This article from the New York Times touches on a series of ideas to reduce prison populations emanating from the “smart sentencing” mantra currently dominating the narrative among liberal criminal justice practitioners and commentators; which, if implemented, will increase crime.
It is important to remember that the prisons filled up because criminals were being put into them, and, consequently, crime dropped substantially; and it dropped so deep and so long that most forgot why—broken windows policing and three strikes sentencing, criminal justice policies resulting in filling prisons.
And the idea that once criminal reach thirty they reduce their criminality so we should start releasing them from prisons, is absurd.
What happens is that most professional criminals reach their prime in their thirties and do not get caught as much.
An excerpt from the Times article.
Breaking three consecutive years of decline, the number of people in state and federal prisons climbed slightly in 2013, according to a report released Tuesday, a sign that deeper changes in sentencing practices will be necessary if the country’s enormous prison population is to be significantly reduced.
The report by the Justice Department put the prison population last year at 1,574,700, an increase of 4,300 over the previous year, yet below its high of 1,615,487 in 2009. In what criminologists called an encouraging sign, the number of federal prisoners showed a modest drop for the first time in years.
But the federal decline was more than offset by a jump in inmates at state prisons. The report, some experts said, suggested that policy changes adopted by many states, such as giving second chances to probationers and helping nonviolent drug offenders avoid prison, were limited in their reach….
But experts say it will take more far-reaching and politically contentious measures to markedly reduce the country’s rate of incarceration, which is far above that in European nations and has imposed especially great burdens on African-Americans.
Mandatory sentences and so-called truth-in-sentencing laws that limit parole have not only put more convicts in costly prison cells for longer stretches but also have reduced the discretion of officials to release them on parole.
Given the evidence that few people are involved in criminal activity beyond their mid-30s, some experts are also asking whether it makes sense to keep aging inmates behind bars rather than under community supervision.
Retrieved September 16, 2014 from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/17/us/number-of-prisoners-in-us-grew-slightly-in-2013-report-finds.html