Large numbers of unemployed experts in finance, accounting, information technology, law, and logistics have boosted the supply of world-class talent available to criminal cartels. Meanwhile, philanthropists all over the world have curtailed their giving, creating funding shortfalls in the arts, education, health care, and other areas, which criminals are all too happy to fill in exchange for political access, social legitimacy, and popular support.
International criminals could hardly ask for a more favorable business environment.
Their activities are typically high margin and cash-based, which means they often enjoy a high degree of liquidity -- not a bad position to be in during a global credit crunch. But emboldened adversaries and dwindling resources are not the only problems confronting police departments, prosecutors, and judges. In recent years, a new threat has emerged: the mafia state.
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Across the globe, criminals have penetrated governments to an unprecedented degree. The reverse has also happened: rather than stamping out powerful gangs, some governments have instead taken over their illegal operations.
An Essay on Crimes and Punishments - Online Library of Liberty
In mafia states, government officials enrich themselves and their families and friends while exploiting the money, muscle, political influence, and global connections of criminal syndicates to cement and expand their own power. Republicans in a large number of red states have already voted for significant reforms. It seems unlikely that having done so, they will turn their backs on their handiwork. One final possibility is that the significance of Trumpism on crime policy could be limited to policing. While policing issues could polarize even further, conservatives might draw a bright line between cops and prisons—preserving their embrace of sentencing and re-entry reform while standing against efforts to change the way police work.
Those of us on the liberal side have a significant stake in how these factional divides among Republicans play out. As I noted at the beginning of this essay, there is no path to major reductions in incarceration that does not include the active participation of conservatives—the math simply does not work. Steven M. Teles surveys the recent history of criminal justice politics in the United States.
But without conservative political support, the legislative process in the states will not yield significant de-incarceration. The large majority of the incarcerated are under the authority of the states, and the Republican Party has some share in the government of many of them. Peter Moskos surveys a rapidly shifting political landscape: With Donald Trump as the president-elect, all bets are off. The reform of our incarceration system seems further away than ever.
Reducing incarceration will certainly require both ending the war on drugs and greatly reducing sentence length for all types of crime. Neither seems politically possible now.
Causes and Solutions
And perverse incentives will continue to keep sentences long even for relatively minor crimes: Local officials do not pay for the incarceration of those whom they give longer sentences. Jonathan Blanks looks beyond partisan politics, to a culture that sees incarceration as the solution for too many problems.
Neither party has done much to address this stubborn feature of our political life. Blanks sees the failure of mens rea reform as illustrative of the difficulty: Neither side could be counted on to take the de-incarcerating view when it really mattered. The left has likewise been all too willing to deploy harsh sentencing at times when its other political goals seem to demand it.
Marie Gottschalk doubts that Republicans were ever serious about doing the hard work that de-incarceration would require.
The White Queen
Successful de-incarceration will require more money, not less, she argues, to help with the educational, health, and re-adjustment needs of former prisoners. Lead Essay. Tweet Like Submit Share. View the discussion thread. While the central government may not be willing or able to deliver public goods, collect taxes and provide public security, the de facto authorities manage to do all three — often on the basis of taxing or controlling illicit activity. Such an environment is advantageous to transnational criminal groups because it enables them to operate outside the law, but not in a complete state of anarchy which is bad for business.
It provides an efficient level of insecurity. This creates a vicious circle: crime is attracted by insecurity, underdevelopment and weak governance, while the latter are exacerbated by crime.
Conflict or post-conflict areas are particularly vulnerable. In such areas, symbiotic relationships can develop between anti-government forces and criminal groups. Indeed, organized crime is present in almost every theatre where the UN carries out peacekeeping or peacebuilding operations. In many cases, crime is a means to an end: it funds the anti-government struggle.
But in some cases, criminal activity becomes so lucrative that political or ideological motivations become blurred with, or even trumped by, greed. In other cases, criminal groups operate more by stealth: seeking to coerce, corrupt or cajole state actors from the inside rather than teaming up with anti-government forces.
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In such cases, transnational criminal groups put pressure on senior officials in government, the judiciary, the police and the military in order to extract or traffic illicit goods, to operate with impunity and to buy power. They also use contacts in the private sector, for example for laundering money.
worltrimoutcat.tk Under this arrangement, criminals effectively use all the trappings of the state to facilitate their activities: territorial waters, diplomatic passports, diplomatic pouches, immunity from prosecution, military facilities, intelligence information, even the state financial apparatus are exploited.