A blog by Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Brian Tannebaum. Commenting on criminal law issues of local and national interest.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Is Jail Always The Answer?

CNN.com reports that jail and prison populations rose 2.6 percent last year.

The Sentencing Project, an advocacy group, reports that the U.S. incarceration rate in 2004 was the highest in the world, at 724 per 100,000 population. Second was Russia, at 532 per 100,000.

From the story: "More than 1,000 inmates were added to the nation's prisons and jails each week from June 2004 to June 2005, according to a report issued Sunday by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Two-thirds of the nearly 2.2 million total inmates were in state or federal prisons, and the rest were in local jails.

Other statistics released in the report include:

The population in federal prisons rose nearly 3 percent, to 184,484 inmates, in the 12-month period;

In the past 10 years, the nation's prison and jail population has risen by more than 600,000;

The increase of 33,539 jail inmates over the 12-month period was the largest increase since 1997;

At mid-year 2005, nearly 60 percent of offenders in local jails were racial or ethnic minorities, a statistic that has not changed in the past decade;

At mid-year 2005, nearly 4.7 percent of black men, nearly 2 percent of Hispanic men, and 0.7 percent of white men nationwide were in a prison or jail.

Female inmates represent about 13 percent of the jail population, a 2.5 percent increase over the past decade;

So where are we going?

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense attorney in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court. To learn more about Brian and his firm, Tannebaum Weiss, please go to www.tannebaumweiss.com.


  1. Anonymous3:10 PM

    he made me do it. ask him.

  2. Anonymous3:15 PM

    retribution or restitution

  3. Good post. As the economy gets worse, people will see that locking up more people is too expensive and it doesn't solve the problems of criminality by striking at its roots. Jail is a temporary stopgap measure that creates its own problems.

  4. Anonymous9:19 PM

    ok brain let me ask you this. you always rail against locking up criminals. what is your soloution when the police arrest someone for breaking into a house who has done it 4 times previously.

    what should society do with such a person?

  5. I never rail against locking up "criminals." Clearly someone who commits a crime 4 times needs to be punished appropriately.

    My argument has always been, why is jail the only answer? I know we have probation and house arrest, but that is the exception today, not the norm. We are all too quick to put people in jail for every criminal offense.

    And to what end? Jail does nothing for the non-violent offender, except turn them into a violent person.

    Problem is, most people say "I don't care, lock 'em up."

    So we lock 'em up.