Three Charts to Break Your Heart


worse than Poland

worse than Rwanda

worse than the 80s

Via the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

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  1. I wonder what those charts would look like if non-violent drug offenders were excluded.

    1. Glasses are important.

      Without them, I read this as “I wonder what those charts would look like if non-violent drug offenders were EXECUTED.”

      1. Those charts match global climate change charts too closely for it to be a coincidence.

        1. [Citation needed]

          1. [reply needed]

      2. Execution could be a useful tool in the WOD. Since most property and violent crime is drug related, killing all drug criminals could flatten the graphs.

        1. or you could just make drugs legal…then there wouldn’t be any crimes involved with it

          1. Making drugs legal does not eliminate violent and property crime. It’s hardly a solution to lower any crime rate other than that of drug crime.

            1. In what ways are violent crime and property crime related to drugs? I’ll give you a hint: the answer is not “Drug crazed criminals get high and are overwhelmed with the desire to shoot people and steal things.”

              1. Yet ironically, all of the shootings and thefts in my neighborhood over the past couple of months have been committed by drug addicts.

            2. What a nonsensical comment. Making drugs legal DOES sharply reduce, if not eliminate, violent and property crime. When drug addicts are free to purchase their heroin from government health ministries and inject their heroin legally, the “need” for them to purchase the same heroin from criminal drug traffickers disappears.

              Likewise, when drug addicts are provided with heroin legally and at a reasonable price which they can afford, their “need” to steal and commit property crimes in order to support their drug habit disappears completely.

              This is exactly the reason why the safe-injection sites in Vancouver, BC Canada have proven to be such a resounding success. And why they will be continued indefinitely.

              1. While there is something to be said for making it no longer a crime….

                These people are still addicts unable to hold down a job (to some extent). So I don’t necessarily think they would suddenly develop the capacity to pay for it at any a lower price.

              2. Why does it need to be dispensed from a “government health ministry?” Let people grow their own. There. Settled. For harder drugs, they can be commercially produced and sold. The government does not need to screw up yet another thing better left to private enterprise.

      3. Seriously! Executed!!!!!!???? You’re sick, and certainly not well educated! Obviously, you are not called a “critical thinker”. I suppose your idea of justice is to round up the usual suspects, forget the trial, and hang ’em.

        1. Mother Theresa,

          It is that since you now have sainthood that you are giving compassion the boot?

          The person said that they read it wrong without glasses, and read it as “executed”, not that they were endorsing it.

          I am not how this leads to them being not educated, a “critical thinker”, a suspender of habeas corpus, and a death penalty advocate.

          Mother, please turn the other cheek, the one with which you read more carefully.

          May peace be with you.

        2. Easy there, Mother Jones

    2. Or tea partiers included?

    3. Or if immigration violations were excluded…

      1. Or if the state did not have a monopoly on the administration of justice.

        1. Anybody publishig the statistics would be arrested and shot by some private police force, asshole.

        2. Or if you posted a comment that didn’t use the phrase “monopoly on the administration of justice”. FFS.

    4. Land of the free, let freedom ring. /sarcasm

  2. Fuck Ronald Reagan!

    1. Who the hell would want to have intercourse with such a dim witted big government freak?

      1. “Slow-motion film of Reagan’s speeches produced a marked erotic effect in an audience of spastic children.”

        “Faces were seen as either circumcised (JFK, Khrushchev) or uncircumcised (LBJ, Adenauer). In assembly-kit tests Reagan’s face was uniformly perceived as a penile erection. Patients were encouraged to devise the optimum sex-death of Ronald Reagan.”

        (from J.G. Ballard’s Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan)

      2. Especially since he… been, like… DEAD for over a decade… Ewww.

    2. You’ll need a shovel. He’s dead and so are his politics and economics. The world has changed.

      1. Luckily his politics and economics are on a strong comeback. I can’t say the same for him, though.

        1. Unfortunately the unthinking, unblinking, unconscious horrors of his politics and economics continue to haunt and damage the U.S. to this day.

          Ronnie RayGun, his harpy wife Nancy and his Looney-Toons Legions are the reason why close to three decades’ worth of Americans fervently but unthinkingly believe without question thatthey can have all of the benefits of a modern industrialized society without having to PAY FOR any of it.

  3. Dumb KMW. Like all Libertarians, I HAVE no heart.

  4. In the land of the free…

    1. Keep laughin’ frostback. You’re just jealous because your country is in the #12 spot. USA! USA! USA!

  5. Jeebus. We have a higher incarceration rate than fucking Russia, Belarus, and Cuba?

    1. Though our extremely high incarceration rate is a big problem, I’m not sure I trust Russia and Cuba’s numbers. Even if they are accurate, they probably don’t include people who just outright disappear or are silenced through other means.

    2. All of Cuba is a prison; its incarceration rate is 100%.

      Some parts of the prison are a little worse than others.

      1. (Teach me not to read down thread…)

    3. To quote Arnie from “True Lies”:

      Yes, but they were all bad.


  7. America is back, bitches!


      1. Anyone who loves the USA is one pathetic, spirtitually bankrupt loser.

        1. They are almost as bad those who grossly generalize.

          1. And people who don’t appreciate sarcasm.

            1. And people who pull the TP off the roll in an ‘under’ rather than ‘over’ fashion.

  8. Look, its just like the Stimulus: if we HADN’T locked up all those people, imagine just how much more Rape and Baby-Murdering there WOULD HAVE been.

    Why do you hate babies?

    1. Because they’re parasites on the resources of the productive.

      1. > Because they’re parasites on the resources of the reproductive.


  9. The progressive/conservative backscratching arrangement will eventually reduce the US population to two classes: unionized public employees and inmates.

    1. Philip Jose Farmer (writing as Kilgore Trout) covered this in Venus on the Half-Shell.

      Farmer is underrated as a social satirist. I highly recommend his story “Riders of the Purple Wage”.

  10. But drugs are illegal almost everywhere… why doesn’t that cause their incarceration rates to balloon?

    1. Enforcement efforts.

    2. I would guess because the American demand for drugs is really high, and our enforcement of drug laws are also higher than those other countries. This is pure speculation on my part, and no research whatsoever has gone into my response.

      1. I think you’re right. But the tricky part is: it’s not WORKING. We put an awful lot of people in prison for drug-offences, in an attempt to win an imagined “war on drugs”.

        But despite this, drug use is signficantly higher than most European countries.

        What’s the point of putting 10 times as many people in prison, to combat drugs, if that does not, infact, result in less drug use ?

        As a matter of fact, not even the prisons THEMSELVES are drug-free. There’s something to be considered: if we can’t succeed in preventing a flourishing drug-trade inside a prison, what odds do we have outside ?

    3. American prisons are so good that poor people want to go there.

    4. Lots of places have batshit insane drug laws just like the US.

      But we don’t pretend we believe in them.

      1. You know, there’s something weird that the country the most like us–your realm–is nowhere near us in percentage locked up. Something not quite right there.

        1. As in the US, Canadian crime rates have been in decline since 1991:

          From wiki:

          1. Ah, a truly damning statistic. A culturally similar nation with a similar downturn in crime. . .and with an incarceration rate close to one seventh as high. Gosh, could crime have gone down in the U.S. for an entirely different reason?

            1. Either that, or all the Canadian criminals got arrested while trying to smuggle drugs into the US.


              1. That must be it.

                1. Nah, it is simply the cold weather. Who wants to go on a violent rampage when it is freezing cold outside?

                  1. As a Floridian that endured a decade of exile in cold weather (starting in Minneapolis), let me suggest that my desire to do violence increased in the northern latitudes, not decreased. Here, I vent my frustration through sun, sand, and margarita.

                  2. Gaear Grimsrud?

              2. Maybe they all formed S-corporations and started growing their BC Bud quietly and discreetly, in expectation of the day when their stock-in-trade will be legalized.

    5. I recall a statistic saying that Americans use about one third of all recreational drugs in the world.

      1. God Bless America!

        I’ve just got something in my eye.

        1. I’ve just got something in my eye.

          Flick it at Kazachstan (sp? who cares, right?), they don’t even have the gulags to lock up 400 out of 100,000 of their citizens.

          Hey, Kazackstain! I got your gulags right here!

          *grabs crotch*

          1. *and shakes…vigorously*

    6. We are wealthier so we buy more drugs…

      1. We are wealthier so we build more prisons. We are wealthier so we fund our government with taxes instead of other kinds of criminal activity.

    7. Drugs are not “illegal almost everywhere”.

      There are many countries in the world (primarily, European countries, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) which sensibly and rationally regard drug addiction as a health issue, not a law enforcement issue.

      When self-medicating oneself ceases to be a ‘crime’, an awful lot of other ‘crime’ simply disappears.

  11. If all of these people who were encarcerated were there for comming acts of coercion or fraud or both these charts would not bother me at all. Problem is – this is not the case.

    1. comming – make ther committing acts of coercion or fraud or both.

    2. Just giv it up, PIRS.

      1. Stopp trying to corrrect my spelng?

  12. Actually, what we plan to do is to free our nonviolent prisoners and to offer our incarceration services to the free world.

    1. “to the free world.”


      1. Switzerland

        1. The fourth planet of Arcturus.

          1. Hey, that’s my homeworld.

  13. Why would this break my heart? You can clearly see that violent crime and property crime have started going down in the last graph. It looks to me like increased incarceration is having a positive effect.

    1. Because not all of the people who are enrcerated are there for acts of coercion or fraud. Many are there for consencial “crimes”.

      1. I’m too busy to look it up, but someone should. I suspect most inmates aren’t there for consensual crimes, though.

        1. the problem with those stats is that non-violent crime can easily become violent crime but wouldn’t if the non-violent action were not illegal in the first place. For instance, the drug dealer that gets locked up on a weapons charge probably wouldn’t need the weapon if drugs were legal. Not that a weapons charge should necessisarily be a violent crime but I think I made my point.

          1. Riiigggghttt … or the drug dealer would still need the weapon because he would choose to engage in some other criminal activity.

            1. Like, employing lawyers? Filing lawsuits against competitors?

              There is a REASON why Bacardi, Smirnoff and other vendors settle their differences with $1000-an-hour lawyers instead of with hired guns driving 1929 Fords and firing Thompson Sub-Machineguns.

    2. Agreed. This does not have to be a bad thing.

    3. The Romans used to go into a town where bandits had fought Roman soldiers and slaughter or enslave every man, woman and child.

      That reduced the local incidence of crime as well.

      1. Kind of like the United States does with nations we accuse of helping terrorists?

        Strange how history repeats itself.

      2. Thank you Captain Bringdown.

      3. Yeah, the Romans had their shit together.

    4. Is this Minority report? Otherwise both lines would correlate to the same slope on an x,y axis.

    5. Some positive effect. Property and violent crimes are at about their 1980 levels or less, incarcerations up 450% from its 1980 level.

    6. No, that’s the invention of the modern videogame.

    7. totally agree, despite high incarceration rates in the u.s., it seems to be having a detrimental effect on crime. i.e., locking up criminals reduces the crime rate, duh.

      also, what the fuck is a “consencial” or “consensual” crime (consentual, perhaps?)

      1. “Consensual” crimes are those in which two participants equally agree to engage in a supposedly “criminal” enterprise, with one party typically BUYING and the other party typically SELLING.

        Examples of this could include the buying and selling of drugs, and/or the exchange of sexual services for money, i.e. prostitution.

  14. we definitely suck. a lot of that is drugs too. isn’t it bad enough that the police bust you. but then they take all your possessions and auction them off. keep the money out of your profits. that’s enough of a punishment right there. putting someone in prison to be raped isn’t going to solve it.

    1. You can now be imprisoned for not paying your debts:

      As a sheriff’s deputy dumped the contents of Joy Uhlmeyer’s purse into a sealed bag, she begged to know why she had just been arrested while driving home to Richfield after an Easter visit with her elderly mother.

      No one had an answer. Uhlmeyer spent a sleepless night in a frigid Anoka County holding cell, her hands tucked under her armpits for warmth. Then, handcuffed in a squad car, she was taken to downtown Minneapolis for booking. Finally, after 16 hours in limbo, jail officials fingerprinted Uhlmeyer and explained her offense — missing a court hearing over an unpaid debt. “They have no right to do this to me,” said the 57-year-old patient care advocate, her voice as soft as a whisper. “Not for a stupid credit card.”…..UUycaEacyU

      1. No, you misunderstand. It’s fine to shrug off your debts – legally anyways



        1. If the state did not have a monopoly on the administration of justice, this sort of thing would not exist. No person has the right to use other people’s resources to enforce his contract. Its just barbaric.

          1. That’s my point. I realize that technically, they missed a court ordered hearing (I’ve done that myself) and as such, triggered a bench warrant, but as libertymike points out the debt holder is using other people’s resources to enforce his contract. The end result is people being locked up in prison. Sometimes for days.

          2. Liberty – Would you care to speculate on how high interest rates would go if citizens were unable to use the court system to enforce contracts?

  15. Maybe b/c the incarceration is up, that is why the violent crime has gone back down some. I think it is b/c with DNA and technology, etc. we are just now catching more criminals.

    1. “Maybe b/c the incarceration is up, that is why the violent crime has gone back down some.”

      I know for a fact the opposite is true. In my city, homicides have shot up in the last year because gang members have served their sentences and once out, start revenge killing.

  16. There are two things driving the high incarceration rates in the US.

    One is the absolute number of people who get jail time, the other is that the significantly longer length of sentences in the US.

    Offenses that earn a slap on the wrist in Europe or Canada get long prison terms here.

    While the War on Drugs is a contributor another is the “get tough” policies starting in the eighties that led to longer sentences (mandatory minimums) and harder to get parole or early release.

    1. Are you trying to say that life in prison is too much for a woman who made a 13 year old touch her breast? Ridiculous!

      1. they shoulda given her a medal

      2. If she had been better looking they would have cut a deal and she’d gotten probation.

      3. Why, yes, yes, I am. 🙂

  17. If we’re gonna be good at something bad, America better be number one at it.

  18. 1) So, as the incarceration rate went up, crime went down? Good! How come we don’t get to see the crime rates for the other OECD countries for comparison purposes?

    2) If you think the US incarceration rate’s too high, then that problem can be solved by carrying out more death sentences upon those meriting capital punishment. Just think, each murderer killed will reduce our incarceration rate!

    3) No, we don’t have a higher incarceration rate than Cuba; Cuba has a 100% incarceration rate.

  19. I agree that are incarceration rates are abominable, but why isn’t China listed on any of these charts?

    I have a suspicion that their numbers would look considerably worse. I’m not using this as a way to downplay how bad this looks for the US -because it’s bad not matter who else is on the list- but the lack of a listing for China somewhere on this list is weird.

    1. “our” ‘incarceration rates’ you retard. Learn how to preview.

      1. Leave him alone, it was a simpal misteak.

        1. uuummmmmmmm Steak.

      2. Asshole much?

        1. Hahaha, I love how no one seems to notice he said that in response to himself…

          1. Actually I did, it was meant to be ironic

            1. That dude Tman is such a jerk.

              1. Leaf him alone jerk

    2. Would you really believe China’s numbers if they were included? Notice that North Korea isn’t included either.

      1. I wouldn’t trust China or NK’s numbers, true, but I would like the chart to state that the numbers were “unavailable” or something. This way it just looks like they didn’t make the top 10. And that’s unlikely. Weak.

  20. Um…
    Incarceration rates go up and violent and property crime goes DOWN?! Seems to make pretty good sense to me.

    Reason is usually a pretty smart place to find information, but c’mon, guys. You can do better than this.

    1. See Timon19 and R C Dean below…

    2. You really don’t understand how to determine the differance between correlation and causation do you?

      Yes it correlates. Causation would require that other countries with lower incarceration rates not see the same decrease in crime. They do however so there must be a different cause for the decrease.

      1. Sorry, the UK’s violent and property crimes rates have been going up, not down; overall violent crime’s now higher in the UK than in the USA (we’re still ahead in homicide, but that’s all).

  21. I have no idea why the third chart was included or why it’s supposed to be heart-breaking.

    1. From the article: The U.S. incarceration rate ? 753 per 100,000 people in 2008 ? is now about 240 percent higher than it was in 1980

      Non-violent offenders make up over 60 percent of the prison and jail population

      The total number of violent crimes was only about three percent higher in 2008 than it was
      in 1980,

      1. Gotta source for that ratio of non-violent offenders that includes non-Federal prisons? I’ve looked, and never been able to find one.

        Also, many of those “non-violent offenders” plea-bargained their way down from violent crimes to drug/weapons offenses. Calling them “non-violent” is a misnomer. Releasing them from jail would be disastrous for our crime rates.

    2. The third chart is included because it clearly shows that in proportion to those incarcerated to the reduction in crime rate has VERY little effect. What the chart isn’t saying is who those incarcerated people are…how many are there because of victimless crimes?? Did they really arrest more murderers and thieves?? Likely not. More things are considered criminal than they were before…

  22. I blame jesus

    1. What does my landscaper have to do with any of this?

      1. ROTFLMAO! So bad.

  23. All the people attributing a causation to the higher incarceration rates appear to be overlooking the fact that the magnitude of incarceration increase WAY outstrips any decrease in crime reflected in the graph. Not to mention the whole correlation != causation thingy. No one can be sure based only on the information provided that there’s a causation.

    1. Not only that but if you really think about it to have an incaceration rate higher than the “real” crime rate means that more and more things that are not violations of another persons life, liberty or property can now land you in jail.

      1. That’s what immediately jumped to mind for me looking at it.

        1. Same here… I’m amazed that not more people are seeing that.

    2. From the executive summary: “Non-violent offenders make up over 60 percent of the prison and jail population. Nonviolent drug offenders now account for about one-fourth of all offenders behind bars, up from less than 10 percent in 1980.”

      So 75% of 753 = 565 per 100K, which is still more than twice as high as the next OECD country.

      40% fo 753 = 301 per 100k, which is still tops, but not by so much.

      They make the claim that strict sentences and less probation/parole are the main culprits – particularly for drug cases. Without some kind of reform, I can’t see how this improves…ever. If everyone stopped using drugs tomorrow, it would still take a while for the incarceration rate to correlate with the violent/property crime rate.

    3. So, the increased incarceration rate is bigger than the decreased crime rates; so what? Perhaps it takes locking up a lot of criminals to reduce crime rates a little bit. That does nothing to disprove the correlation.

      1. You’re absolutely right. But you’re still being sort of a liberal pussy and thinking small.

        Consider the manly scenario — if we just locked everyone up, we’d basically solve all crimes before they even happened.

        1. Not at all. Plenty of crimes still get committed in prison.

  24. For those of you woo-hooing the decline in “real” crime as incarceration has gone up:

    Does it cause any concern to you at all that the crime rate peaked 18 years ago, but our incarceration rate has been rising steadily regardless?

    Do you really want to hang your causation hat on the correlation of incarceration rates rising disproportionately to the crime rate?

    1. If anyone posting today had any sense they’d realize that in a land that really respected the life liberty and property of it’s citizens the lines would be reversed and would trend together with the crime lines leading the trending of the incarceration line.

      Apparently all the libertarians took a break from posting today.

    2. Why should that be concerning? I’d expect that to happen even if we had no victimless crime laws. Since most criminals are incarcerated for multiple years, each criminal sentenced to prison will increase the incarceration rate each year until their release.

  25. Dear god. Did everyone here fail Algebra 2 or just never do a logic puzzle? Incarcerations are up so violent crime goes down!!!!! We aren’t supposed to convict people ahead of a crime. This article should have been called “Retard Magnet” and what breaks my heart is that posters are advocating the forcable seizure of liberty on a massive scale as a means to enhance saftey by an absurdly infintecimal fraction in comparision.

    The law is supposed to be about the administration of justice not the promotion of safety.

    1. If I recall correctly, the criminal justice has three purposes: punishment, prevention, and rehabilitation. So it’s not “convicting people ahead of a crime,” it’s punishing people who commit crimes, putting them in a place where they can’t commit more crimes (prevention), and hopefully rehabilitating them.

      1. “the forcable seizure ”

        forget it, he’s rolling…

        1. i really need a sweatshirt that just says “college”

      2. Are people spawning copies of themselves in prison then?

      3. and hopefully rehabilitating them.

        That’s funny.

        1. Yes, that’s well known to be the toughest one on the list.

          1. Rehabilitation, like hypnotism, only works on the willing.

    2. Nice smackdowns by you and RC both.

    3. YOU LIE!!!

  26. R C Dean simulpost!

    Also, apparently all the woo-hooers didn’t click through to see how the costs of incarceration have ballooned and how the provider of the graphs calculated potential cost savings by reducing incarceration rates to 1993 levels.

    1. “…calculated potential cost savings by reducing incarceration rates to 1993 levels.”

      Why this worries me… Recidivism.

      Statistics show that in the United States, two thirds of released offenders are reincarcerated within 3 years. And this sample only includes convicts who were deemed least likely to re-offend (and were therefore given relatively shorter sentences or paroled).

      Releasing a bunch of convicts, even non-violent offenders, to reduce incarceration levels is likely to have a serious impact on crime.

      When you put someone in prison, especially a non-violent offender, you make him a better criminal. You surround him with other criminals, force him to join a gang for his own protection, and take away whatever respect he may have had for lawful society.

      Then you want to release him into a world where his prospects for employment are abysmal, and expect him to support himself and suddenly become a contributing member of society? Good luck with that.

      1. So, you imprison a bunch of people who are no threat to others, force them to become a threat, then justify their incarceration on the basis that they are now a threat?

      2. This is about the stupiest thing I read all day. One of the reasons for the high recidivism rate is that when you put a drug user in jail he comes out still a drug user and using drugs is still a crime. Since that person is on parole, he goes straight back o prison when drugs are found on him. Nevermind that he is also going to have to deal with a black market and protect himself from the asociated violence but that is right out because he is a felon unless he wants to violate parole. Sure there could be a problem with employent but that could be solved by expunging the records of those jailed for victimless crimes.

    2. Cost-reduction’s easy: Just kill more murderers, with less appeals.

  27. For the record, I was just trying to troll. Then all these other guys came in and agreed with me. Kinda stole my thunder.

    1. It’s hard to troll when everyone is brain damaged enough to agree with the trolling. It’s gotta be frustrating.

      1. Don’t have a forcable seizure man.

        1. I’m on my phone man. Using improper words, misspelling, and having poor sentence structure are signs of a bad educatio, better lock me up! Or maybe I haven’t turned off the auto correct on my iPhone since it got reset last week :/

          1. i phone doesn’t correct your spelling and pleasure you in addition to all those other things?

    2. Fuck off troll.

  28. We’ll only be free when we have 100% incarceration.

    1. Universal Healthcare! Three hots and a cot.

      1. Delivering vital services and human rights to people in prison is much easier than to people living their lives in bourgeois oblivion.

        1. I like the way you think.

        2. I’m not sure if you realize the brilliance of your statement Pro’L Dib (I would think you do), but that is absolutely correct, and IMO, an excellent analogy for UHC. Think about it: A closed population with as many generic drugs as can be prescribed, with predictable health trends, controlled diets, and timed delivery of care, much like a nursing home. In face, IMO, there is little difference between many, if not most, nursing homes and minimum security prisons. You’d think inmates would have the best health, based on the presentation here. Yet, staph infections, STD’s, and physical traumas and assaults run rampant in prisons; doesn’t say much for a controlled environment, does it? Jail and prisons tend to be understaffed medically, and the delivery of care tends to be less than optimal, for that very reason. With the exception of “white collar” prisons, of course.

          Kind of like, say, Cuba.

          1. As I’ve noted multiple times in this forum, the 13th Amendment does not ban slavery. We can still enslave people convicted of crimes:

            Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

            Since our government can criminalize pretty much anything, it can lock us all up and put us in large, well-planned prisons (with mass transportation and other Gaea-friendly features). On top of that, it can also employ any of us citizen-convicts as slave labor. So slave doctors are a real possibility in this scenario.

            1. I don’t know the exact statute, Pro’L Dib, I’ll defer to you, but doctors, in time of national emergency, can be impressed into government service.

              1. Even without a draft? Is that true? Thank God for the freedom of lawyering.

                1. Yep, here it is.

                  Health Care Personnel Delivery System

                  On December 1, 1989, Congress ordered the Selective Service System to put in place a system capable of drafting “persons qualified for practice or employment in a health care and professional occupation”, if such a special-skills draft should be ordered by Congress.[47] In response, Selective Service published plans for the “Health Care Personnel Delivery System ” (HCPDS) in 1989 and has had them ready ever since. The concept underwent a preliminary field exercise in Fiscal Year 1998, followed by a more extensive nationwide readiness exercise in Fiscal Year 1999. The HCPDS plans include women and men ages 20?54 in 57 different job categories.[48] As of May 2003, the Defense Department has said the most likely form of draft is a special skills draft, probably of health care workers.[49]

                  More on the law here.

                  1. So we could draft all medical personnel and force them to provide low-cost healthcare? Are the Democrats aware of this option?

                    1. Why do think I rail so much against Obamacare, Pro’L Dib? (And for all you ready and waiting to scream “guild man”, “protectionist rackateer”, and “greedy”, I offer a preemptive “Fuck you.”)

                      Obamacare is really, really bad law on SO many levels.

                    2. “Why do you…” Blech, I really think I am allergic to pronouns and articles.

                    3. Anyway Groovus, i got this pain in my elbow. Fix it. Do i have to get my whip out, Boy?

                    4. Either you jerk it too much, have a dismal technique doing so, or play tennis. Quit all of the above, use warm compresses and OTC NSAIDS for pain. Use them as directed. If pain continues, an orthopedic consult might be wise.

                      That will be $300 USD. PayPal?

                    5. Damn, you ARE good. I almost feel bad about the whole slavery thing, but its whats best for America.

    2. Compulsory education from preK-PhD!

      1. What’s great about this plan is that everything will be compulsory!

  29. I agree that we should legalize all consensual crimes and that our incarceration rate is too high. However we have to also consider the execution rate and reeducation camps. Some countries keep their prison population low by exicuting people or sending them to reeducation camps that are just prisons by another name.

    1. OK. I just finished crunching the numbers. Nation Master lists execution totals by country. Assuming that an executed prisoner would have lived 50 years in prison if the government let him live only raises the incarceration rate by 20 or less per 100,000 in the countries that execute the most. That is a drop in the bucket. The USA incarceration rate is embarassing.

  30. “Elementary my dear Watson”:

    “You can’t legislate against stupidity.”

    Prohibition* didn’t work. Laws against drugs don’t work.

    * Prohibition in the United States, also known as The Noble Experiment, was the period from 1920 to 1933, during which the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol for consumption were banned nationally as mandated in the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

  31. Those “incarceration” lines are your “jobs Americans won’t do” lines, Libertarian?s. Embrace them.

  32. This is because the phony war on drugs. The freedom stripping of hundreds of thousands of American citizens to please the moral majority! It makes me sick! Damn the right for their Nazi ways!

    1. Freedom from the tranny?

  33. It would also be useful to have cross country lists for violent and other crimes, however. It is possible that the US has more crime than the other OECD countries, though of course that could also break one’s heart.

    1. Just wait till the stats reflect all those salt adding, deep fat frying, sugar lovers who are soon to be on the wrong side of Madame Obama.

      1. Think that’s enough to get us to 100% like Cuba? I really wanna beat them. Well, tie.

        Unless….c’mon put some backbone into it, give it 110% people!

  34. Put them in a place they can’t commit more crimes? Have you never watched any show about prison? They can get any kind of drug they want not to mention all of the rapes, beatings and murders that take place inside.

  35. The reason for the increased incarceration rates aren’t because drugs are illegal. As someone upthread pointed out, other countries with lower incarceration rates imprision people for drugs too.

    The biggest factor in our high incarceration rate is that our sentencing laws require hard time for most felonies. In the federal system, you will do 85% of your time by law. Many states adopt similar provisions. Some, like California’s “3 strikes” are even more severe.

    While I’d like to see more discretion in sentencing, it’s not always a bad thing. Murderers and rapists in Europe really don’t face hard time.

    1. Or reduce the number of felonies to 1980s levels. Felonies should consist of crimes heinous enough that society should shun you. Not 2nd DWIs and possession of personal amounts of drugs.

  36. Let’s see … Increased incarceration rates have led to a decrease in crime, and Reason tells us this is a BAD thing?

    Sorry, no sale. More jails and prisons, please.

    1. Perhaps you did not read the other posts. In case you didn’t: There is no evidence that the increased incarceration has reduced the crime rate.

      If incarceration did reduce the crime rate, one would expect Canada, which has not had a similar massive increase in incarceration over the same period to show either an increase in crime or a slower rate of decrease. In fact, the rates in the US and Canada have shown the same relative decrease over the same period (1991 to present).

      1. Canada does not have our demographic profile. If you subtract blacks from the statistics, our crime and incarceration rates fall dramatically. Sad but true.

        1. Ahhh, the blacks. Of course. If they would only stop getting arrested more often than whites for using and selling drugs less often than whites, those stats wouldn’t look so damning!

          1. Or if they’d stop driving, for example. Or walking around looking all minority-y.

            1. What if they walk around in a mascot outfit? Does that work?

        2. However, we do have other minorities – notably the “First Nation” people (the current PC name for Indians – who have a similar disproportionate representation in our crime stats.

          We also have a proportionately higher immigrant population, which is another population with historically higher than average crime rates. (Although the legal/illegal immigrant ratio is markedly different.)

          1. Yeah, you have all those damn Japs and if Looney Toons taught me anything it is that Japs are evil.

        3. Papaya, I’m not following your logic. Crime has decreased in both the US and Canada from 1991 to today. However, in the US we have drastically increased incarceration rates over a longer period, where Canada has not.

          And the demographic makeup of the two countries fits in–how?

          1. You’re asking why things are different between the two countries, and I pointed out that the demographics were very different. Obviously there are many variables, but lots of articles and studies that conclude the USA is uniquely violent tend to overlook demographics, because the conclusions tend to be… awkward.

            Suffice to say you can’t conclude that because Country A had a decreasing crime rate with lots more people in prison, while Country B had a decreasing crime rate without lots more people in prison, that it proves that incarceration didn’t lower the crime rate in Country A.

            1. Actually, while you can’t say it’s “proof”, you can say it’s “compelling evidence”. That’s the beauty of the scientific method.

      2. Actually, the US has had a faster decline in crime rates than Canada:

        “…in recent years, the gap in violent crime rates between the United States and Canada has narrowed due to a precipitous drop in the violent crime rate in the U.S. For example, while the aggravated assault rate declined for most of 1990s in the U.S. and was 324 per 100,000 in 2000, the aggravated assault rate in Canada remained relatively steady throughout and was 143 per 100,000 in 2000. In other areas, the U.S. had a faster decline. For instance, whereas the murder rate in Canada declined by 36% between 1991 and 2004, the U.S. murder rate declined by 44%.”…..ted_States

    2. Yeah but that is a hell of a lot of people to throw in jail for a pretty damned small decrease in crime.

      You are right, the whole “incarceration up even though crime rate down” is a pretty pathetic line of argument. In this case, I will give Reason a pass since the incarceration rate went up so much and the crime rate went down so little in comparison.

    3. Douchebag,

      Since when does correlation = causation? Furthermore, since when does 5x incarceration yielding -1x crime = laudable policy?

      By the logic employed by some people here, we’d have to probably triple or more our incarceration rate to nearly eliminate violent and property crime. Awesome!


      1. Just curious…where did all the stupid come from today?

        1. Maybe this got a link from some place that stockpiles stupid for release on the unsuspecting. I believe that’s usually how we get smacked by a sortie torrentielle.

        2. I’m willing to bet it came from the number of college kids just getting out of school with their liberal edge-you-may-cay-shuns, and they feel they want to take on the less enlightened people of this world.


  37. Better a thousand innocent men are locked up than one guilty man roam free.

    1. haha i see what you did there

  38. Slovakia is holding general elections this week. One of the concerns the authorities had was how to give all jailed people the chance to vote without compromising prison security.

  39. This is part of the jobs program. Lock people up and they are subtracted from “those working or looking for work.”
    Then add in all the prison guard jobs created! Zero unemployment in no time!

  40. I’m sure someone above has already said it, but fuck it:
    100 percent incarceration rate = 0 percent crime rate. Problem solved.

    1. Haha, but prisoners can still commit crimes, it’s just harder to commit them against anyone beyond guards and other inmates.

  41. It is possible that the US has more crime than the other OECD countries, though of course that could also break one’s heart.

    Actually in most categories other than homicides most other other OECD countries have higher crime rates. Including other violent crimes.

    For example:

    Australia…has the second highest level of car theft in the world, behind the United Kingdom. The car theft rate in Australia is considerably higher than most other developed countries with high vehicle ownership rates including the United States, Canada and Mexico.

  42. Without evidence, I’ll bet that the average sentence for car theft in ‘strylya is close to half that for car theft in the USA.

    Anyone care to prove me wrong?

  43. Anyone see The Wire? Prisons full of non-violent criminals mostly do to our paranoia and the conservative right propaganda. Legalize drugs. They are already legal in the pharmacy.

  44. These counts include people incarcerated awaiting deportation? Because that’s a completely different type of event than a resident incarcerated. Canada doesn’t border Mexico.

    1. You’re suggesting that there are in excess of one million incarcerated people awaiting deportation (which would still put us comfortably at the top of the OECD countries, still)?

      1. No I just like to have a firm understanding of the numbers that I quote. Of course I know from personal experience that Canada is a more free country than the USA. And besides Russia might be the true winner, if we exclude deportees.

        1. And I might be John Madden’s long lost brother.

          If we exclude deportees, the US still could be the winner, or Russia, or whomever, but we don’t have anything close to that information, so why bother?

        2. In order for Russia to be the winner, we’d still have to have a significantly larger portion of deportees than they would.

          1. From what dump is someone going to illegally migrate to Russia?

  45. What’s the problem? The people in jail deserve to be there.

    1. And because the insurance madnate is law, everyone who refuses to buy insurance or pay up to the IRS will belong there too. Don’t break the law if you don’t want to be punished, right?


      Even more picturesque once y’all lose your employer-provided insurance.

    2. Not sure if you are serious, but if you actually think that people deserve to be incarcerated and deserve to have their lives ruined for using drugs you are an imbecile.

  46. Follow the money! Our privatized prison CEOs just love it, and reward the politicians for writing tough laws.

  47. PRetty scary stuff dude. The US Kangaroo Court system is a money making machine!


  48. The United States is paranoid of communism…….. funny is it not? I’m paranoid of the fucked up laws and the fucked up country I live in called the United States of Deception and cheating.

  49. I think we should incarcerate all Americans as a default and only release them after review of their cases and they have demonstrated they haven’t broken the law.

    I’m going to say this flat out – anybody who thinks the drug war or prohibition is a good thing and that filling our prisons with illicit drug users is a good thing is an imbecile.

  50. A more accurate representation would be a chart comparing illegal immigrant population to prison pop. Everyone knows that illegals are mostly criminals and countries with low illegal immigration probably have low prison pop.

    1. See what I mean? No good comes of this conflation.

  51. Well, if we wouldn’t jail immigrants for being illegal that wouldn’t be a problem, would it? We indeed must complete the fence, though I’m mindful of the “tear down this wall” chant when it was in the US’s interest. But let’s put this problem where it belongs: our corrupt politicians that took money so corporations could get away with hiring cheap labor. Our CEOs obsession with high profits at any expense is taking our country down the tubes.

  52. So the US is much better at catching criminals of all kinds and putting them in jail.. what’s the issue?

    1. None, if you like paying lots of taxes and still running a massive budget deficit.

  53. ‘sup America? How does it feel to live in a freaking third world country?
    don’t mind me, i’ll just hang right there, being awesome and french as usual…

  54. Of course the US has a huge number of immigrants and the crime rate among blacks and hispanics is a lot higher, I wonder why? One idea: the Great Society reforms of the 60s moved a lot of poor people onto welfare; welfare kills traditional families and that’s what happened to black families. You notice how the homogeneous wealthy societies at the top of the chart, Japan, Scandinavia and so on, do very well. Then there is the question of how efficient police forces and legal systems are at convicting criminals. Maybe the US is just better at it than other countries.

    I believe in the UK there is a tendency towards “outcomes based” policing – they just don’t like statistics showing that minorities commit more crime than whites so they tend to let minorities get away with crimes. Plus police arresting black people or muslims is ipso facto racist. Easier to leave them alone.

    Ah, the racism of the anti-racists. It’s taken us to a brave new world.

    1. “Of course the US has a huge number of immigrants…”

      Yup. 307,006,500 (less one percent) last I looked.

      Note the last chart – population and crime rate stable – incarceration rate skyrocketing. Your argument is invalid.

  55. “I bet if we let the private sector take over the prisons they will be more effective and efficient than the government!” Um – yup. Not always a desirable outcome, though, as it turns out.

  56. I think we should EXPAND the war on drugs. I think all these ‘more prisons = yay’ jackasses would change their tune when riot shield wielding asshole cops and noisy helicopters raided their neighborhoods every night for a change.

  57. Why should these charts break my heart? In the third chart crimes have not grown as fast as the population but incarcerations are up. I interpret that to mean 2 things:
    1) A higher proportion of criminals are incarcerated – that is more perps are being caught
    2) Since crime rate has decreased relative to population growth, it’s working

    My only issue would be whether there is a cheaper way to reduce crime.

    1. You should read the full report for a discussion on why more incarceration != less crime.…..010-06.pdf

  58. “Making drugs legal does not eliminate violent and property crime. It’s hardly a solution to lower any crime rate other than that of drug crime.”

    “Other than”, yes. But “any other” crime sction is insignificant compared to that, so overall reduction would be very significant.

    Also this caught my eye:
    “1) A higher proportion of criminals are incarcerated – that is more perps are being caught”

    No, actually less real criminals are caught but the sentences ar _much_ longer than in 1980’s and more and more of “ordinary citizens” are put in jail instead. Jail is a place for professionals, not just anybody like current police force seems to think and do. They jail ordinary people for insingnificant “crimes” because it’s _much easier to and pays the same_.

    When you pay people by (the amount of) criminals caught and nothing else, they always target to easy targets: Less work, same pay.

    What do you think a law banning phothography of police officers and buildings is for? It’s an trivial way to put people in jail (and earn your pay).

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  62. Not surprising, but definitely awful. What is going on with this country that we all just need to go to time out? Is our life really that bad?

  63. The US treats treats crimes with incarceration. It’s cheaper than trying to cure the social ills that are the route of the problem. Forget investing in deprived areas. If the voting population hears their locked up they feel safe. Simple. Any Shell sponsored Congressmen could deliver on that promise. 🙂

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  66. Well I guess we’re still ahead of the rest of the world in something.

  67. Well I see that we still lead the world in something – just not the right thing.

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  70. Ah.. This indeed breaks myheart..

  71. Good stats research.


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  72. Once again REASON bitches about the costs of prisons but won’t propose any realistic alternatives, which is troubling since libertarians are supposed to be REALISTIC and PRACTICAL, like John Stossel.

    So, perhaps REASON should propose a libertarian prison run by a private corporation with a profit incentive.

    Think you can do it better than the state? Prove it.

    Because frankly, I’m quite happy with Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Love those pink uniforms, feeding the scum two sandwiches a day, making them sleep in tents. That’s a wonderful approach.

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