October 3, 2005


The Hallmark of the Underclass: The poverty Katrina underscored is primarily moral, not material. (CHARLES MURRAY, October 2, 2005, Opinion Journal)

The crime rate has been dropping for 13 years. But the proportion of young men who grow up unsocialized and who, given the opportunity, commit crimes, has not.

A rough operational measure of criminality is the percentage of the population under correctional supervision. This is less sensitive to changes in correctional fashion than imprisonment rates, since people convicted of a crime get some sort of correctional supervision regardless of the political climate. When Ronald Reagan took office, 0.9% of the population was under correctional supervision. That figure has continued to rise. When crime began to fall in 1992, it stood at 1.9%. In 2003 it was 2.4%. Crime has dropped, but criminality has continued to rise.

This doesn't matter to the middle and upper classes, because we figured out how to deal with it. Partly we created enclaves where criminals have a harder time getting at us, and instead must be content with preying on their own neighbors. But mainly we locked 'em up, a radical change from the 1960s and 1970s. Consider this statistic: The ratio of prisoners to crimes that prevailed when Ronald Reagan took office, applied to the number of crimes reported in 2003, corresponds to a prison population of 490,000. The actual prison population in 2003 was 2,086,000, a difference of 1.6 million. If you doubt that criminality has increased, imagine the crime rate tomorrow if today we released 1.6 million people from our jails and prisons.

Maybe it's just me, but I doubt we will.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 3, 2005 5:09 PM

If you read the Jonathan Kozol piece linked below
, you need to read this piece click on the link and read the whole thing. The problem is not race it is not poverty (in money terms), it is the destruction of values by the welfare state.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at October 4, 2005 1:06 AM
« EUROPEAN PROGRESS, HE SCOFFED (via Robert Tremblay): | Main | FIRST THEY CAME FOR MENGELE (via Robert Schwartz): »