It is one of the great frustrations of anti justice activists that reality has failed to meet their expectations and that when liberal criminal justice policies are introduced crime soars, whereas when the use of prison increases crime falls. The drops in the US crime rate during the 1990s are something that has to be explained away hence the desperation with which any alternatives are seized upon. So crackpot theories such as Steve Levitt's 'Abortion cuts crime'* are seized upon with zeal. Anyway the latest study has found that the real cause of the fall in crime was, and I can hardly believe I am typing something this stupid, the phasing out of leaded petrol. Whilst lead poisoning is obviously bad the only crime that banning 4 Star has possibly curtailed is arson.
So this is essentially what the anti prison brigade mean when they talk about being tough on the causes of crime, unleaded petrol and abortions all round.
* My objection to the Levitt theory isn't moral, as I'm not that concerned with abortion, not first trimester abortions anyway.
50 years ago tonight Cliff Michelmore in Aberfan
34 minutes ago