Social Engineering

Mark Kleiman finishes up some guest blogging about his new book over at Volokh's place. In response to comments:

The suggestion that various non-punitive programs might control crime, and that doing so was preferable, ceteris paribus, to controlling crime by inflicting damage on offenders, met with an especially furious response, mostly centered on the phrase “liberal social engineering.”  But the project of putting 1% of the adult population behind bars an incarceration rate five times as high as any other advanced democracy, and five times as high as the U.S. ever had before 1975 is itself a massive, massively risky, and expensive  social-engineering project, and no less massive, risky, or expensive for never having been thought through.   It also involves a completely unprecedented expansion of the power of the state over the individual.