The Left’s Dangerous Justice

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For more than 200 years, the political left has been coming up with reasons why criminals should not be punished as much, or at all. The latest gambit in Missouri is providing judges with the costs of incarcerating the criminals they sentence.

According to the New York Times, “a three-year prison sentence would run more than $37,000 while probation would cost $6,770.” For a more serious crime, where a 5-year imprisonment would cost more than $50,000, it would cost less than $9,000 for what is described as “five years of intensive probation.”

This is only the latest in a long line of “alternatives to incarceration” schemes that are constantly being pushed by all sorts of clever people, not only in Missouri but across the United States and across the Atlantic, especially in Britain.

The most obvious question that is being resolutely ignored in these scientific-sounding calculations is: What is the cost of turning criminals loose? Phrases like “intensive probation” may create the illusion that criminals at large are somehow under control of the authorities but illusions are especially dangerous when it comes to crime.

Another question that ought to be obvious is: Why are we counting only the cost to the government of putting a criminal behind bars, but not the cost to the public of turning him loose?

Some may say that it is not possible to quantify the costs of the dangers and anxieties of the public when more criminals are walking the streets. That is certainly true, if you mean the full costs. But we can quantify the money costs— and just the money costs to the public vastly exceed the costs to the government of locking up criminals.

In Britain, where the “alternatives to incarceration” vogue has led to only 7 percent of convicted criminals being put behind bars, the annual cost of the prison system has been estimated at just under two billion pounds sterling. Meanwhile, the annual financial cost alone of crimes committed against the public has been an estimated sixty billion pounds sterling.

In the United States, the cost of incarcerating a criminal has been estimated as being $10,000 a year less than the cost of turning him loose.

In all these calculations we are leaving out the costs of violence, intimidation and the fears that people have for the safety of themselves and their children, not to mention the sense of helplessness and outrage when the society refuses to pay as much attention to innocent victims as they lavish on the criminals who victimize them.

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  • Gamaliel Isaac

    Make the prisoners work. How's that for an idea that will make the left hysterical?

    • Rifleman

      I can see the veins on their heads throbbing now. That's because they think someone having to work for a living is a crime.

    • Kim Bruce

      The only problem I see with that is that it will take away jobs that Americans could otherwise perform and all the menial jobs are taken up by illegals.

    • bdouglasaf1980

      Make them work. OMG you really are evil.;)

  • jacob

    As Mr. GAMALIEL ISAAC states above, how about make the prisoners work to offset the cost of their keep ??

    Correct me if I;m wrong, but in the good old days when shoes were stilll made in this
    now USMA (M for Muslim) and not the Chinese shoes that supplanted them, which by some reason I'm still to find out, MAKE YOUR FEET STINK LODLY, it is my understanding that the TOM MCCAN shoes were made by prison inmates.

    I don't believe it calls for a PhD or a Supreme Court Justice to come up with this solution
    OR DOES IT ???
    Whether the left is not going to like it ??
    TOUGH !!!!

    How abot putting a stop to the jailbirds conversions to ISLAM ???

  • beav909

    Not to mention the countless dollars spent tracking repeat offenders down, incarcerating and trying them AGAIN and AGAIN.

  • joe blowe

    Why are the jails so expensive ? Perks to the Perps ? Golf outings ? Television sets ? Overabundance of guards, when confinement will reduce this need ? These costs could be reduced greatly with more modest jail facilities.

  • Art C

    Segregating the gangs for starters. 23 hr keylock for all. Elimination of perks. Jail is jail.

  • Reason_For_Life

    Parole should be abolished entirely. It only teaches criminals how to lie effectively during their parole hearings.

    Sentences should be severe enough to discourage crime but when the sentence is complete the criminal should be released with full rights of citizenship. Second class citizenship is only a path back to crime. When you've paid the price of your crime, you've paid for it and no more payments should be demanded. If you don't like the idea of a former criminal being able to drive cars and own guns then sentence him to life in prison.

    All prisoners should work to pay for their incarceration. If they won't work, fine, they can starve.

    All criminals should be forced to pay restitution to their victims as part of their sentences. No restitution, no release from prison.

  • Chezwick_Mac

    No thought to the victims of crime…this is the glaring deficiency in the liberal ethos.

  • den

    offshore them. Nice place in Siberia where they can make their own living. free to us.

  • tedh754

    And this is why I am against doing away with the death penalty (in California) and only going with life without parole (which is already an option for the jury). Because given the chance, the left, and I do believe in particular Mike Farrell, would be to stop arguing for life without parole only and give the savages a chance at parole. As long as, of course, actors weren't threatened by those paroled.

  • quark1912

    Imprisonment in a penitentiary where a convicted felon could do penance rather than die on the gallows was, at one time, considered the humane alternative. To just release convicted thieves and bandits is to invite vigilante justice. "Men are not hanged for stealing horses, but that horses may not be stolen." George Savile