Those are some pretty good odds if you are asking me if I want to buy a lottery ticket. Instead, they represent the odds that any given American is in prison or jail as I type. The NYTimes reported yesterday that 1 out of every 100 Americans is behind bars. Crikey.
Then, NoObamakoolaid emailed me this:
I ran across an article this morning in my hometown newspaper that was essentially praising the fact that state funding had finally been approved for new construction on prisons around my city in Colorado. The article was written in a positive vein because 170 new jobs are expected. It would not surprise me to see a follow-up article in a couple of months that features a group of city and county leaders jovially shoveling out the first mounds of earth for these new prison beds. It appalling how short-sided some can be. Most of the economic literature on this subject is quite clear. Prisons are obviously costing many billions of dollars that would be better spent elsewhere. But the direct cost pales in comparison to the total cost when you consider the loss of production of these incarcerated men and women.
Are we getting something for this besides an international black eye and a big bill? Anyone feel safer (they talk about this in the Times article — the difficulty of measuring the relationship between incarceration and crime reduction. I don’t think there is much of one.
And, if you think that is troubling, try reading Devah Pager’s new book, Marked. It is about how difficult it is to get hired once you are out of prison. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
This entry was posted on Friday, February 29th, 2008 at 12:03 pm and is filed under crime. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
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