Stringham: America Has a Prosecution Problem
In today's Wall Street Journal, Edward Stringham reviews Locked In by John F. Pfaff:
Imagine if a business did not have to worry about convincing paying customers to choose its product and could stick non-customers with the bill. Bureaucracies like the Postal Service, Amtrak and the Department of Veteran Affairs have that luxury. But imagine further that the enterprise could force its services on users whether they like it or not. Law enforcement is one of the few American entities that enjoys this privilege. The U.S. now has twice as many prosecutors as it did in the 1970s—and each one now sends more than twice as many prosecutors as it did in the 1970s - and each one now sends more than twice as many to prison as he or she did in that period...
If we want to become the land of the free again, Mr. Pfaff concludes, we need to rethink both the old "let's lock 'em up and throw away the key" perspective and the ability of prosecutors to send so many people to prison to begin with.