CRS: Congress Added 439 New Crimes Between 2008 to 2013

PrisonCellThe Congressional Research Service (CRS) has issued a report that informed Congress that it has created 439 new criminal offenses between 2008 and 2013. This staggering figure gives a glimpse into the rapid criminalization of America where there are, by some estimates, around 4,500 federal offenses alone and tens of thousands of more on the state and federal levels. Politicians continue to add crimes, which tend to be popular with voters and do not require immediate budget demands (though they add huge costs not just in enforcement but the costs of citizens themselves in being pulled into the criminal justice system).

I have long been a critic of the criminalization of America where millions of citizens are finding themselves labeled as felons for acts that used to be treated as strictly civil matters. The trend toward criminalization feeds itself as politicians insist that their pet peeve (from feeding pigeons to missing parent-teacher meetings) are no less important than other crimes. The result is that everything is being translated into a criminal offense.

The June report from the CRS to the House Over-Criminalization Task Force shows how Congress continues to yield to impulse buy crimes — reflexively adding new crimes to respond to headlines or constituent outrage. Nothing says commitment more than a crime in politics.

Little thought is given to how a society changes when so many people are given criminal records and the character of interactions with the government shifts toward to the criminal justice system.

38 thoughts on “CRS: Congress Added 439 New Crimes Between 2008 to 2013”

  1. on 1, August 11, 2014 at 12:49 pmJill
    I see this as part of the growing police state in America. “Show me the man and I”ll show you the law he has broken”. This is SOP for totalitarian rule by law. We have given up the rule of law and replaced it with elite rule BY law. This is in part the result of folly and shame of our citizens.

    Had enough people stood up to various dear leaders we might have stopped this in its tracks. It is my hope that many people will learn to stop leader/party worship and start working together to achieve justice.
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    Jill, I wish for the same thing, but it doesn’t seem very near to being a reality. The divergence of political philosophies is so stark, that it is doubtful that the two ‘sides’ will ever stop arguing long enough to agree on anything. Social philosophies that are SO different make it almost impossible to get an agreement on civil liberties issues even if in agreement, realistically I just don’t see it happening, too much divisiveness to overcome. I don’t know how bad it will have to get to finally get the two sides to join together in protest, I think it will have to be pretty darn bad.

  2. While enforcement of rules seems essential to social order, the optimal number of enforced rules is as elusive as the rightness or wrongness of each rule.

  3. on 1, August 11, 2014 at 10:42 amleejcaroll
    And Rafflaw I would add another: deciding that you would not do your job in congress because you did not like the outcome of the presidential election. Those in congress who are doing nothing but obstruct are in essence stealing from the taxpayers, taking money they have not earned. (as well as stealing taxpayer money to take 51 votes to repeal law of the land ACA and an 8th Benghazi investigation because they don’t like that the first 7 said there is no there there.)
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    Hear hear Ljc!

  4. I see this as part of the growing police state in America. “Show me the man and I”ll show you the law he has broken”. This is SOP for totalitarian rule by law. We have given up the rule of law and replaced it with elite rule BY law. This is in part the result of folly and shame of our citizens.

    Had enough people stood up to various dear leaders we might have stopped this in its tracks. It is my hope that many people will learn to stop leader/party worship and start working together to achieve justice.

  5. Anonymouly Yours

    John,

    Cops never do anything illegal. Prosecutors always tell the truth. The IRS is there to help you. The military never interferes in any conflict unless our presence is required. The Soviet Union is full of criminals, crooks and communist.

    We need the laws so that they can be enforced against those in this country that think like those radical hippies. They needed to be shot down. Ohio state was just a misunderstanding.

    Each community has its various ways of enforcing the laws. Just because a certain race get arrested more often than not, this is the police social league programs, they give them food, drinks and clothing. They also have bathing facilities and working sinks and toilets.

    They have an indoor gym, library, free legal assistance…. They also have the breaking edge security system, wrought iron bars…. People pay extra for that in some areas of town. A private security force at there disposal…. All the benies of the rich…

    Now if you believe a thing I said above, might I interest you in some future real estate ocean front property….. A bridge in London?
    ========================
    And the military is only helping refugees in Iraq.

  6. John,

    Cops never do anything illegal. Prosecutors always tell the truth. The IRS is there to help you. The military never interferes in any conflict unless our presence is required. The Soviet Union is full of criminals, crooks and communist.

    We need the laws so that they can be enforced against those in this country that think like those radical hippies. They needed to be shot down. Ohio state was just a misunderstanding.

    Each community has its various ways of enforcing the laws. Just because a certain race get arrested more often than not, this is the police social league programs, they give them food, drinks and clothing. They also have bathing facilities and working sinks and toilets.

    They have an indoor gym, library, free legal assistance…. They also have the breaking edge security system, wrought iron bars…. People pay extra for that in some areas of town. A private security force at there disposal…. All the benies of the rich…

    Now if you believe a thing I said above, might I interest you in some future real estate ocean front property….. A bridge in London?

  7. “doing some work” is in the eye of the beholder. This blog today has numerous stories about the abundance of laws and the lawlessness of enforcement. The system is out of control. In the military, if incidents of misconduct or unsafe practices had the potential to move beyond a local command then there would be a stand down throughout the force. Right now, the rule of law is being capriciously enforced and if this were the military; a court-martial offense. Our system of government needs less legislation and a system-wide stand down to get control of the laws and enforcement already on the books.

  8. We need more laws on the book, those that are more than two weeks old are not being followed anyways….

  9. But not if they believed they were elected to represent their constituents, which means actually doing some work rather then saying if it comes from this pres or administration, even if it is something with which we have agreed in the past when a repub proposed it, we will sit on our hands and do nothing

  10. LJC,
    It would be a complete destruction of our republican system of government to have a Legislative branch that believes they are duty-bound to represent the best interests of the Executive branch rather than their constituents.

  11. And Rafflaw I would add another: deciding that you would not do your job in congress because you did not like the outcome of the presidential election. Those in congress who are doing nothing but obstruct are in essence stealing from the taxpayers, taking money they have not earned. (as well as stealing taxpayer money to take 51 votes to repeal law of the land ACA and an 8th Benghazi investigation because they don’t like that the first 7 said there is no there there.)

  12. I agree with what randyjet stated above. Secondly, I would like to add a crime for Congress to consider as soon as possible. The crime of purposely attempting to harm the middle class, perpetrated by Congress.

  13. My rule is do not do anything you would not be afraid to stand before a jury and admit you did it. That said, the fact is that we do have a complex society which demands new laws as technology advances. Who could have known that we would have cybercrimes? There has also been a lot of complaints on this blog that more bankers are not in prison.. Is that wrong? I don’t think so.

  14. I’m not so certain about the impulsivity of this pathology. So much in our personal interactions is about control. We all know control freaks and how dysfunctional they make any interpersonal relationship. This is the insidious nature of a control freak duopoly. It is morbidly obese, need to be fed w/ excessive taxes, and the more crimes, the more control. There is a method to the madness. Thought crimes are the next frontier. The NSA can police those.

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