Berkeley CSUA MOTD:2009:August:14 Friday <Thursday, Saturday>
Berkeley CSUA MOTD
2009/8/14-9/1 [Politics/Domestic/Crime] UID:53270 Activity:low
8/14    How California's Lock-Em-Up Mentality actually makes crime worse:
        \_ Sounds nice, but the stats say the crime rate is better since
           we started locking them up.
           \_ You should look up "correlation and causation."
              \_ Just because they are not necessarily correlated doesn't
                 mean they aren't.
                 \_ I know you are but what am I?
           \_ The Economist would beg to differ with you:
              \_ This article doesn't mention the crime rate at all. It
                 mentions recidivism. Even with the same yahoos getting
                 out of jail and immediately committing more crimes, the
                 crime rate has fallen. Imagine how good it would be if we
                 simply executed those troublemakers. Now, I don't think
                 that is morally acceptable and don't condone it, but I
                 say that to point out that the prison programs are broken
                 but that has nothing to do with sentencing. We can
                 restore funding to prison programs and cut the costs of
                 housing prisoners (per prisoner) *both* with the current
                 tough-on-crime stance still in effect. However, you
                 shouldn't need a PhD in statistics to realize that
                 releasing a lot of gang-affiliated criminals in jail for
                 lesser sentences like assault and dope dealing is not
                 going to be *GOOD* for the crime rate.
                 \_ These guys have a good summary of the research on the topic,
                    but the summary is that states with higher incarceration
                    rates have actually seen less of a drop in crime than
                    those states with lower incarceration rates:
                    \_ Interesting article, but one might argue that the
                       states with less crime therefore needed fewer
                       incarcerations. In Figure 2, the authors point to
                       two time periods with increased incarcerations. In
                       one of them, the crime rate increased and in the
                       other it decreased. They call this "divergent". One
                       might also say that even though the rate of
                       incarceration increased perhaps it didn't increase
                       *enough* and that the results of the second time period
                       were partially a result of the higher incarcerations in
                       the first time period. I don't think anyone is
                       naive enough to suggest that other factors (like the
                       economy) don't influence crime, but even the
                       authors of this study don't go so far as to say
                       that incarcerations do not affect positively the crime
                       rate - claiming it accounts for only 25% of the
                       reduction. They take this figure from another paper
                       in the UK which did some econometric studies. I
                       started to read this and it looks like good
                       research, but I hate to restate the obvious:
                       releasing criminals from jail is not going to lower
                       the crime rate. Therefore, it could only increase
                       or stay the same. Given that the CA prison system
                       is inept at rehabbing prisoners, I am going to
                       guess those people will return to crime. The
                       solution is not to release people early or get soft
                       on crime. The solution is to lower prison costs and
                       put some of that savings into programs that might
                       actually rehabilitate criminals. If that happens
                       then maybe we can consider revising sentencing.
                       Until then, you will be releasing people into the
                       community that have no business being released.
                       \_ One could argue that the real problem was locking
                          them up in the first place, which has been shown to
                          turn petty drug dealers into hardened criminals. So
                          in the short term you might be right, but in the long
                          term, locking up fewer people (and the right people
                          of course) will likely lower the crime right.
                          of course) will likely lower the crime rate.
                          \_ I don't like to argue the past. However we got
                             here, we are here. I would argue that if you
                             lock up enough people (all of them) the crime rate
                             can be reduced to zero. Dealing and doing
                             drugs is not a victimless crime and we are
                             right to be hard on those criminals, but we
                             need better support programs for them because
                             it's a hard habit to break. If you want to
                             lock up fewer people then they need to commit
                             less crime, but I refuse to ignore crimes
                             that are committed. There are programs which
                             may help make people less inclined to turn to
                             a life of crime, but those are orthogonal to
                             what to do with the people who have already
                             chosen that path.
                             \_ I am sure the crime rate in prison is higher
                                than the crime rate outside of prison, so your
                                lock em up mentality is unlikely to work.
                                Smoking a doobie doesn't mean you have chosen
                                a "life of crime" by your standards all of our
                                last three presidents are career criminals.
                                Come to think of it...
                                \_ As long as pot is illegal then it's a crime
                                   and a lot of crimes were likely committed to
                                   bring that joint to you, some of them
                                   not so innocuous.
                                   \_ Speeding is illegal too, are you planning
                                      on locking up all the auto drivers, too?
                                      I am sure more people are killed over oil
                                      than pot, does that make driving immoral?
                                      \_ Speeding is illegal, but not a felony.
                                         However, there are plenty of
                                         situations where speeders can end
                                         up in jail, too. Smoking pot is
                                         not a victimless crime. If it's
                                         made legal then that would solve
                                         a lot of the related crime, but
                                         it's illegal and, yes, there is a
                                         lot more crime committed to grow,
                                         smuggle, and sell you drugs than
                                         there is to pump, refine, and
                                         sell you gasoline from Texas.
                                         \_ Smoking pot is not a felony either.
                                            80% of our oil comes from overseas,
                                            so you should look at what is
                                            happening in Iraq, Venezuela or
                                            Nigeria, instead of Texas. Most
                                            CA pot is grown locally, in fact.
                                            \_ Selling it is and having
                                               more than an ounce of it
                                               could be. Cultivation is
                                               also a felony. The rest of
                                               your straw man bores me.
                                               How many people are killed
                                               in the name of dihydrogen
                                               monoxide? We compete for
                                               all resources. However, I
                                               guarantee you Chevron is not
                                               out there committing rampant
                                               crimes to obtain, manufacture,
                                               and distribute its product.
        \_ we should lock them up in labor camps
           \_ At least we shouldn't provide better healthcare to them than to
              citizens outside of jail.
Berkeley CSUA MOTD:2009:August:14 Friday <Thursday, Saturday>