June 1, 2017 | View PDF
DID YOU KNOW that right here in America, “The Land of the Free,” we have FIVE TIMES the percentage of our population in prison than the rest of the world? Of every 100,000 of our people, we have 756 locked up behind bars. This is a sharp contrast to the world average, which is only 158.
And of our 50 states, Alabama has the third highest incarceration rate [after Louisiana (1) and Mississippi (2)]. Yes, the Gulag Archipelago is right here in our own back yard. Since 1977, our prison population has shot up by 840% while the state’s overall population has increased only 23%. Now our politicians are screaming for more money to build more prisons to relieve the overcrowding and to satisfy the federal courts.
Are we really five times more violent and crime-prone than everybody else? Not at all. For reasons only our corrupt politicians can justify, they have packed our prisons with people who have committed no crimes at all—victimless “crimes”—a staggering 86 percent of our prison population.
First let’s define a crime: It is a willful and deliberate action to do bodily harm to other people and / or steal, damage or destroy other people’s property. It would also include a willful attempt to do any of these things even if unsuccessful or a threat to do them. If these conditions are not met, then there is no crime.
What is a victimless crime? It is exactly that. It is a violation of one or more unconstitutional laws that have no legitimate purpose to protect the public from wrongdoing. There are multitudes of such laws everywhere—licensure, permits, prohibitions, mandates, regulations, code violations, assisted suicide, sale of sex toys, possession of “pornography,” etc. The great majority of these are either totally unnecessary or are enforced to extremes far beyond acceptable limits.
The number one victimless “crime” by far is the prohibition against the possession, use and sale of recreational drugs by consenting adults. Like alcohol prohibition (long ago recognized as a failed “social experiment”), it has become an even greater social and economic disaster. Untold millions of people have suffered unspeakable anguish and economic tragedies as a result of its enforcement.
Prostitution and gambling are two others. Why are they considered crimes? It is government meddling into people’s private affairs—a gross violation of the sovereignty of individuals. Call it immoral if you wish, but if it is with the consent of all parties involved, it is nobody else’s business.
This is America, a nation that was founded upon individual rights. Government has NO legitimate authority to meddle. Its purpose is to protect the people from meddling by others, period. That is the foundation of our Constitution.
Imprisonment for victimless “crimes” imposes a heavy public burden. People who would otherwise be productive self-supporting citizens are denied their opportunities and forced to be burdens onto society. They can only consume and are rendered unable to produce. The cruelty of this practice is unconscionable.
Enforcing victimless “crimes” also imposes a heavy cost on enforcing genuine crimes. If the police are busy doing what they should not do, they are at those times unable to perform their legitimate duties.
Victimless crime enforcement has caused otherwise law-abiding citizens to partake in genuine crimes. Drug criminalization has highly inflated drug prices and created lucrative black markets for drug cartels and has spawned the proliferation of violent street gangs. The high prices have driven users to steal and loot to finance their habits.
Mandatory minimum sentencing has been heavily skewed onto victimless “crimes” and has exacerbated our prison problem. This has obligated the release of dangerous criminals to make space for more innocent victims of our upside-down justice system.
Now what should we do with our prisons? What we must NOT do is build more of them. But we do need to abate the overcrowding, which has been reported to be about double our prisons’ capacities. The answer is simple: Review the records of all of the inmates and sort the ones who have done genuine crimes from those who have committed only consensual, i.e. victimless “crimes.” Release and pardon the members of the latter group and give them enough counseling to go out and be productive citizens.
Instead of spending more money to build more gulags, we would end up saving money in two ways: First, the state would not have to feed and care for about half or more of our current prison population. Second, once released, the former inmates would be able to support themselves and become taxpayers instead of tax liabilities.
And the greatest benefit of all would be an end of the cruel and unjust incarceration of people who have done no harm to other people.