Paul Rosenzweig Reviews Go Directly to Jail: The Criminalization of Almost Everything Edited by Gene Healy

May 1, 2005

Paul Rosenzweig

For too long, the growth in the use of criminal law as a means of controlling social and economic behavior has been one of the dark corners of the legal world, unilluminated and unexplored by the general public. While nobody (save for a few law professors) was looking, for example, the Federal criminal code exploded, growing from fewer than 500 statutes at the start of the 20th century to more than 4000 today. State criminal codes are so vast that no one even hazards a guess as to their scope. Few of the more recent additions have anything to do with “criminal law” as the public understands it – prohibitions against traditional offenses like murder, rape, and robbery. Rather, the “new crimes” are a means of enforcing regulatory norms that the average American would be surprised to learn are also crimes. Who would ever think, to take but one example, that importing honey bees is a federal felony? Yet it is – and the trends that have produced this explosion of criminal prohibitions have gone largely unexamined....

Paul Rosenzweig Reviews "Go Directly to Jail" edited by Gene Healy