In language designed to alarm viewers, the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric reported on Wednesday night that the U.S. has the world's largest prison population - more than two million people behind bars - and that a Pew study says it is costing states more than $50 billion a year. But what Couric and national correspondent Jim Axelrod failed to point out is that more prisons have equaled less crime.
Hmmm, I'm no expert but maybe there is some sort of relationship between the spending and the decrease in crime? Nah, that would be too easy. It must be something else.
Your attitude is "don't do the crime if you can't do the time".
23 years of prosecution - not bad for a 27 year old.
From reading the blog, the CBS story and the Pew Study, I gather the journalists are suggesting that prisons are not an effective in deterring crime.
If roughly 45% of people who leave prison commit new crimes within 3 years of release, then clearly they did not learn their lesson the first time around.
From what I've read and seen as a prosecutor, prison is most effective for the people we want to warehouse and keep locked up forever. That's the only guarantee we have to deter them from committing crimes against the general public.
The study does acknowledge what the critics say it does not - namely:
"Crime has been falling since the early 1990s, and is now at its lowest level since 1968.
Prison expansion certainly contributed to this trend"
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