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View Diary: Why The Death Penalty Should Matter to Progressives (298 comments)

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  •  Do you? (4+ / 0-)
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    tytalus, cv lurking gf, Zinman, mindara

    The total recidivism rate in the United States in 2005 was approximately ~60%. Oddly, that number is substantially higher than other countries that do not practice the death penalty, and place a greater focus on rehabilitation than isolation, but that's neither here nor there. There was no breakdown I could find for violent crime in general, but the two lowest recidivism rates were rape (2.5%) and homicide (1.2%). That's certainly not a great number (nothing over 0% would be), but it indicates that the panic over recidivism may be overblown.

    And the number of escaped prisoners? Very small, especially in the federal system. Most of those are in work-release programs (and thus probably not there for violent crimes), and the majority of those are recaptured within 24 hours, before they have the opportunity to commit further crimes. I was able to dig up the numbers for Florida in 2005-06, which indicates that that 122 prisoners escaped that year, all from non-secure or minimum security environments, and all but 10 of them were subsequently recaptured (see Again, that's not perfect, but it's far from catastrophic, and it certainly suggests nothing of a society with "absolutely zero ability to properly hold law-breakers and sociopaths"

    •  Thank you. I just asked the poster if he/she (1+ / 0-)
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      could cite his source too. I hadn't heard that escapees and former convicts were major problems, aside from the inability for former convicts to get jobs.

      "You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty." Mohandas Gandhi

      by cv lurking gf on Sun Jan 06, 2013 at 05:00:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  122 is not small (0+ / 0-)

      122 in Florida alone for 1 year is significant.

      I imagine that part of the low recidivism rates for those crimes may have something to do with the length of the sentences in the first place.....Hard to commit new crimes when you get sentenced to 40 years in prison. A person is much less a threat at 65 than at 25 (I imagine). either way kinda interesting

      Yes I did use hyperbole this was in reaction to the hyperbole of the post I was responding to.

      Implying that prisoners are somehow housed in "properly"  controlled environments is extravagantly naive.

      Even in jail many people are a threat. A threat to civilians, a threat to jail staff and a threat to other prisoners.

      •  The vast majority of those were recaptured, though (0+ / 0-)

        Before they could commit any further crimes. And none were perpetrators of violent crime in the first place, so it hardly matters to any discussion of the effectiveness of keeping people convicted of homicide locked up tight. Your perceived risk is hypothetical and not, as it happens, supported by the evidence. That makes it a pretty poor rationale for killing anyone, IMO.

        •  Correcting myself (0+ / 0-)

          I probably shouldn't state that none were perpetrators of violent crime. More correctly, I should say none were found guilty of a crime that led to high-security imprisonment as a sentence. The idea that low security imprisonment is easier to escape from should be self-evident, and is the reason we have higher-security alternatives when needed.

          •  Perhaps in Florida (0+ / 0-)



            There are a significant number of those listed which were violent criminals who did escape.  These were "famous" escapes. I am sure there are other non famous ones.

            I will gladly admit that the rates are lowish.

            I however will also stand by my belief that these rates are not small enough to stand idly by and simply state that they are "properly" controlled.

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