Monday, October 24, 2005

Women in prison

The Bureau of Justice Statistics issued a new report showing "7 percent of all inmates in state and federal prisons last year and accounted for nearly one in four arrests." Co-author, Paige M. Harrison, "linked an upswing in the rate of arrest for women to their increased participation in drug crimes, violent crimes and fraud."

This of course is nonsense. It's not that women are commiting more crimes. The crime rate is down. It's the enhanced sentencing and the predatory "tough on drugs" prosecutions that are filling our prisons. They're charging women with crimes that didn't exist before forfeiture fever infected the prohibition enforcers.

The Sentencing Project backs this up with the figures.
The group said the number of drug offenders in prisons and jails has risen from 40,000 in 1980 to more than 450,000 today. According to FBI figures, law officers in 2004 made more arrests for drug violations than for any other offense -- about 1.7 million arrests, or 12.5 percent of all arrests.

Those sentenced for drug offenses made up 55 percent of federal inmates in 2003, the report said.
We spend billions locking them up but it hasn't stopped the black market drug trade. It's probably the only business besides military hardware and private security services that's doing well in this economy. A regulated market could be contributing to the tax base instead of draining it of resources.


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