October 20, 2013
Why are murder rates so high in Puerto Rico and might criminal law be to blame?A thoughtful reader responded to this recent post on violent crime rates in New York City and Chicago with these interesting comments:
I wonder why I rarely see coverage on your blog of the high crime rate in Puerto Rico, which has a per capita murder rate six times higher than the rest of the U.S (and, which, if it were on the mainland, would probably be occupied by the National Guard by now). The USAO has been borrowing state prosecutors to process criminals; jails are overflowing; the federal government seeks capital punishment in some very egregious cases although the local constitution and popular opinion opposes it. These seem to be items of relevance to Sentencing Law and Policy.... Please help to draw attention to the depressing, yet interesting, criminal issues facing the island.
Upon my request, this helpful reader suggested the following links to draw more attention to the "depressing, yet interesting, criminal issues facing" that lovely island:
A dated article from the Miami Herald explaining that federal prosecutors in Puerto Rico are more aggressively using the Hobbs Act and firearm offenses to take cases away from local prosecutors in order to increase prison times and hold people without bail (which is argued to increase victim cooperation).