The States Pay the Price

Two government reports issued separately last week seemed to illustrate a cause and an effect. The FBI reported that violent crimes in the U.S. last year jumped 6% over 1987, reaching a record of nearly 1.6 million offenses. The National Conference of State Legislatures, meanwhile, said the largest increase in state spending in the same period was for prisons, which grew 14.1%.

The increase in crime included a 2.9% spurt in homicides, to a new high of 20,675. More than half the victims either knew or were related to their killers; only 12% were slain by strangers. Washington had a horrendous...

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