Putting Faces On That 1 Out Of 100 Incarceration Rate

Like I noted here, Louisiana has the highest incarceration rate in the country.

Today in class we were discussing some of the social reform movements of the mid 1800’s. When we reached prison reforms, I asked the class, expecting maybe one or two hands, if anyone had ever been inside a prison. At least two thirds of the class raised their hands, many of them with shouts like “We went and seen my cousin in there” “My uncle over at . . . ” “My daddy be in . . . .”

Those are serious collateral costs to get tough on crime plans. When the crime involves harm to another person, the costs are probably justified, though I bet they are rarely counted by those imposing them. What I’d like to know, though, is how many of these kids are missing family members because of what another blogger calls:

our absurd, idiotic, obscenely, nay, astronomically expensive and absolutely doomed to perpetual failure “War On Drugs.”

In those cases, the costs will never be justified. It’s harm with no corresponding benefit.

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One Comment on “Putting Faces On That 1 Out Of 100 Incarceration Rate”

  1. Himself Says:

    I’ve spent 20+ years working with a Quaker organization that has tried to point out exactly what you’re talking about – incarceration also hurts the family members who are waiting on the outside.

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