The Corner

One Editorial, Two Howlers

The New York Times has an editorial today that asserts, “Courts and scholars have long concluded that race explains why minorities are overrepresented in prison better than any other factor.” Well, no, actually — what is in fact undeniable is that the main reason for this “overrepresentation” is that at this particular time more crimes are committed by some groups than others. I collect some of the sources here.

Earlier, the editorial also asserts that felons “who are allowed to vote are less likely to return to prison.” But this confuses cause and effect:  Rehabilitation results in voting, rather than voting resulting in rehabilitation. People who have turned over a new leaf and are no longer committing crimes, in other words, will probably start behaving like responsible citizens in other ways, like registering to vote — but it seems much less likely that making someone eligible to vote will itself cause him to change his behavior.

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