Saturday, January 12, 2008

Closing Prisons? Oh, The Humanity!!

Pam Clifton at Think Outside the Cage may have the most interesting news of the weekend, her catch of the news that NY isn't closing down just one prison, but four. Savings to taxpayers are detailed and substantial. According to "prisons are the only answer" people, NY residents will now be laid siege to crime. Except NY's crime rates are low nationally, too, because there was both a culture and commercial shift, especially in NYC, and there was investment made in proactive, crime-preventative law enforcement so people didn't have to become victims before the government deigned to weigh in. The saved money, of course, can go into even more of those efforts to keep a positive feedback loop up that should mean even less future crime. The model is so clear, and has been for such a long time now (and NY doesn't have guidelines or a functional commission), that Mr. Spock would have to conclude that something other than true concern for victims and crime reduction must be driving the policies of other states that insist on keeping the prison doors twirling. But we at this blog are too optimistic about human nature and self-serving self-interests to ever raise that point ourselves.