You know that prisons are filled with non-violent and drug offenders.
And you know that prisons are costing us tens of billions of dollars every year.
So it is not surprising that prison populations are thus decreasing.
But you probably don't know that "Longer Prison Sentences Make Incarceration More 'Contagious.'"
Such is the finding of a study recently summarized in the Smithsonian magazine.
Incredibly, the authors found in a simulation that the difference between a 14-month sentence and a 17-month sentence (for example, between a white offender and black offender sentenced for the same crime) would, over time, explain the difference in incarceration rates between blacks and whites.
Why? Peer contagion. That is, eventually, prison becomes the norm and is learned as part of normal life for those who go and spend more time there.
This is an amazing piece of research that is thankfully getting some media coverage.