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Opening Arguments

Cause and effect

I swear, every time there's a story about prison issues, there is a dunderheaded observation like this:

The largest percentage increase — 12 percent — was in Kentucky, where Gov. Steve Beshear highlighted the cost of corrections in his budget speech last month. He noted that the state's crime rate had increased only about 3 percent in the past 30 years, while the state's inmate population has increased by 600 percent.

Gosh, how come we are putting so many people in prison when the crime rate is so low? Well, dummies, maybe the crime rate is so low because we are putting the people who would commit the crimes in prison. The news peg for this story is that for the first time in our history we have more than 1 in 100 adults in prison, and that per capita or by the raw numbers either one, we have more people incarcerated than any other nation. It does make one valid point, that we are probably putting a lot of people in prison who don't belong there and leaving out a lot of people who do. Drug warriors, wake up. And slow down.