New Reason Criminal Injustice Articles

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

A few new articles from the Reason special issue on the criminal justice system are now available online:

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13 Responses to “New Reason Criminal Injustice Articles”

  1. #1 |  Bob | 

    How does our incarceration rate compare with the Nazi incarceration of European Jews in the 40’s?

    If this holds the current course, it’s only a matter of time before someone comes up with the ‘idea’ that all our fiscal problems are caused by the high cost of processing and incarcerating ‘criminals’ and that a final solution is in order. You’ll even get to vote on it! What will it be? Free Health care and Social Security for non-criminals! Just vote yes on the Criminal Correction Act of 2020.

    And what will people do when this starts? Nothing. They’ll be too afraid of being next. We’re already desensitizing the Police so they’ll be willing and able to just break into anyone’s home and haul them in at the muzzle of a machine gun, the steps needed to descent into Totalitarianism are already shown by history.

  2. #2 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    If you believe in government, I would think two of the most important duties of government MUST be:
    1. Be real careful sending soldiers to die in wars
    2. Be real careful with locking up your citizens

    De Rugy’s work is good. I wonder out loud how effective a cost argument will be with Americans if they have no problem on War spending that is more than every country in human history (combined) has ever spent. And, since 1980 has sent 46,706 of their family members to their deaths and 100s of thousands mutilated.*

    Quick…identify the key threats to America since 1980. Was it Haiti, Somalia, Panama, Grenada, Iraq, Lebanon, or Afghanistan?
    Did you say “Russia” instead of “Urgent Fury, Just Cause, Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Restore Hope, and Uphold Democracy”? They use those dopey names and call libertarians crazy?

    However; the needle seems to have moved away from Reagan’s “Hip To Be Square” and “throw all drug users in jail…except the Reagan children”. There seems to be a possibility of adopting alternative punishments for non-violent offenders currently in prison (the vast majority of which are for minor drug issues). This is important. The first steps won’t come from chicken-shit politicians. It’ll come from the peasants.

    *Congressional Research Service. Queue the partisan debate about which presidents had more/fewer deaths…because that’s important.

  3. #3 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    Present incarceration rates are not sustainable.
    And the change will be for economic reasons, not moral or political.
    From 200,000 in 1980 to 2.3 million in 2011.
    At this rate we’ll have 25 million prisoners by 2030.
    Something’s gotta give. I just don’t know what.

    BTW Any coincidence that this trend coincides (chronologically) with obesity and crazy military spending? I refer to this as the Fat Homicidal Incarceration Nation Hypothesis.

  4. #4 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Yizmo, didn’t you feel the same way about military spending and endless war? The rates have been unsustainable for awhile, but we keep killing and spending.

    I honestly believe the state doesn’t give a crap about “sustainability”. They will get theirs while they can and then get out when everything crashes. Looking at countries that actually have collapsed and the peasants suffer the most and the elite escape largely untouched…swooping back in to seize nearly everything.

    I’d be more hopeful if I could come up with any expansion of power* the state has ever veered away from for financial reasons.

    *I certainly classify making everyone a felon an expansion of state power.

  5. #5 |  hamburglar007 | 

    That keyguard ad is kinda freaking me out.

  6. #6 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    The Fall of 2008 crash woke people up to the fact that all these
    unsustainable trends were finally catching up with us. No, the State doesn’t give a crap about sustainability, but if there’s no money left, the resources dry up and the State’s (self-serving) opinions become irrelevant.

    Regarding informants, I thought there was a ray of hope in the Sonya Singleton decision when the appeals court said Federal Prosecutors giving money or leniency to informants were committing bribery. It seemed like a case where there law supported this opinion, but where the practical consequences (for Prosecutors) wasgoing to be catastrophic, hence the judges caved. We’d be in better shape now if this practice had been abolished.

  7. #7 |  Greg | 

    I honestly believe the state doesn’t give a crap about “sustainability”. They will get theirs while they can and then get out when everything crashes. Looking at countries that actually have collapsed and the peasants suffer the most and the elite escape largely untouched…swooping back in to seize nearly everything.

    This is exactly where we are heading. The train has been building up speed for the last 30 years, ain’t no stoppin’ it now. As Boyd notes, history is replete with examples of the next few stops along our journey.

    While deRugy’s work is a nice short, it does not address one of the elephants in the room – around 10% of the US prison population is incarcerated in a for-profit prison.

    Beyond the standard interested parties always profiting by constructing and outfitting a new State-run prison, we now have the added driver of corporations making money by locking people up.

    Which makes it a fiduciary responsibility to ensure that the prison is full, and that the least amount of money possible is spent caring for them. We knew this was a bad idea when it was proposed, we knew it would go as it has, but the average person was buying the neocon propaganda even back then.

  8. #8 |  freebob | 

    Is anyone else having problems with the blog? I’ve thought Balko hasn’t posted anything new since June 8th, I only got here through a link in Balko’s twitter. Every time I try to open the Agitator through my bookmark or through google it goes back to June 8th, if I click on Home from here it goes back to June 8th.

  9. #9 |  freebob | 

    Nevermind, as soon as I posted this comment it changed. Weird, huh!

  10. #10 |  Eyewitness | 

    Lucky for you, freebob, It hasn’t changed for me, no matter what computer or browser I use. Even clearing the DNS cache didn’t work.

  11. #11 |  Andrew S. | 

    Still isn’t working for me, though I can see the articles thanks to RSS (Live Bookmark on Firefox).

  12. #12 |  Greg | 

    Save for a short time on Thursday night, I have had zero trouble. There have been time in the past where I haven’t been able to get on for 10-12 hours, but it always seems to heal itself.

    FWIW- XP, Firefox, and have agitator bookmarked.

  13. #13 |  JOR | 


    Actually, for about as long as people have been making the argument from costs against capital punishment, pro-execution people have been countering with “but if we just get rid of the appeals process and immediately execute them after sentencing, we’ll eliminate the costs”. Of course this argument is usually made as part of a proposed policy of executing more types of convicted prisoners (usually rapists and drug dealers, sometimes all drug users as well). But actually, anyone with a fair number of “conservative” acquaintances has probably heard some grumblings in hope of that final solution you mentioned (I once had hyper-conservative great uncle defending Nazi and Soviet persecution of dissidents in an argument with me, which I guess is more anecdotal evidence for the meaninglessness of the “left-right” divide).