Superpredator panics, Three Strikes Laws, and other failed reforms

Originally published at: Superpredator panics, Three Strikes Laws, and other failed reforms | Boing Boing


…“What is needed is food, clothing, shelter, education, accessible and good public transportation, and preventative medical care”

What we have now is a system of family ruin, financial devastation, and a permanent stain on any chance of getting a good job.


Yes. There absolutely are. Don’t ruin an otherwise great article by “both sides”-ing this shit. Yes, the Democratic Party was complicit in the 90s in exacerbating this problem, but they are the only party now trying to fix it. With the exception of Eric Adams, who I still can’t believe got elected as a Democrat.


Along with the repeal of Glass-Steagall, this crime policy will stand as one of the signature failures of the Third-Way Clinton administration.

Thank you. Claiming that there’s no difference between the parties has always been sophomoric BS, even more so now that one party is going fascist.


Let’s not overlook the monster who came up with “Three Strikes” laws in the first place: Kern County prosecutor Ed Jagels, the same piece of human garbage whose gross misconduct destroyed countless lives in the 1980s with his infamous “Satanic Panic” witch trials.

(FWIW he’s definitely not a Democrat.)


I suspect that politically driven ‘reform’ initiatives are more likely to obfuscate this question than illuminate it; but (despite the more or less unequivocal failure, on both humanitarian and efficacy grounds, of initiatives that more or less boiled down to trying to convince the electorate that you were sufficiently zealous about locking up gangbangers named Tyrone, in accordance with sportsball metaphors); the matter of attempting to classify offenders based on their reasons for offence, recidivism rates, and susceptibility or resistance to various rehabilitation strategies seems like a fascinating one.

From my cursory googling around, it appears unequivocally the case that assorted crimes differ significantly in terms of offender demographics(tl;dr watch your back and your wallet around men between puberty and middle age; watch your back a bit less and your IRA a bit more if they are older than that or richer than average); and (within a given prison/criminal justice system, which presumably helps standardize offender treatment/rehabilitation strategies a bit) things like mean time to recidivism event and mean number of recidivism events varies by offender type; and (between countries, so as to sample across different offender treatment/rehabilitation positions) you can see considerable differences in recidivism rate as well(though not always what I’d expect: at least if this is to be believed Finland and the US had the same 2 year reconviction value; which is not what my guess would have been.)

There’s also the question(both because I find abnormal psych interesting and because, in an ideal world, you’d be running a society where conditions that push basically ordinary people into crime have largely been mopped up and the remaining crime is largely the work of those who are clinically incapable of playing well with others) of the breakdown in terms of nature, nurture, and circumstance.

I’d suspect that some of the results here would run directly counter to political palatability(eg. junkies doing a long string of impulsive property crimes are not terribly sympathetic offenders; but “I do stupid things for quick cash because my life is unstable and I go into withdrawal if I can’t get cash quickly” seems much less likely to indicate a profound defect as a social animal that would make a PCL-R cry compared to “I engineered a complex financial shell game to raid the pension fund because money is how you keep score”); but it’s certainly the case that doing crimes is not uniformly distributed through the population; and there are definitely suggestions that personality(some imposed by upbringing, some genetic) plays a role along with circumstance.


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