In reference to the Sept. 28 letter, "New Orleans wastes money on jails," the writer makes two erroneous claims: New Orleans engages in mass incarceration and putting people in jail does not keep people safe.

As to the first, there is no such thing in the federal or state judicial system as "mass incarceration," a term conjured up within the Democratic Party. What there is, however, is "mass violation" of the law. If there were no mass violations of the law, there could be no incarceration. Stop mass criminal violations and guess what? There will be no incarcerations.

Second, the assertion that putting people in jail will not make people safe. Last year, New Orleans was one of the most dangerous cities in America, No. 7 on the list of murders per capita — last count, 195. Just think, every other day someone gets up in the morning in New Orleans and goes out and kills another person. At the same time, there were 495 nonfatal shootings, 4,300 car thefts/auto hijackings and over 200 armed robberies.

No, don't put these perpetrators in jail — because the writer says imprisonment will not make us safe.

Further, the purpose of jail/imprisonment of criminals is not just to make society safe. Prison is also meant to deter future criminal acts and as a means of punishment.


former criminal justice professor