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Comparative Crime Statistics

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From the United Kingdom comes this story in the Daily Express, titled "Why we don't send enough criminals to prison." The story discusses the incarceration rate in England and Wales, correctly using the rate of prisoners per crime, not the meaningless but often-cited number of prisoners per capita. (Crime stats for England and Wales are tabulated separately from Scotland and Northern Ireland.)

The story notes that E&W has one of the lowest incarceration rates in Europe and, probably not coincidentally, one of the highest crime rates. Surprisingly, the story reports that the E&W crime rate "is far higher than America."

The leniency lobby is very fond of pointing to Europe as the paragon of enlightened sentencing policy, enlightenment being defined as willingness to sacrifice the innocent to save the guilty. At least some Europeans, it seems, are looking to be a little more like us.

At this point, the study has only been leaked, not published (see, e.g., here), so we are not yet able to confirm the numbers. We will have more on this subject when the actual report is available.

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"...willingness to sacrifice the innocent to save the guilty." But what on earth does this mean? Do you really believe that there are people who make decisions about crime and punishment based on a preference for the "guilty" over the "innocent"? Frankly, this makes no sense at all.

And what is a "leniency lobby"? Are you sure such things exist?

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