America's prison population, by the numbers

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In the American prosperity gospel kindness is cruel punishment to the poor so they will be incentivised to stop that.

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I like to think that the problems with the U.S. penal system can be summed up by Uther Lightbringer’s taunt from Hearthstone: “Justice demands retribution!”

There’s no room for compassion and rehabilitation in a system designed to inflict pain as a form of deterrence.


We need a system that produces new criminals so the kids of prison officers and prosecutors will have secure jobs.

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Land of the Free? Whoever told you that is your enemy.
(cf Rage Against the Machine)

May the US spend itself into the ground sooner rather than later.

“long form data journalism” in this case seem to be just copying and pasting from secondary or tertiary sources rather than going to the actual data or original source. In the process, Quinn’s secondary sources contradict her claims in the excerpt Boing! Boing! goes with in their summary. Quoting Quinn:

A child with a dad in prison has no better than a 15% chance to graduate from college, with a mom imprisoned, a 2% chance. Many of these children experience the symptoms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) but there is no organized outreach to take care of them.

But that’s not quite a bit different than the link she gives as an apparent source. The link is a secondary source summarizing a report by the ABA and White House:

For education, the statistics are equally dramatic: Only 1 percent to 2 percent of students with incarcerated mothers and 13 percent to 25 percent of students with imprisoned fathers graduate from college, according to a 2013 report from the American Bar Association and the White House.

How does the “13 to 25 percent of students with imprisoned fathers graduate from college” from the cited source get bungled into the very different “A child with a dad in prison has no better than a 15% chance to graduate from college”? Did Quinn even bother to track down the original source?

The secondary source that Quinn cites itself doesn’t bother to even give a title or much information at all about the source of this claim other than saying its an ABA/White House report from 2013.

It is apparently referencing this conference summary (not much of an actual report) which references a speaker, John Hagan, making this claim, but doesn’t give any citation to any actual published research.

Hagan’s published research is behind a freaking Wiley paywall, and it is difficult to tell from just the abstract how well his findings stand up.

Nitpicking I know, but if you’re going to call it long form data journalism, how about a bit more actual data and citations to original sources and a few less Barbies.

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