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Regulation of the Day: Parole Rules for Federal Prisoners

The fifth in an occasional series that shines a bit of light on the regulatory state. Today’s Regulation of the Day comes to us from the Department of Justice ($26 billion 2009 budget, 112,000 employees). Parole rules for DC offenders and federal offenders are being harmonized, which means they are being made more similar. For details, see pages 28,602-28,606 of the 2009 Federal Register. Federal parole rules affect more and more people as time goes by. More than 200,000 people are currently in federal prisons, and the number goes up every year. This is puzzling since the Constitution lists only three federal crimes -- treason, piracy, and counterfeiting. Somewhat fewer than 200,000 people have committed those offenses. John S. Baker, Jr. found an answer to this conundrum in 2007. He estimated that the number of federal crimes had increased more than a thousand-fold to at least 4,450. Many of them are duplicates of existing state offenses. More than 50 new federal crimes are created every year. Seems a bit much, does it not?