Last issue we published an article titled "Which Shell Is The Pea Under?" in which we argued against the U.S. government's claim that there exists a "definite and positive" link between locking people up and violent crime rates in the United States. As more offenders go to prison, their argument went, violent crime decreases. The Justice Department's conclusion was that there is an ongoing need to continue prison expansion.
A month after the above claims the FBI issued its Uniform Crime Report. Overall, violent crime - murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault - jumped 10 percent in 1990. That is only a continuation of a trend of increase that has continued along side the increase in the size of the nation's prison population. Violence has continued to increase year by year, and the increase actually grows larger with the increase in the number of people put behind bars. If anything, the proposition could be put forward that prisons cause violent crime, the more people you lock up the more violent crime there is.
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