Saturday, October 25, 2014

Taibbi: U.S. has two criminal justice systems

[HT: Chief].  Taibbi's latest article is worth reading in full -- with outrageous personal anecdotes for my conservative readers! -- but this pretty much sums it up:

The Madoff case proved that in order to actually be convicted and jailed for a Wall Street crime, you practically have to show up, weeping and spontaneously confessing, on the doorstep of the regulatory authorities.

In the early 90s, the US convicted more than 900 people in criminal prosecutions connected to the savings and loan crisis, a mass-fraud scheme similar to the sub-prime mess, but far less serious. This time around, the number is zero. Not one significant Wall Street executive has seen the inside of a jail cell for even one night for the egregious crimes connected to the financial crisis.

Meanwhile, the US boasts the largest prison population in the history of humanity, edging out even the gulag under Stalin.

There are a lot of reasons for the disparity, but two stand out: there are virtually no cops on the Wall Street/rich white people beat, and what few regulators there are increasingly don’t believe that paper or computer thefts in the millions or billions are “crime crimes” that warrant jail time.

Black people and better-off white people have almost completely different experiences with U.S. police and the criminal justice system. It's really two systems masquerading as one.

By Matt Taibbi
October 17, 2014 | Guardian

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