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December 4, 2006

Criminal Statutes: A Success?

CBS has a report about a study on how many people are in the prison or jail system. Believe it or not, it's 1 out of 32. That's amazing...ly sad. You can read the article here. Here's one excerpt: "Racial disparities among prisoners persist. In the 25-29 age group, 8.1 percent — about one in every 13 — of black men are incarcerated, compared with 2.6 percent of Hispanic men and 1.1 percent of white men. And it's not much different among women. By the end of 2005, black women were more than twice as likely as Hispanics and over three times as white women to be in prison."

I live in the Deep South -- Macon, Georgia -- after having grown up in Tucson, attended law school in Chicago, and practiced law in Houston and Austin, Texas, and I have come to believe that education is the key to a lot of these problems. But I'm no expert.

December 4, 2006 in Current Affairs | Permalink


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That many are incarcerated strikes me as a failure of society, rather than a failure of "statutes." If many are incarcerated, that seems like the statutes are doing their job; I'd be concerned that the statutes weren't working if criminals were instead running freely.

But, yeah, the incarceration rate is undoubtedly a problem, but I'm not sure complaints about our "criminal system" are apposite; rather, as you suggest, failures in education and other social factors are responsible for this unfortunate situation.

Posted by: andy | Dec 8, 2006 12:45:07 AM

No doubt it's a bit a of many things, but a solution which criminalizes that much conduct, and so disproportionately among races, suggests to me that something is amiss. The costs, expense, recidivism issues...

Posted by: David Hricik | Dec 13, 2006 2:37:14 AM

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