80,000 Hours: EA and Highly Political Causes

post by The_Jaded_One · 2017-01-26T21:44:33.229Z · score: 30 (31 votes) · LW · GW · Legacy · 25 comments

this post is now crossposted to the EA forum

80,000 hours is a well known Effective Altruism organisation which does "in-depth research alongside academics at Oxford into how graduates can make the biggest difference possible with their careers". 

They recently posted a guide to donating which aims, in their words, to (my emphasis)

use evidence and careful reasoning to work out how to best promote the wellbeing of all. To find the highest-impact charities this giving season ... We ... summed up the main recommendations by area below

Looking below, we find a section on the problem area of criminal justice (US-focused). An area where the aim is outlined as follows: (quoting from the Open Philanthropy "problem area" page)

investing in criminal justice policy and practice reforms to substantially reduce incarceration while maintaining public safety. 

Reducing incarceration whilst maintaining public safety seems like a reasonable EA cause, if we interpret "pubic safety" in a broad sense - that is, keep fewer people in prison whilst still getting almost all of the benefits of incarceration such as deterrent effects, prevention of crime, etc.

So what are the recommended charities? (my emphasis below)

1. Alliance for Safety and Justice 

"The Alliance for Safety and Justice is a US organization that aims to reduce incarceration and racial disparities in incarceration in states across the country, and replace mass incarceration with new safety priorities that prioritize prevention and protect low-income communities of color."  

They promote an article on their site called "black wounds matter", as well as how you can "Apply for VOCA Funding: A Toolkit for Organizations Working With Crime Survivors in Communities of Color and Other Underserved Communities"

2. Cosecha - (note that their url is www.lahuelga.com, which means "the strike" in Spanish) (my emphasis below)

"Cosecha is a group organizing undocumented immigrants in 50-60 cities around the country. Its goal is to build mass popular support for undocumented immigrants, in resistance to incarceration/detention, deportation, denigration of rights, and discrimination. The group has become especially active since the Presidential election, given the immediate threat of mass incarceration and deportation of millions of people."

Cosecha have a footprint in the news, for example this article:

They have the ultimate goal of launching massive civil resistance and non-cooperation to show this country it depends on us ...  if they wage a general strike of five to eight million workers for seven days, we think the economy of this country would not be able to sustain itself 

The article quotes Carlos Saavedra, who is directly mentioned by Open Philanthropy's Chloe Cockburn:

Carlos Saavedra, who leads Cosecha, stands out as an organizer who is devoted to testing and improving his methods, ... Cosecha can do a lot of good to prevent mass deportations and incarceration, I think his work is a good fit for likely readers of this post."

They mention other charities elsewhere on their site and in their writeup on the subject, such as the conservative Center for Criminal Justice Reform, but Cosecha and the Alliance for Safety and Justice are the ones that were chosen as "highest impact" and featured in the guide to donating

 


 

Sometimes one has to be blunt: 80,000 hours is promoting the financial support of some extremely hot-button political causes, which may not be a good idea. Traditionalists/conservatives and those who are uninitiated to Social Justice ideology might look at The Alliance for Safety and Justice and Cosecha and label them as them racists and criminals, and thereby be turned off by Effective Altruism, or even by the rationality movement as a whole. 

There are standard arguments, for example this by Robin Hanson from 10 years ago about why it is not smart or "effective" to get into these political tugs-of-war if one wants to make a genuine difference in the world.

One could also argue that the 80,000 hours' charities go beyond the usual folly of political tugs-of-war. In addition to supporting extremely political causes, 80,000 hours could be accused of being somewhat intellectually dishonest about what goal they are trying to further actually is. 

Consider The Alliance for Safety and Justice. 80,000 Hours state that the goal of their work in the criminal justice problem area is to "substantially reduce incarceration while maintaining public safety". This is an abstract goal that has very broad appeal and one that I am sure almost everyone agrees to. But then their more concrete policy in this area is to fund a charity that wants to "reduce racial disparities in incarceration" and "protect low-income communities of color". The latter is significantly different to the former - it isn't even close to being the same thing - and the difference is highly political. One could object that reducing racial disparities in incarceration is merely a means to the end of substantially reducing incarceration while maintaining public safety, since many people in prison in the US are "of color". However this line of argument is a very politicized one and it might be wrong, or at least I don't see strong support for it. "Selectively release people of color and make society safer - endorsed by effective altruists!" struggles against known facts about redictivism rates across races, as well as an objection about the implicit conflation of equality of outcome and equality of opportunity. (and I do not want this to be interpreted as a claim of moral superiority of one race over others - merely a necessary exercise in coming to terms with facts and debunking implicit assumptions). Males are incarcerated much more than women, so what about reducing gender disparities in incarceration, whilst also maintaining public safety? Again, this is all highly political, laden with politicized implicit assumptions and language.  

Cosecha is worse! They are actively planning potentially illegal activities like helping illegal immigrants evade the law (though IANAL), as well as activities which potentially harm the majority of US citizens such as a seven day nationwide strike whose intent is to damage the economy. Their URL is "The Strike" in Spanish. 

Again, the abstract goal is extremely attractive to almost anyone, but the concrete implementation is highly divisive. If some conservative altruist signed up to financially or morally support the abstract goal of "substantially reducing incarceration while maintaining public safety" and EA organisations that are pursuing that goal without reading the details, and then at a later point they saw the details of Cosecha and The Alliance for Safety and Justice, they would rightly feel cheated. And to the objection that conservative altruists should read the description rather than just the heading - what are we doing writing headings so misleading that you'd feel cheated if you relied on them as summaries of the activity they are mean to summarize? 

 


 

One possibility would be for 80,000 hours to be much more upfront about what they are trying to achieve here - maybe they like left-wing social justice causes, and want to help like-minded people donate money to such causes and help the particular groups who are favored in those circles. There's almost a nod and a wink to this when Chloe Cockburn says (my paraphrase of Saavedra, and emphasis, below)

I think his [A man who wants to lead a general strike of five to eight million workers for seven days so that the economy of the USA would not be able to sustain itself, in order to help illegal immigrants] work is a good fit for likely readers of this post

Alternatively, they could try to reinvigorate the idea that their "criminal justice" problem area is politically neutral and beneficial to everyone; the Open Philanthropy issue writeup talks about "conservative interest in what has traditionally been a solely liberal cause" after all. I would advise considering dropping The Alliance for Safety and Justice and Cosecha if they intend to do this. There may not be politically neutral charities in this area, or there may not be enough high quality conservative charities to present a politically balanced set of recommendations. Setting up a growing donor advised fund or a prize for nonpartisan progress that genuinely intends to benefit everyone including conservatives, people opposed to illegal immigration and people who are not "of color" might be an option to consider.

We could examine 80,000 hours' choice to back these organisations from a more overall-utilitarian/overall-effectiveness point of view, rather than limiting the analysis to the specific problem area. These two charities don't pass the smell test for altruistic consequentialism, pulling sideways on ropes, finding hidden levers that others are ignoring, etc. Is the best thing you can do with your smart EA money helping a charity that wants to get stuck into the culture war about which skin color is most over-represented in prisons? What about a second charity that wants to help people illegally immigrate at a time when immigration is the most divisive political topic in the western world?

Furthermore, Cosecha's plans for a nationwide strike and potential civil disobedience/showdown with Trump & co could push an already volatile situation in the US into something extremely ugly. The vast majority of people in the world (present and future) are not the specific group that Cosecha aims to help, but the set of people who could be harmed by the uglier versions of a violent and calamitous showdown in the US is basically the whole world. That means that even if P(Cosecha persuades Trump to do a U-turn on illegals) is 10 or 100 times greater than P(Cosecha precipitates a violent crisis in the USA), they may still be net-negative from an expected utility point of view. EA doesn't usually fund causes whose outcome distribution is heavily left-skewed so this argument is a bit unusual to have to make, but there it is. 

Not only is Cosecha a cause that is (a) mind-killing and culture war-ish (b) very tangentially related to the actual problem area it is advertised under by 80,000 hours, but it might also (c) be an anti-charity that produces net disutility (in expectation) in the form of a higher probability a US civil war with money that you donate to it. 

Back on the topic of criminal justice and incarceration: opposition to reform often comes from conservative voters and politicians, so it might seem unlikely to a careful thinker that extra money on the left-wing side is going to be highly effective. Some intellectual judo is required; make conservatives think that it was their idea all along. So promoting the Center for Criminal Justice Reform sounds like the kind of smart, against-the-grain idea that might be highly effective! Well done, Open Philanthropy! Also in favor of this org: they don't copiously mention which races or person-categories they think are most important in their articles about criminal justice reform, the only culture war item I could find on them is the world "conservative" (and given the intellectual judo argument above, this counts as a plus), and they're not planning a national strike or other action with a heavy tail risk. But that's the one that didn't make the cut for the 80,000 hours guide to donating!

The fact that they let Cosecha (and to a lesser extent The Alliance for Safety and Justice) through reduces my confidence in 80,000 hours and the EA movement as a whole. Who thought it would be a good idea to get EA into the culture war with these causes, and also thought that they were plausibly among the most effective things you can do with money? Are they taking effectiveness seriously? What does the political diversity of meetings at 80,000 hours look like? Were there no conservative altruists present in discussions surrounding The Alliance for Safety and Justice and Cosecha, and the promotion of them as "beneficial for everyone" and "effective"? 

Before we finish, I want to emphasize that this post is not intended to start an object-level discussion about which race, gender, political movement or sexual orientation is cooler, and I would encourage moderators to temp-ban people who try to have that kind of argument in the comments of this post.

I also want to emphasize that criticism of professional altruists is a necessary evil; in an ideal world the only thing I would ever want to say to people who dedicate their lives to helping others (Chloe Cockburn in particular, since I mentioned her name above)  is "thank you, you're amazing". Other than that, comments and criticism are welcome, especially anything pointing out any inaccuracies or misunderstandings in this post. Comments from anyone involved in 80,000 hours or Open Philanthropy are welcome. 

25 comments

Comments sorted by top scores.

comment by 9eB1 · 2017-01-26T23:41:45.267Z · score: 10 (10 votes) · LW · GW

This is a trend in effective altruism and it's a very dangerous one for their cause. As soon as people outside the movement think that EAs are trying to spend everyone's money on "pet causes," it puts a distinct upper limit on the growth of the movement. Going after political targets seems really appealing because the leverage seems so high. If we could somehow install Holden Karnofsky as president it would probably improve the lives of a billion people, but there is no majority group of people that cares more about the global poor than they care about their own money.

It's very appealing, psychologically, because big political wins have outsized importance in how you feel about yourself. When a big decision comes down (like when gay marriage was legalized by the Supreme Court) it is literally a cause for celebration. Your side won and your enemies lost. If instead you somehow got people to donate $50 million to Against Malaria Foundation, it wouldn't be that salient.

Since you reference Robin Hanson's idea of pulling ropes sideways, I figure I should provide a link.

comment by Viliam · 2017-01-27T10:27:06.507Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

A problem with supporting political groups is that the people are not the same as the idea they represent. What you want to achieve is "X", but what you actually achieve is "giving more power to people who used X as their applause light". That may result in more X, but it could also result in something else. Was this risk included in the calculation of the expected utility?

comment by RobertWiblin · 2017-01-29T00:26:51.572Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

"If we could somehow install Holden Karnofsky as president it would probably improve the lives of a billion people"

Amusingly, our suggestion of these two charities is entirely syndicated from a blog post put up by Holden Karnofsky himself: http://www.openphilanthropy.org/blog/suggestions-individual-donors-open-philanthropy-project-staff-2016

comment by RobertWiblin · 2017-01-29T00:24:49.918Z · score: 8 (8 votes) · LW · GW

Thanks for your interest in our work.

As we say in the post, on this and most problem areas 80,000 Hours defers charity recommendations to experts on that particular cause (see: What resources did we draw on?). In this case our suggestion is based entirely on the suggestion of Chloe Cockburn, the Program Officer for Criminal Justice Reform at the Open Philanthropy Project, who works full time on that particular problem area and knows much more than any of us about what is likely to work.

To questions like "does 80,000 Hours have view X that would make sense of this" or "is 80,000 Hours intending to do X" - the answer is that we don't really have an independent view on any of these things. We're just syndicating content from someone we perceive to be an authority (just as we do when we include GiveWell's recommended charities without having independently investigated them). I thought the article was very clear about this, but perhaps we needed to make it even more so in case people skipped down to a particular section without reading the preamble.

If you want to get these charities removed then you'd need to speak with Chloe. If she changes her suggestions - or another similar authority on this topic appears and offers a contrary view - then that would change what we include.

Regarding why we didn't recommend the Center for Criminal Justice Reform: again, that is entirely because it wasn't on the Open Philanthropy Project's list of suggestions for individual donors. Presumably that is because they felt their own grant - which you approve of - had filled their current funding needs.

All the best,

Rob

comment by The_Jaded_One · 2017-01-29T14:49:39.822Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Upvoted, and I encourage others to upvote for visibility.

comment by Lumifer · 2017-01-29T01:02:13.434Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

We're just syndicating content from someone we perceive to be an authority

Ah. Well then.

comment by Sithlord_Bayesian · 2017-01-27T10:34:05.386Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

I agree that mixing politics and EA is potentially bad, especially if there's a partisan slant overall. This felt like a bad idea back when Rob Wiblin was posting to Facebook daily about how strategic efforts to stop Trump were competitive with standard EA charities. But it also feels like a bad idea to do what you've done in this post, as I know from your post history that you're reliably conservative, and notice that that's affected how I System-1-feel about what you've written here.

So: my gut feels the same about you pushing for these ideas as it feels about others pushing for the ideas you're pushing against. I wish that everyone could just stop bringing politics into EA.

(I anticipate a counter to what I've said here along the lines of, "but he's just trying to make EA more politically neutral". Fair, but it's obvious by his tone and wording that he has other motives, and that these are obvious enough to enough people that I expect this to cause many people's guts to notice these motives and politically infect their own feelings.)

comment by The_Jaded_One · 2017-01-27T12:48:06.015Z · score: 9 (9 votes) · LW · GW

it's obvious by his tone and wording that he has other motives, and that these are obvious enough to enough people that I expect this to cause many people's guts to notice these motives and politically infect

How would you change this post to convey the same objections and points, but be less "infectious"?

I am prepared to take criticism into account and reword the article before it goes to the EA forum.

comment by Larks · 2017-01-27T02:59:55.919Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

You should post this on the EA forum

http://effective-altruism.com/

comment by lifelonglearner · 2017-01-27T05:34:35.936Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

Agreed. Looks like The Jaded One now has sufficient karma to post there (after getting the encessary upvotes off a comment.)

comment by Gram_Stone · 2017-01-26T22:23:14.337Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

(Tentatively upvoted.)

I find that a good way to make statements criticizing individuals or organizations less provocative is to frame your criticism as a confusion. This simultaneously allows you to demonstrate that you've thought about their reasoning for more than five minutes and tends to make any further discussion less adversial.

The abstract reasoning about why prison reform is a bipartisan cause makes sense to me: prisons cost lots of money (bad conservative metric) and they're disproportionately inhabited by minorities (bad liberal metric), but if your descriptions of their recommended organizations are charitable, then I too am confused right now.

comment by Viliam · 2017-01-27T10:15:35.440Z · score: 7 (7 votes) · LW · GW

Similarly, whe I see statements like this...

The fact that they let this stuff through reduces my confidence in 80,000 hours and the EA movement as a whole.

...I hope we are also able to post an opposite message (that something increased someone's confidence in EA) when an opposite situation happens. Otherwise we have yet another case of why our kind can't cooperate.

comment by The_Jaded_One · 2017-01-27T17:42:58.351Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Well there are definitely a lot of good things about the EA movement, and people who choose to be a part of it should be proud of its achievements.

comment by The_Jaded_One · 2017-01-26T22:28:33.868Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

if your descriptions of their recommended organizations are charitable, then I too am confused right now.

Please check the links and report back, I am one person working alone so it is possible I have missed something important.

frame your criticism as a confusion.

Well I have been accused of being a concern troll in the past for doing exactly that. So, I am being up-front: this is a critical article with that caveat that criticism of professional altruists is a necessary evil.

comment by Jiro · 2017-01-31T17:14:11.759Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I find that a good way to make statements criticizing individuals or organizations less provocative is to frame your criticism as a confusion.

I believe that's called a "concern troll".

It also means that people with actual confusion will no longer be able to get answers because they will be mistaken for people like you.

comment by gjm · 2017-01-31T17:43:37.235Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

No, concern-trolling is when you say "You're doing X, but it would be sooo much better for your case if you did Y instead" where Y is "nicer" than X but probably actually less effective.

comment by bogus · 2017-01-28T07:24:52.125Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

use evidence and careful reasoning to work out how to best promote the wellbeing of all.

So what are the recommended charities? (my emphasis below) ...

I don't understand this emphasis. You seem to be saying that ASJ and Cosecha are somehow opposed to promoting the "wellbeing of all". Yet as far as ASJ goes, it seems quite intuitive that any effective approach to reducing mass incarceration in the U.S. will have its biggest impact in 'communities of color' and that 'protecting' such communities from crime nonetheless must be integral to any such effort.

Cosecha is rather more dubious (I agree that it hardly belongs on any EA list of 'recommended' charities!), but even if you agree (as most people do) that immigration to this country must be carefully regulated, and thus that illegals shouldn't be allowed to stay in the U.S. and should be sent back to their home countries (i.e. deported), that hardly licenses extreme levels of 'mass incarceration/detention, denigration of rights, and discrimination'. And in fact there's quite a bit of worry that such things might occur since the new POTUS was inaugurated.

Are there any other organizations that are working against these things with any real effectiveness? If not, then maybe you can still view Cosecha's activities overall as somewhat worthwhile, even if you regard opposition to deportation and possibly promoting some illegal activities as undesirable. (Though even then, a 'strike' by undocumented immigrants hardly seems to be 'illegal' in itself, considering that they aren't allowed to work in the first place!)

comment by The_Jaded_One · 2017-01-28T11:02:51.981Z · score: 5 (5 votes) · LW · GW

it seems quite intuitive that any effective approach to reducing mass incarceration in the U.S. will have its biggest impact in 'communities of color'

It is very hard for me to respond to this without breaking my own rules; "this post is not intended to start an object-level discussion about which race, gender, political movement or sexual orientation is cooler", but let me try.

First: 'people of color' is simply a Social Justice term meaning "not white", and explicitly includes (far east) Asian Americans. Without implying here any form of superiority, it is a fact that the incarceration rates for Asian Americans most certainly do not put them into the same broad category as other "people of color".

So in this context, the term "people of color" is not a category that carves reality at its joints. A martian xenosociologist would not find the category "all people who are not white European" useful for trying to maximise the objective of "substantially reducing incarceration while maintaining public safety", when compared to the more natural categories of actual races. Uncharitably, one could explain the non-carving-at-joints term "people of color" as a brazen attempt to rope Asian Americans and other "Model minorities" into a political coalition that actively harms them.

Second: the stated goal of 80,000 hours here is not to reduce incarceration. It is to reduce incarceration while maintaining public safety. The mere fact that more "people of color" (sorry, Asian Americans!) are incarcerated than white European people is not enough to get to the the claim that you are making - "biggest impact in 'communities of color' ".

And then there is the further claim by the ASJ that we should "reduce racial disparities in incarceration". That's an additional jump from "having the biggest impact in communities of color", because it implies that you could keep the same level of incarceration in communities of color, but incarcerate more white people. That would technically reduce the disparity. Are they trying to invent affirmative action for courts/prisons?

Go back to our martian alien who knows nothing of SJWs. He starts trying to come up with a plan to reduce incarceration whilst maintaining public safety, he looks at the well-established facts about differential incarceration rates. Then maybe he communicates with the earthling ChristianKl who has just started having potentially useful ideas about "rewarding prisons financially for low recidivism rates". What does the alien, who is apolitical and doesn't know to avoid the taboos of the culture war think about next? He might look at redictivism rates by race?

At this point, the alien would perhaps start to question whether the goal of "reducing incarceration while maintaining public safety" was really an accurate specification of what humans wanted. Maybe what they want is some combination of

  • less incarceration overall
  • more safety for the law-abiding public
  • a justice system which exhibits equality of outcomes when that would benefit groups that are high status within the SJ movement (e.g. African Americans), and equality of process when equality of outcomes would be to the detriment of groups that are high status within the SJ movement (e.g. women)

This combination of goals is good at explaining the words that are being emitted by the ASJ. It explains the focus on people of color as well as the total lack of any mention of the fact that males are vastly over-represented in prisons, and the conspicuous absence of efforts to reduce the gender disparity in prisons.

Now you might say, "wow, you have really broken your own rules there!" - well, let me disclaim that I am not implying any form of moral superiority between culture-war salient groups here. There are certainly many people of color who have suffered injustice at the hands of a highly imperfect and unfair, sometimes racist, system.

I am simply pointing out that if you casually assert the "intuitive" equivalence of statements that are not equivalent in all possible worlds, then you are taking some pretty big risks regarding good epistemology.

comment by bogus · 2017-01-28T11:57:58.223Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

This combination of goals is good at explaining the words that are being emitted by the ASJ. It explains the focus on people of color ....

This just doesn't seem to be a fair characterization of what ASJ is actually working on. It's simply a fact that 'communities of color' [sic] are most impacted by mass incarceration - that's a rather trivial consequence of the statistics you rightly pointed to. ASJ is most focused on reducing incarceration for non-serious and non-violent offenders (i.e. precisely the sorts of offenders for whom the alternatives work best!) and spending the savings on crime prevention. The focus on 'people of color' you picked up on is thus not necessarily indicative of a damaging bias here; it might just make the org more attractive to more SJW-inclined funders.

comment by The_Jaded_One · 2017-01-28T12:31:42.981Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

The focus on 'people of color' you picked up on is thus not necessarily indicative of a damaging bias here

But let's suppose that the most effective intervention in this field resulted in increasing the racial disparity in incarceration. Would ASJ pursue it? Can we take their outward focus on race as evidence that race-favoritism is a goal that they internally pursue, perhaps over and above the high-level goal that 80,000 hours advertises them under?

Does their focus on race bias them about where the tradeoff between incarceration and safety should be struck? For example,

ASJ aims to build on the successful strategies of Californians for Safety and Justice and its sister organization, Vote Safe, the 501c4 that launched and ran the successful Proposition 47

and what is Prop 47?

... offenders who knew the specifics of Prop 47 and how to use it to their advantage ...There was the thief in San Bernardino County who had been caught shoplifting with his calculator, which he said he used to make sure he never stole the equivalent of $950 or more.

and also:

known gang member near Palm Springs who had been caught with a stolen gun valued at $625 and then reacted incredulously when the arresting officer explained that he would not be taken to jail but instead written a citation. “But I had a gun. What is wrong with this country?”

The tradeoffs here are at least somewhat controversial.

comment by bogus · 2017-01-28T13:51:27.465Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

The tradeoffs here are at least somewhat controversial.

Tradeoffs are always controversial, but if these two are the most 'controversial' examples one can think of, then color me unimpressed. It's not at all obvious that these people would belong in jail under a sane criminal justice system, and the "citation" reported as an alternative still does a good job of bringing consequences for the offender.

comment by The_Jaded_One · 2017-01-28T14:45:36.579Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

And 80,000 hours is advertising that they aim to help everyone, but then they are funding an organisation that is explicitly aiming to favor certain groups. As I have already said, males are disproportionately incarcerated by a very large margin, and any realistic decrease in incarceration will therefore help males, but that fact is not being trumpeted. It's the color label that is getting extra special attention here and being promoted from a side effect of doing something else good to a goal in its own right.

IMO this is not a good thing to fund.

comment by The_Jaded_One · 2017-01-28T14:28:13.199Z · score: 2 (2 votes) · LW · GW

Well, I am probably overstepping if I claim to know for certain that Prop 47 was a mistake. 80,000 hours is advertising that they will maintain public safety with their efforts in this area, but the consensus is that Prop 47 has done the exact opposite.

car burglaries are up 47 percent this year over 2014, while car thefts have risen 17 percent and robberies rose by 23 percent. In Los Angeles, overall crime is up 12.7 percent this year and violent crime rose almost 21 percent. That’s after 12 straight years of crime decreases in the state’s largest city.

comment by ChristianKl · 2017-01-28T09:25:05.975Z · score: 4 (4 votes) · LW · GW

Yet as far as ASJ goes, it seems quite intuitive that any effective approach to reducing mass incarceration in the U.S. will have its biggest impact in 'communities of color' and that 'protecting' such communities from crime nonetheless must be integral to any such effort.

Not really.

If you want to reduce incarceration while keeping up public safety you could focus on rewarding prisons financially for low recidivism rates. Giving out additional financial rewards costs money but at the same time this policy would lead to increased safety and decreased incarceration.

Advocating such a policy likely wouldn't be perceived as fighting for communities of color. Campaigning against policies like stop and frisk on the other hand does.

comment by The_Jaded_One · 2017-01-27T19:24:40.988Z · score: 1 (1 votes) · LW · GW

I have made some edits to this post emphasizing some things that occurred to me after finishing it.