Story at a glance

  • In response to a CNN article about a rise in crime, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton said the United States has an "under-incarceration problem."
  • Twitter was quick to fact check the representative’s claim, noting that the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country.
  • The article in question noted the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the criminal justice system, as well as the factors leading to a rise in crime.

Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton (R) thinks that the country with the highest documented incarceration rate in the world has a “major under-incarceration problem” that is “only getting worse.”


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Cotton made the comment on Twitter in response to a CNN article that discusses the rise in crime during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as well as the effects on the criminal justice system. The article, however, did not say whether the rise in crime was matched by a rise in incarceration, nor whether there were more people committing crimes or more crimes being committed by a certain number of people. Other users were quick to point all this out, criticizing the representative for misrepresenting the story. 

 


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"It's nearly impossible to attribute any year-to-year change in violent crime statistics to any single factor, and homicides and shootings are an intensely local phenomenon that can spike for dozens of reasons," the CNN article said, noting a "perfect storm" of "economic collapse, social anxiety because of a pandemic, de-policing in major cities after protests that called for abolition of police departments, shifts in police resources from neighborhoods to downtown areas because of those protests, and the release of criminal defendants pretrial or before sentences were completed to reduce risk of Covid-19 spread in jails"


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Published on Apr 07, 2021