Progressive is overreacting to amazing criminological research
Every year, 13 million misdemeanors are filed in the United States. These accusations, from traffic violations to serious assaults, may be less flashy than felony, but are the main way Americans experience the criminal justice system. We prosecute misdemeanors. That is, above all, because we want to reduce misdemeanors, and we believe that prosecution will prevent recidivism. But recent blockbuster papers make the surprising claim of the opposite. Prosecuting contempt actually increases the likelihood that they will get angry again. The treatise was foretold by supporters of progressive district attorneys who used their position to unilaterally impose reforms on the criminal justice system, including refusing to prosecute many contempt. Boston DA Rachael Rollins, who provided the data for the study, claimed that it confirmed the wisdom of her approach. There are other reformers, such as the Chicago District Attorney Kim Foxx and the San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin. However, policy makers need to be careful before reaching such broad conclusions. This treatise is just as easy to read in support of more modest reforms. In particular, keep in mind the long-standing principle of criminal justice in which it is silent. This treatise is the work of three researchers: Amanda Agan of Rutgers, Jennifer Dreaac of Texas A & M, and Anna Harvey of New York University. Both Doleac and Agan have previously published studies that challenge progressive policy preferences, so their new discoveries were probably driven by the desire to achieve politically useful results. Not. To carry out their investigation, the three obtained data on all criminal cases indicted in Suffolk County, home of Boston, between 2004 and September 2018. The impact is amazing. Not being prosecuted for misdemeanor reduces the likelihood of future misdemeanor complaints by 60% and the likelihood of future misdemeanor complaints by 47%. It’s also not a drug misdemeanor, but it greatly reduces the likelihood of future violence, car, and disability / theft crimes. In other words, prosecution not only stops subsequent crimes, but also increases the likelihood of recidivism. This is because, as the authors of the paper suggest, the deterrent effect is more important than the derogatory impact on the labor market outlook. Unemployment can lead to crime, and you are more likely to lose your job if you are prosecuted. It also creates a criminal record, reduces the employment of criminals, and makes them more prone to crime. How did the researchers come to these conclusions? To understand how prosecution affects the risk of recidivism, it is not possible to compare prosecuted and non-prosecuted offenders to see who is committing more offenses. .. You may not be prosecuted just because you are determined to be at no risk. There are confounding variables that determine both that we have to manage. To avoid this problem, this paper uses “instrumental variables” that are uncorrelated with these confounding factors. All contempt indicted in Suffolk County will be indicted by the Assistant District Attorney (ADA). Using the other cases of each ADA, the author creates a measure of “generosity,” that is, the propensity to prosecute a particular criminal. In most cases, the ADA seems to agree to prosecution. ADA usually prosecutes about 70% of cases and usually withdraws about 20%. However, there is a 10% chance that the estimated generosity will be different. These 10% allocations of criminals to ADA of varying generosity contribute to randomness. What this means is that most of the results of the treatise apply to those “small” criminals. Not prosecuting all contempt does not halve the risk of crime for everyone, but refusing to prosecute marginal contempt at the border between prosecution and non-prosecution has a greater chance of recidivism. Will decrease to. Towards the end of the treatise, the author generalizes from these marginal criminals. They found that not being prosecuted had a significant impact on all criminals, reducing the risk of recidivism by about 15 percent on average. Its effects are usually most concentrated on those who have been prosecuted. By being prosecuted, the authors write that they are much more likely to re-offend. Curiously, the impact on people who are not normally prosecuted is indistinguishable from zero. If the ADA prosecuted something that it would not normally prosecute, it had no average effect on future offensive tendencies. When I asked Doleac about this finding, she suggested that it might reflect ADA’s judgment on liability. Well-tuned adults who make mistakes are those who have the least empathy for ADA, but whose prosecution can have a significant negative impact. This suggests that in Doleac’s view, there is a fundamental difference between responsibility and risk. To me, it also shows that ADA is not a good judge about the impact of their choice of prosecution. There is a second important detail that the author pays attention to, which is overlooked in some commentary on the treatise. Most of the non-indictment effects they measure were the result of the first offender and were indicted. In contrast, prosecuting recurring criminals of all kinds has little recognizable effect on their potential to get angry again in the future. This is not surprising given that most crimes are committed by a small number of criminals. Criminological studies have consistently found that a small, criminal population is responsible for most crimes. For people outside the population, including many first-time criminals, prosecution is unlikely to discourage them from doing what they do not do anyway, but it can have the negative effect of driving them into crime. .. So should we prosecute with less contempt? No matter how well designed, one study in one county cannot draw very dramatic conclusions. This relies on the latest statistical methods, but you should always be aware of the findings that can only be reached by extensive statistical research. The intricacies of the equipment used by paper, combined with the enormous effects it finds, should ease enthusiasm. That said, the best evidence can be carefully concluded that marginal contempt should not be prosecuted less often. However, if the ADA is not good at determining the consequences of prosecution, one should not assume that it is good at communicating a slight contempt from future serial offenders. Therefore, too much in determining who is the marginal case, regardless of whether the findings are incorrect or the ADA has poor judgment as to how the prosecution will relate to future crimes. It should be noted that also gives a lot of room. Instead, you can provide a rule of thumb. If in doubt, make a mistake on the part of the person who does not prosecute the first contempt. Diversion of these criminals poses a more serious threat of punishment if they re-offend and can help clear the dock while minimizing crime. It also allows the ADA to focus on repetitive contempt. Repetitive targeting reduces the risk of misappropriation for the first time by making it clear that the “second chance” is not followed by the third, fourth, fifth, etc. For example, according to a California “three-strikes law” study, increasing penalties for repeat offenders could have a powerful deterrent effect. The above approach is different from the idea that in general far less derogatory ones should be prosecuted. A valid interpretation of the findings of a treatise for two reasons, but not always correct. First, deterrence is not the only reason to prosecute criminals. Those who support not prosecuting misdemeanors are more likely to commit “victimless” crimes such as drug possession and prostitution. However, misdemeanor crimes can also include crimes that hurt others, such as simple assaults and car thefts. Such crimes reasonably elicit a demand for retributive justice. The belief that a person who commits a serious but non-violent assault can escape Scotland undermines our moral sense. Second, a systematic reduction in generosity can affect the decision-making of all criminals and increase their tendency to be offended in the long run. The paper shows that Rollins’ move to non-indictment of misdemeanor crimes did not increase overall misdemeanor offenses, but the data it uses is that the coronavirus crisis began in 20191. It only describes the period from her election in the month to March 2020. In the long run, it is quite possible that criminals will adapt and minor offenses will increase. Full policy changes can lead to an increase in violations. For example, California’s rise to the 2014 felony theft threshold has, as expected, led to an increase in theft at the city level. This shows that criminals change their behavior in response to such changes. Facing the judicial system can be time consuming, exhausting, and can increase in margins rather than reduce the tendency to offend. Even those of us who are very interested in public security should be interested in creative solutions that minimize crime and confusion. At the same time, policy makers should not go ahead of themselves. Some have rushed to defend the police station and reduce the use of more serious accusations. Good research is the basis of good policy, and this research makes a valuable contribution to public security policy. However, you need to be careful about how far you go. Careful changes around the edges are always safer than a comprehensive transformation.