Category Archives: Crime and punishment

incarceration and other options

Violence in America

Chapter 61 Violence in America

Who cares about the facts? Since we can’t seem to solve the problem of violence in our country our only option is to ignore the facts.

The facts support the perception that we have nurtured a culture that is more violent than almost all the other first world countries.

Following are some facts:

The intentional homicide rate in the US is just under 5 per 100,000 per year.

This is more than 5 times the rate for the following countries:

UNODC murder rates (per 100,000 inhabitants). Most recent year UNODC has published
Country (or dependent territory, subnational area, etc.) Rate Count Region Subregion Year listed Notes
 Andorra 0.00 0 Europe Southern Europe 2015
 San Marino 0.00 0 Europe Southern Europe 2011
 Liechtenstein 0.00 0 Europe Western Europe 2015
 Monaco 0.00 0 Europe Western Europe 2008
 Macao 0.17 1 Asia Eastern Asia 2015
 Singapore 0.25 14 Asia South-Eastern Asia 2015
 Hong Kong 0.30 22 Asia Eastern Asia 2015
 Japan 0.31 395 Asia Eastern Asia 2014
 French Polynesia (France) 0.38 1 Oceania Polynesia 2009
 Brunei 0.49 2 Asia South-Eastern Asia 2013
 Indonesia 0.50 1,277 Asia South-Eastern Asia 2014
 Austria 0.51 44 Europe Western Europe 2015
 Bahrain 0.54 7 Asia Western Asia 2011
 Norway 0.56 29 Europe Northern Europe 2014
 Palestine 0.60 26 Asia Western Asia 2012 notes
 Netherlands 0.61 104 Europe Western Europe 2015
 Madagascar 0.62 130 Africa Eastern Africa 2010
 Ireland 0.64 30 Europe Northern Europe 2015
 United Arab Emirates 0.66 60 Asia Western Asia 2015
 Spain 0.66 303 Europe Southern Europe 2015
  Switzerland 0.69 57 Europe Western Europe 2015
 Burkina Faso 0.71 117 Africa Western Africa 2012
 Luxembourg 0.72 4 Europe Western Europe 2014
 China 0.74 10,083 Asia Eastern Asia 2014 notes
 South Korea 0.74 372 Asia Eastern Asia 2014
 Poland 0.74 286 Europe Eastern Europe 2015
 Czech Republic 0.75 79 Europe Eastern Europe 2015
 Italy 0.78 469 Europe Southern Europe 2015
 Taiwan 0.82 192 Asia Eastern Asia 2015
 Maldives 0.85 3 Asia Southern Asia 2013
 Greece 0.85 93 Europe Southern Europe 2015
 Germany 0.85 682 Europe Western Europe 2015
 Croatia 0.87 37 Europe Southern Europe 2015
 Slovakia 0.88 48 Europe Eastern Europe 2015
 Iceland 0.91 3 Europe Northern Europe 2015
 New Zealand 0.91 41 Oceania Australasia 2014
 United Kingdom 0.92 594 Europe Northern Europe 2014
 Tonga 0.95 1 Oceania Polynesia 2012
 Malta 0.96 4 Europe Southern Europe 2015
 Portugal 0.97 100 Europe Southern Europe 2015
 Australia 0.98 236 Oceania Australasia 2015
 Denmark 0.99


I wonder how the above countries manage to keep their homicide rates so low. Could we learn anything from them?

Guns, guns and more guns!

Chapter 29 Guns, guns and more guns!

Just when you thought I had offended just about everyone, well not quite. I have several friends that are staunch NRA supporters. Actually I am not at opposed to gun ownership as long as they are registered. I see registration as an important item for law enforcement. I am in favor of our law officers having the latest armament available. My concern is regarding the “facts” regarding murder rates in the US vs. other countries. I often the comment “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. That does make sense, but the facts seem to indicate otherwise. Let’s compare our experience to a few other “civilized” countries:                     Source:

Current Worldwide Homicide/Murder Rate

Country or Area Rate (rate per 100,000 population) Note Source
  Australia                                                         1.23  

Belgium                                                             1.83

Canada                                                                1.67

Denmark                                                          1.4

France                                                               1.35

Germany                                                             .8

Iceland                                                                  0

I could go on, but you get the idea

U.S.A.                                                                 5.22

The issue is, are we safer because we have more guns (or less gun control)?

The other comment that I hear often is: “it’s a Constitutional issue; the 2nd amendment gives me the right to own as many and whatever type of weapons that I want”. I would suggest that this is not entirely true, and even if it was we might want to modify our thinking based on the facts. Let’s look at the entire wording of the 2nd amendment to the Constitution:  “Amendment II A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Yep, that is the entire amendment. It should be obvious that the intention of this right had to do with the need to maintain the militia, which at the time made excellent sense. At the time of the writing the Bill of Rights in 1789 the standing Army (created in 1784) was extremely small and the founding fathers realized the need to call on local militia troops should the country face another threat from a substantial foe. In 1812 the opportunity presented itself:  Source:                                                         “The United States was not prepared to prosecute a war, for Madison had assumed that the state militias would easily seize Canada and that negotiations would follow. In 1812, the regular army consisted of fewer than 12,000 men. Congress authorized the expansion of the army to 35,000 men, but the service was voluntary and unpopular; it offered poor pay, and there were few trained and experienced officers, at least initially.[61] The militia objected to serving outside their home states, were not open to discipline, and performed poorly against British forces when outside their home states. American prosecution of the war suffered from its unpopularity, especially in New England, where anti-war speakers were vocal. “Two of the Massachusetts members [of Congress], Seaver and Widgery, were publicly insulted and hissed on Change in Boston; while another, Charles Turner, member for the Plymouth district, and Chief-Justice of the Court of Sessions for that county, was seized by a crowd on the evening of August 3, [1812] and kicked through the town”

Obviously, today’s times are much different and I seriously doubt that the founding fathers would have even considered this type of amendment if there had been a well-funded, substantial Army.

But I need weapons to protect my family. Well apparently they do not in other countries.   Also, consider that of the murders in the U.S.A. where guns are involved 30.2 % of these are committed by friends, acquaintances and/or family. This represents many more than the total murders in most other 1st world countries!


Incarcerations – Solutions

22c) Incarcerations – Solutions

The solutions are actually very easy, but the implementation will first require some political courage:

  1. Eliminate and/or significantly reduce incarceration terms for drug users.
  2. Reduce incarceration terms for drug related thefts.
  3. Reduce incarceration terms for lower level distributors.
  4. Allocate 25 – 40% of the incarceration term savings to after release programs. (note: most, if not all of this will be recouped in the form of reducing the recidivism rate.

Drug related releases will have the following requirements to avoid incarceration reentry:

  1. Must agree to attend no less than 2 AA and or NA meetings per week.
  2. Must enter a transition housing facility for a minimum of 60 days and up to 120 if needed.
  3. Must find at least part time employment within 90 days.
  4. Must participate in all programs required by the transition housing entity. To include, but limited to counseling & mentoring.
  5. Must not abuse drugs
  6. Must not commit any felony

Release funding for the previously discussed release inmates will include:

  1. The cost of transition housing entry fee.
  2. Up to 120 days of daily transition housing accommodation allowance (to be determined at state level most likely in the $25 – $35 per night range)

Additional funding should be allowed to insure adequate availability of transition housing to qualified service providers. Suggest grants in the range of $2,000 – $3,000 per bed and short term low interest rate loans, 3-5 years.