Crime & Punishment
The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. As of December 31, 2010, the International Centre for Prison Studies (ICPS) at King's College London estimated 2,266,832 prisoners from a total population of 310.64 million as of this date (730 per 100,000 in 2010). In comparison, Russia had the second highest, at 577 per 100,000, Canada was 123rd in the world as 117 per 100,000, and China had 120 per 100,000. A recent article by Fareed Zakaria also shows that Japan has 63 per 100,000, Germany has 90, France has 96, South Korea has 97, and ­Britain has 153. In the same article it states that in 1980, the US had 150 per 100,000, so why the increase - the war on drugs. Drug convictions represent half the inmate population. Some have said that the US had more people in prison than Stalin had in his gulags. Watch out for extremist rhetoric like this. Stalin reported killed 20m people, so you wont find them in his prison population numbers. There is also much written today justifiably about wrongful convictions overturned by DNA evidence years later. According to the Innocence Project 292 convictions have been overturned by DNA evidence. While each one of these wrongful convictions is a travesty and the causes must be corrected immediately, it represents only .0001269% of the total prisoner population. Some wild extrapolations estimate up to 20,000 wrongful convictions, or about 1%. So the much maligned American justice system gets 99.% right in the worst case extrapolation. Though I could find no statistics, this is probably the #1 effectiveness rate in the world, too. Anyone would like a 99% winning percentage, but we can and should still do better. Also, within three years of their release, 67% of former prisoners are rearrested and 52% are re-incarcerated, a recidivism rate that is alarming. Plus, African Americans are imprisoned at a rate roughly seven times higher than whites, and Hispanics at a rate three times higher than whites, giving rise to racial profiling accusations and poverty as justification, but interestingly no other reasoning for this high percentage is publicly debated. More than 60% of the people in prison are now racial and ethnic minorities. For Black males in their thirties, 1 in every 10 is in prison or jail on any given day, and some say it is a higher rate than were slaves in 1850. These trends have been intensified by the disproportionate impact of the "war on drugs," in which two-thirds of all persons in prison for drug offenses are people of color. There is clearly much to do in this country to improve our criminal justice system. Below and in the sub-category of cyberattacks, you will see both sides debate the issue. The Gray Area believes the "Right on Crime" Statement of Principles is the best blueprint we have seen to reform the American Criminal Justice system. Also, the Overcriminalization guide prepared by The Heritage Foundation is an eye opener.

Yes, We All Care.

from The Gray Area:

I have heard in the past couple days several media talking heads regarding the school shooting in Florida question 'why don't Republicans care about mass shootings ... and our school children being killed?' This ignorance and politicization of tragedy is not new, but is has become tiresome. So, lets state the obvious - - - YES, WE ALL CARE! We are all tired of these shootings and for that matter all murders, molestation and abuse of our children by guns, knives, bombs, baseball bats, sex or otherwise. What is the political solution to this from the left - more gun control. And, what's wrong with men. Gee, thanks for your help. Guns are not the solution because they are not the problem. Guns are the result of the problem. A tool being used by a culprit to correct a perceived wrong. Which in each mass shooting situation, no additional gun restrictions would have stopped. Further gun control is not a solution to the problem. It is only an emotional reaction and a political win for the left. So, what is the problem? Mass shootings are the problem - wrong. Why don't you guys roll up your sleeves and help define the real problem? Because it's not politically expedient. Shame. Mass shootings are the result of our societal disintegration due to cultural degradation. If you have a solid culture, with understood and accepted behavioral norms, you will not have recurring situations like mass shootings. The USA ( and the rest of the world for that matter ) is in the middle of societal collapse. All institutions, norms and standards of behavior are being purposely attacked and dismantled.

The situation this week in Florida reveals how taking 'personal responsibility' alone, not writing new gun laws, would have corrected this problem: -The perpetrator has apparently had some bad circumstances in his life. His dad died when he was young and his mom died recently. He was living with a foster family. Okay, wait a minute. He is 19, still in high school and living with a foster family. Red flags anyone? -The perpetrator was known to students, not as 'most likely to succeed', but as 'most likely to do mass shooting'. Red flag? -The perpetrator was a known disciplinary problem. The teachers knew it and said so. The school administration knew it and told teachers and security that he was not allowed on school property with a back pack, period. Good for them. Red flags? -The perpetrator was active on social media using statements that should flag him to anyone reading it. One person did flag it - to the FBI. YAY! But, the FBI didn't do anything about it. -The perpetrator, a known malcontent with a difficult family history, had several guns at his foster parent's home. Red flag? They told him to keep the guns in a locked safe, which he had a key to. Excuse me? -Were the foster parents the only ones who did not know that this guy was a serious problem? Red flag? The picture here is very clear. When you apply this picture to other school shootings, include church shootings as well, you see the breakdown in our society and culture. Over the past 50 years we have progressively reduced the ability for anyone to seriously identify anyone who is a potential problem. It is bad for that person's self esteem, they would say. It violates their civil rights, they would say. Nothing can be done until they do something, they would say. And then, when they do something, they say, why didn't you do something to prevent it? Teachers in schools used to be able to discipline disruptive kids, send them home or otherwise identify them and keep them out of school. No more. Discipline in schools is non-existent. Coaches used to be a disciplinary presence. No more. Lawsuits, civil rights activists, radical leftists threats, and non-supportive parents, all contribute to the problem. What do schools do to bullies? Nothing. Lip service. Please don't bully. They actually move the person being bullied. So, who suffers consequences? Not the bully. If you look into schools you find that girls are just a bad, if not worse than boys, in this category. What happens if a kid fights back against a bully in school? The kid who fights back is in as much trouble as the bully because there is a 'no tolerance for fighting' rule. Translated this means, no adult wants to make the judgement of who is right or wrong. So neither do the kids. And, oh, by the way, lets take the national Anthem and the pledge of allegiance out of schools and /or not respect it if it is included. The problem is the collapse of our culture. The culture that Alexis de Tocqueville described in Democracy in America over 180 years ago as a balance of liberty and equality ... personal property, religion, a vibrant civil society. This tragedy could have been easily stopped many times with someone taking personal responsibility. Not more totalitarian gun control. The only place where guns are part of the solution, is with adults taking simple personal responsibility. Locking the guns up themselves or taking them away. Notifying officials they were worried about this guy of legal age, so he could be flagged and not allowed to buy guns. All existing gun control policies and regulations, if used, would work. There is no short term solution to the problem of the degradation of our culture, the glue that binds us together. There are a few places to start though. 1. Raise Standards, everything in our society has had it standards lowered the past 50 years. Our schools, our jobs, our sports figures, our celebrities, our education. Raise the standards, everywhere. No more accepting or worse, making up excuses for poor performance. Overcome and achieve, or don't. Period. 2. Mental Health. Take lunatics off the streets. Get them help. Stop making excuses for people and for helping people. 3. Put discipline & common sense back in schools. If parents complain, send the kid home to them. If they sue, defend yourself. So be right in your judgements. Pubic schools are not a home for juvenile delinquents or baby sitters for parents. If parents can’t discipline their kids, the schools will or they will not be allowed in. Take trouble makers out of schools. Take bullies out of schools. 4. Stop having schools as safe zone, no guns. All that does is make them a target for crazies. No resistance. Stupid. 5. Make families important again. Stop attacking nuclear families, calling them outdated, or diminish their significance. Celebrate families. Celebrate marriage and the commitment it represents. 6. Expect more from the media. Yeah, not realistic, but necessary. 24/7 coverage of every mass shooting creates copycats. Not necessary. And, reinforce the expectation that people in America take personal responsibility, over themselves and for their community. This is part of the foundation of America, the belief that everyone makes a difference and anyone can do anything and be anything. It has been eliminated from the culture - for political reasons.

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