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by Peter Moskos

May 23, 2016

"Man Seen Wheeling Body on Staten Island Is Arraigned in Wife’s Murder"

It's not so much the wheeling a dead body on a metal dolly that gets me. It's the how do you get arrested 52 times by age 31?

10 comments:

LemmusLemmus said...

Link needs work.

Peter Moskos said...

thanks

Andrew Laurence said...

If you're African-American or Latino and live in a big US city, especially if you're poor, I would think that 52 arrests by age 31 would be well below average. It would of course depend on what you're arrested for, whether any of those arrests result in a conviction, and whether any of those convictions result in prison time. Also, would being accused of a crime while in prison (say, a violent act against a prisoner or corrections officer) and being forced to stand trial for it count as an arrest? I mean, you're already in custody, so technically there's no need for a police officer to take you into custody, right?

Also, I'm not an expert on arrest statistics, so I could be really off base.

Peter Moskos said...

No. You're way off. This guy was arrested once every three months for 14 years. Christ almighty. And think of the beatings he gave that he didn't get locked up for. Or everything he did as a juvenile. (though that might be "sealed" part, which would change the math significantly). 52 arrests is a crazy number. And 0, believe it or not, is still very common.

campbell said...

If you're African-American or Latino and live in a big US city, especially if you're poor, I would think that 52 arrests by age 31 would be well below average.

Jesus, what our host said. Those are notable numbers for a chronic offender and you're either crazily clueless or a Klan member if you think that's well below average for a typical brown person.

Andrew Laurence said...

I'm the opposite of a Klan member. I assumed those numbers sounded low because of structural and institutional racism coupled with the increased likelihood of poor African-American men to encounter the police in their day-to-day lives compared to everyone else, for whatever reason. Again, not an expert, so happy to be wrong. Thanks!

Andrew Laurence said...

And no one has answered my question as to whether it would count as an arrest if you were in state prison and, while there, committed a new crime for which you were brought to trial. Probably statistically insignificant, but I'm still curious. Does anyone know?

Peter Moskos said...

Yes. It would count as an arrest. But it probably would not be reflected on the NYPD rap sheet. Though I'm not certain, I doubt that data would make it across different agencies. But yes, you can be "arrested" in prison.

Andrew Laurence said...

Cool. Thanks!

Ross said...

I don't think that number of arrests are extreme at all, given the tendency for a small proportion of the population to commit the vast majority of crime. I remember sitting as a magistrate (UK) a couple of years ago, and sentencing a 26 year-old woman with 50 previous court appearances and 100 previous convictions*. I was warned by a barrister friend prior to starting to sit a magistrate that it would make me extremely cynical. She was right: after five years I largely abandoned all of my previous liberal beliefs, and predominantly now think that the only option for society to truly control crime is for the welfare state to be replaced by inexpensive incarceration, 'three strikes and you're out', and mandatory sterilisation. Needless to say, I recognise that these ideas are currently some way out of the Overton window...

* Nothing to do with race, incidentally: she was white.