Fallacious Fusion

An article on Fusion argues that despite the decrease in crime rates in the U.S., the country’s prison population has been steady since last year, opposite to the declining crime rates.

In the article, crime rates were at the lowest levels in more than four decades, despite the prison population continuing to be the same since 2015 — nearly one in every 200 people in America is incarcerated.

My critique of the article is that its based on research that is only done in one state. The study was done by sociologist Ryan King of Ohio State University. In the study, it is stated that his hypothesis is that “even though more crime isn’t being committed, the type of person who’s now in prison has changed over time. Namely, they are more likely to be repeat offenders, who are subject to rigid sentencing guidelines that put undue weight on an individual’s prior crimes.”

His data was based off case-level information from approximately 355,000 felony convictions in Minnesota between 1981 and 2013.

Although the writer did cite a source who acknowledged that the study focused solely on one state, I still don’t think it was good enough for the article to be cohesive enough. Their headline also seemed slightly misleading at first glance. It was sensationalized to some degree, in my opinion, because the results were solely based on a study that conducted its research in one state. A lot of factors affect research such as: population number, race, ethnicity etc.

Also, if you read the lede below, it feels like he was potentially going to discuss an issue that could be applicable to the whole of the U.S.

“Despite what you may have heard from Donald Trump, crime rates in the U.S. have declined steadily since the mid-1990s, and are currently at their lowest levels in more than four decades.”

Although he was referencing his lede to a different source, a huge chunk of his point in the article was based on that one Minnesota study.



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