The myth that punishment has failed to deter crime is being advanced by those who argue that we imprison more and more people without a significant reduction in crime. The facts say otherwise. From 1950 to 1974 " a period during which imprisonment for serious crime declined sharply " the crime rate soared. In 1974, the rate of imprisonment began increasing and, as a result, the crime rate leveled off in the 1980s and has actually declined in recent years. Still, the rate of serious crime remains distressingly high.