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I read this article in the New York Times today where 1 in 100 U.S. adults are now in prison. Is this necessary or just insanely expensive? The article talks about how much it cost to keep them there but doesn’t mention the revenue lost to income taxes not collected and so on. Here is a chart of incarceration rates for other countries.

Not that we shouldn’t keep the bad ones locked up, but using jail for every punishment is silly. Anyone who has dealt with the IRS or the BMV knows the government is quite capable of making you miserable without sending you to jail.

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