The Right Coast

October 03, 2005
Crime and the Underclass
By Mike Rappaport

Charles Murray writes an extremely interesting piece on the underclass in the Wall Street Journal. He writes:

The underclass has been growing. The crime rate has been dropping for 13 years. But the proportion of young men who grow up unsocialized and who, given the opportunity, commit crimes, has not.
How can that be? We increasingly lock people up.

Consider this statistic: The ratio of prisoners to crimes that prevailed when Ronald Reagan took office, applied to the number of crimes reported in 2003, corresponds to a prison population of 490,000. The actual prison population in 2003 was 2,086,000, a difference of 1.6 million. If you doubt that criminality has increased, imagine the crime rate tomorrow if today we released 1.6 million people from our jails and prisons.