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August 16, 2013

NY Times op-ed explains "How to Really End Mass Incarceration"

Vanita Gupta, deputy legal director at the American Civil Liberties Union, has this new op-ed in the New York Times providing a follow-up to AG Eric Holder's sentencing speech. The whole piece is today's must-read, and here is an excerpt:

For lasting national impact we need to look at the states, where most criminal defendants are sentenced.  Over the past few years, a quiet revolution has been brewing in state capitals.  Historically low crime rates and shrinking state coffers have led to a nascent consensus among lawmakers and advocates across the ideological spectrum that our addiction to incarceration is not sustainable, effective or humane. Republican governors in cash-strapped states have been among those leading the charge. States as varied as Texas, New York, Colorado and Michigan have passed reforms that have stabilized or significantly reduced prison populations without increasing crime.

What Mr. Holder has done is turn up the dial, lending his imprimatur to a growing sense of national urgency and moral necessity.  The muted reaction to his announcement from ardent conservatives is a reflection of the shift in debate.

But this is no time to rest.  Those who seek a fairer criminal justice system, unclouded by racial bias, must at a minimum demand that the government eliminate mandatory minimum sentences, which tie judges’ hands; rescind three-strikes laws, which often make no distinction between, say, armed assault and auto theft; amend “truth in sentencing” statutes, which prohibit early release for good behavior; and recalibrate drug policies, starting with decriminalization of marijuana possession and investment in substance-abuse prevention and treatment.  Federal aid to state and local agencies, like the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant and the Community Oriented Policing Services, must prioritize diversion and rehabilitation over arrest and incarceration.

August 16, 2013 at 09:35 AM | Permalink

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Comments

As always, it does not address the actual problem.

The issue is not mass incarceration but mass crime. What is the cause of crime?

Now, adjustments can be made from the back end. We DO have too many ways to get thrown into prison. Our law libraries are as bloated with outdated and counterproductive laws as the rest of the government is with their own bureaucracy. However, the real issue is with America's vast resources of feral children.

I mocked a poster in a thread about teen prostitutes regarding his asinine claim that we could give at risk families all an RN and things would be fine. I stand by it. However, at least he was coming to the table with an idea that addressed the actual problem. That is several steps ahead of what Gupta, Holder, and most here do.

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 16, 2013 11:16:29 AM

good point Tarls! unfortunately there really isn't much you can do with "feral's" children or otherwise. except remove em!

Posted by: rodsmith | Aug 16, 2013 1:34:35 PM

The problem of "vast resources of feral children" only exists in Tar Is Qute's fevered mind. No one can offer any solutions to your fever dream, Tarlie.

Your ancillary point about "too many crimes" is the "actual problem".

Posted by: 8th Amendment | Aug 16, 2013 11:33:00 PM

8th Amendment: 46% of school-age youth were considered to be "at risk" in 1999. Want to bet it has gone up and not down since?

There are approximately 1.5 million current street gang members, responsible for about 50% of violent crime and up to 90% in some jurisdictions.

So, yes, feral children are the problem. Their parents are shamefully irresponsible (72% illegitimacy rate in black communities and 53% in Hispanic), which pushes these children into gangs and crime.

If you have something informed to refute these facts, have at it. I doubt you do though...

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 17, 2013 12:34:14 AM

Here is an asinine study that informed and inspired.

EVIDENCE-BASED PUBLIC POLICY OPTIONS TO REDUCE
October 2006
FUTURE PRISON CONSTRUCTION, CRIMINAL JUSTICE COSTS, AND CRIME RATES‡

A third example is a prevention program called Nurse Family Partnership (NFP), a program that has also been implemented in Washington. This program provides intensive visitation by nurses to low-income, at-risk women bearing their first child; the nurses continue to visit the home for two years after birth. Thus far, there is evidence that NFP reduces the crime outcomes of the mothers and, many years later, the children born to the mothers. Both of these effects are included in our analysis of the program. Our analysis of the NFP studies indicates that the program has a large effect on the future criminality of the mothers who participate in the program, reducing crime outcomes by 56 percent. NFP also reduces the future crime levels of the youth by 16 percent compared to similar youth who did not participate in the NFP program.

www.wsipp.wa.gov/.../06-10-1201.pdf

Posted by: George | Aug 17, 2013 1:43:25 AM

First, please show where I called the study asinine. I called your insistence that such a program is feasible in a country of 300,000,000+ million asinine. I hope you can see the difference.

Yes, George, if you take 18 volunteer mothers and give them a personal nurse for a couple of years, crime will be reduced for them and their children. We can also improve education performance if we give each K-12 student their own personal certified teacher to tutor them 6 hours per day. Neither are happening for the same reasons, even if we could get anywhere near a significant number of mothers to "volunteer" and stick to such a program.

I know the weather may be better where you are, George, but come back to the real world.

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 17, 2013 9:58:02 AM

Some more stats for 8th amendment. They are a little dated but I doubt that anyone is arguing that the problem has lessened since the 1990's:

"For all the talk about the complexities of the "root causes" of crime, there is one root cause which overwhelms all the rest: fatherlessness. Almost 70 percent of juveniles incarcerated in state reform institutions come from homes with no father or without their natural parents. Most gang members, 60 percent of rapists, and 75 percent of teenage homicide perpetrators come from single-parent homes.
Young black males from singleparent families are twice as likely to engage in crime as young black males from two-parent families. If the single-parent family is in a neighborhood with a large number of other single-parent families, the odds of the young man becoming involved in crime are tripled. These findings are based on a study conducted for the Department of Health and Human Services by M. Anne Hill and June O'Neill of Baruch College. The study carefully held constant all socioeconomic variables (such as income, parental education, or urban setting) other than single parenthood."

The problem with crime is that we have millions of unmoored and rudderless "feral" youth in our streets. They overwhelmingly end up in our prisons.

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 17, 2013 10:06:27 AM

Tarls: "First, please show where I called the study asinine."

Show me where I claimed you called the study asinine. I merely pointed to a study that proves your argument is asinine because the program is already implemented and is saving money. Since you don't like it that is a good reason to post the link again.

Evidence-Based Public Policy Options to Reduce Future Prison Construction, Criminal Justice Costs, and Crime Rates.

http://www.wsipp.wa.gov/pub.asp?docid=06-10-1201

Posted by: George | Aug 17, 2013 11:48:11 AM

George stated: "Show me where I claimed you called the study asinine."

Well, George, let's go to the tape:

Me: "I mocked a poster in a thread about teen prostitutes regarding his asinine claim that we could give at risk families all an RN and things would be fine."

You: "Here is an asinine study that informed and inspired."

You were clearly playing off my use of the word asinine. Be an adult and stand by your words instead of weaseling afterwards.

LOL Even the study you cite that is cheerleading this program does not claim that this could be implemented on a large scale and warns that it would be a very difficult task.

Again, no one is claiming that such a program cannot be successful on a small scale with volunteer mothers. The insurmountable problem is that most crappy mothers have no interest in volunteering and it would be unworkable when projected out to 300,000,000. Even your own study concedes the difficulty.

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 17, 2013 12:11:51 PM

Tarls whined: You were clearly playing off my use of the word asinine.

So fuckin what.

I'm easily trolled when looking for an excuse to post about evidence-based solutions. Thanks for the opportunity. I also like it when Bob Beckle says gittyup to the 4 (as in 4 against 1) and they gittyup on their high horse. That is what the 4th of July is all about.

Posted by: George | Aug 17, 2013 8:54:43 PM

In other words, you have nothing to say about the content of the study you cited. Even it does not back your claim.

Thanks for the lesson in irrelevancy...

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 17, 2013 9:17:46 PM

Thanks for skimming, Tarls. That's progress. Here is more for your reading pleasure.

Protecting Kids, Reducing Crime, Saving Money, Preventing Child Abuse and Neglect in Washington By Supporting Intensive Home Visiting

Executive Summary

The 126 police chiefs, sheriffs, district attorneys, other law enforcement leaders and violence survivors who are members of FIGHT CRIME: INVEST IN KIDS WASHINGTON, and the over 3,000 members of FIGHT CRIME: INVEST IN KIDS nationwide, have taken a hard-nosed look at what works—and what does not work—to cut crime and violence. Extensive evidence shows that children who suffered abuse or neglect are more likely to grow up to commit crimes. Solid research shows that nearly half of all abuse and neglect in high-risk families can now be prevented by programs that also prepare children to succeed in school. Preventing abuse and neglect will directly protect children and save lives. Sharply reducing abuse and neglect will also save the public hundreds of millions of dollars in Washington while greatly reducing the number of children growing up to be violent criminals.

The Annual Toll in Washington: As Many as 6,730 Abused and Neglected Children The Future Toll: 270 Additional Violent Criminals from Every Year’s Abuse and Neglect Official figures mask the real toll of child abuse and neglect in Washington. Although 6,730 children were officially substantiated as being the victims of abuse or neglect in 2004, the best estimate of the real number each year, based on a survey by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is over 13,000. From 2000 through 2004, 61 children were officially documented as dying from abuse or neglect in Washington, but there are likely others whose abuse or neglect caused their death. Nearly half of the Washington children killed by abuse or neglect die before their first birthday.

While most victimized children who survive never become violent criminals, being abused or neglected sharply increases the risk that children will grow up to be arrested for a violent crime.

The best available research indicates that, of the 6,730 children who had confirmed incidents of abuse or neglect in one year, 270 will become violent criminals as adults who otherwise would have avoided such crimes if not for the abuse and neglect they endured.Year after year, abuse and neglect creates more violent criminals in Washington.

Research Shows Most Abuse and Neglect in High-Risk Families Can Be Prevented

Posted by: George | Aug 18, 2013 1:59:43 AM

LOL

Reading is fundamental.

In this thread and the previous one I have done nothing but say we need address the problem from the front end (prevention). I dare you to show me otherwise. Feel free to quote liberally. The problem is that you prefer the same costly, unrealistic, and government-centered solutions that have been tried for decades and failed miserably. All one needs to do is look at the Great Society, which was a huge factor in getting us into this problem.

Your "solution" will go over budget by a factor of 2 or 3 (at least) and overestimates savings in the prison system. Neither lawyers nor social scientists have any concept of "sunk costs."

Posted by: Tarlsqtr1 | Aug 18, 2013 9:45:12 AM

http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/50046/unloved-the/

Posted by: George | Aug 18, 2013 1:16:00 PM

Good idea. Let's make public policy based on movies. Hey, maybe we can use music as well.

http://youtu.be/VZt7J0iaUD0

I also heard that "Happy Days" solved all of the world's problems...

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 18, 2013 1:34:20 PM

Glad you like it, tals. Maybe we debated enough for our host to see enough merit to link to the site. ???

Fight Crime: Invest in Kids

Mistrust all in whom the will to punish is strong-Nietsche.

Posted by: George | Aug 18, 2013 4:02:36 PM

Again, you need to go back to grammar school for remedial reading.

I am all FOR preventative measures, which is plainly obvious in both threads we have discussed this topic. That is why you just ignore my invitations to provide quotes saying otherwise and instead choose to go on spewing blatant falsehoods.

What I am against is another bloated government-centric solution that over-promises and under-performs. Your error of reasoning is obvious but I will spell it so that even you can understand it. Being against YOUR preventative solution does not make one against ANY preventative solution.

It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. -Mark Twain

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 18, 2013 4:40:47 PM

TQ-why don't you take that sage advice that you so eloquently quoted from Mark Twain yourself, your constant mealy mouthed, pinheaded, attack dog rants when people provide alternative solutions sucks big time... maybe not being such a negative nabob once in a while might help a little

Posted by: Fred D. | Aug 19, 2013 12:52:58 PM

Fred D stated: "TQ-why don't you take that sage advice that you so eloquently quoted from Mark Twain yourself, your constant mealy mouthed, pinheaded, attack dog rants when people provide alternative solutions sucks big time... maybe not being such a negative nabob once in a while might help a little"

I see. When someone claims that a program will do something that even the author of the study does not claim, I should shut up or sing kumbaya because being realistic irritates Fred D.

Come to think of it, that is even a better reason to keep it up.

PS I love how you found a way to use "eloquently" AND "sucks big time" in the same post. Kudos!

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 19, 2013 3:19:21 PM

Fred D.:
Rather than merely "mealy mouthed, pinheaded, attack dog rants",
don't you see the accurate, positive information which TarIsQtr has provided?

* ""Almost 70% of juveniles incarcerated in state reform institutions come from homes with no father
or without their natural parents
.""
* ""Most gang members, 60 %of rapists, and 75% of teenage homicide perpetrators come from single-parent homes""

* ""Young black males from singleparent families are twice as likely to engage in crime as young black males
from two-parent families.""
* "outdated and counterproductive laws"

* "feral children...46% of school-age youth were considered to be "at risk" in 1999"
* "1.5 million current street gang members, responsible for about 50% of violent crime and up to 90% in some jurisdictions"

* "72% illegitimacy rate in black communities and 53% in Hispanic"-- TarlsQtr1

Posted by: Adamakis | Aug 19, 2013 3:54:02 PM

Neither Tarls nor Adamakis bring any solutions to the table. The nursing program is not the only evidence-based program THAT WORKS and others were cited in the linked studies. In closing, the same closing as the last thread, I don't care to win a debate with Tarls. Promoting evidence-based programs in the hopes someone with clout will pick them up and run with them is good enough for me, and that IS happening.

Some prefer prisons and maybe they have have a vested interest in that, like prison guard unions do, but who cares? Even law enforcement can read the tea leaves. It is encouraging, and worthy of respect, that law enforcement is behind Fight Crime: Invest in Kids and that is a stark contrast to The First Rule of Policing Meets Fight Club.

Posted by: George | Aug 19, 2013 10:02:38 PM

|/|Belief in Hell Predicts a Country's Crime Rates More Accurately Than Other Social or Economic Factors |/|
By Christine Hsu | Jun 19, 2012 | www.medicaldaily.com

George:
The right Religion might work:
o "Despite many of these variables–especially poverty and income inequality–being frequently discussed as determinants of crime [20], [21], only belief in God had a significant effect on average crime rates over and above the effects of belief in heaven and hell, which remained highly significant (both ps <.001)."

o "Religiosity shows consistent positive correlations with charity and volunteerism [2], and negative relations with lax attitudes about the justifiability of moral transgressions [3]. Moreover, experimental work has shown that religious
priming increases ‘prosocial’ generosity and cooperation, and decreases cheating [in research from across the
social sciences] [4]–[6]."

o "Controlling for the effect of belief in heaven, a 1 SD increase in belief in hell resulted in an almost 2 SD decrease in national crime rate.."

o o "The pattern of results is robust to spatial and cultural variability. The same pattern of results emerges in .. Africa, South and Central America, and Europe plus Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand. .. The only exception to this observation is predominantly Muslim countries in Asia .."
— Shariff AF, Rhemtulla M, 2012, Divergent Effects of Beliefs in Heaven and Hell on National Crime Rates, PLoS ONE 7(6):


Posted by: Adamakis | Aug 20, 2013 1:44:43 PM

George:

"[I]n light of over 50 research studies .. membership in the Jewish religion is associated with lower crime rates...The best documented relationship is between church attendance and crime rates .. frequent church attenders have lower rates .. belief in an afterlife with divine punishment possible .. is associated with lower crime rates."
~~Lee Ellis, Oct. 1985, Sociological Perspectives, pp. 501-520.

"The 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth shows that students who now worship weekly and who grew up with two married parents are most likely to have received a high school degree .. 87% of students who attend weekly religious
services received a high school degree.
In contrast, only 70% of those who never worship received a high school degree."
{high school graduation is associated with a lower crime rate}~~www.bls.gov/nls/

Posted by: Adamakis | Aug 20, 2013 1:50:37 PM

@Adamakis:

LOL Something tells me that "evidence-based programs" were just thrown overboard by George. He only wants "evidence-based programs" if they are government centered, cost a lot of money, and have nothing to do with God.

Posted by: TarlsQtr1 | Aug 21, 2013 10:33:19 AM

I dicided not to post this but Tarls talked me into it.

Science: People Who Believe in Heaven More Likely to Commit Crime?

Sometimes it's a good idea to look at both sides of the coin before flipping it.

Posted by: George | Aug 22, 2013 3:30:00 PM

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