April 27, 2008
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR AMERICA'S SWOLLEN PRISON POPULATION? Bill Stuntz says it's pretty much everyone: "The best answer is probably: everyone in a position of political or legal authority over the last thirty years. But I’m pretty sure one common answer—we have a huge, disproportionately black prison population primarily because of the policy choices made by conservative Republicans like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush—is wrong. The political right plainly contributed, and contributed a lot, to the generation-long run-up in our prison population. But the political left probably contributed even more."
Read the whole thing. Including this: "Criminal justice works badly when the voters whose preferences govern the system are not the voters who feel the effects of crime and punishment most directly."