Out of a current US population of about 316 million, about 0.7%, or 7 of every 1,000 people are in jail. That may seem like a lot, and it is a lot; the highest incarceration rate in the world. But is it too many? One might think that only 1% of the people in the population are “bad” people, and if you can segregate them from the rest of the population, then the vast majority would be better off; the value creators freed from the depredations of the value destroyers And, to some degree, this has occurred, as crime rates have dropped dramatically in the last few decades as the prison population has surged. The logic here is pretty simple; if those disposed to criminal activity stay in jail, they won’t be committing crimes against the general population, although they may well continue to assault other prisoners.
But, still, do there really need to be so many people locked up in America? And, crucially, are the right people locked up? It may be that 1% of all people are evil, but how many of those people are in jail, and how many are running the government or major corporations? Other countries have lower crime rates than the US and lock up far fewer people.
To relieve prison overcrowding, prisoners should be divided into 3 groups:
- – Those who have committed non-violent, victimless crimes such as prostitution, tax evasion, gambling, and, most importantly, drug dealing or possession, should be freed immediately
- – Those who have committed serious but not heinous crimes, generally crimes against property such as robbery and fraud, should remain in jail, but should be able to perform work resulting in earlier releases. The object is to teach these people how to create value, both to repay their victims, for their own good, and to become productive members of society.
- – Those who have committed acts of great value destruction, generally crimes against the person, such as child rape and murder, serial killers, as well as those who have committed massive financial crimes, should be executed. There are some crimes for which there is no redemption.
We’ve included massive theft or fraud in this category because by stealing men’s money on such a scale these criminals have injured scores and scores of individuals, and also the economic system itself. Money is just a tool, but it enables people to buy the other tools necessary to create value. If you‘ve stolen money, you’ve deprived other people of the chance they have to create value – and a better life for themselves and others.