Pubdate: Mon, 16 May 2005
Source: Bradenton Herald (FL)
Copyright: 2005 Bradenton Herald
Author: Greg Francisco


Letter writer Richard Bowers just may be on to something ("Prison Cuts 
Crime," May 3). As he correctly notes, at the same time the U.S. prison 
population has approached and now surpassed the 2.1 million inmate mark, 
the overall crime rate has fallen. Obviously the way to slash the crime 
rate to zero is to incarcerate everyone. And as we all know, the moment 
someone steps inside a jail all criminal activity stops. Thanks in large 
part to a perpetual War on (some) Drugs Inc., the U.S. is now the 
undisputed heavyweight champion of the world in incarcerating our own 
citizens. No other regime, past or present, has even come close. Now just 
what kind of message does that send the rest of the world? That Americans 
are the most wicked people in the world?

Crime costs all of us, but at $30,000 per inmate per year prisons are 
hardly free either. Maybe it's time to stop getting tough on crime and 
start getting smart instead.

Greg Francisco

Paw Paw, Mich. 
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