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Monday, April 21, 2003
A modest proposal?
How to reduce crime in two easy steps:
  1. Allow prison inmates to kill each other.
  2. Okay, there actually isn't a second step. The first one should really do it.
It might be a little harsh, but don't blame me -- it's not my idea. It's Jonathan Turley's proposal. Although, for some reason, he views it as social justice on par with Brown vs. Board of Education.
Modern prison policy is based on a concept of re-creating a microcosm of a healthy, albeit controlled, society in a prison. An inmate must be compelled to comply with the standards dictated by society if there is to be any hope of breaking the common cycle of recidivism.
Good idea! And if they don't, we'll just... put them in prison?
Segregation policies may reduce racial violence, but only by accommodating racist tastes -- a dangerous form of appeasement.

If it is true, as one California prison official testified, that you "cannot house a Japanese inmate with a Chinese inmate [because] they will kill each other," then it is time that they are forced to live according to a new code. It would certainly be better that they meet in a controlled prison environment than on a crowded street.


The solution is not easy, but we must regain control of the prisons and compel prisoners to live according to our core values.
Uh, not to point out the obvious, but if they were willing to do that, they wouldn't be in prison in the first place.
It is always tempting to avoid racial tension by yielding to racial separation. However, although there may be costs to desegregation, we have learned that the costs of embracing the conveniences of racial segregation are much higher.
I'd guess this was satire, only Turley is so earnest about this that I think he's really serious. Apparently he believes that people in prison would just learn not to be criminals if we had them hold hands in a circle and sing songs to each other. Maybe if we piped Rodney King's "Can't we all just get along?" line into their cells twenty-four hours a day, they'd all become Nobel peace laureates. (Or, they'd all kill themselves to stop the pain. Thus eliminating recidivism altogether.)

I hate to keep ripping off that Charles Krauthammer piece I referenced yesterday, but it's just so good, so go read it. Turley's column perfectly illustrates the naive stupidity Krauthammer describes. He has a vision of the perfect society, and he thinks he can achieve it if only he can engage in a little minor social engineering. He has no real idea how to accomplish this, but he thinks it should be done. No matter what the costs.

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