Paul Cassell: Blacks Deserve To Be In Prison
Posting at the Volokh Conspiracy, Judge Cassell states with approval . . . well, best to let him speak for himself this time:
Heather MacDonald has this great article in the City Journal, persuasively debunking the myth that high black incarceration rates result from racial discrimination. She reviews the available empirical evidence, which finds no evidence of systemic racism. Instead, the studies show that a disproportionate number of African-Americans are in prison because they have committed a disproportionate number of serious crimes.
As I read the article, I couldn't help but think that it was actually written by Ann Coulter and Heather MacDonald just changed the name at the top. It is an astounding piece of rhetoric, published in the City Journal, the mouthpiece of the Manhattan Institute, and one of Rudy Giuliani's favs.
So just a little more from the article to whet your appetite:
This popular “social ecological” analysis of incarceration, as Fagan and other criminologists call it, treats prison like an outbreak of infectious disease that takes over certain communities, felling people on a seemingly random basis. “As the risks of going to jail or prison grow over time for persons living in those areas, their prospects for marriage or earning a living and family-sustaining wage diminish as the incarceration rates around them rise,” Fagan says. This analysis elides the role of individual will. Fagan and others assume that once one lives in a high-incarceration—that is, high-crime—area, one can do little to avoid prison. But even in the most frayed urban communities, plenty of people choose to avoid the “Life.” Far from facing diminished marriage prospects, an upstanding, reliable young man in the inner city would be regarded as a valuable catch.
If I understand this correctly, it not only argues that blacks are responsible for their incarceration rate, but the same argument would make them responsible for their lack of success in the workplace, lack of educational prospects and ultimately what us "apologists" view as the products of racial prejudice, both existing and historic.
It isn't terribly surprising that people think this way. Statistical analyses like these are often used in a vacuum, excluding a full view of the situation to focus on specifics that support one's thesis. But what makes this so shocking it that a former United States District Court Judge, a current professor at Utah Law School, has found this of such value, so persuasive and so close to his own views on the subject that he decided to promote and present this to the world as the position he supports.
Anybody want to pretend you're on the Senate judiciary committee and ask Paul Cassell a question or two?
5/11/2008 7:01 AM
Simple Justice wrote:
The New York Times editorial, 5/11/2008 7:06 AM Simple Justice wrote:
The New York Times editorial,