In the Year of the Dragon: Ross Douthat Writes About Guns

so I don't have to. He makes his point in his characteristically careful, suggestive style, so I will add value by being incautious and blunt: Crime hysteria leads to expansions of state surveillance and punishment that target poor and minority communities. Gun control isn't different just because you personally are a progressive. Progressives are advocating for tools that others will wield. That is still true--in some ways more true, because the fear runs deeper--when the crime is real and … [Read more...]

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Five Links from a Criminal Justice System: Better DAs, Union vs. Heroism, Divisive Forgiveness, The Treatment-Industrial Complex, And What About the Crime Problem?

"How to Run Against a Tough-on-Crime District Attorney--And Win": District attorneys and the prosecutors who work for them are the most powerful actors in the American criminal justice system. They enjoy immense latitude in deciding what crimes to charge people with and how much prison time to push for. And yet their role in the growth of the country’s prison population, which went from less than 200,000 in 1972 to 1.5 million today, often goes unacknowledged as policymakers in Washington d … [Read more...]

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Our Enemy the State: Link Roundup

"Obama's Economics Team Is Taking on One of America's Most Underrated Economic Problems": Occupational licensing rules, which require government approval (typically by a state government) before a person can practice a given profession, are one of the most under-discussed aspects of the American labor market. A new report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers argues that the way licensing is applied in practice often leads to higher prices, reduced opportunity, and more … [Read more...]

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“The Problem with NYC’s Bail Reform”: The Marshall Project

posts:...Guilty or innocent, the urge to intervene in the lives of those we shovel into the criminal justice system has proven almost irresistible to politicians over the years. So despite the fact that the most effective method of ensuring that people return to court is to just release them with nothing more than a friendly reminder of their court dates via calls or text messages, the city has already made clear that it will aim to create a “pretrial-services system” at an estimated annual c … [Read more...]

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Walter Olson on Ferguson and Oregon Cake Bakers

at Overlawyered: Has anyone noted that the “Ferguson syndrome” of ruinously escalating fines for petty violations [covered widely in the liberal press, and here previously], and Oregon’s ordering of a couple to pay $135,000 for not complying with a request to bake a cake (being covered at AP, widely in the conservative press, and here previously, with related], might actually amount in part to the same issue? more--excellent last line. … [Read more...]

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Tomorrow’s Shuttered Prisons and Yesterday’s Shuttered Pools: A Cops and Prisons Link Roundup

"When Bail Is Out of Defendant's Reach, Other Costs Mount":By the time Mr. Torrence was released from jail, for instance, his imprisonment had taken a toll on the family he shares with his girlfriend, Markeisha Brown. Since Mr. Torrence normally takes care of Ms. Brown’s two sons, she was forced, she said, to stop working and drop out of cosmetology school, losing the $18,000 she had borrowed on a student loan. The couple are still trying to come up with June’s rent.more (his case was dro … [Read more...]

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From Dinaw Mengestu, “The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears”

Lying on the grass on the edge of Dupont Circle, away from the shade cast by the office buildings and trees, I listen closely to the sirens. They don't fit in with the picturesque scene of office workers lunching on the grass, but there they are, faint, undoubtedly audible, and growing louder with each passing second. The couple that I followed to the circle from my store stand up and exit. As the sirens draw closer, the people lying on the grass look up from their books. Those who are strolling … [Read more...]

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