Monday, May 22, 2006

GO DIRECTLY TO JAIL, DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT . . .

This article, addressing America's high incarceration rate, offers more provocative bits of data than I really wanna read in one sitting. Of course, the usual topics show up: drug laws, racial composition of the prison population, statistics showing which red states have the highest incarceration rate and which blue states rank lowest. Although, to my surprise, none of the familar stats showing that we rank with China, South Africa, North Korea, The Gulag, and Nazi Germany for number of prisoners. I won't offer any moral condemnation here or weigh in with my theories of why this is, what it means, when it'll doom us in the future, nor how we'll improve going forward. You've heard it all, so have I, there's no need to go there.

But the story's alarming nonetheless. Arresting, you might say. The most interesting & disturbing part relates to an increase among prisoners in municipal jails who've been indicted, but not yet convicted & sentenced, for state & federal crimes. 62 percent of those held in local jails are not convicted. The Head of the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics told reporters, "the jail population is increasingly unconvicted, [j]udges are perhaps more reluctant to release people pretrial."

Denied bail, because of the apparent "risk of flight." I have some ideas, but I'll leave the conclusions to you.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

anyone want's to go into private prison business with me? should prove very proffitable 60%-70% returns easy. I just wonder how come Halliburton isn't doing yet, ...or are they?

12:11 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Anon-

Get it started, I'm in! Man, I can smell the money.

Unfortunately, I can't fork over my capital invetment *just* now, but I'm good for it. I swear.

1:06 PM  
Blogger ajsmith said...

There you go again, Mike, heading off into terrain that used to be my bread and butter - forcing me to impose upon you and your readers links to writings long-forgotten by anyone except my mother.

Actually, I'm kinda proud of the editorial linked below, which made it halfway around the world and was read aloud, in part, by a legislator on the floor of the Hansard (Austalia) Legislative Assembly as they were considering the adoption of mandatory minimum sentencing.

Read it here

As to your question about about the fate of Will Foster, the guy in Oklahoma sentenced to 93 yrs for growing marijuana for medicinal use, I'm happy to report that after a full-throated outcry from people across the country (and more than a quarter million dollars in legal bills) Foster was paroled (on his second try) after six years.

Had it not been for the national attention and pressure, - or Foster's ability to borrow enough money to pay his appeals attorneys - however, there is no doubt that he would be there still.

4:48 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

AJ-

So, did they adopt the mandatory minimum sentencing?

Keep on imposing by the way.

7:14 PM  

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