Underpoliced and Overprisoned, revisited

Source: Marginal Revolution

Tabarrok mentions it only briefly in this illuminating essay, but I do not favor “ending the war on drugs.” I understand libertarians’ and economists’ arguments on this topic, but I believe there remain practical reasons for allowing state control of human behavior and choices in certain, narrowly defined circumstances.

Nevertheless, the thesis of the essay — that we spend too little on policing and too much on incarceration — strikes me as profoundly valid. I do favor vastly more police with, in effect, less for them to do.

6 thoughts on “Underpoliced and Overprisoned, revisited

  1. One of the things Robert E Lee most deserves credit for is that, contrary to orders from Jefferson Davis, when he saw that the South no longer had any chance to prevail, he surrendered rather than continue a losing fight that would only cost lives and and suffering to soldiers on both sides.

    Lee’s chances of rising from the fall of Richmond to defeat the North were much better than the government’s chances of winning the War on Drugs.

    Surrender is the only humane choice.


      1. I am pointing out that Lee was a far more complicated man in a very contradictory position who did what was right as he saw it without regard to personal cost.

        To dismiss him based on a simplistic view of what is, or is not, treason today results in us failing to learn from his efforts to be both honorable and humane.


        1. Oops, wrong thread.

          In this context I am pointing out that Lee was wise and compassionate to surrender rather than continue a hopeless war at great expense in lives and suffering.

          There is utterly no chance of winning the drug war short of the Saudi method of publicly executing offenders. We aren’t going to do that , so surrender is the only option.


  2. Hell hath frozen over. Your closing comment is something I believe in.

    One issue on the “war on drugs” part of your lead. Marijuana should be legalized (and taxed). Focus the war on drugs on the real problems like cocaine, heroin, and meth. The majority of drug arrests in this country are for marijuana. Cut out arrests for that, and the prison population will decline. States are moving in that direction, but it also needs done at the federal level. -IMO


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