You’ve got to give this Washington Post op-ed, “Free violent offenders from prison early, too”, credit for demolishing the “criminal justice reform” myth that it’s just a matter of releasing “non-violent offenders” locked up for drug offenses.
But a solid majority of Americans believe that about half of all people in prison are there for drug offenses, even though the actual fraction is much lower. While about half the people held by the federal system are in for drugs, the feds hold only about 10 percent of all prisoners. In the state systems, with the remaining 90 percent, only 15 percent are in for drugs. Those serving time for violence constitute 55 percent. And that’s a floor on the fraction of people really in prison for violence. The available data classifies inmates by the most serious offense for which they were convicted. If someone is arrested for domestic violence but is found to possess heroin, he may plead guilty to just the heroin charge and appear in the data as a “nonviolent drug offender,” even though the only reason the prosecutor sought prison time for the drug charge was the uncharged violence.
The non-violent offender is, in other words, a myth.
Read the full story from Front Page Mag
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