Less Crime: Good for New Yorkers, Bad for the Economy?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Drop in overall crime in New York should make NY residents happy, but it’s got some officials worried—a drop in crime also means fewer inmates in prison. New York Times reporter Jim Dwyer explains how closing several prisons brought up big issues for this years state budget, considering the prison system is a significant evenue source for the New York economy. Also in the conversation, New York State Senator Martin Golden .


Jim Dwyer and Martin Golden

Comments [21]

hjs from 11211

maybe we could get corporations to sponsor a 'send a kid to jail' program

Apr. 23 2008 04:53 PM
figa from Brooklyn

I think prisons need to be more service-oriented, or they're going to continue losing customers and their revenue. Though prison does have a lot of popular appeal -- it's been mythologized in country music, hip-hop, movies, and television -- it's suffering from negative word-of-mouth campaign that will ultimately be it's undoing. Rebranding should focus on influential Americans like MLK and Thoreau who found inspiration in prison. Nelson Mandela and Václav Havel would be natural spokespeople.

Apr. 23 2008 04:28 PM
Peter from Brooklyn

The NY Senate has created a situation where the NYS prison system violates the 14th amendment to the US constituion. Downstate New Yorkers are denied equal representation because of their actions.

Apr. 23 2008 12:15 PM
KC from NYC

Peter: Yeah, I thought he kept dodging that issue (even feigning ignorance on the topic, which seems like quite a stretch). Good to see his potential motivations.

How about a follow-up, Brian?

Apr. 23 2008 11:59 AM
Peter from Brooklyn

once you recount the prisoners you will have several Senate districts upstate that fall under the minimum population size guidelines set up by the US Supreme court and would have to be redrawn. Given the GOP's senate majority is now 1 seat and they would loose up to 3 seats there is no way the senate will ever agree to close prisons.

Apr. 23 2008 11:38 AM
Peter from Brooklyn

Sen Golden is telling a lie.

The NYS Constitution mandates that Prisoners should be counted as residents of their districts before incarceration

Artical 2,§ 4.
For the purpose of voting, no person shall be deemed to have gained
or lost a residence, by reason of his or her presence or absence, while
employed in the service of the United States; nor while engaged in the
navigation of the waters of this state, or of the United States, or of the
high seas; nor while a student of any seminary of learning; nor while kept
at any almshouse, or other asylum, or institution wholly or partly
supported at public expense or by charity; nor while confined in any public

it is illegal for the prisoners to be counted as residents of their prison's districts - becasue they loose sufferage rights.

Apr. 23 2008 11:35 AM
Lindsay from NYC

this website helps to show that I'm trying to say but it's not perfect

Apr. 23 2008 11:26 AM

I think this is relevant:

Apr. 23 2008 11:26 AM
Lindsay from NYC

I know I've heard that there are approximately 22 districts upstate that would not exist were it not for the prison population being a part of their population numbers.

Can anyone find a source for this?

Apr. 23 2008 11:21 AM
KC from Manhattan

Prisoners are counted as population for the prison's county? Wow. We are through the looking-glass. That is so dumb – and such a deterrent to reform – it hurts my head to think about it.

Apr. 23 2008 11:17 AM

The census counts group quarters, the A.C.S. doesn't

Apr. 23 2008 11:15 AM
Mark from Queens

Crime rates lag behind economic indicators. The economy is faltering, the city will feel the weight of this downturn in time. Crime will rise, keep the prisons ready.

Apr. 23 2008 11:14 AM
Angel Mescain from Brooklyn

Why not build the prison in Golden's district. He sounds like he'd prefer for crime to be high. It's been dropping for many reasons, that's a good thing Marty!!

Apr. 23 2008 11:13 AM
Robert from NYC

Thank you for the truth; I've been saying crime is going up contrary to the not so great Ray Kelly. He's a liar and I don't trust the man. It's obvious from reporting in the media that crime has been going up over the past 5 or 6 years and some are really vicious crimes.

Apr. 23 2008 11:10 AM
hjs from 11211

New York state uses it prison system to subsidize the economically unsustainable north of the state. it's a WPA era type jobs program. Also it destroys the fabric of the city by perpetuating the cycles of crime and poverty.

Apr. 23 2008 11:00 AM
World's Toughest Milkman from the_C_train

Sorry for posting it here seems like the last segment was impromptu and missing it's own comment segment.

I guess everyone's forgetting the big protest against Gilchrist and the Minutemen project where the hyper liberal Columbia students so ardently concerned with civil rights, political correctness and free speech, attacked and removed the speaker...all the while they sat in awe of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Apr. 23 2008 10:58 AM
Shannon from Grand Army

Would you please stop saying "Panty Raid."

Apr. 23 2008 10:51 AM
James Brownski from Harlem

Anyone worried about closing prisons should be called on the carpet and decapitated. Prisons make tons of money because it is modern day slavery. Should we next expect policies to wrongly imprison young citizens all in the name of state revenues?

Apr. 23 2008 10:51 AM
Alex Perez from Williamsburg, NY

Why insn't their a comment section for this topic on the Columbia protests?

Apr. 23 2008 10:51 AM
Josh from brooklyn

There's one big difference between today and the '60s: NO DRAFT!

Apr. 23 2008 10:48 AM
Jeffrey Slott from East Elmhurst

Oh no, less prisons, less work. Now listen people, where's your sense of patriotism? Go out right now and commit a crime, any crime (make sure that you leave yourself open to get caught) and help the economy get back on its feet. It's a small sacrifice, believe me.
It was Lenny Bruce who said, "If we got rid of all crime, disease, and poverty, Jonas Salk and J. Edgar Hoover would be standing in back of a breadline."
Human beings are weird.

Apr. 23 2008 09:10 AM

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