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Terrible News: Crime is down

Submitted by Roanman on Sun, 08/22/2010 - 07:25


I think I've already disclosed that the first thing I do nearly every morning of my life is go to The Wall Street Journal Online looking for the Best of the Web Today column from James Taranto and his minions.

Here's a good example of their fine work.

Terrible News: Crime Is Down 
"Incarceration in America is a failure by almost any measure," according to the first sentence of the blurb for a new Graeme Wood article in The Atlantic. We're locking criminals up, and crime keeps rising anyway! Oh, wait, no, that's not true. From the article:

Even as crime has fallen, the sentences served by criminals have grown, thanks in large part to mandatory minimums and draconian three-strikes rules--politically popular measures that have shown little deterrent effect but have left the prison system overflowing with inmates.

Having read this paragraph, we decided not to bother with the rest of the piece. We'll take Wood's word for it that incarceration is a failure by almost any measure. But it's hard to imagine what measure is more important than the one by which it is a success: preventing crime!