OF THE 2.3 million people incarcerated in prisons and jails in the United States,
roughly 140,000, or 6 percent, are serving life sentences.
Of that number, about 41,000
-- i.e., 29 percent of the lifers, or 1.8 percent of all inmates --
were sentenced to life without parole.
Both numbers are at an all-time high.
Should Americans be troubled by this?
The Sentencing Project thinks so.
In a new report, the liberal advocacy group
-- which describes itself as a promoter of "alternatives to incarceration" --
complains that the growth in life sentences has been costly and unjust.
It "challenges the supposition that all life sentences are necessary to keep the public safe."
It particularly disapproves of life-without-parole sentences,
which, it claims
"often represent a misuse of limited correctional resources and discount the capacity for personal growth and rehabilitation that comes with the passage of time."
As a matter of policy,
the Sentencing Project supports abolition of both the death penalty
and life without parole.
In its view, even a vicious mass murderer deserves a chance at parole.
That is an eccentric position that most Americans clearly don't share.
Nevertheless, the group's new report --
"No Exit: The Expanding Use of Life Sentences in America" --
has drawn media attention;
But good PR is not a substitute for sound analysis.
The problems with "No Exit" begin with the first paragraph,
which asserts that the high incarceration rate in the United States
is the result of "three decades of 'tough on crime' policies
that have made little impact on crime."
America's prison population has indisputably grown in recent years,
as prison sentences have lengthened and more criminals have been locked up.
But far from negligible, the "impact on crime" has been dramatic.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Americans experienced 44 million crimes in 1973.
By 2007, the number of criminal victimizations had dropped to 23 million.
During those "three decades of 'tough on crime' policies," in other words, crime in America was nearly halved
-- and this even as the population grew by more than 75 million.
Since the mid-1990s, the plunge in violent crime has been especially steep:
from more than 51 crimes of violence per 1,000 US residents in 1994 to 21 in 2005
-- a 59 percent reduction.
Research analyst Ashley Nellis, lead author of the Sentencing Project's new report,
concedes that it is "intuitive" to attribute the striking reduction in crime
to the fact that many more criminals are behind bars.
But some researchers, she told me yesterday, have determined
that incarceration rates account for no more than one-fourth of the drop in crime.
Among those she mentioned was economist Steven Levitt,
argument that the legalizing of abortion in the 1970s helps explain the crime reduction of the
Yet even Levitt has estimated that for each additional criminal locked up, there is "a reduction of between five and six reported crimes." In a 2004 paper, he identified "increases in the prison population" as more significant than any other factor in explaining the drop in homicide and other violent crimes. The Sentencing Project may insist that incapacitating criminals through more and longer prison sentences has "made little impact on crime," but those prison sentences have spared countless Americans from being assaulted, robbed, raped, and murdered.
Nowhere in "No Exit" is there any breakdown of the crimes that led to the 140,000 life sentences now being served. Yet the report devotes almost obsessive attention -- including five statistical tables -- to the alleged racial disparity those sentences reflect. About 48 percent of lifers are black, 33 percent are white, and 14 percent are Hispanic. "These figures are consistent with a larger pattern in the criminal justice system," the report notes, "in which African Americans are represented at an increasingly disproportionate rate across the continuum from arrest through incarceration."
Yet the report mentions only in passing another striking disparity: Nearly 97 percent of inmates serving life terms are men. If it is noteworthy that blacks, who account for 12 percent of the general population, make up 48 percent of lifers, shouldn't it be even more significant that men, who comprise less than half the population at large, represent nearly all those sentenced to life?
The explanation, of course, is that men commit the vast majority of serious crime; that hard fact, not sexism, explains the disproportionate male incarceration rate.
Likewise the racial disparity: Though blacks account for just one-eighth of the US population, they are six times more likely than whites to be murdered, and seven times more likely to commit murder. That hard fact, not racism, explains the high proportion of lifers who are black. But such inconvenient facts appear nowhere in the Sentencing Project's report. "No Exit" brims over with information and statistics -- but only the ones that reinforce its sponsor's preconceived views.
With imprisonment up, crime is down
by Jeff Jacoby
The Boston Globe
August 5, 2009
BARRY SOETORO aka BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA
He is not eligible to be
President of the United States
because he is not a Natural Born Citizen
as required by Article Two, Section One, Clause Five of the United States Constitution.
This is a fact REGARDLESS of
where he was born (Mombassa, Hawaii, Chicago, Mecca or Mars).
He is not eligible
because he was not born of
BOTH OF WHOM WERE UNITED STATES CITIZENS
AT THE TIME OF HIS BIRTH
as required by the Constitution.
His father, who did not live in the United States for more than a couple of years, was a subject/ciitizen
of Kenya/Great Britain at the time of Barack’s birth and afterwards, AND further, as Barack himself admitted on his website during the 2008 campaign, Barack was therefore born SUBJECT TO THE GOVERNANCE OF GREAT BRITAIN.
Here is a direct quote from Obama's "Fight the Smears/Fact Check" 2008 website:
‘When Barack Obama Jr. was born on Aug. 4,1961, in Honolulu, Kenya was a British colony, still part of the United Kingdom’s dwindling empire. As a Kenyan native, Barack Obama Sr. was a British subject whose citizenship status was governed by The British Nationality Act of 1948. That same act governed the status of Obama Sr.‘s children…’ “
The FACT that he was not born of TWO US CITIZEN PARENTS is all that matters. The question of his birth certificate is a distraction (a distraction fostered by Obama’s supporters?) that ought not to occupy our time and resources.
Also, it is possible that he is not a United States
citizen at all through his mother if he was born in Kenya, as three witnesses have testified. The reason is because his mother could not pass her US citizenship on to her son because she did not live continuously in the United States for five full years after her fourteenth birthday as required by the US immigration law in effect during that period of time.
Check it out:
Also, an excellent introductory primer on Obama Presiidential Eligibility is to be found at:
His usurpation can only be corrected (1) by Congress through his Impeachment and Removal [something which will never happen in a Congress controlled by Pelosi/Reid], or (2) it can be
corrected by his resignation, which could happen if the public presssure on him to resign becomes great enough, or (3) by his removal by the United States Supreme Court affirming a Quo Warranto decision of the United States Federal District Court for the District of Columbia [which process Attorney General Eric Holder would never allow to even begin] or (4) by an amendment to the Constitution,
which will never happen because that again would require the agreement of a Congress controlled by Pelosi/Reid.
HERE IS THE QUESTION WHICH EVERY AMERICAN CITIZEN SHOULD BE ASKING HIS OR HER CONGRESSMAN AND SENATORS
“During the 2008 election, then Senator Obama published a statement at his website which said that his birth status was ‘governed’ by the British Nationality Act of 1948. Can you please tell me, and the American people, how a person governed - at birth - by British law, can be a natural born citizen of the United States and thus constitutionally eligible to be President of the United States?”
- Leo Rugiens