Skip to content

Yes, they did.

There’s a piece (which I became aware of via Cold Fury) at the Washington Post in which Richard Cohen asks the question “Did Liberals get it wrong on crime?”  His lead paragraph:

This is a good news, bad news column. The good news is that crime is again down across the nation — in big cities, small cities, flourishing cities and cities that are not for the timid. Surprisingly, this has happened in the teeth of the Great Recession, meaning that those disposed to attribute criminality to poverty — my view at one time — have some strenuous rethinking to do. It could be, as conservatives have insisted all along, that crime is committed by criminals. For liberals, this is bad news indeed.

I said roughly the same thing back in February.  Those of us who work in corrections or pay attention to such things have known poverty isn’t causally related to crime since before the turn of the century.  Sort of instructive, if you care to think about such things, is the fact that the things we do with criminals to get them to change their ways encourage personal responsibility and specifically work to squash the idea that a criminal is in some way a victim of the system and therefore entitled to something.  One of the things I like about Evidence Based Practices (aside from the part about how it really works) is the notion that how you got where you are is not really all that important; taking personal responsibility for your life (“what are you going to do now?”) is.  Obviously, I’m oversimplifying the concepts, but not by much. The point is that your antecedent circumstances a) don’t cause your criminality, b) don’t justify your criminality, and c) their remedy by outside sources won’t cure your criminality.

In other words, poverty doesn’t cause crime, criminals cause crime.

Ratlands is using WP-Gravatar