Medved: Imprisoning violent criminals may be costly, but releasing them costs society more

Oct 28, 2022, 4:33 PM
U.S. Attorney General William Barr (Photo by Jeff Roberson - Pool/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jeff Roberson - Pool/Getty Images)

An important Wall Street Journal commentary by former Attorney General Bill Barr cites three significant and startling statistics that every American concerned by rising crime needs to confront.

First, Americans must recognize that while the impact of criminal violence is widespread, its perpetrators represent a tiny fraction of our total populace. This “small, hard-core group of habitual offenders constitute roughly 1% of the overall population but commit between half and two-thirds of predatory, violent crime.”

Barr writes that “each of these offenders can be expected to commit scores, even hundreds of crimes a year … The only time they aren’t committing crimes is when they’re in prison.”

More from Michael Medved: Crucial numbers that Republicans can’t ignore

Second, Barr describes the dramatic shift in national policies and priorities that began in the Reagan and H.W. Bush administrations, with a focus on “getting tough” on crime that continued during the presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

As a result, from 1991 to 2013, the total prison population in the U.S. doubled – from roughly 800,000 to 1.8 million. At the same time, violent crime plummeted, dropping for 23 years. By 2014, it had been cut in half – to a level not seen since 1970 – and homicides of black victims were down by about 5,000 a year.

Third, the former attorney general slammed the Obama administration, “which saw a return to the revolving door and the demonization of police” so that by 2014, crime rates were headed back up with further increases “in the wake of the COVID pandemic and the Black Lives Matter riots.”

Attorney General Barr acknowledges the steep costs of increasing expenditures for more protection from police forces and expanded prison capacity, but he mentions the other lavish spending we provide to “reduce the risk of premature death or injury to the members of the public, including billions on highway safety, environmental quality” and medical care.

Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan fails majority of Americans

He concludes by recommending a rigorous, impartial cost-benefit analysis regarding the new resources we need for apprehending and incarcerating career criminals.

“Progressives say we can’t afford to keep violent predators in prison,” he laments. “On the contrary, we can’t afford not to.”

Listen to Michael Medved weekday afternoons from 12 – 3 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3).

Michael Medved on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to michael medvedTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 12pm for The Michael Medved Show.

Michael Medved

Trump President...
Michael Medved

Medved: Other ex-presidents who tried to recapture the White House

Donald Trump hopes to make history as the second President to ever recapture the White House after losing an election and leaving power.
14 hours ago
red wave...
Michael Medved

Medved: Does the lack of a “Red Wave” indicate anything?

What’s the explanation for the peculiar polling of 2022 when the analysts anticipated a mighty “Red Wave” that never materialized?
28 days ago
Michael Medved

Medved: Why the sudden rise in antisemitism?

What recent developments for Jewish people have provoked these alarming new levels of hostility in the United States and around the world?
1 month ago
Republican midterms...
Michael Medved

Medved: Crucial numbers that Republicans can’t ignore

Only once in the past decade – during the Obama election of 2014 – did a majority of voters support Republican candidates for Congress.
1 month ago
student loan...
Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin Show

Medved: Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan fails majority of Americans

Biden cited colleges' exponentially-rising costs as part of the reason to go forward with the student loan forgiveness plan.
3 months ago
Michael Medved

Medved: After Mar-a-Lago raid, a dramatic week has given both parties what they wanted most

The search of Mar-a-Lago to recover classified papers may be remembered as the most controversial and disastrous decision in the storied history of the FBI.
4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Medved: Imprisoning violent criminals may be costly, but releasing them costs society more