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Sun Sep 4, 2016, 06:02 PM

This Is What It Will Take to End Mass Incarceration

sheshe2! For reminding us - "All politics is local."


Source: Slate, by Leon Neyfakh

The New York Times published an important, eye-opening story Friday that decisively identifies the driving forces of mass incarceration in America: overzealous local prosecutors and judges in conservative rural counties who continue to believe that throwing people in prison for drugs is a good idea.

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These three paragraphs from the Times story explain the depths of the nation’s criminal justice problem:

The stark disparities in how counties punish crime show the limits of recent state and federal changes to reduce the number of inmates. Far from Washington and state capitals, county prosecutors and judges continue to wield great power over who goes to prison and for how long. And many of them have no interest in reducing the prison population.

“I am proud of the fact that we send more people to jail than other counties,” Aaron Negangard, the elected prosecutor in Dearborn County, said last year. “That’s how we keep it safe here.”

He added in an interview: “My constituents are the people who decide whether I keep doing my job. The governor can’t make me. The legislature can’t make me.”


That quote underscores just how much power and autonomy county prosecutors have. It also identifies the one way that ordinary Americans can exert pressure on them: by voting. Unfortunately, most people don’t pay much attention to prosecutor elections, and know little about how to evaluate the candidates. As a result, incumbents like Negangard almost always get reelected.

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Read it all at: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2016/09/02/to_end_mass_incarceration_it_ll_require_the_buy_in_of_prosecutors.html

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Arrow 7 replies Author Time Post
Reply This Is What It Will Take to End Mass Incarceration (Original post)
yallerdawg Sep 2016 OP
Travis_0004 Sep 2016 #1
yallerdawg Sep 2016 #2
Igel Sep 2016 #3
yallerdawg Sep 2016 #4
Travis_0004 Sep 2016 #5
Warren DeMontague Sep 2016 #7
Warren DeMontague Sep 2016 #6

Response to yallerdawg (Original post)

Sun Sep 4, 2016, 06:27 PM

1. I see it as a reaction to the high rates of overdoses in the county

 

I think the Ohio/Indiania/Kentucky area has one of the highest rates of overdoes in the country.

I can't see prosecutors loosing by going tough on heroin dealers in this area. Overdoes are out of control, and something needs to be done.

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Response to Travis_0004 (Reply #1)

Sun Sep 4, 2016, 06:40 PM

2. Political expediency.

Rehab and treatment are expensive, too - and sketchy.

We as a country have never figured out how to elect the opposite of "The Law and Order Candidate."

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Response to yallerdawg (Original post)

Sun Sep 4, 2016, 07:54 PM

3. The story the metastory in the OP refers to had a few problems.

It focused on percentages and referred to a greater percentage as "more".

If you have a 15% incarceration rate for a population of 25k and a 8% incarceration rate for a population of 1.5 million, 15% is hardly "more" or "in greater numbers." Journalism =/= math.

The mass incarceration stats that get everybody's attention are cited because of racial disparities. The original story didn't bother pointing out any. In the South, you'd expect them. It's a bit unclear if you would in the north. Again, we're left with accepting the conclusions we reach based on our biases as fact. This is a sucky position for the reporter to put the reader in.

The story raised questions. It proposed solutions based upon those questions. What was missing was the middle step, coming up with the answers. It alluded to some possible answers, but said nothing that was a necessary inference or anything that had a prediction that could be tested against the data. Social-change fluff piece, made important only by a will to believe.

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Response to Igel (Reply #3)

Sun Sep 4, 2016, 08:47 PM

4. You need to revisit the story.

"This small Indiana county sends more people to prison than San Francisco and Durham, N.C., combined. Why?"

"By 2014, Dearborn County sentenced more people to prison than San Francisco or Westchester County, N.Y., which each have at least 13 times as many people."

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #4)

Sun Sep 4, 2016, 09:10 PM

5. Where the hell is Durham NC?

 

And why is that used as a comparison?

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Response to yallerdawg (Reply #4)

Sun Sep 4, 2016, 09:17 PM

7. I used to go see the Grateful Dead in Indiana. They love putting people in prison for things like

pot smoking.

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Response to yallerdawg (Original post)

Sun Sep 4, 2016, 09:16 PM

6. Brock Turner gets out in 3 months. Some states put grannies in prison for growing pot for 10+ YEARS.

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