It comes down to a question of ideology: is it worse
for a guilty man
to go free, or for an innocent man to be
America's incarceration figures are nothing short of staggering:
we have approximately 5% of the world's population, yet
approximately 25% of the world's prison population.
The number of Americans in prison for victimless crimes, primarily
drug use and possession related cases, exceeds the combined total
prison population of France, Germany and the UK. Either Americans
are notoriously a criminal class, or we have far too many laws
imposing too many lengthy prison sentences.
The first thing we need to do is to eliminate
victimless crimes from the books. These
- personal consentual acts such as family living arrangements,
multi-party marriages, adult sexual acts;
- consumption of any substance by an adult;
- crimes "against the government" such as Tax Crimes, Securities
law crimes, money laundering, etc;
- sale of any items between adults
It is not the business of government to legislate
morality nor to prevent people from leading their lives in voluntary
arrangements with others.
To suggest that anyone questioning the viability of the current
state of the American prison system is advocating being "soft" on
the prosecution and punishment of actual crimes of victimisation --
i.e. those crimes
in which the offender attempts to deprive the
victim of one or more of his natural rights to life, liberty and
estate, is simply wrong. By eliminating victimless crimes from
the purview of government control, real crimes against
real victims could be the focus of the police and prosecution. This
would truly enhance our safety and security.