Thursday, October 27, 2011

Follow Up, Criminal Justice Collapse Book

Yesterday, I wrote about the book reviewed by the Wall Street Journal, “The Collapse of the American Criminal Justice System”, and after reading the table of contents at Amazon, I decided to not buy the book, which decision was validated by this excellent article about the book from the Crime & Consequences blog.

An excerpt.

“Prof. Doug Berman put up an entry today on Sentencing Law and Policy about the last book published by the late Harvard Law Prof. William Stuntz. The book is titled, "The Collapse of American Criminal Justice." Its thesis, not too surprisingly given the title, is that our criminal justice system has fallen into utter failure….

“The whole thing -- all of it -- is preposterous. Over the time this alleged disaster is supposed to have happened (roughly the last 20 years), the crime rate has fallen off a cliff. The property crime rate is down by 43%; the violent crime rate by 47%, and the murder rate by slightly more than 50%. The raw figures are here, and you can do the math yourself. If you look at the numbers, you'll see that the murder rate is lower now than it has been at any time in almost 50 years.

“Perhaps the most stunning figure, however, is this: The number of serious crimes annually 20 years ago was 14,872,900. The number last year was 10,329,135. That is a drop of 4,543,765. Four and a half million fewer crime victims….

“I will readily concede that the system looks "broken" to two categories of observers: (1) academics who never saw a criminal for whom an excuse could not be manufactured, and who thus lament their incarceration; and (2) the criminals themselves, now thankfully keeping each other company rather than the rest of us.”