From: Jonathan Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue 09 Sep 2003 - 12:53:06 GMT
-----Original Message----- From: John Croft [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: 08 September 2003 16:50 To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: politically insane
[Jonathan 1]I also note the Michael Mooresque moan about incarceration
black Americans. The simple and horrible truth is that the
incarceration rates reflect the offending rates perfectly. You does
the crime , you does the time.
The Americans have enjoyed an enormous drop in crime over the last
The recent peaceful blackout in New York is an excellent
example of how much things have improved. Simply contrast the riots in
1977 with last months peaceful and relatively crime free blackout.
That great society is defeating crime, we ought to imitating their success.
[John 1] Interesting that during this time the number of people
incarcerated rose from 200,000 in the 1970's to 2.3 million people
today, with a further 1.8 million out on early release schemes and
parole. You surely cannot be arguing for fifteen fold increase in the
crime rates since 1970?
[Jonathan 2] No, I am not arguing about crime rates here - I don't know
the facts. I do know that US crime has dropped significantly and part of
the reason is attributed to higher incarceration rates.
[John 1] The chief reasons for the increase in crime rates seem to have
been due to the privatisation of the industry and a powerful lobby in
politics to "get tough on crime" even when crime figures were improving.
[Jonathan 2] Whilst I accept that the security lobby (and that includes
the police) have an interest in exaggerating crime, I do not see how the
increase in crime rates can be attributed to privatisation of the
industry and a powerful lobby in politics getting tough on crime. Am I
right in thinking you are saying that "tough on crime" measures
aggravate crime rates?
[John 1] Regarding the figures for black imprisonment, it is true that
the figures are disproportionate. It is interesting that most states
now spend more on incarcerating their black male youth than educating
[Jonathan 2] That African-Americans are a deeply troubled group is
obvious. Regarding education versus crime fighting budgets, it is
possible, given the scale of Afro-American criminality and the crisis in
education of Afro-American males, that they overlap. I do not think this
significant, just a sad indication of the state of that community.
[John 1] It is also interesting that figures show that fewer blacks than
whites are represented by top lawyers,
[Jonathan 2] This is simple economics. You get what you pay for.
African-Americans are poorer than other groups therefore it is not
surprising they buy fewer top lawyers. That said, it does not even begin
to explain why so many crimes are committed by African Americans. The
most interesting statistics are those based on victim reports. These
figures are not corrupted by any possible unfairness in the justice
system but simply tell us some basic facts about offenders in various
classes. You will find that there is a strong correlation between
conviction rates and offending rates as signalled by such reports. The
FBI keeps detailed statistics on this if you are interested in checking
up on this.
[John 1] ...more [African-Americans] are encouraged to plead guilty on
promises of leniency.
[Jonathan 2] They are the majority in the justice system. Urban
African-Americans males under 25 make up "well over half (and nearly
three quarters) of violent offenders"
(http://faculty.ncwc.edu/toconnor/301/301lect15.htm - citing Miethe & McCorkle 1998). A common complaint is that the war of drugs unfairly targets blacks and this accounts for the figures. As these statistics on violent crime show, that hypothesis is not sound.
[John 1] The rate of offending black versus white is not the same rate
as the rate of incarceration.
[Jonathan 2] Correct. But as I have mentioned above, by virtually any
measure African-Americans are massively over-represented in criminality
indices. The rate of incarceration reflects this.
[John 1] Blacks tend to attract more custodial sentencies, for longer
periods than whites found guilty of the same crime.
[Jonathan 2] So what? This implies that the system is unfair to blacks,
but there is no evidence of this. Firstly, some group has to have
slightly longer averages. Absolute parity would be impossible. Secondly,
the explanations for this discrepancy are manifold. For example, the
longer sentences may because of aggravating circumstances or prior
criminal records. A criminal before the courts for his third felony
will attract a longer sentence than someone who has never been convicted
[John 1]We have similar circumstances facing our Australian Aboriginal
populations in Australia.
[Jonathan 2] Like America you probably have an underclass that is
deteriorating. Given 30 years of social engineering has failed, maybe
the retributive method ought to be tried? It is working in America, even
if the social costs to some communities is very high. Perhaps some form
of operant conditioning will occur at a macro-level?
[John 1] Hope this helps explain the situation better.
[Jonathan 2] Certainly made me think, so thank John!
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