Now I'm never a fan of just packing people off to prison. It's an absurd solution to a complex problem, but I do find this article fascinating. It reveals just how deeply race plays into judicial decision making. It seems that since passing a law reducing judicial discretion in sentencing, more suburban white women are being packed off to Ohio prisons for crimes that once drew leniency.
The number has jumped 90 percent, from 899 in 1998 to 1,710 last year, according to state records. Over that period, the number of black women sent to prison has held generally steady at 1,100 to 1,200 per year.
Again--I prefer judicial discretion, but as a policy matter it does occur to me that packing white suburban moms off to prison is likely to shake things up, and indeed, the article notes that "As prison officials scramble for more cells, the trend also leaves them puzzled about why more white women are behind bars. A national consultant hired by the state is expected to release a study within months."