At SL&P, Doug Berman extensively quotes
a NYT editorial about sentencing "reform" (i.e. letting felons out earlier to do it again, which the great majority will
). The quotation starts with this paragraph (emphasis added):
It has been getting easier by the day for politicians to talk about fixing the nation's broken criminal justice system. But when states in the Deep South, which have long had some of the country's harshest penal systems, make significant sentencing and prison reforms, you know something has changed.
Here are a few statistics
about how "broken" the criminal justice system is:
The last time we had a number of serious crimes this low was 1973, or 42 years ago. The last time we had a murder rate this low was 1963, or 52 years ago. The last time we had a violent crime rate this low was 45 years ago. The last time we had a property crime rate this low was 49 years ago. The last time the auto theft rate was this low was 51 years ago. In 2013, the most recent year for which figures are available, we had 5,077,242 fewer serious crimes than in the peak crime year at the dawn of the Nineties. That is more than five million fewer crime victims.
It may well be that, for the drug pushers, child rapists, con artists, thugs, hoodlums, rioters and others who earned the sentences we finally had enough sense to give them, the criminal justice system looks "broken." But on the theory that the NYT had a broader audience in mind, labeling the system "broken" is nonsense bordering on insanity.