Sunday, July 3, 2016

Too Many People in Prison? The Ignorance of the Intelligentsia

By Michael P. Tremoglie

There are politicians, pundits, lawyers, scholars and think tank advocates who say we imprison too many people in the U.S.A. They do so on the basis of a report issued by a researcher for a university in London that could be considered opposed to incarcerating criminals. 

Unlike Bernie Sanders, George Will, the ACLU, the NLG, Cato Institute, Reason, the Sentencing Project, the World Socialist Web Site and others - I actually spoke to the author of that report. I asked him how many people should be in prison in the U.S.A.  Predictably, he declined to answer saying it is up to Americans to determine this.

I would also like to point out that a DOJ report about those sentenced to be executed for murder determined that about 40 percent for whom a legal status was available were on parole when they committed the murder and 30 percent were on probation. I ask you to think about the gravity of this. 

Worse yet, nine percent of whites, ten percent of African-Americans, and seven percent of Hispanics had a prior homicide conviction when they committed the murder for which they are being executed. This has changed little from when I first learned of this data about twenty years ago. I implore you to consider the magnitude of this. 

Racially speaking, a higher percentage of African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans than whites were on parole or probation when they committed the murder for which they have been sentenced.

So how do we have too many people in prison?

How can anyone take Bernie Sanders, George Will, the ACLU, Cato, Reason, the Sentencing Project et al seriously? They simply do not know all the facts.

Happy Independence Day (BTW I send this from outside of the Graff House where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence .)


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