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July 22, 2015

Tough-on-crime crowd making the case for modern mass incarceration

The folks who blog at Crime & Consequences are among the most effective and eloquent advocates for the modern size, scope and operation of the American criminal justice system, and they have been especially active of late lamenting the ever-growing number of politicians calling the current system broken and urging reduced reliance on incarceration.   Here are links to just some of the major posts in this vein from C&C in the last few weeks (some of which link to others criticizing sentencing reform efforts):

July 22, 2015 at 09:15 AM | Permalink


They are certainly consistent, but I'm not as convinced as you are that these are eloquent defenses of their position. They do little distinguish correlation from causation, and arguments like the one stating that sentencing reform is driven by some with "contempt for the United States" is an attempt to slander rather than confront real arguments.

Posted by: Francis | Jul 22, 2015 9:33:42 AM

More nonsense from the very same people who have benefited directly, monetarily, by throwing people in prison. Thankfully the tide is turning against these troglodytes who are past their prime and as General Douglas McArthur once said, will "just fade away".

Posted by: Frequent Reader | Jul 22, 2015 6:27:49 PM

"They do little distinguish correlation from causation"--probably because the link between causation and correlation is so obvious. Criminals commit crimes--that's what they do. (People don't generally wake up on day and decide to mug an old lady and then go back to being normal.) Hence, when you incarcerate criminals for longer stretches, you prevent a lot of crime.

As for "contempt for the United States", Obama's point of view seems to be that the American justice system is hopelessly corrupt etc. These are arguments not aimed at tweaking punishments so that they fit the crime (note: a sentencing regime is going to have some risk allocation, and generally, criminals aren't going to be favored). There are lots of solid discussions to be had along those lines, but the arguments emanating from the choomhead attack the system itself and are deeply insulting of the society (i.e., the US) as a whole.

Frequent Reader, I don't recall you taking me on for my many posts in here. You think I am a trogolodyte--bring it on.

Posted by: federalist | Jul 23, 2015 9:40:15 AM

@federalist: Neither your understanding of criminogenic tendencies nor your view of what ultimately lessens crime rates comports with social science.

And if one finds an organization corrupt, they cannot attempt to reform it without having contempt for the broader society in which it exists? I would think it would be the duty of one who respects that society to try and reform an institution that they believe disserves the society.

Posted by: Francis | Jul 23, 2015 9:57:50 AM

If crime goes up, will we need more or less government?

If crime goes up, will we need to hire more or fewer lawyers?

If crime goes up, will Harvard Law grads do better or worse in their power seeking?

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 23, 2015 10:34:31 AM

'federalist' I've read your numerous posts both here and on C&C and most times find them too extreme to warrant any kind of a rational response or debate. The same feeling I'd have conducting a class on civil rights for a group of Texas Syndicate members.

Posted by: Frequent Reader | Jul 23, 2015 12:41:17 PM

Frequent Reader, that's just rich. You impugn others for "throwing people in prison" as if people don't belong there, and yap about troglodytes who think that criminals need to be locked up for public safety and other reasons (ever have your car stolen?), and I am extreme. Truly funny.

You're a name-caller, nothing else.

As for Francis, good grief--locking people up is an effective way to reduce crime. Now you might think that other considerations militate against harsh sentences, but locking up people who commit crimes does work from the standpoint of public safety. As for the choomhead's polemics, he's basically impugning the entire justice system as racist, and it's wrong to do so.

Posted by: federalist | Jul 23, 2015 12:56:26 PM

If your point is that incapacitation prevents someone from committing a crime, well, of course. But the end point of that logic is that if we just locked up everyone from birth, we'd never have any crime. You're already dealing with a system that does not impose default life sentences (nor do I think you're arguing for one), so you have to deal with the overall effect that mass incarceration is having before you assert that it is effective at reducing crime. Statistics suggest it is not: http://qz.com/458675/in-america-mass-incarceration-has-caused-more-crime-than-its-prevented/.

To say that it's "wrong" to impugn something as racist assumes the conclusion, especially in light of the evidence that race is a top determiner of treatment in the criminal justice system. If one believes in good faith that a system is improperly taking race into account, it is "contemptuous" of the country to try to fix that system? That makes no sense.

I'd also consider dropping the epithets if you want to be taken seriously.

Posted by: Francis | Jul 23, 2015 3:22:29 PM

Blacks do not have higher rates of anti-social personality disorder. Their rates of addiction, as a motive to steal, is lower than in whites.

1) They have high raes of bastardy, the single most powerful determinant of criminality.

2) Black victims are discriminated against, having less police protection, less aggressive enforcement, and are more devalued by the courti in handing down lighter sentences including fewer death sentences in their murders. There is no racial disparity in arrests, in prosecution, nor in sentencing by race. The large fraction of black prisoners correlates well with the large fraction of black criminals.

3) If racism were a factor in sentencing, then truly pitch black skinned people would have the highest rates of incarceration. Black skinned Africans have lower rates of crime than whites.Black immigrants, real blacks are the new Koreans, curve busters, superior functioning people. An example? President Obama. Why? Low bastardy rates, family values, intact patriarchal families, religiosity, work ethic. The race whores are not even black. Their DNA can be traced mostly to the British Isles. They are really half white trash, explaining their ghetto culture.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 23, 2015 6:00:44 PM

Francis. If you keep suing the police, and keep calling tribunals racist, you will deter them. That means that blacks will have more crime victimization. You never question your advocacy for the black thug. Yet, your advocacy is a factor in the high murder rate of black. The left is responsible for their bastardy rates, on the front end, and for their mass murders on the back end. There is no bigger racist and mass murderer of blacks than the race whore. That does not count the million extra black viable babies murdered in the womb, by the vile feminist lawyer and its male running dogs.

I go beyond using epithets. I go to seeking the mass arrest of the lawyer hierarchy, an hour's fair trial, and their summary executions for treason, and mass murder. Even the most conservative would be included. See Roberts and Scalia for their appalling betrayal of the nation, all for a few lousy lawyer government make work jobs.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 24, 2015 8:07:17 AM

I go way beyond the people at C & C. There are 20 million FBI Index felonies, the common law crimes, not including drug dealing. There are 2 million prosecutions. That makes the criminal law nearly irrelevant to the crime rate. One can sense that in crime movies based on real stories. The biggest problems are caused by other criminals, and the police is always off to the side in those movies.

I am proposing to end the 20 million crimes as a goal. Because each criminal commits 200 crimes a year, the criminal person must be addressed. I have argued incapacitation is the sole mature and lawful goal of the criminal law (not self evident). I have argued the death penalty is the sole reliable incapacitation sentence (self evident).

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 24, 2015 8:15:09 AM

The system IS corrupt to the extent it is run by and for prosecutors and former prosecutors (most judges and lawmakers). And let's face it...prosecutors lord over the turkey shoot our criminal justice system has become.

I'm a long time reader of Doug's blog, too, and it has often occurred to me the arguments typically put forward by Supremacy and federalist reflect staunchly conservative/authoritarian dispositions and inclinations (and possibly some personal/anecdotal experiences with a criminal) and not a rational/objective consideration of facts.

Posted by: John K | Jul 27, 2015 1:42:33 PM

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