How progressives misunderstand an important issue
Sentencing reform makes sense. Our laws are sometimes more political than related to safety and people are in prison for lengths of time that have no relation to public safety.
On the other hand, the number 1 correlation to lower violent crime is taking violent criminals off the streets and yes, putting them in prison. Sentencing reform should not be a stalking horse for false compassion that puts thugs and killers back in our community.
If you don’t believe that they are violent still, look at the violence in our prisons and most incidents are not even reported. What would are violent crime rate be if they included in the statistics. I will include a link in the comments for your reading. Is that what progressives want in our neighborhoods? Coincidentally, the more they indiscriminately let people out, the more our crime goes up. There is a solution, but it takes thinking and hard work. We have to change what it means to be incarcerated so that it truly reforms. We need more access to faith, mandatory education, and work should be normal.
The anti-death penalty crowd told us that they would favor life without parole. These thugs would never get out and endanger us. Now some of them are saying that it is cruel to keep people in prison without hope. We had this before. In the 1970’s the high court ruled the death penalty was unconstitutional and we started coddling criminals. Crime went out of control. They reversed themselves. Nixon ran on law and order (when it didn’t apply to him). Reagan and Bill Clinton took strong stands to our benefit. Crime dropped. Now in CA they are letting out 2300 murderers. That is a major benefit of execution, they don’t repeat the offence.
Personally, I am ambivalent about the death penalty. I think that it is very easy to rush to judgment and once it is done, there is no way to correct it. I am pro-life because I believe in human dignity. Each life is valuable. I had a professor, Dr. Morken. who said that because I am pro-life, I am willing to protect innocent life by commending to GOD judgment of those who take innocent life. It is the only just judgment that we are capable of giving. The idea is to save lives, value lives, and establish a standard of behavior that protects all of us. He made sense to me. I respect the views on both sides because I struggle with both in my own head and heart.
On one side, I have a nephew who as a youth shot a tormenter. He is spending his life in prison for that fateful decision to “scare” the guy with a gun. He killed a man with a future as a football star, maybe a family or career that we will never know. Sure my nephew was a victim of bullying, but his response was criminal. He didn’t have some long rap sheet. He was a good guy before that and since then. His life is defined by the evil that he can never change, more than 2 decades later, he is still imprisoned and two families can not be whole. I am glad that he wasn’t executed and I hope that I get to see him free one day.
On the other side, I had a cousin who lived right here in my Dover neighborhood. He was a high schooler who took some shoes to watch out for drug dealers. We told him to stay out of that lifestyle. Oh, he said, I am not doing anything wrong, I am not hurting anyone. He would not listen and stopped coming to our house. We lost regular contact except to see him in the neighborhood. He went from there to dealing pot according to the word on the street. That cost him his life. Why? He decided to give himself a raise. He was murdered by his supplier. The supplier and his wife then cut him up and threw him in the trash like garbage. Unfortunately for them it was hot and trash day was later in the week. They were too dumb to take it to someone else’s garbage that was going out the next day. Someone thought a dead dog was thrown in the garbage and was stinking and called it in so it could be dumped. In the garbage bag was the body of my cousin. They couldn’t even recognize him. He is forever 17.
Now that murderer got only 10 years and is coming back out on to my streets. Is that what we have to look forward to? I want him executed. How is that justice? A kid killer and career criminal is out to kill again. At the very least, he should never walk free again.
Am I inconsistent? Conflicted? Yes, I am but not without reason. If my nephew were tried a juvenile not an adult, he would have gotten 6 years. This guy was a felon running a drug ring who recruited children even murdered one than mutilated the body to hide it while his children were upstairs and his wife cleaned up the mess. It was a business decision not an act of passion. It seems unjust that he is out. How is the community served by freeing people like this?
I believe sentencing reform should be to keep dangerous people off the streets and make room for violent criminals not some social experiment. We can’t lock up everyone for everything. It is bad economics, bad social policy, and bad for the community. We should lock up some people for preying on and harming others. That makes sense.
When you hear sentencing reform, ask for the details. They make all of the difference in the world.
Now you know why I am so passionate about reaching young people. We have no choice if we are to have a world of reason that is worth living in.