failure to address this problem has caused the nation's prisons to burst their seams with massive overcrowding, even as our neighborhoods have become more dangerous.

We are wasting billions of dollars and diminishing millions of lives. We need to fix the system. Doing so will require a major nationwide recalculation of who goes to prison and for how long and of how we address the long-term consequences of incarceration. MATERIALS & RESOURCES Read the legislation, S. 714 Fact sheet on the legislation Senator Webb's floor speech introducing the legislation PARADE Magazine cover story, "What's Wrong with our Prisons?" Senator Jim Webb,

Sunday March 29, 2009 The scope of the problem: relevant charts and graphs List of Support for the National Criminal Justice Commission Act Of 2009 Opening Statement of Sen. Webb at Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on National Criminal Justice Commission Act, June 11, 2009 Watch Senator Webb's Floor Speech Introducing the Legislation, March 26, 2009 Senator Webb's article on the Huffington Post, "Why We Must Reform Our Criminal Justice System" MATERIALS FROM PAST HEARINGS, SYMPOSIUMS Joint Economic Committee Hearing, conducted by Senator Webb, "Mass Incarceration in the United States: At What Cost?" October 2007 Joint Economic Committee Hearing, conducted by Senator Webb, "Illegal Drugs: Economic Impact, Societal Costs, and Policy Responses,"

June 2008 George Mason University Symposium, hosted by Senator Webb and the GMU Administration of Justice Department, "Drugs in America: Trafficking, Policy and Sentencing," October 2008 Senator Webb's Keynote Address to the Brookings Institution's Policy Roundtable on the Challenges to Prisoner Re-entry, December 2008 NEWS ARTICLES & COMMENTARY Virginian Pilot editorial: "Time to reconsider U.S. justice system," April 6, 2009 Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star: "Behind-bars review," April 5, 2009 The Washington Post Writers Group: "Webb Leads the Charge for Much-Needed Drug, Prison Reform," April 5, 2009 Economist: "A Nation of Jailbirds," April 2, 2009 Daily Press: "Go After the Real Problem," March 31, 2009 New York Times: "Reviewing Criminal Justice," March 30, 2009 Lynchburg News & Advance: "Webb Takes on Politics' Third Rail: Prison Reform," March 29, 2009 Salon.com: "Jim Webb's courage v. the "pragmatism" excuse for politicians," March 28, 2009 The Virginian Pilot Editorial:

"Time to Rethink Goals of Prison," January 5, 2009 Roanoke Times Editorial: "The Criminal Justice System Needs Help," January 5, 2009 Las Vegas Sun Editorial: "Voice for Broken Prisons," January 3, 2009 U.S. News & World Report: "James Webb Shows Leadership Regarding Prison Reform," January 2, 2009 New York Times Editorial: "Sen. Webb's Call for Prison Reform," January 1, 2009 Washington Post: "Webb Sets His Sights On Prison Reform," December 29, 2008 Daily Press: "Alternative to Jail for Addicts Gains New Supporter," December 28, 2008 The Virginian Pilot: "Senator Elevates Debate on Failed Drug, Prison Policies," October 18, 2008 The Roanoke Times Editorial: "A Sensible Call for Sentencing Reform," October 13, 2008 Washington Post Op-Ed: "Two Separate Societies: One in Prison, One Not," April 15, 2008

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Posted by: LAWYERS FOR POOR AMERICANS | Feb 24, 2010 6:29:57 PM

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