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Conrad Black's Prison Experience

Conrad Black, a Canadian media magnate whose conviction under the reprehensibly vague "honest services" statute was unanimously vacated by the Supreme Court last month, was freed on $2 million bail pending a rehearing on the question of whether the prosecutor's use of the honest services theory amounted to harmless error.

In the New York Sun, Black writes that his 28 months in federal prison has made him a critic of overcriminalization and excessive federal prison sentences:

I had the opportunity to see why the United States has six to twelve times as many incarcerated people as other prosperous democracies, (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom), how the prison industry grew, and successfully sought more prisoners, longer sentences, and maximal possibilities of probation violations and a swift return to custody...Before I got into the maw of the U.S. legal system, I did not realize the country has 47 million people with a criminal record, (most for relatively trivial offenses,) or that prosecutors won more than 90% of their cases.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.