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News? Check. Politics? Check. Music? Check. Random thoughts about life? Check. Readership? Ummm.... let me get back to you on that. Updated when I feel like I have something to say, and remember to post it.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

A tragic story

Prisons in Indianapolis are overcrowded. There is a desperate need for more space and more beds. Right now, due to court orders, the government can't hold everyone charged. So, some people need to be let out before their court date. "Some" means more than 9,000.

Shockingly, over less than four years, five men have been charged or convicted of murder after being released in this way.

I have no desire to see prisoners kept in inhumane conditions. But these conditions aren't likely to kill them. In our quest to be humane, five people are dead. More than one per year.

Let's analyze this risk and compare it to other risks. By forcing the people of New Mexico to pay a lot more for water filtration, we lower arsenic in the water by a few parts per million, which might save five cancer deaths over decades. No, we can't keep the allowable arsenic levels higher, because of those five people. Yet we can afford not to address our prison problem, with this huge identifiable impact. Actual deaths, not estimated deaths. A clear link, not an assumed link.

It's time for more prison space.

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