Dee J. Hall of the Wisconsin State Journal is writing a professional and somewhat balanced series of articles called "Black and Busted in Dane County." I'm linking to Monday's.
Buried in the third-last paragraph of a long story is the money statistic:
About half of the people arrested by Madison police each year are black, even though blacks make up just 8 percent of the city's residents.
I give the State Journal credit for confronting the issue head-on but wonder if they will have the courage to say what needs to be said.
The reporter scoured the community for quotable experts: the jail chaplain, the guilty-liberal-Rev. Jerry Hancock, a few judges, the usual liberal think tanks. But you know who never gets asked? Successful business people. So, I'm doubtful.
Today's installment settles on four causes for high black incarceration provided by the liberal Washington D.C.-based "Sentencing Project." (Its head guy, Marc Mauer, believes prisoners should be able to vote from behind bars.) (Today's illustration is taken from its website.) The four causes:
- Socioeconomic disadvantages, such as poverty and unemployment
- Enforcement, prosecution and sentencing policies that more heavily target minorities
- Limited options for diversion from jail or prison
- Biased decision-making among police, prosecutors, judges and others in the criminal justice system.
Ah, yes, the race card. Liberal Madison, its black district attorney and black police chief -- biased bunch of racists. Sure enough, Celia Jackson is quoted. She chaired the Dane County Task Force on Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System.
You won't find the R-word
That being "responsibility." I summarized its report in June 2010:
- Do racial impact studies next time we pass a law.
- Create still more diversion programs to keep still more lawbreakers out of jail.
- Test employers to make sure they're not discriminating against ex-cons.
- Don't revoke drivers' licenses for scofflaw dads.
- More racial minorities in the D.A.'s office and in police departments.
- Increase the racial bean counting.
- Make sure "communities of color" know their civil rights.
- More social workers. More spending.
As for the Sentencing Project's Reason #3 -- limited diversion opportunities? That's Washington D.C. talking. No county has more jail diversion resources than Dane County.
Reason #2 -- "targeting minorities." Again the racism charge. In the State Journal article, a retired judge makes the point that if some teens on Allied Drive got under-aged kids drunk they'd be arrested yet when upperclassmen members of the UW marching band did the same thing discipline was handled internally by the university.
Discrimination? Hardly. Those UW students were disciplined. The university has an effective disciplinary mechanism in place -- the university authorities can deprive them of something they want very badly: a university education. Where is the disciplinary mechanism on Allied Drive?
Reason #1 -- the economy. Since May 1 city police have recorded 40 cases of strong-armed robberies -- muggings -- of citizens walking the sidewalks of the city. Most involve three or four teenagers acting in concert; some as young as 14.
West District Police Captain Jay Lengfeld makes short work of another shibboleth, the "tough economy" excuse.
"I don't think we can say they were all looking for jobs and couldn't get jobs," he told Joe Tarr of Isthmus. Dane County continues to have among the lowest unemployment rates in the state and nation.
Let's be clear about this: crime is one of the causes of poverty.
The Blaska Policy Research Factory here presumes Dee Hall will offer prescriptions in Tuesday's final installment. If her cupboard is bare she can use ours:
- The worst racism is the soft racism of diminished expectations.
- Take responsibility for your actions and yes, for those around you.
- Neither play the victim nor victimize others.
- Get up in the morning and go to school or to work.
- Show up on time, sober and ready to work; follow directions.
- No job is beneath you.
- Delay gratification.
- Your heroes matter. The misogynist, foul-mouthed pants-on-the-ground gangsta rapper is a fool.
- Success builds; it does not destroy.
- There is shame, defeat and failure in jail. Not pride.
- Education is power, learning is white -- and black.
- You CAN succeed.
For further study, read the book co-authored by Bill Cosby and Dr. Alvin Poussaint, "Come on people." I wrote about it here.
And as a do-able action plan, change the expectations game by approving Kaleem Caire's Madison Preparatory Academy. I wrote about that, too.
Finally, acknowledge that liberalism and its emphasis on reverse racism has been tried but failed.
You want experts on urban crime? Go to the Manhattan Institute.
Speaking of failure
Stop the presses: 'Progressive Dane building coalition to fight poverty.' So reports the ever-credulous Pat Schneider in the Progressive Dane news outlet.
Gee, where was Progressive Dane when LBJ really needed them? Folks, Progressive Dane causes poverty.
We'd all be better off if the kids in Prog Dane just put on a musical play in the barn like Judy and Mickey used to.
Castle doctrine vote next week
The state legislature's Committee on Judiciary and Ethics will vote on the Castle Doctrine (Assembly Bill 69) at 11 a.m. Thursday, August 4, in Capitol Room 417 North (GAR Hall). Essentially, the bill gives greater deference to the home owner who uses deadly force to protect life and property. Dem Sens. Holperin and Taylor are among many Republican co-sponsors.