Go Directy to Jail: The Criminalization of Amost Everything is the title of the Cato Institute's latest work dealing with the weight gain of the federal criminal code. There are two reasons you should buy this book. First, Miguel Estrada endorses it.
The dramatic expansion of federal criminal law in recent decades has made it distressingly easy for prosecutors to ‘make a federal case’ out of matters more properly handled at the state level or by civil remedies. That phenomenon makes it more likely that ordinary businesspeople risk being jailed for run-of-the-mill commercial dealings that traditionally have been handled by contract and tort law. With this timely volume, Cato draws attention to an important—and too often ignored—legal problem.
Second, it has a catchy pitch (emboldened is the coolest freaking expression I've seen in a long time):
At one time, the sanction of the criminal law was reserved for serious, morally culpable offenders. But during the past 40 years, an unholy alliance of tough-on-crime conservatives and anti-big-business liberals has utterly transformed the criminal law. Today, while violent crime often goes unpunished, Congress continues to add new, trivial offenses to the federal criminal code. With more than 4,000 federal offenses on the statute books, and thousands more buried in the Code of Federal Regulations, it is now frighteningly easy for American citizens to be hauled off to jail for actions that no reasonable person would regard as crimes. At the same time, rampant federalization and mandatory minimum sentencing are making America’s criminal justice system ever more centralized and punitive. The result is a labyrinthine criminal code, a burgeoning prison population, and often real injustice. Go Directly to Jail examines those alarming trends and proposes reforms that could rein in a criminal justice apparatus at war with fairness and common sense.