Prof. Doug Berman, author of Sentencing Law and Policy, today writes a post
that (unintentionally, I think) spills the beans on what will happen if, as the SRCA would have it, we start releasing more federal felons earlier.
We'll get more crime faster.
How do we know that? Because, as Doug's entry discloses, half (49.3%, to be exact) of released federal inmates recidivate (or so says the US Sentencing Commission). Most do so within the first two years after being put back on the street.
The Commission also reports that most re-arrest offenses were for non-violent crimes. That is, of course, what we should expect: The bulk of the those convicted of federal crimes were in for consensual drug trafficking, immigration offenses or fraud; such is the nature of federal criminal jurisdiction. But to say that the re-arrest offenses were not violent is scarcely to say that they were not harmful (although that is often misleadingly implied). Trafficking in hard drugs is one of the most harmful enterprises going on in this country. Even when not accompanied by violence in any given transaction, it is rooted in violence, begets violence, and grossly aggravates the already appalling epidemic of heroin overdose deaths.
I'll note only two more things for now. First, having half
of released inmates recidivate is shocking. It puts the lie to the idea that attempted rehabilitation can be counted upon. Second, the actual recidivist crime figure is certain to be significantly higher, since most crime -- and certainly most drug transactions -- never even get reported
Want more crime faster? No problem. Enact the SRCA.