Poking around the Family Prosperity Initiative data tool, I was struck again by how well Rhode Island does when it comes to violent crime. According to the last-published Rhode Island report, Rhode Island is fifth-best in the country by this measure. One could consider it to be counterintuitive or obviously correlative, but Rhode Island also has one of the lowest incarceration rates in the United States, as depicted in this slide from a presentation by David Safavian, an expert with the American Conservative Union Foundation, when he spoke at Bryant University at a Family Prosperity event:
While reviewing this information, I happened to be distracted by an “Economics 101” video by the Center for Freedom and Prosperity (not the RI organization of a similar name) emphasizing the combination of stability and freedom that characterizes prosperous countries. The video is mainly concerned with financial stability, but overall stability is critical, too.
A safe state that doesn’t lock up large numbers of its residents should have an advantage economically. Indeed, add that advantage to all the rest — location, history, etcetera, etcetera — that ought to make Rhode Island the jewel of New England, rather than the armpit.
Unfortunately, we get other things terribly wrong, so our advantages go to waste, largely in the service of our insider system of centralized micromanagement and profiteering.