“[A] large fraction of prison sentences are for nonviolent drug offenses, but a small fraction of the prison population is in for a nonviolent drug crime. This is because, despite the harshness of mandatory minimum sentences, drug criminals don’t spend nearly as much time in prison as other kinds of criminals.
It’s tempting to believe that we could free most of the prison population simply by liberating nonviolent drug offenders. Nonviolent drug offenders are “innocent”; they haven’t hurt anybody. Advocating on behalf of criminals is much easier when they haven’t committed any violent crime.”
“And yet this misses the point of the prison crisis: you cannot relieve the suffering of the prison population without increasing safety risks for the rest of us.
And increasing those risks, from a moral standpoint, is the right thing to do.”
“An important part of that answer has to be that we must simply put up with an increased level of risk in our daily lives. But what about Charles Manson? … [If]the primary purpose of prisons is to keep us safe from (the vanishingly small number of) people like Charles Manson, then we should simply kill Charles Manson. Prison abolitionists should be ready to advocate a massive expansion of the death penalty if that’s what it takes to move the discussion forward. A prisonless society where murderers were systematically executed and rapists were automatically castrated wouldn’t be the most humane society imaginable, but it would be light-years ahead of the status quo.”
“The Justice Department now seems to be saying that prison rape accounted for the majority of all rapes committed in the US in 2008, likely making the United States the first country in the history of the world to count more rapes for men than for women.”
So then the status quo as far as prison is concerned must be fine with you, lol. Is that what you meant?
One such complaint was filed in 1995 by Rodney Hulin, a boy from Amarillo, Texas, who had been arrested as a 15-year-old after throwing a Molotov cocktail into a pile of garbage. The trash burned, causing about $500 worth of damage to the exterior of an adjacent house. Hulin’s prank was unimpressive, but Texas in the mid-’90s had little tolerance for teenage ruffianism; in 1994, George W. Bush had become governor, defeating Ann Richards, a popular incumbent, by depicting her as soft on crime. Hulin was charged with two counts of second-degree arson. He was a small guy—just five feet tall and 125 pounds—but he got a big sentence: eight years in adult prison.
Within a month of arriving at Clemens Unit, a temporary holding facility outside Houston for juveniles on their way to adult prison, Hulin was raped by another inmate. He asked to be moved out of harm’s way, but his request was denied, and the rapes continued. In a letter to prison authorities, he wrote, “I might die at any minute. Please sir, help me.” Help was not forthcoming: getting raped was not deemed urgent enough to meet the requirements of the prison’s emergency grievance criteria. When Hulin got his mother to complain to the prison’s warden, she was told that Hulin needed to “grow up” and “learn to deal with it.”
Hulin’s method for dealing with it was to kill himself. Ten weeks after his arrival, he was discovered dangling from the ceiling of his cell.
This is an unserious article that tries to hand-wave away the reality of how much crime is out there and how bad it is. Maybe the author doesn't much care or know about the reality of extremely common violent crimes, but I've learned the details of too many murder, rape, assault, and burglary cases to be so cavalier. Try immersing yourself in the details of a single criminal case where an innocent person has been seriously hurt, and see if you can honestly say you don't want the defendant to serve a significant sentence.
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