The mental and verbal gymnastics the prison-abolitionists and their fellow travellers use to try and create the narrative that prison doesn’t deter crime is amusing to watch but horrifying for the victims of the criminals thus released into society.

Action PowerBlog writes about this.

An excerpt.

There are two types of ideas that dominate current public discourse—the contrarian and the counterintuitive. A contrarian idea is one that, whether correct or incorrect, opposes or rejects popular opinion or goes against current practice. A counterintuitive idea is one that is contrary to intuition or to common-sense expectation but is nevertheless correct. Getting the two mixed up can have a detrimental effect on society.

Take, for example, the increasingly popular contrarian-posing-as-counterintuitive idea that locking up more criminal offenders isn’t making people any safer. As the Washington Post‘s Emily Badger writes,

As economists would put it, there are diminishing returns to incarceration. Lock up one criminal in town, and crime will decline. Lock away two, and it will probably decline further. But each criminal in prison yields a smaller and smaller impact outside of it — until finally, there’s no new impact at all. Now we’re effectively imprisoning more and more people with no benefit to public safety.

The first four sentences are perfectly reasonable, but the last sentence draws the wrong conclusion. Let’s create a simple model to show why that reasoning is flawed.

Imagine a remote island—Theft Island—composed of approximately 1,000 men. Last year on the island there were exactly 100 thefts. Because of a peculiar genetic anomaly in the region, individual criminals in Gangland are only able to commit one theft per year. No one is able to leave or come to the island, there are no women (hence no new islanders), and no one has died or will die in the next five years.

Retrieved February 14, 2015 from