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December 13, 2006


Interesting post. I agree that we need to look long and hard at how we're using prisons. However, according to Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner in _Freakonomics_, the increased use of prisons from in the 80s and 90s “accounts for roughly one-third of the drop in crime.” This contradicts your about “about one-fourth.” To play devil’s advocate, isn’t a 33% reduction in murder worth any amount of money?

I am convinced that we need to take a much more strategic approach to crime. My 30 years of experience with the administration of justice as a prosecutor, defense lawyer, and in dealing with legislation convince me that it is a serious mistake to put people in cages. There must be a better and less costly solution.

Prisons are incubators for gangs, and teach racism.

75% of those incarcerated don't have fathers. See invest in children-prevent crime organization for more information. My question, why isn't there more concerted efforts on early prevention? Taking good care of high risk children instead of cutting funding for early years.

Thanks for your comments. I think there must be a better way to reduce crime than by continually relying on locking people up. A 33% decrease in crime is significant, for sure, but the question becomes whether or not that decrease in crime is worth the negative effects (and high costs) of incarceration. While the answer is still up for debate, I believe that we can come up with a more balanced combination of programs involving prevention, rehabilitation, and of course incarceration, in order to more effectively reduce crime and its associated costs.

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