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December 9, 2016
"How Many Americans Are Unnecessarily Incarcerated?"
The question in the title of this post is the title of this notable new report from The Brennan Center. The report's preface serves as a useful overview of its coverage and findings, and here are extended excerpts from the preface:
While mass incarceration has emerged as an urgent national issue to be addressed, the reforms currently offered are dwarfed by the scale of the problem. The country needs bolder solutions. How can we significantly cut the prison population while still keeping the country safe? This report puts forth one answer to that question. Our path forward is not offered as the only answer or as an absolute. Rather, it is meant to provide a starting point for a broader discussion about how the country can rethink and revamp the outdated sentencing edifice of the last four decades.
This report is the product of three years of research conducted by one of the nation’s leading criminologists, experienced criminal justice lawyers, and statistical researchers. First, we conducted an in-depth examination of the federal and state criminal codes, as well as the convictions and sentences of the nationwide prison population (1.46 million prisoners serving time for 370 different crime categories) to estimate how many people are currently incarcerated without a sufficient public safety rationale. We find that alternatives to incarceration are more effective and just penalties for many lower-level crimes. We also find that prison sentences can safely be shortened for a discrete set of more serious crimes.
Second, based on these findings, we propose a new, alternative framework for sentencing grounded in the science of public safety and rehabilitation. Many have argued that regimented sentencing laws should be eliminated and replaced with broad judicial discretion. Others counter that this would reinstate a system wherein judges are free to deliver vastly divergent sentences for the same crime, potentially exacerbating racial disparities and perpetuating the tradition of harsh sentences. This report proposes a new solution, building on these past proposals. We advocate that today’s sentencing laws should change to provide default sentences that are proportional to the specific crime.
Many have argued that regimented sentencing laws should be eliminated and replaced with broad judicial discretion. Others counter that this would reinstate a system wherein judges are free to deliver vastly divergent sentences for the same crime, potentially exacerbating racial disparities and perpetuating the tradition of harsh sentences.
This report proposes a new solution, building on these past proposals. We advocate that today’s sentencing laws should change to provide default sentences that are proportional to the specific crime committed and in line with social science research, instead of based on conjecture. These defaults should mandate sentences of alternatives to incarceration for lower-level crimes. For some other crimes that warrant incarceration, they should mandate shorter sentences. Judges should have discretion to depart from these defaults in special circumstances, such as a defendant’s criminal history, mental health or addiction issues, or specifics of the crime committed. This approach is grounded in the premise that the first principle of 21st century sentencing should be to protect public safety, and that sentences should levy the most effective, proportional, and cost-efficient sanction to achieve that goal. It aims to create more uniform sentences and reduce disparities, while preserving judicial discretion when needed....
Based on these findings, this report issues the following recommendations to safely reduce the prison population....
Eliminate Prison for Lower-Level Crimes Barring Exceptional Circumstances: State legislatures and Congress should change sentencing laws to mandate alternatives to prison as the default sentences for certain lower-level crimes. These include drug possession, lesser burglary, minor drug trafficking, minor fraud or forgery, minor theft, and simple assault — offenses that now account for 25 percent of the prison population. Alternative sanctions — such as community service, electronic monitoring, probation, restitution, or treatment — should be the default for such crimes instead. Judges should have flexibility to depart and impose a prison sentence if certain enumerated factors are present — for example, repeat serious offenses or heinous circumstances of the crime.
Reduce Sentence Minimums and Maximums by Law: State and federal legislatures should reduce the current minimums and maximums prison stays set by laws, or guidelines. These ranges should be proportional to the crimes committed, with judges retaining discretion to depart when appropriate. We recommend that legislators consider a 25 percent cut as a starting point to determine how to reduce sentences for the six major crimes that make up the bulk of the current prison population: aggravated assault, murder, nonviolent weapons offense, robbery, serious burglary, and serious drug trafficking. Sentences would be shorter, but still substantial. For example, the average inmate convicted of robbery now serves 4.2 years. A 25 percent cut would reduce the prison stay to 3.1 years. A similar analysis can be applied to other crimes for which prison may be warranted to determine whether sentences can be safely shortened.
Retroactively Apply Reforms: Current inmates should be permitted to petition judges for retroactive application of the two reforms above, on a case-by-case basis. This would allow for safe release of prisoners whose sentences no longer serve a justifiable public safety purpose.
Complementary Recommendations: Prosecutors should use their discretion to seek alternatives to incarceration or shorter prison stays in line with the recommendations of this report. Further, the nearly $200 billion in savings from implementing this report’s recommendations can be reinvested in proven crime prevention tactics and in alternatives to incarceration proven to reduce recidivism. While the first steps many states have taken toward prison reform are welcome, they have not gone far enough. It took roughly four decades to build mass incarceration. Yet, at current rates of decline, it will take even longer to undo it.
December 9, 2016 at 08:42 AM | Permalink
Did the Brennan Center outline how many more Americans will be victimized by the proposed "reforms?"
Did they take into account the new BJS data, which shows those who went to prison for "non-violent" crimes (including drug crimes) commit a violent crime after release at a rate only slightly lower than those who were in prison for violent crimes?
Those who went to prison for violent crimes who are arrested for a violent crime within 5 years of release: 33.1% (29.7% for new property crimes)
Those who went to prison for property crimes who are arrested for a violent crime within 5 years of release: 28.5% (54% for new property crimes)
Those who went to prison for drug crimes who are arrested for a violent crime within 5 years of release: 24.8% (33.1% for new property crimes)
Again, did the Brennan Center do the math in light of these numbers and figure out how many more will be victims of violent crimes because of their "reforms?" How many more people will have their property stolen?
And, of course, keep in mind that the numbers above only count individuals ARRESTED for new crimes. The real damage is much higher as some of these people will commit multiple crimes but only counted once. Others will commit crimes that they are never arrested for.
Posted by: TarlsQtr | Dec 9, 2016 10:12:36 AM
For the record, a hat tip to Kent Scheidegger over at C&C for bringing the BJS data to light.
Posted by: TarlsQtr | Dec 9, 2016 10:18:31 AM
A prison bed is a scarce resource--that should always be remembered.
Posted by: federalist | Dec 9, 2016 12:14:36 PM
American exceptionalism -- we are special here, and require so much more incarcerated people. It is not a self-perpetuating process in which incarceration being used so often in the long run helps to cause the behaviors that then "requires" people to be incarcerated (see, e.g., the drug war). And, of course, then nature of the incarcerated is necessary, though other countries have different types of prisons.
The scarce nature of the prison bed is useful to remember. Thus, the concern about emptying them to put more people in. If less people who doesn't need to be in prison was in there, we could do a better of focusing on those who should be there. Since, surely, some minimum core needs to be separated from society in some fashion. Just not as many that are, especially for certain reasons. And, even they, often could be stopped or at least isolated (that is trickier) in ways that don't require little hellholes.
Posted by: Joe | Dec 9, 2016 12:50:13 PM
federalist stated: "A prison bed is a scarce resource--that should always be remembered."
As are caskets and hospital beds for the victims of new crimes.
Your little diatribe is long on theory, short on facts to support it. It assumes your beliefs are correct, for example, that those incarcerated for drugs are otherwise little angels until the justice system chews them up and spits them out.
Just curious, what percentage (a rough estimate is fine) of current prisoners do you see as the "minimum core" who should remain incarcerated?
Posted by: TarlsQtr | Dec 9, 2016 1:31:44 PM
Others have opinions, the side one doesn't agree with has a "little diatribe."
I provided a blog comment. It wasn't a professional article or even a blog post, so like the people who disagree with me here generally, I didn't provide footnotes. But, there are "facts" to back up my argument. My "beliefs" here, like those who disagree with me, are based on my understanding -- which grown over the years from all my readings and experiences. And, the fact a person shouldn't spend years in little cages doesn't necessarily mean they are "little angels." Does it take much effort to be so shallow?
I don't have some fixed number of how many people are necessarily in prison, no more than I think many who think more people should be in prison (or executed etc.) has some fixed "percentage" (if they did the work, great for them) either.
Posted by: Joe | Dec 9, 2016 1:50:53 PM
Hey, if you want to hide behind vagueness in order to avoid saying something meaningful, it's your prerogative.
This is what crime squishes always do, avoid cold hard facts like the plague because when real people are involved in the carnage, their "compassion" is obvious for what it is, false compassion.
77% of those in the BJS data victimized again within 5 years. Ignoring that is "shallow."
Complaining that so many are in prison while providing nothing but eruptions of vagueness masquerading as solutions is "shallow."
The real truth of the matter is that the goal of your ilk is not to empty prisons of the non-violent. It is to empty the prisons. After all, it's not likely that they end up in your neighborhood.
Posted by: TarlsQtr | Dec 9, 2016 2:57:00 PM
I agree Tarls---why we need to put the most dangerous in that bed!!!!!!
Posted by: federalist | Dec 9, 2016 5:17:38 PM
Oh no, they're back at it again. The rantings of old grumpy and angry white men (federalist, TarlsQtr) are at it again. Don't you guys have something better to do like contributing to the Faux News network?? We can only anticipate that those two other old grumpy angry white men Otis and Supremacy Clause join the group again. Happy New Year!!!
Posted by: Hap | Dec 9, 2016 7:21:16 PM
TarlsQtr, good to see you back. Are you still of the view that every crime must be punished by the death penalty?
Posted by: anon | Dec 9, 2016 8:15:23 PM
lol Hap, I don't even have a television subscription to WATCH "Faux News" on anything like a consistent basis. And, why do you think that only old white men can have conservative positions when it comes to crime? Stereotype much?
Anon, yes. Especially wearing white after Labor Day.
Posted by: TarlsQtr | Dec 9, 2016 9:49:06 PM
My concern is about the innocent people in our jails and prisons that were put there because of failure to investigate (lies) and financial profit (benefit).
Posted by: LC in Texas | Dec 10, 2016 3:01:55 PM
I look at the six offenses that they say should have reduce maximums and I am seeing at least three (murder, robbery, aggravated assaults) that should have no maximums. It is when think tanks make proposals like this that they lose their ability to talk to those of us in the center who want to encourage the use alternatives to incarceration for those non-violent offenders willing to make an effort at rehabilitation. If the alternatives are mandatory minimums for all offenses and short sentences for robbery and murder, mandatory minimums starts sounding more reasonable.
Posted by: tmm | Dec 10, 2016 6:55:59 PM
It's been a while since I participated here, but I seem to remember TarlsQtr is/was on a payroll for an agency connected to/profiting from the incarceration industry.
Posted by: JohnK | Dec 11, 2016 2:19:57 PM
I have always been open about my background. I worked in the NYSDOC for ten years as a teacher. In other words, I HELPED people get parole. I have been out of there since 2009, working as a consultant for DHS (nothing to do with prisons), teaching university courses, and currently consulting for gas and electric companies.
The question is, how does that change the BJS data I provided one bit?
Hint: It does not, which is why you chose to go the route of multiple logical fallacies. To start, the red herring and genetic fallacy. You cannot attack the facts, so you attack the person providing them.
In summary, a quick trip back here shows exactly why I and nearly every conservative left in the first place (Federalist has to be the most tolerant person alive). This place is a cesspool where legitimate debate ALWAYS gets sucked into the gutter of lies and the personal when someone breaks through the echo chamber. The thought of Berman actually defending you guys a couple of months ago makes me chuckle.
Posted by: TarlsQtr | Dec 12, 2016 9:26:39 AM
As I recall, Tarls, I defended those who seek to engage here from your blanket smear that all commenters here (save federalist) were part a "liberal cesspool" of persons who "who hate Amerikkka". Those comments, which you repeated at least twice, struck me as both impolite and ad hominen. I still think you ought to apologize for those comments, but it is your call as to how you want to engage here and elsewhere.
That said, I recall directly asking you (without getting an answer) if you really thought even those folks who sometimes make seemingly "conservative" comments --- commentators like "Soronel Haetir" AND "Zac B." AND "Dave from Texas" AND "MidWestGuy" --- were part of your vision of a "liberal cesspool" of persons here "who hate Amerikkka." I am still hoping you will clarify your views in this regard, because I continue to be interested in your vision of all the haters in this cesspools.
Relatedly, you complain about a "gutter of lies" seemingly in response to JohnK's effort to get some truth. Can you give some specific examples of "lies" that you think pollute this gutter?
Please understand, Tarls, that I welcome you back with open arms --- along with the return Supremecy Claus and others who sometimes go away --- because I sincerely value and learn from having my comment section be a completely open forum and from having a variety of folks say a variety of things in this space. But in this completely open forum, I tend not to identify many "lies," though I see lots of strong differences of opinion expressed. I also tend to assume (perhaps wrongly?) that most people involved in this forum are somewhat like me: true-blue Americans who see it as part of their civic duty and responsibility to try to make America the best it can possibly be.
Obviously, Tarls, you see commenters in this forum quite differently that I do. But that is why I keep asking, over and over and over, for you to help me better see what you see. Help me see recent examples of statements by commenters whom you assert "hate Amerikkka"; help me see examples of the "gutter of lies" you observe here. If you point out what you see, I may be better able to understand and perhaps even will share your perspective. But right now, I really have a hard time seeing the basis for your aggressively critical smears of everyone (save federalist) who engages in this completely open comment forum.
Posted by: Doug B. | Dec 12, 2016 12:03:31 PM
Let's start with the "lie" comment first.
We can begin with the lie that I do feel (or have ever felt) that every crime must be punished by the death penalty. Do you know of me ever making such a statement?
I will even lower the bar considerably. Have I ever made the statement that even all MURDERERS should be punished by the death penalty?
Let's lower it even further. Have I ever made a statement that more than a tiny minority should be punished with the death penalty?
Yet, you can't see any lies?
Here is another one. What is the implication behind John's statement that I am "on a payroll for an agency connected to/profiting from the incarceration industry?"
Would you agree that the implication is that I support keeping bad people in prison because I profit(ed) from it? Would you agree that the accusation is AT BEST unsubstantiated and most likely a completely dishonest smear?
Can I assume that you and so many here only support criminals because it puts you in nice houses and cushy jobs with university law schools? Is that the statement of someone trying to be honest?
Here is the skinny, Doug. You always comment about how you want deliberative discussion and you mourn people using "more heat than light" when discussing topics here or on C&C. But, it is BS, a debating ploy that ONLY gets used against the "other side" when backed into a corner. This thread is the perfect example.
I provided "light" in the very first comment. Is there a SINGLE comment on this thread that addressed the BJS stats? Refuted them? Told us why they are irrelevant? Is 3-4 days not enough time for your crew to provide any "light?"
Yet I am "shallow", a death merchant, and driven to lock people up for greed. A lot of light there, right Doug? No, aggressive smears" that you claim to decry? Where is THEIR lecture?
And you probably sit at home and wonder why your traffic has plummeted since so many conservatives left. smh
Posted by: TarlsQtr | Dec 12, 2016 12:51:56 PM
"Please understand, Tarls, that I welcome you back with open arms --- along with the return Supremecy Claus and others who sometimes go away --- because I sincerely value and learn from having my comment section be a completely open forum and from having a variety of folks say a variety of things in this space."
It takes more than saying, "This is an open forum" to have an actual open forum.
The same university you work for surely considers itself completely "open" and "diverse" while allowing the culture of the faculty lounges and tenure boards to keep conservative voices out in anything close to a representational proportion.
It is no different here. Your browncoats will exhaust all but the heartiest of souls (eg. Federalist) with constant insults and smears (see this thread for a small taste) that will keep the liberal/conservative ratio somewhere between 9-1 or 8-2.
Yet you have the gall to call this an open forum.
Posted by: TarlsQtr | Dec 12, 2016 1:05:48 PM
Fair points, Tarls, on the obnoxious DP comment from anon, but this struck me as a joke more than a factual claim. That said, it was impolite and distracting. Upon your request, I will delete this comment.
The question about your background in the CJ system seems like a fair question, especially given the common assumption and concern that where one stands is greatly influenced by where one sits. Notably, Supremecy Claus often says all lawyers favor the CJ status because it provides lawyers jobs, and I think this is an important (though debatable) claim to consider.
I am sorry if you see more heat than light coming your way, and I am sorry if this open forum does not feel open to you. But I really work hard to let any and everyone speak here, and I rarely get involved to sparring with commentors or in trying to police he comments. I get that you feel unwelcome here, and I am sorry that is how you feel. I suspect that there are many readers who do not want to get into brawls that the comments can become, but I am lack the time or energy to try to be a moderator of this space. I keep it formally open to all and I leave it to you and others to engage as you see fit.
Thanks for helping me see what you see as lies. I still struggle, though, to see evidence of hatred of America. I also am sad that you see folks who disagree with you as browncoats.
Posted by: Doug B. | Dec 12, 2016 1:53:57 PM
You stated: " Upon your request, I will delete this comment."
I requested no such thing.
You stated: " I also am sad that you see folks who disagree with you as browncoats."
I never said that either, Doug. They are browncoats because they act like browncoats (goons looking to smear/run off anyone with a divergent opinion), not because they disagree.
The above two points are exactly what I am talking about with the "truth" factor here. You know I said neither but you chose to put those lines in there anyway. (Cue the plausible deniability ploy of "Well, I thought that's what you were implying...blah, blah, blah.")
You stated: "The question about your background in the CJ system seems like a fair question, especially given the common assumption and concern that where one stands is greatly influenced by where one sits."
BS, and you are intelligent enough to know better.
My post was not based on my experiences in the CJ system in any way. Instead, it was based SOLELY on data provided by the BJS. My background had zero, zip, nada to do with the compilation of the data. The responses were classic ad hominem, which you are now on record as supporting.
When you speak in public, do you give the caveat that your work in the CJ System and at a liberal university may have created a bias and that your positions may be based on profit motive or is your CV put forth as an example of your expertise in the field?
How many of your colleagues, lawyers, criminals, and family of criminals here in your brownshirt crew give that caveat?
Want to bet it rounds to zero? Then why is MY background so important?
You stated: "and I rarely get involved to sparring with commentors or in trying to police he comments."
Here is what I do know. On those "rare" (cough, cough) occasions, it is always with someone who disagrees with you. Let's just say that your crew here is not getting the "heat and light" homily, as would be happening if you actually meant the words.
Posted by: TarlsQtr | Dec 12, 2016 2:32:03 PM
1. I did not say that you requested deleting any comments. I was trying to let you know I would delete an unfair comment if you wanted me to do so (I have made such an offer to others frequently as part of an effort to keep this forum feeling open for those who want to continue to be a part of it). I was not implying that you made such a request, I was just explaining that I would honor such a request if made. Sheesh.
2. You implied that I had an army of "liberals" poised to attack: "Your browncoats will exhaust all but the heartiest of souls (eg. Federalist) with constant insults and smears (see this thread for a small taste) that will keep the liberal/conservative ratio somewhere between 9-1 or 8-2." I surmised from this comment that you viewed all liberals who comment in this forum as "browncoats" in waiting (and somehow under my control). I am sorry this forum feels this way to you, but it is not what I want the forum to be. I want the forum to be an open place for all who want to participate so folks can discuss sentencing law and policy issues without concern that their comments will be deleted by me. I have explained repeatedly that I have no interest in moderating the comments, and I realize that my unwillingness to do so may make this an "unsafe space" for some folks. That makes me sad, but I leave it to others to spend the time/energy policing safe spaces.
3. I am not supporting ad hominen attacks at all. Rather, like Bill Otis, I generally view comments made by people without their real name as a means of "hiding" something. Because this is an open forum, I am happy to let people "hide" their names/backgrounds. But I also understand why some folks, as Bill often did, want to know who might be behind the surname. I am sorry that feel like an attack, but I allowed Bill to try to "out" commenters and allowing all such comments is how I try to leave this forum open.
4. When I speak in public, folks do know that I am an academic at OSU, they often get a link to my blog, they often get background on where I worked before starting at OSU and I have my CV linked to this blog. And I hope everyone can appreciate how my position personally and professionally creates a certain bias in my perspective (Not that you asked, but I think my cultural background as a Jew in part influences my affinity for libertarianism.)
5. Again, you reference "your brownshirt crew" as if I have some team of folks working here eager to make your life difficult. I am sorry you see the world this way, but I benefit from hearing you express this perspective.
6. I do not think you background is "so important," Tarls, but JohnK inquired about it. Why do you attribute that inquiry to me? Do you think I write all the comments under fake names? Again, you seem to think I am some kind of Wizard of Oz doing magic fakery behind some curtain. Nothing could be further from the truth.
7. According to my blogging software, there has been more than 100,000 comments on this blog. I would guess that, save some extended back-and-forths with ever-game federalist, less than 1000 of those comments involve me sparring with commentors or trying to police the comments. Ergo, I would guess I do so only in 1% of the comments and thus my statement that I do this "rarely."
Posted by: Doug B. | Dec 12, 2016 4:17:26 PM
1) Fair enough. Your interpretation of your comment is a rational one, so I will give the benefit of the doubt.
2) LOL "Unsafe space", as if THAT is what I am talking about. You are the king of the subtle dig.
You are going with a non sequitur. My comment does not imply in any way that anyone here who is a liberal is a "browncoat." If someone says that the Teamsters' "union thugs" need to back off, they are not saying everyone who has ever joined a union is a thug. Being a thug makes one a thug and the actions of your browncoats make them browncoats.
3) OF COURSE you are supporting ad hominem. You even SAID so: "The question about your background in the CJ system seems like a fair question."
The question (which it was not, it was a statement) was an ad hominem. It was about me, not the BJS data that I provided. It is the very definition of ad hominem. You said it was "fair." That is supporting an ad hominem by any standard.
The rest, regarding anonymous posters, is completely irrelevant to the conversation. A red herring.
4) You stated: " And I hope everyone can appreciate how my position personally and professionally creates a certain bias in my perspective..."
So, you are saying that you and the organization hosting the event post your CV to put a light on any bias and NOT to promote your expertise?
5) Doug, this is your blog. You pay a host. You are responsible for the content. It's "your" blog, right down to the pillocks who frequent the place.
6) You stated: " I do not think you background is "so important,"..."
Yet, you stated, "it seems like a fair question."
You may want to look back and see what you already said. Choose one position because you cannot have both.
7) Let's say that the 1000 number is accurate. How many of those times did someone sparring against you (Fed, me, Bill, etc.) get the "heat and light" homily compared to the reprobates who mostly agree with you and demean others for their looks?
Posted by: TarlsQtr | Dec 12, 2016 5:26:36 PM
2. Apologies for missing your precise meaning based on your first "browncoat" assertion, Tarls, though it is a bit rich that you complain about now about digs after making a Nazi reference AND suggesting I somehow controlled the folks who post here.
3. I do support the notion that it is relevant to know the background/source/motive of a speaker/actor when considering his speech/action. Are you suggesting it matters not a whit that Russia might have been involved in US election hacking? Is it improperly "ad hominem" that folks want to know who was behind the hacking? Critically, wanting to know the background/source/motive of a speaker fails to dispute the substance of what the speaker is saying, but it might aid a listener to process why and how the speaker is brining up the substance. And, in this open forum, I allow folks to pose comments as they see fit without censorship by me.
4. Folks who ask me to speak can decide as they see fit to spotlight my background and history as they think important, and then could even facilitate "anon" commentary. Here, I do not prevent you, TarlsQtr, from posting behind a fake name, but I also do not prevent others from wondering/speculating about your background.
5. You are right, of course, that this is my blog, and I opt to make the comments an open forum. You seem to dislike everyone (save federalist) who using this forum. So be it. But I do not consider myself morally or legally "responsible" for what others say in this forum any more than I am responsible for what you say here. If you want to run your own forum and assign responsibility, have at it. I run this forum as an open one, and I find it interesting that you, TarlsQtr, seem so energized only to whine about it not being the forum you want it to be. You do truly remind me of folks on college campuses who want to make sure a space is safe before they engage.
6. I have one position: I think it is relevant to know the background/source/motive of a speaker/actor when considering his speech/action, although I think that information is MUCH LESS IMPORTANT than the substance of the speech/action. Do you disagree with this position?
7. Can you give me ANY recent examples of comments by folks in this space who are "reprobates who ... demean others for their looks"? I get that "Hap" was impolite with his foolish "old grumpy and angry white men" comment. But I do not know whom Hap is and I do not think he has ever commented before. I am know I have never criticized you or Bill or federalist for their looks, nor have I ever encouraged a commentor to say impolite stuff.
It is so clear that you, TarlsQtr, dislike the reactions you get when you post here, although it seemed you and Joe and federalist were having a somewhat substantive conversation at the outset. Then along came Hap and anon and you understandably got grumpy. But I try not to let a few bad apple spoil the bunch AND I certainly take no responsibility for the bad apple that end up in this comment bunch. As I have made clear so many times, I lake the time, energy and interest needed to pick through all the moldy comment apples and then try to delete the bad one. I am sorry if that policy make this space feel unpleasant to you, but I have too many other professional obligations to make policing these comments a regular part of my job. That said, I extend again the offer to you that I also make to others: If you request that I delete an impolite comment that is lacking in substance, I will do so.
Posted by: Doug B. | Dec 12, 2016 6:09:42 PM
2) Where did I ever state or imply that you controlled those who post here? In fact, my position is closer to the opposite.
3) Your example (Russia and the election) is absurd. A better analogy would be if I gave my reasons for voting for Trump (I didn't) and you brought up the fact that I have Russian ancestry (I don't) as the real reason. It wouldn't make my arguments for Trump even a fraction weaker.
The BJS data is the BJS data whether I have ever worked in the prison system (again, my actions got more people paroled, not incarcerated) or not. John could be 100% right about my motivations and the data still sits there, as relevant as it was when I posted it. The ad hominem is a way to not talk about the data, which no one has even attempted to do in three and a half days.
4) What a bunch of nonsense. Get back on topic. Do you provide your CV, and the host publish it, with the thought that it is being posted to illuminate your biases or display your expertise?
It's a simple question, Doug, and I know why you have not answered it. So do you.
5) You stated: "But I do not consider myself morally or legally "responsible" for what others say in this forum any more than I am responsible for what you say here."
Of course, I never said that you were "morally or legally responsible" for every word grunted here. However, you are responsible for the general tone of your blog, which reflects on you just as the much more congenial tenor over at C&C reflects upon them.
6) You stated: "I have one position: I think it is relevant to know the background/source/motive of a speaker/actor when considering his speech/action, although I think that information is MUCH LESS IMPORTANT than the substance of the speech/action. Do you disagree with this position?"
I am going to answer your question with a request. Please explain to me how the BJS would be any more or less relevant if I had been a farmer my entire life. When you finally realize that it would not make a bit of difference, you will have your answer. (Seriously, Doug, my college freshman who spell "college" as "collage" can get this with less effort from me.)
7) You stated: "Can you give me ANY recent examples of comments by folks in this space who are "reprobates who ... demean others for their looks"? I get that "Hap" was impolite with his foolish "old grumpy and angry white men" comment. But I do not know whom Hap is and I do not think he has ever commented before. I am know I have never criticized you or Bill or federalist for their looks, nor have I ever encouraged a commentor to say impolite stuff."
A) We both know the event I am talking about, so there is no need to get specific.
B) We both know that most of the prominent people (those whose pictures you could find easily) from the right left years ago.
C) We both know that I have been gone for years now, so more recent examples would be unknown to me. Do you think that this thread has done anything to make me believe things have changed?
D) Your belief that Hap is a first-time poster is absurd, as he would not know who I, federalist, Bill, or SC are.
E) You may not encourage it, but you never discourage it either unless it is a "right wing echo chamber" kind of guy. Again, who here have you given the "heat and light" speech to?
Posted by: TarlsQtr | Dec 12, 2016 8:04:39 PM
Using your numbers/letters to respond, Tarls:
2) You ask: "Where did I ever state or imply that you controlled those who post here?" I say: you described folks as "your [my] browncoats." I thought you were attributing the attacks as "mine" in some way. I am glad to hear that your "position is closer to the opposite."
3) Please understand that efforts to know the background of a speaker does not make the speaker's "arguments ... weaker," but it can enhance the listener's perspective on why the speaker is speaking. When Bill Otis at C&C calls defense attorneys liars, I am interested to know if someone challenging that labeling has a history as a prosecutor or a defense attorney (or a judge or a non-lawyer) even if such a background has no direct relevance to the merits.
You are 100% right no one has attempted to engage with your BJS data, Tarls, but federalist and Joe made some general statements and then you went after them for not engaging with the specific data. And that was fine, but then others (Hap and anon) seemed put off by your responses to federalist and Joe, so they then went after you. Their attacks hardly made them look strong or you look weak, but they clearly got under you skin while they showed me how some are eager to attack you rather than engage with the merits.
4) You ask: "Do you provide your CV, and the host publish it, with the thought that it is being posted to illuminate your biases or display your expertise?" I answer: "I assume it is to display expertise, but it also could/should reveal bias if one believes most university profs are brain-washed liberals (as I surmise you do Tarls) and/or if one believes all lawyers like to promote a dysfunctional system for rent-seeking (as Supremacy Clause likes to say). The point, Tarls, is that every sophisticated listener to some degree thinks about what a speaker is saying in light of their background/history. I know I always read all the bios when I listen to speakers --- and for me those bios serve as a basis to assess experience/expertise AND bias.
5) Tarls, you said "this is your blog .... You are responsible for the content." I say I am responsible for what I write AND for allowing anyone to talk in the open forum that are the comments here. The "congenial tenor" over at C&C that you seem to like is a function of their screening/censorship and attacks on liberals. Other than me, does anyone other than tough-on-crime conservatives regularly comment over at C&C? Especially because you like the substance at C&C, I sense you also like their command-and-control approach to how they run their comments. Fine. But I am more of a freedom-first guy, and that is how I run the comments here. (And I suppose that is a reflection on me, although I recall that you do not think I am really a libertarian. Do you at least acknowledge that I run these comments more like a libertarian than like a big govt guy?)
6) The BJS data would not be any more or less relevant if you had been a farmer, Tarls, but that reality does not change the fact that JohnK and others may care who you are. And that is the point: I give JohnK the freedom to respond to your comment as he sees fit; I am not policing the comments to require everyone to only respond the way you think they should respond. If you want to control what others say in a comment section, run your own comment section and you can implement your own command and control rules. In my comments, freedom is the rule, and that includes your freedom to criticize JohnK or me or anyone else you want to criticize, whether or not that criticism seems to me to be "on point."
7) Candidly, I have a very short memory so....
"A) We both know the event I am talking about, so there is no need to get specific."
I really do not recall the event at issue... AND
"B) We both know that most of the prominent people (those whose pictures you could find easily) from the right left years ago."
Other than Bill, I am not sure who else "left" this comment space years ago... AND
"C) We both know that I have been gone for years now, so more recent examples would be unknown to me. Do you think that this thread has done anything to make me believe things have changed?"
I can see why this thread made you grumpy, and I share your general distaste for those how respond to unpleasant facts with off-topic attacks. But I also let freedom fester here because it helps me see who is able and who is unable to meet facts with facts.
"D) Your belief that Hap is a first-time poster is absurd, as he would not know who I, federalist, Bill, or SC are."
I did not recall the posting name, and I just did a search for Hap comments. It appear he commented a few times in Dec 2015, twice in summer 2013, and once in Spring 2012. And it seems he went after Bill and you in the older postings. Again, my memory is not so good, so I had to look this up. And, I will offer yet again: if you want me to delete an impolite Hap post, I will do so. My policy is to delete, upon request, impolite comments that add nothing of substance to the discourse.
"E) You may not encourage it, but you never discourage it either unless it is a "right wing echo chamber" kind of guy. Again, who here have you given the "heat and light" speech to?"
I have a few times, though not all that recently, encouraged federalist to limit his name-calling, and I have sometimes more generally requested that folks try to stay civil in the comments (often in the past in response to complaints about Supremacy Clause). Indeed, in recent years I have given up urging folks to be civil in the comments because such exhortations never seem to do much good. I surmise that you think conservatives are uniquely victimized in this forum. I will not dispute your feelings in that regard, but if this is true it is a product of my inability and unwillingness to police the comments to serve any particular perspective and thus provides another interesting example of "free
media" looking biased to some.
Posted by: Doug B. | Dec 12, 2016 10:41:38 PM